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What’s cooking…

Lake view 1

It’s fall, y’all and we’re all moved into our new home (townhome) and beginning to feel quite comfortable as we settle in.

So, what should I worry about or ponder now?

I keep thinking I could work on my cooking skills now that I have lots of time on my hands, not only because I’m retired, but also because the pandemic is keeping me home.  It’s never to late to start a new hobby, right?!?

I’ve often thought it would be great to be a really GOOD cook – like, chef-grade cook.  And, maybe more to the point, a comfortable cook.  I am neither good nor comfortable when it comes to cooking.  I generally look for the easiest way out, so to speak.  I look for recipes with simple ingredients that I have on hand and that require few difficult techniques.

Mentally, (and, unfairly, of course) I blame my spouse for my lack of cooking flair.  He is a very simple eater – doesn’t like fussy dishes, is usually watching his weight and always needs to watch his salt intake because of his heart issues.  (Plus, shouldn’t we all be watching our salt intake as we age?!)  So, give him a piece of meat, a side vegie and a salad or piece of fruit and he is good to go.  I admit that does make it easy to feed him but doesn’t give any impetus for trying more complicated or interesting meals.

I’m definitely a recipe follower, and stick very precisely to the instructions.  I don’t have much confidence in randomly tossing ingredients into a pot because I think they would enhance the flavor…that’s what I mean by saying I’m not a comfortable cook.

I do love cook books and have several of them.  Perhaps I should (hate that word) pull one off the shelf like once a week or so and try something that varies from our mundane usual fare.  It’s likely I can find recipes that can be healthy as well as more exciting.

The cooking channels on TV have never interested me much, but maybe if I checked them out once in awhile they would provide me with some inspiration and light a fire under me.

I do like perusing recipes in magazines.  Here’s the latest one I found in a magazine on my friend’s coffee table recently.  Seems easy, with ingredients I recognize, plus would be very tasty I think…a perfect Fall type dish.

I’m going to give this a try.

Squash/Apple Bake
Squash/Apple Bake

Any words of encouragement or wisdom you could provide for me on my endeavor to become a better cook would be appreciated.  Feel free to drop your comments below.


Hunkering down…

First puzzle complete – 1000 pieces.

Day whatever – I don’t even know anymore – of sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’ve spent hours working on jigsaw puzzles – I’m on my second 1000 piece puzzle.  I’m working my way through a stack of library books.  I’m attending church services, including special Lenten services, virtually.  I’m going on daily outdoor walks (weather permitting).

I want to be informed about this quickly, and apparently easily, spreading virus; but after watching news shows and special reports endlessly, I find I need a break.  The stories about those affected with the virus and those healthcare workers on the front lines fighting this disease, make me cry.  I would rather hear the positive, heart-warming stories that are out there, but not as readily reported.

I admit I’m spending too much time on social media sites.  However, that being said, I do think Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – my pastimes of choice – provide me with news, entertainment and most importantly connection with family and friends.  These platforms provide me opportunities to stay in touch with those people important to me.  And, it’s easy to scroll past any negative posts I don’t want to read.  I have connected with others through email, texting and Facetime also.

My current favorite technology tool is Zoom.  Through that app meant for facilitating virtual meetings with several participants, I have gathered with my book club for our regular monthly meeting, got together with family for a happy hour and this week, my book group from church will Zoom in to discuss our current book.

Can you imagine what being isolated would have been like in the “olden days” without the technology we have today?  When I was a young person we would have been communicating with snail mail or land line telephones.  Thankfully, today’s technology allows us to see faces and hear voices.  You younger folks taking all of this for granted don’t know how lucky you are!

My biggest challenge now is finding the motivation to stay productive.  Yes, I am retired so in theory, should always have lots of time on my hands.  But, under normal circumstances, I tend to stay pretty busy and out of the house quite a bit.  Now, when I can’t leave home, I really do have time on my hands.  It’s so easy to put off tasks thinking I’ll have more time to complete them tomorrow.  Instead, I think I should (hate that word) be taking care of spring house cleaning, cleaning out drawers and closets, and other necessary chores I never find time to do.  It’s just too easy to procrastinate.

