Finding A New Path

IMG_3030 “Do the best you can in the place where you are.”  ~Unknown 



Today was to be a special day.  I was to be retired from my career in public education, and my mom was to be visiting me for several weeks to kick off this new journey.  Well here I sit still working and alone in my garden.  I am not complaining mind you.  Disappointed that I could not retire, yes.  Saddened that my mom took ill while visiting my sister in Virginia and was unable to visit, absolutely.


But I have not wallowed in my grief over the situation….why should I really.  I have a good job still, and so far my mom is getting better and
may be able to visit in a few months.  The only real issue has been dealing with all the abrupt changes.  But what is keeping me OK with all of this, is that maybe there is a better plan coming I am just not aware of yet.

Last year at this time I was struggling with my most recent lesson surrounding patience.  I have never been good at this thing called patience to the point where I hated the words,”just be patient”.  But with the sudden changes that have recently shot up in my path, I have had to veer sharply into the grassy meadow waiting for a sign of which way to go now.  And just when I think the new road is showing itself, I find another obstacle and another sharp turn.

So patience seems to be the operative word for now.  A wait and see attitude.  Not to get too caught up in the idea of retirement; what it will beIMG_2946 or what will it look like.  Frankly I wasn’t even sure what I was going to do upon my retirement.  I had visions of doing nothing for a while, and working in my garden.  Writing more, cleaning and clearing my surrounds.

I read recently to stop struggling to figure out what you are going to do when you have to start over.  Instead just stop where you are and start from there slowly.  So I did.  Understand I had completely cleared out my office except for one box of desk things.  After all I was one week away from leaving.  But as soon as the decision was made that I would have to rescind my retirement, I threw myself quickly back into my job as if nothing had changed and without missing a step.  It felt like the perfect solution.

I think this distraction of getting back to work has helped immensely.  Not to mention the fact that the projects I had to start working on, had deadlines that were moved up by months and need to be completed by the end of August.  So I have little time to regret, lament or even think about much except getting my job done.  Of course it helped that my co-workers and boss were ecstatic that I was staying for a while.

IMG_2923But how long that “for a while” would be was still hanging out there.  Was my postponement  of retirement for a few months, was I working full time or would I move to part time.  So many decisions, and so many opinions as to what would be best for me.  No great hurry in deciding everyone said.  But I am not one to languish over decisions especially if it would help in planning for my employer and for me.   And do you know, the decision came to me this week.  And it just felt right.  I knew it was the perfect decision because I felt it in my gut or maybe what others call intuition.  I have decided I will remain working full time for this school year and will be retiring at the end of June, 2014.


“Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.”  ~Florence Scovel Shinn


When I recently read this quote I felt inspired.  I was searching for a new path and felt as if I was just standing still.  But I know now I reallyIMG_2936 am on the right path.  I just need to hold the vision or maybe in my case clarify my vision now before retirement.  Just a general idea of what I’d like my next steps to be.  It was easy when I was finishing my  college degree.  I wanted to be a teacher.  I wanted my own classroom.  And everything I did was for that one purpose.  And yes I eventually left the classroom to work as a school district administrator working more with teachers, but I was still teaching, still in the world of education.

But now the world is open again.  I can do practically anything I want so it will take some time to wean down the list.  But that list will always have education of some sort in it of that I am sure.  It is part of my being, my purpose, my soul.  For now, I am finishing some coursework, and will gradually be rolling out my next steps for my blog, my business, my garden and my writing as they are revealed to me in flashes of inspiration.

I am feeling ambitious and renewed.  I feel like whatever decisions I make will be fruitful and lead me further along the path.  I do believe that when we create our visions and put lots of our own sweat into them, somehow the right doors just seem to open.  This journey was started almost 3 years ago with this blog.  And it just keeps moving forward albeit not in a very straight path.  And some days I feel like I am fighting mighty big odds, but you know every dream or creation came from that one idea, that vision and sweat to make it work.

DSCN1530I still intend to find beauty in each day.  To recreate and renew my garden (once I can see it again through the weeds).  After all the garden above all things fuels my imagination and my soul.  Getting lost in the endless projects that need doing there, will also recharge my creative juices and give me needed peace of mind.  My garden has opened so many new doors along the path, and I know it will generate many more.

