Thursday, July 5, 2012

Beginning Year Three

I left my job two years ago last week.

In the first year I had multiple goals: to learn to teach English as a second language; to participate in a build for Habitat for Humanity; and to take a course in basic mediation. I did all those things. In the second year I clarified my values and made a list of of my priorities for each day: spirituality, health, community, curiosity, and purpose. On most days, I honored those priorities.

So far, so good. I've published a book, experienced my 15 minutes of fame as a representative of sorts for Road Scholar and Habitat for Humanity, and am well past midway to becoming a certified mediator. And we've taken 23 trips in the last 24 months.

That all sounds exhausting!

So what's on the horizon for Year Three?

Mostly I have no idea. I am still sure that my values-based priorities are valid for me. But I am aware that my body isn't getting any younger. Many activities advertised in the Seattle paper don't sound worth the effort to get in the car, brave the traffic and find a parking place. I'm thinking about logging on to the three senior centers nearby and seeing what kinds of outings they're willing to drive us to. Maybe a play downtown, where all I have to do is hand over my ticket and walk into the theater? I'm considering hiring a grandchild to weed the garden. My younger neighbor already mows our side lawn along with his own. Gads!

It could be, though, that I'm thinking and feeling this way because I'm entering Week 5 as the Minion to the Man with the New Knee. I'm doing most of the chores he usually takes care of which, of course, I've taken for granted for years. And I'm thinking that as we get older - and he is, after all, five years older than me - we'll be less and less inclined to take care of all this stuff ourselves. Or maybe less able. Or some combination of the two. A big yard with a garden is a thing of beauty and all that, but it's a lot of work. I'm not alone yet, but I may well be at some point in the future. I need to be thinking about what's next - not how many things can I cram into the time now, but how to gracefully handle the events of living when things aren't so good as they are right now. How I'd manage on my own, if it came to that. I do want to live in the moment, but keeping an eye out for the future is also a good idea.

In the meantime, I keep up with my exercise. I'm eating well. I read. Yesterday I made a reservation for a park model at a resort in Tucson for next January and February. I never ever thought we would be snowbirds, but we seem to be drifting in that direction. Sun is a good thing in the winter, I've decided.

And the sun is finally out in Washington State!







20 comments:

Bonnie said...

I can so relate! It feels like I've been preparing to get older since my 30's! I studied gerontology and this past year I made a goal to purge things so when I'm gone someone else doesn't have to mess with them. I hope you enjoy Tucson, I'm in Phoenix and the winters are wonderful; summers not so much.

Muffy's Marks said...

I hear ya' sister. There are a lot of what if's out there. I guess enjoy today, do what we can, and we'll worry about tomorrow when we need to!

Barb said...

Hey linda, where did you go to find your park model rental-was there a site, or did you just do a search.

Linda Myers said...

Barb, I called the resort - Voyager RV Resort - using the number on their webpage.

Early Retiree Tamara said...

Linda,

Just to keep things in perspective . . . we are planning to spend all of next summer in the Pacific Northwest to beat the heat here in S. California.

It surely is all relative isn't it? :-)

Retired English Teacher said...

I am amazed at all you have done. I have always been inspired by your ability to do what you set out to do. I also have thought your list of priorities was an all encompassing list for those of us who want to live to the fullest.

You have struck a cord here with me as you think about what the future holds. As you know, we too have decided that the big house and garden just might not be the way to go. Living in the moment while keeping your eye on the future is really great wisdom for any age in life.

Linda Reeder said...

You've done very well in setting and achieving goals. You are a woman of purpose and action.
We have thought about what is next when we can't manage what we have anymore, but right now we still like most of what it takes to maintain our place. I happily spent 2.5 hours working in the yard today. And while I like getting away for a bit from the winter rain, I like having four seasons. Obviously we all need to find answers that suit us as individuals.

Janette said...

I need outside space, but hate to maintain it. Looking forward to hearing what you are up to next year!

DJan said...

What Linda Reeder said. You are a woman of purpose and action, no doubt. I have been here in the PNW for four years now and have still found little problem with the rain and long nights in the winter. I think many snowbirds (they're called rainbirds in our part of the country) feel like you do, that life is too short not to be doing what makes us feel the best! And that knee IS getting better every day, isn't it? :-)

Judy and Emma said...

Well, Linda, you certainly do a lot more deep thinking that I do. Well said.

Arkansas Patti said...

Snow birding to me is the optimum state of existance. Go for it. If I could, I would travel in search of a constant 72 degrees year round. Will be following your adventures for year 3.

Sightings said...

I agree, you're a great example for the rest of us on how to set goals for things you want to accomplish, and then follow through to achieve them. And so it's on to Tucson and beyond!

Btw, cool video on Road Scholar!

Out on the prairie said...

A sun vacation sounds good for you. Tucson is fun, I went to school there.Here i would like a few rainy days of no sun, we are baking in triple digits.

Suzanne and Malcolm said...

Considering what you have been through recently with your husband's knee surgery I can understand your reflective mood.

Thanks for sharing your insights today. Suzanne

Olga said...

It seems to me that you have defined a purposeful retirement. I have settled on volunteering at our small local library, spending time with my grand children, and creating--crafts, sewing, writing. Really I can't fit a whole lot more in, but I try. My husband has not maintained a very active lifestyle. I often wonder if I should push more, or just accept. We do agree on not spending winters in Vermont.

Galen Pearl said...

23 trips in 24 months?! You have an active retirement indeed! The sun is out in Oregon, too--I'm taking the computer out to the back yard to sit and comment while watching the birds.

Grandmother said...

The place we bought here in Italy is an apartment (our version of a condo) so we can have others do the outside work, keep a small containers garden that fits on our balcony (which our neighbor waters when we're gone), and that we can close up and walk away from when we travel. It's wonderful and freeing. There are just six apartments in our building and the same number in the building next door, so we have the advantage of neighbors but not too many. We're walking distance to town where we can get anything we need and have cafes to socialize in. It's a great way to live.

rosaria williams said...

Yeah, we are having similar thoughts!

Patricia K. Lichen said...

Hey, what a lovely video! You're quite articulate in it--I find that I can come up with perfect words after the fact; looks like you came up with them just at the right time. No telling who you will inspire to get out there and make a difference!

Deb Shucka said...

We're talking seriously for the first time about hiring someone to do a major clean-up of our yard in the spring to make maintenance easier. I can so relate to what you're saying here.

I hope Art's healing is going well, and that you're able to enjoy our glorious sunshine.