Not knowing how long this pandemic will go on and how long we will need to shelter in place, makes it difficult to plan for the near future.  We would like to put our house on the market in June in anticipation of moving into a town house in August.  Now, I wonder how feasible those plans are.  Should I continue to work on cleaning out the basement and garage, or forget about it for now??? I feel sorry for all those folks trying to plan for graduations, weddings, confirmation celebrations, etc.

Enough ranting and worrying for today.  As I write this, the sun in shining brightly in the Twin Cities.  Time to get outside for some fresh air.

I hope all of you are hunkering down and finding satisfying activities to keep you busy and healthy.  Drop a comment below and let me know how you’re staying sane.


We’re moving…

Well, not moving till next summer, but it is on my mind pretty much all the time.  As I go about my daily tasks/living in my current house I ponder which items we own now will make the move and which are or will be no longer useful.

We will be moving from a single family, 3-bedroom rambler type home to a townhouse.  On the surface, that sounds like we are downsizing.  However, in this case, I think we will actually be gaining living space.  BUT, we lose a basement!

Do you know how much stuff you can accumulate in a basement over 22 years?

Only minute part of 52 years worth of junk!
Only minute part of 52 years worth of junk!

 And, you know what – actually, it’s more like 52 years accumulation.  Though we’ve been in our current house for 22 years, I know for a fact, some of the items have been moved to three different homes.

It’s been so easy over the years to “just put it in the basement” when an item is no longer needed or wanted in our living space.  How much easier it would be now as we cull through our belongings if we would have actually gotten rid of stuff along the way instead of being too lazy to deal with it or hanging onto it “just in case” we or our kids or our grand kids ever would need it.

I’m grateful that we have several months to work on discarding things.  Here’s the process we will use as we determine what we will actually move next summer.  For each item we will ask ourselves - Is this something:

  • we still use/need
  • we still love
  • we still think of as having sentimental value (heirlooms, perhaps)

If the answer is no, then the item can be:

  • donated, if it would be usable to someone or,
  • sold, if it isn’t usable to us but might be to someone, AND IF, we have the energy (or the technology know how) to find a buyer through the internet (Craig’s List, Facebook Marketplace, neighborhood website, etc.), or, heaven forbid, a garage sale which sounds like way too much work!
  • recycled, if it isn’t usable but is recyclable material
  •  tossed in the garbage, if it has no value – I anticipate a dumpster being in our driveway for awhile next summer.

I have already started this process.  The hardest items to deal with are those that have been gifted to us.  I feel guilty getting rid of those things – like I’m not grateful for the gift.

It also is overwhelming to deal with some of the sentimental keepsakes.  They have meaning to no one else so will just become trash after we’re gone.  Examples:  cheerleading letters earned in high school, charms on a charm bracelet that were significant to high school and young adult life, scrapbooks full of newspaper clippings, cards, ticket stubs, etc. from teen years.  keepsakes  How do we toss the stuff that we felt was significant enough to save?

Uffda, this is hard work! 

I’d like to be on the other side and already living in our new space.  I know we’ll get there, but I could use any suggestions anyone has on how to prepare for the move.  Feel free to offer advice in the comments section below.

Lectio Divina – my new approach to the Bible…

sceneI will qualify this post by saying I am a Christian, but I’m not a Biblical scholar.  I can’t quote scripture – especially if it means citing the chapter and verse; and, if I need to refer to any book in the Bible beyond the first five chapters of either the Old or New Testament, I need to refer to the table of contents to even find my way.

I’ve never really had any interest in the Bible.  I remember stories learned in the Sunday School days of my youth, but don’t always remember how they fit into the scheme of things or relate to Biblical characters.  It has always seemed to me the Book is just a whole lot of history and I admit I’ve never been a history enthusiast.

But, I want to tell you about a new approach to Bible reading I’ve recently discovered.

I participate in a Thursday morning book group at my church; and, yes, we often include citing pertinent Bible verses when discussing our books, but we are not a Bible study group in the true sense of the word.  We generally read books about spirituality – spiritual journeys, spiritual transformation and the like; and, I find those topics very interesting.

I especially enjoyed the book we just finished in the spring – Sacred Rhythms – Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation  by Ruth Haley Barton.  book  Obviously, as the title implies, this book is about spiritual transformation.  Included in the book is a chapter about using the Bible to enhance one’s spiritual journey.  In fact, the chapter is entitled Scripture: Encountering God Through Lectio Divina.

Now, after all the explanation above, I want to tell you about Lectio Divina in case you don’t already know of it.

I love this way of getting into the Bible, so to speak.

Just briefly, Lectio Divina – translated as sacred reading – is defined as a scripture reading approach that helps us listen for a message that we can respond to in the present moment.  In my case, I understand this as God’s word speaking to me personally.

Here’s a very simple description of how Lectio Divina works –

  • Settle down and be quiet for a few minutes – calm yourself from your busy life.
  • Pick a passage of scripture about 6-8 verses in length.  (Sometimes I just open the Bible and put my finger on the page and see where it lands.)
  • Read your chosen passage four times – each time with a different question on your mind.
    • Read the passage and “listen” for the one word or phrase that stands out from all the rest.  (If it’s not immediately clear, read the passage a second time.)
    • Read the passage again and reflect on how you are touched by this word.  What is going on in your life that you needed to hear that word today?
    • The third time you read the passage, respond to the invitation or challenge the word has invoked…for example, dealing with pain, frustration, anger, love, gratitude, a call to do something new.  What feelings has the text aroused?
    • Lastly, read the passage one more time and contemplate how your higher power – God, Spirit, Universe – will help you respond to whatever the “word” is calling you to do.

As I am trying to make Sunday a day of rest as it was originally meant to be in my Christian faith, it seems fitting to practice Lectio Divina on that day – to find my word for the week.  I find a passage, pick my word and then try to think of it daily throughout the coming week as inspiration, comfort, or whatever emotion/action it sparks in me.  I eagerly look forward to Sunday when I’ll discover my new word.  (This week my word is Salvation.)

I didn’t Google this topic prior to writing this, but I bet if you did you would find a more detailed description of this method of reading scripture.  I likely haven’t done it justice.  I just know for me, it provides a meaningful aide to Bible reading.  The Book is no longer just a history of my religion, but in it, I can find useful applications for dealing with my every day life.

I’d be curious if any of you have used this method of scripture reading;  or use any other interesting approach to using the Bible for that matter.  Feel free to leave your comments below.



Did you intend to do that…


As I leafed through some miscellaneous papers the other day, I found a piece of scratch paper with the word, intentionality, written on it.  I often jot down words, phrases, or complete sentences that I come across that will remind me of a topic I think might make a good blog post.  That doesn’t mean I necessarily know much about whatever the concept/idea is, but it intrigues me enough to explore it further and perhaps share what I discover with whomever may be reading my blog.

So, today, class, we will explore the meaning of intentionality, and how that might work into our lives.  If you care to join me, keep reading.

Intentionality means living life on purpose (at least, that’s the meaning I am exploring today).  Being intentional allows us to take control of our life.  We determine how we want to spend our time and our money; how we want to use our energy…making our life what we want it to be!  If we aren’t intentional, our lives will be controlled by life events or other people.  Life goes on, as they say, whether we are taking charge of it or not.

So, we might as well take charge!

Being intentional about our actions gets us off auto-pilot – doing the same things, the same way, day after day.  Now, I think there is a fine line regarding the benefits of being on auto-pilot as opposed to being off auto-pilot.  If you’re still dealing with a career and/or perhaps raising children, auto-pilot can be a lifesaver that helps you get through your day.  In those circumstances, routine can be comfortable and be necessary for efficiency.

As a retired person with more idle time, auto-pilot can result in boredom, missing out on new opportunities, and in general, watching life pass by too quickly.  I briefly touched on a similar topic in my February 14, 2017 post about letting time slip away.

Some aspects of life that we can try to be more intentional about controlling:

  • Health – utilizing exercise, diet
  • Social – maintaining/cultivating personal relationships with family & friends
  • Financial – managing our monetary resources
  • Spiritual – exploring our personal beliefs about our life’s purpose (why are we on this earth?)

Some actions we can take to begin being more intentional:

  • Try a new exercise plan, add a variety of exercises; try some new healthy recipes; eat something different for breakfast (oh, but I really like my oatmeal!)
  • Contact a new friend or acquaintance; call, text or email family members; be quick to offer encouragement or kudos to anyone you feel is deserving. It’s so easy to think something nice about someone and yet to never express it to that person.
  • Keep track of where money is being spent; develop a budget if one doesn’t already exist
  • Read, read, read – maybe a non-fiction book, or a new genre not tried before; join a book club or discussion group and learn from others’ perceptions and knowledge; try a new hobby or activity; do things in a new order
  • And, maybe most importantly – getting comfortable with saying no to activities that don’t match with personal values, are time-wasters, or are harmful to our physical or mental well-being.

A word of caution:  changing too much too quickly can create chaos.  Go slowly, one step or change at a time.

A final thought –

Knowing our purpose avoids taking attention away from the things that really matter in our lives…family, friends, passions. 

Act with intentionality.


Social Media behavior…

tabletIn the last couple of weeks I’ve had more than one discussion with friends regarding social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. –  these  friends indicating disdain for how most posts depict unrealistic PERFECTION – loving relationships, fantastic vacations, well-behaved and beautiful children…in general, wonderful, healthy lives.

I’ve been pondering these conversations and here’s what I think.

Reading about everyone else’s success and taking it to heart can be depressing and frustrating if your life status doesn’t match up.  I, too, at times may find my life is lacking the pizazz I read about others having – their positive and perfect lives!

BUT, I think it would be even more depressing to read posts only showing how crummy life can be.

Imagine this – how happy would you feel after seeing posts about how someone just lost their job; someone’s child is dying of cancer; someone’s cousin’s husband relapsed for the 4th time; someone’s neighbor’s dog just bit their mother-in-law; someone’s dad hasn’t spoken to them in 3 years; and so-on???   (I suppose these types of down-on-luck posts could buoy you up as you consider your own problems which seem minor in comparison.)

Personally, I’d rather read the good stuff – embellished as it may be or not.  I’d like to think we’re all astute enough to discern when someone is going overboard with posts about their glamorous life.  We’re smart enough to know no one is immune from trials and tribulations.

I am a regular Facebook and Instagram reader – I read them daily, in fact.  I mostly appreciate how I can keep up with the lives of family and friends that I don’t see often.  I love seeing pictures of children and grandchildren, and being able to watch them grow.  I enjoy others’ vacation pictures – imagining how nice it would be to see the places to which others travel that I might not.  I don’t follow many celebrities, and I know many use social media to “sell” their own fame, movies, music, etc.; but, I am intrigued to see their posts…not unlike reading People magazine in the dentist’s office for the latest pop culture gossip.

I’m rarely offended or left feeling inferior reading the good stuff because I appreciate most things in my life and don’t want to begrudge anyone telling about the positive aspects of their life.  I’m happy for them.  I occasionally make those very types of posts myself, and don’t do it to show up others –  rather, just show what I am grateful for.

Here is how I approach dealing with social media.  The points seem very logical to me, but perhaps if you’re lamenting about how posts are so faux, you can adopt some of my strategies.

  • I keep in mind that everyone has problems and nobody’s life is perfect – whether or not they tell every sordid detail of their life on Facebook or Instagram.
  • I have the ability to scroll right past anything that bothers me, without reading it.  (I actually do this regularly with posts that have anything to do with politics!)
  • If somebody’s posts really get under my skin or annoy me, I hide the person or unfriend them.
  • Sometimes I take a break and just don’t turn on my tablet or phone and therefore, am not exposed to outside influences in that way. (Who am I kidding – I am addicted and can’t imagine not checking in regularly!)

As for me, I will strive to make my posts about my life realistic and hopefully, uplifting.  I don’t intend to complain about life’s unpleasant happenings for the most part.  Everyone has their crosses to bear – don’t need to hear about mine unless exposing my issues in a humorous way can make readers smile or feel like they are not alone in dealing with everyday life.

And, meanwhile, I’ll continue to read Facebook and look at the photos on Instagram – enjoying them for what they are and not letting them bother me.  If you use social media, I hope you can do the same.


Daring to be uncool…

Spring is will be springing out this week - YAY!
Spring will be springing out this week – YAY!

When my youngest grandson was in pre-school, he wore his pajamas just about everywhere.  One morning he was in my care and I was responsible for getting him to school.  It came time for getting out the door and on our way, and Max absolutely would not get out of his pjs and into his school clothes.  Thinking I couldn’t allow him to go to school dressed like that, I did everything I could think of to cajole him into putting on appropriate clothes…that is, what I deemed appropriate.  I even tried to shame him – “the other kids will laugh at you if you go to school in your pajamas.”

I honestly don’t remember if he won the battle, or I did – we’re talking several years ago now.  Today, when I think of this episode, I am filled with regret.  Yes, he was only a young child so may not have been consciously trying to be “uncool”, but in fact, that’s exactly what was happening.  Max was perfectly comfortable doing his own thing.  I was the only one in the room worried about him dressing out of the ordinary and drawing attention to himself.

Isn't he adorable!
Isn’t he adorable!

I’m not sure I ever was a free-spirit like Max, even as a youngster.  As an adult, I have never wanted to stick out in a crowd as being different or to bring attention to myself.  I fear being thought of as foolish, silly, or awkward.  But, I am beginning to realize I sometimes stifle my self-expression or creativity by being self-conscious.

The problem in the Max story was mine, not his.  I tried to project my self-consciousness onto him.  He had the right idea – whether conscious or not – I did not!  Wearing his pajamas to school bothered no one. 

Get a grip, Grammy, and let the kid express himself!

Fortunately, Max a has a wise mom who knows when to let him do his thing.  I believe Max even wore his pjs in a Christmas program back then – and, no one in the audience cared, made fun of him, or likely even noticed! (Except Grammy, of course.)

Laughing, singing, dancing, wearing clothing that may not be in vogue are all good for the soul…they allow the “doer” to be authentic.  All are activities I don’t always feel comfortable doing in public.  I’m going to work on changing my hang-up about being “uncool” – work on lightening up.

My spouse is a great example of someone who can let his hair down, so to speak.  He thinks nothing of bursting into song while walking from the parking lot into Target; or playing the car radio loud enough for all around to hear.  Both of those activities embarrass me for him – you don’t catch me doing either of them.

My effort to change my self-consciousness and act authentically once in awhile will have to be deliberate.  It won’t come easily for me; but, I’m thinking I may find letting go very freeing.  It’s a lot of work to stay in control and act “cool” all the time!  Wish me luck.


Throwing a hissy fit…

This morning I threw a COLOSSAL hissy fit.  The trigger site was my laundry area in our unfinished basement.  I pulled bed sheets out of the dryer, turned around and put them on the ironing board so as to reload the dryer from the washer.  When I then pulled the sheets off the ironing board to carry them upstairs to my bedroom, I also knocked the iron off the board and watched in horror as it clattered to the cement floor.  They must make irons durable enough to handle such a jolt as the only thing that I could see happened to it was the dial for choosing the heat level came off.  I was able to easily replace it – no harm done.  (I have not yet plugged the iron in to see if it still works, however.)


BUT, in the seconds during and after this mishap, I erupted in a tantrum.  How could I be so clumsy and careless??  Fortunately, I was home alone so no one heard my expletives or my cry, “I hate my OLD self (that’s old age, not former self).  I hate the way I look.  I hate the way I feel.  I hate the way I act.”


Wow, what’s left to like??  And, how do any of these feelings relate to dropping an iron?  I stormed up the steps and began to cool down – realizing how pathetic my outburst was (not that at that moment it wasn’t exactly how I felt.)  I knew that I had to calm down.

Obviously, I was in a funk today that was just ignited by the iron incident.  I needed an attitude adjustment.

Interestingly enough, just yesterday during a discussion with RC about an acquaintance who is struggling, I uttered the suggestion that this person should just “pull himself up by his bootstraps!”

Just what I needed to do this morning; yet, realistically, I do know that is not always easy to accomplish.

After calming down and reflecting on the outburst.  I thought about how easy it must be for older adults like myself, to turn to alcohol or other mood enhancing drugs to help them cope.  When I googled alcoholism amongst retired people, a whole slew of articles popped up.  So, apparently, this is indeed a problem in my age group.

Before I go any further, I will assure you I’m not considering drinking any more in a day than the glass of wine (ok, sometimes, two glasses) I enjoy fairly frequently as I watch the evening news or prepare dinner.  But, I can see how persons feeling inadequate or depressed or just generally down on themselves might turn to drinking thinking it could be a solution to masking negative thoughts they may have.

As I read some of the articles Google referenced, I gleaned the following reasons older/retired folks might turn to drinking –

  • to counteract feelings about the elimination of work structure
    • loss of status
    • loss of employment based social support
    • loss of life purpose
  • to cheer oneself up
  • to combat loneliness
  • to counter boredom
  • to fill newfound leisure time
  • to assuage grief – loss of spouse, friends
  • to overcome negative thoughts about the loss of youth – MY BIG GRIPE!

Of course, the articles I read also noted why excessive drinking was not a good solution for elderly folks –

  • interference with meds
  • potential for causing liver disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, some forms of cancer
  • propensity for accidents – falls, etc.
  • increased sensitivity to the effects of alcohol due to problems metabolizing it

Logically, there should be ways to overcome all the issues that may cause an older person to turn to drinking.  In some cases, however, I realize this is easier said than done.

In my case, I will overcome my hate for the loss of my youthful self (see 2nd paragraph above) by –

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, continually reminding myself of all I have to be grateful for
  • looking for meaningful ways to stay busy with fun outings/activities, volunteer opportunities, get-togethers with friends
  • engaging in hobbies like reading, crossword puzzles, gardening
  • and, how about hanging out with young people – grandkids for instance?!

I hope you realize I use this blog space to lecture myself and give myself a kick in the pants.  If it provides you with any inspiration, that’s a plus for me.

P.S. I am embarrassed to share my outburst about the iron mishap.  It was totally ridiculous!


Time slips away…

Beautiful Sapodilla Bay, Turks & Caicos
Beautiful Sapodilla Bay, Turks & Caicos

I can now check off the one and only item on my bucket list…a family vacation – daughter, son, their spouses, our grandchildren, RC and I all enjoying time together at a destination free from everyday-life interruptions and responsibilities.  I always imagined it would be in a warm, sunny spot, and I am so grateful it indeed, turned out to be that way.

Last August RC and I celebrated 50 years of marriage.  Our children and their spouses gifted us with a wonderful family trip to the Turks and Caicos islands.  Since August in Minnesota provides us with reasonable weather – warm, sunny – and January/February often does not – cold, snowy, icy – we planned for the trip to this tropical location to happen in January.  A perfect escape from winter!

I had five plus months to dream about this upcoming vacation.  I knew the planning/anticipating time would go  by very quickly; and, I also knew the vacation time would be over in a flash.  I was so spot on!

Now, here I sit a week and a half after returning from this fabulous trip – stunned that it is all over and done.  A pleasant memory.  Instead of watching the sun set into the ocean, I watch if from my living room easy chair, as it sets down through the barren trees and behind my neighbor’s house.  Life is back to being routine.  Not a bad thing, but I find myself grieving for a great week that passed by so quickly.

I’ve always heard that the older you get, the faster time flies by.  It certainly does seem that way to me.  I read something the other day that provided a good explanation for why this seems to happen.  In essence, by the time we are in our last half of life (maybe even before) our lives are mostly filled with routine and predictable happenings.  Because they are so routine, we can’t even remember what we had for dinner last Sunday!  The blogger (sorry, I don’t remember what blog I was reading) suggested the way to overcome time flying by was to make sure we are enjoying new experiences – learning something new, seeing something new, participating in a new group, eating new foods, trying new exercise – you get the idea.  He or she said the newness of whatever the activity may be would make the experience stand out (shaking up our routine) and help us to remember it and in turn, make it seem like time wasn’t passing us by.

Vacationing in Turks and Caicos was definitely a new experience for me and I will always have wonderful memories of this trip; and though it passed by way too quickly, maybe the point is if we string together enough new experiences we will be jostled out of our routines  and our lives will seem to move at a more leisurely pace, or at least will be more fulfilling.

A friend recently commented that at his age (same as me), he thinks to himself at the end of the day – ” another day gone by that I won’t get back; another day closer to the end!”  I often find myself thinking that same thought, only I think of it in seconds and minutes passing that I will never get back.

Those are morbid thoughts – rather, I intend to begin thinking of how I might find new activities I can enjoy to shake up my routine.  I’d like to think I have a good 15-20 more years of life ahead of me.  Beginning now, I am going to do my best to make the most of those years, creating pleasant memories and SLOWING TIME DOWN!


Retirement, now what do I do…

Fall Tapestry

This is a mildly ridiculous topic for me to be writing about at this point since I have been retired for nearly two years.  However, I think I am still in a period of adjustment as I find myself wondering what I am supposed to be doing with the rest of my life!

I will say, I love my mornings now – without having to get up terribly early, I can take time to do some meditating, reading and writing before I even have breakfast.  My reading at this time of the day consists of what I guess you would call self-help type books.  Material that hopefully inspires me to be a better person, be better at something, make the world a better place, take better care of myself, etc., etc.  (Notice my quest for better!)

Currently, I am reading a Julia Cameron book, Walking in This World – The Practical Art of Creativitybook  Cameron’s main goal in her book is to help people realize their human potential…it is a course in creative discovery.  I am finding this book thought provoking, and I especially appreciate the exercises she suggests at the end of each chapter.

Since I have been pondering how I am to spend my days now that I don’t have to work a 9 to 5 job, the section entitled Art is Therapeutic, Not Therapy which I read yesterday, seemed to be written just for me.  The theory Ms. Cameron outlines here is that one could work with a therapist to find answers/solutions/understanding to a problem, but “art” as she calls it is much more active (as opposed to reactive).  Therapy helps us adjust to the world; “art adjusts the world itself.”  Or, rather than therapy showing us how to accept our feelings, “art teaches us to express how we feel and alchemize it.”  Just for a clearer understanding, (for me, if no one else) since the book is about being creative, I think the word, creativity, can be substituted for the word, art, here.

The exercise proposed at the end of this section was to take a stack of magazines with pictures and cut out ones that seem to deal with an issue upon which you are ruminating…a situation you would like to understand more fully.  In my case, what do I do now that I am retired?  Then, make a collage of the pictures and write about what you learned from this process. Cameron indicates the discovery can be telling and may be surprising…”a holistic sense of healing may emerge.”

So, this morning, I took my stack of magazines and paged through them looking for pictures that depicted scenes I could relate to.  I found pics of girlfriends laughing and sharing conversation, pics of grandparents spending time with their grandkids, pics of people enjoying solitude and nature, pics of people working in their garden, pics of people engaged in exercise.

Surprise!  These are all things I am doing.

Maybe I know what I am supposed to be doing in retirement, after all – enjoying my life!  So, I need to stop fretting about it.

Maybe you’re not retired, and/or you’re not wondering what to do with your life; but, perhaps you are facing a situation you would like to understand more fully.  I’d encourage you to give this little exercise a try.  Like me, maybe you will be affirmed that you are on the correct path; or, maybe you will discover a new way of approaching something in your life.

I feel like I have just delivered a book report here – and, probably not a very good one in terms of letting you know about the book I’m reading.  If you’re interested, I would suggest you get the book yourself.  It is available in the library.  My objective was to tell you about one of the exercises suggested in the book and how affirming the results were for me, hoping if you were so inclined to try it you may also find positive results.

I always love to have feedback so feel free to let me know what you think of this exercise.  You can leave comments in the section below.