Of course who knows what changes will continue on my path.  If I have learned one thing it is to follow the path as it reveals itself, to take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves, and expect those sharp turns…in fact count on them even embrace them.  They may turn out to be the most fun!


“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”  ~Buddha


Next up on the blog:  I will be wrapping up July in my garden next Monday on my Gardens Eye Journal post.  I hope you will join me.

And I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.  Most recent post is up.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2013.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.



70 Replies to “Finding A New Path”

  1. Donna so sorry to read about your Mum but glad also to read she is improving, I remember how much you were looking forward to your time with her, perhaps when she is well enough to visit you will not be so busy with work, take care, Frances

    1. That is my hope too Frances….I have found things work out for the best many times. I will keep the thought of her visit in my autumn garden in my mind. Thank you Frances.

  2. Donna, I , too, have been at sort of crossroads , trying to decide how much longer I am going to keep going. Like you, recently, I decided to keep at it a good while longer and actually increase my work load. Feels right. !

  3. I hope you mum will be well soon, I remember you picturing her in your July garden, but as you say that can be changed to autumn easily enough. I don’t know your reasons for not retiring as planned but hope the next year will be rewarding for you. Your garden and this blog will help you find your new path I am sure. Christina

    1. I think so too Christina. Writing has always helped me gain perspective. My mom is doing better and I hope she will feel well enough to come visit.

  4. I love your attitude of going the way of the path as it is shown to you. I recall a preacher once talking about “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet” and how a lamp on a dark pathway only shows a small way forward, step by step, not the entire route or destination. Glad to hear your mother is doing better. I hope she makes a full recovery and is able to visit soon. And that your true last year of teaching will be thoroughly enjoyable.

    1. Thanks for the lovely words Holley. I do hope for these things too. I think it will be another crazy busy year but not quite as stressful as this past year. And as I light the way, step by step the plan will unfold a little bit each time.

  5. Donna, I am also contemplating retirement, but so far that is as far as I have gotten….contemplating! So much work to do in my garden, etc.; however, I fear I would miss the social atmosphere of work that helps keep me “sharp and on-track”. So I guess I am just being patient and waiting until it feels right!
    I do hope your mom recovers quickly and is able to come for that later visit.
    Sometimes things come at the most unexpected times; perhaps your pathway will be clearer at the end of June 2014.

    1. Ginger how lovely to have you visit and thank you for this wonderful comment. I think the path will be much clearer by June.

      I am finding with blogging that I can continue to keep social although I know I will lapse into my introvert persona if I am not careful. So part of my plan will have to include staying social…thanks for that reminder.

    1. Oh Dorothy thank you for such sweet words. I had never considered myself resilient compared to so many others who have had far worse to endure. But it helps me keep things in perspective to know I too am resilient. It also pleases me that the post was inspirational!

  6. Donna, I’m so sorry about your disappointments and hope your Mom is feeling more like herself soon! Your sense of ambition and renewal sounds like a very good sign that the path you’re on is the right one. And at least you enjoy grassy meadows, so when you have to veer off into one while you wait for the next step to become clear you have somewhere pleasant to wait! 🙂 Just think what it would be like if life demanded that we wait in metaphorical industrial parks instead.

    1. Thanks Kathy…I am trying to embrace these sudden changes as warnings to stop and consider carefully what I am doing…it sometimes takes some deep listening to myself to know what is right.

  7. Donna, you express yourself so well! I remember you mentioning retiring last year and see how quickly the time has flown. Patience is not for retirees – it’s more a case of holding the sands of time back. Anyway the best garden path is the slightly overgrown, winding one. Good luck with your journey – and best wishes for your Mother’s recovery

    1. Thanks Laura….I am patiently waiting for that time I can play in the sand for a while 🙂 I am loving the well worn garden path.

  8. Hi Donna,

    Oh dear, what a rough situation. I hope your mum gets better soon and you get to see her!
    I’m not sure whether I’d be happy or sad that I’m unable to retire… On the one hand I want to be a ‘lady who lunches’ but on the other I know I’d be bored within a few weeks/months.

    I hope things ease up soon, and who knows, perhaps you will begin to enjoy patience 🙂

    1. That would be new for me Liz, enjoying patience. I am hoping to have a good plan with lots to keep me busy lined up by next June. Hoping to start some of it this fall.

    1. Thank you Diana. As I wrote this, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I also realized by the end that I am comfortable with the decision.

  9. I sure hope your Mom will be feeling better soon!

    You’re right, it’s sometimes so difficult to know what path to take, but you seem confident with your decision to postpone your retirement…I always think that things happen for a reason and the future is an open book. It’s exciting to anticipate what will happen next!

    1. I agree Sheryl…I think things have happened for the best and I do feel the future is exciting…I am looking forward to what may happen.

  10. Dear Donna: You seem calm and confident and confused at the same time–totally understandable! But finding beauty in every day is the best advice anyone can give. Sometimes life isn’t clear-cut, nor segmented into “befores” and “afters” (although often that happens, too). Best of luck as you work your way through the next year of transitions!

    1. Beth you have captured my feelings perfectly….I know there will be many transitions and maybe those are the best parts of life to embrace. I still plan to write more and hope we can connect soon. Let me know what might work for you.

  11. This is such a positive post Donna, and from the way you write I am convinced that you have found the right path! Hope your Mom recovers quickly and I wish you a very happy final year at work. Although I have barely done any teaching for the last two years I still see myself as a teacher… so from what you say I think that will never change in your life too, even when finally you get to retire. All the best!

  12. Life has thrown you more than one curve ball here, but you seem to have caught it and are moving forward. I’m sorry that your Mom isn’t able to visit you, but hopefully in the fall.

    Your attitude is wonderful, and it can only make the path easier for you.


  13. It is hard to understand your situation fully without knowing why you aren’t retiring. However, I understand that there is something very personal about that decision. I am glad you are able to use your blog posts to process events that must be so difficult for you. Your thought process seems very upbeat, and I am happy that you are able to handle your disappointment that way.

    1. Thanks Carolyn. Hard to explain the why but it was not a choice. I had to postpone due to some undeliverables that were promised. Once they were gone the plan had to change and time was needed for a new plan. But I learned a lot from the experience and I think will have a better plan and be better prepared in the future.

  14. Donna, My plans were on hold for three years. Perhaps because it was not of my choosing I was devastated and sad for a longtime. I am ashamed to say I sleepwalked through most of it. I didn’t curl up in a darkened room but for the most part there was a lack of enthusiasm. If only I had read the Buddha quote. What a waste of each precious day. I will never do that again. Your thoughtful post is going into my special file under “kick in the pants”. Sincere good wishes for the future.

    1. Oh I am glad the post spoke to you…I almost went down a dark road but thank goodness there was a beautiful light that I caught out of the corner of my eye just in time. It helped me get back on the path and move forward even through my disappointment.

      In years past I would have lingered in the darkness. I am hopeful I will be able to actually retire this June but each step towards it is a wonderful journey into the unknown of what can be once it actually happens 🙂

  15. Really hope your mom is mending
    and that you’re enjoying these last sips of summer
    before you head back to school.
    Teachers are heros in my book
    and I’m thankful for the important work you do.
    peace to you, friend,

    1. Thank you Jennifer as your sweet words continue to make my vocation so much more meaningful….I will enjoy but a few of these last sips, but fall will bring I hope a few days of respite and work in my garden sanctuary.

  16. Hi Donna, I love the sunflower and the quotes. A very reflective, introspective post. Best of luck with your decision. Hope you continue to find the answers … as your plan unfolds. 🙂

    1. Thanks Loredana…the decision has slowed me down and made me continue to contemplate the future and plans in the future. It is scary and exciting at the same time.

  17. You are so positive in the face of two big disappointments that I can’t help but admire you more for it Donna. I am so sorry that your Mom took ill and couldn’t visit. I hope she can visit as you hope after she recovers. The teaching year will pass quickly by I am sure and will give you more time to think about how you do fill your days when you retire.

    1. Jennifer your wonderful words continue to buoy me. I am feeling the same way…better prepared to retire and happier for the wait!

  18. Donna , I was glad to read that you have supportive colleagues to help you through the next few months. It wont be long before you’re anticipating another type of education again.

  19. Good luck with whatever comes next. Finding the positive makes every new step, even if we’re just having to adjust to not moving forward, a little bit easier. 🙂

    1. Thank you…I think even standing still is positive and learning comes from any backward slides…this will be a most interesting school year.

  20. I hope that your mother gets stronger each day and will be able to enjoy time with you later in the year. It sounds like you are comfortable with your decisions and the meandering path that you will be going down. I think it will be flower filled for sure and will bring smiles along the way.

    1. As I read your lovely comment Karen, it brought a smile to my face thinking of that flower filled path….thank you!

  21. Donna, It’s amazing how life manages to step in and change the plans we’ve worked so hard to make. I’m so glad to hear your mom is getting better and I’m sure that the coming year at work will hold many new blessings for you that you would have missed otherwise. Hopefully in a few years you’ll look back and realize everything worked out exactly as it was supposed to.

  22. Oh, Donna, I don’t know what I would have done if I had had to postpone my retirement for a whole year! But you have such a wonderful attitude about this unexpected change that I know it will all work out for the best for you. I understand your feeling that education will always be a part of who you are–ever since I retired, I’ve been substituting just to keep involved. You never really stop being a teacher.

    I love the final quote from Buddha–I should hang this on my wall!

    1. Rose I am so glad to hear it…we are always teachers…it is forever in the blood.

      I was thinking about putting it on a pic and framing it…

  23. Donna, I sometimes think life is a game of baseball in which most of the pitches are curve balls! Even though I know this intellectually (I can remember the exact moment in my mid-30s when I figured it out), I still forget that my careful plans do not control the world and I struggle when life’s curve balls force me off the path I so carefully laid out. I think you are better at going with the flow than I am, and that is a personality gift that you should treasure.

    1. Thank you for that wonderful comment Jean. I will treasure this gift as I have been learning to cultivate it in recent years.

  24. Hi Donna,

    I have been out of pocket for awhile but was so surprised and at first saddened to hear about these “curve balls.” However, after reading your entire post, I can feel your comfort and optimism about the upcoming year. I do hope it is a year of growing for your – in unanticipated ways – and when retirement comes along it will feel perfect! Best wishes of improved health to your mom as well!

  25. Well done Donna on how you have adapted to these late changing plans. It shows a great strength and resilience which will carry you along the path. Hope your Mum regains full health soon. x

  26. I love the way you are feeling your way forward Donna, and that deep inner certainty that a decision is right for you is a precious feeling, the best measure of whether you have wandered astray somehow or not. So sorry your Mum was taken ill, hopefully her later visit will be a wonderful one, and now that you have greater clarity on when you are retiring, maybe you will also be able to enjoy her stay more too. After all, if you are “feeling ambitious and renewed” you should make excellent company!

    1. I am trying to carry those feelings to work as well, and it has helped. The end of this school year will be most welcome and a celebration of moving forward finally (I hope)!

  27. Donna, Just now catching up on your blog–have been away and see now you didn’t retire after all. Hope things settle down for you and you can take a few garden moments for yourself Donna. Sending kind thoughts to your and your mother. Susie

    1. Thank you Susie I could sure use those thoughts…I will not spend much time in the garden until late summer or fall.

  28. After your little teaser comment in the last post I am glad to read more of what is going on with the fact you are not retiring. Another quote (though I don’t know from whom this quote is taken) is “Man plans and God laughs”. I tell my daughters to let life unfold — don’t try to manage the things you have no control over. I hope it unfolds for you so your desire to retire is fulfilled. You hinted at changes on the blog as well, I will look forward to seeing what happens.
    I have been MIA for a lot of the summer, reading posts in small clusters. There are some I can glance over and some, like yours, that deserve close reading and time to respond. Hoping to be caught up soon……only about 185 more posts to read through. 😉

  29. I know what you mean and how you feel because I think I have been there, still there and will be there for the rest of my lives. Some example: I left my job because that college was a corrupt place to teach — it was inflating the grades of students who were give huge donation to the college! So, I started doing part-time jobs, giving interviews for others and thinking will they be good, should I take them, etc. But, fate took me another way and put in a job that’s my dream job and I love it best. So, I think patience is required and also there will be something best around the corner and thus never give up hope. If you didn’t get one thing, perhaps that’s better because other better things are out there waiting for you. If I took any of the jobs that I interviewed for, then I was not never going to get this dream job.

    1. I completely agree…something is waiting for me until just the right time when all will be revealed….I am so glad you landed in your dream job!!!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: