Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The day before

We are in Kenai, Alaska for the next few days. We successfully escaped from Seattle right in the middle of its frigid, trafficky storm, at 3 a.m. on an icy interstate. We waited for two hours for a delayed flight to Alaska, and once we finished our final travel leg we waited for five hours for our luggage. We're experiencing rain, temps in the 30s and seven hours of light each day.

Park City, which was original holiday destination, is in a blizzard. My friends have been snowed in for four days and the high today will be 8 degrees.

We didn't know where we would be for Thanksgiving, or whether roads would be passable. We just knew what we wanted to do. It could just as easily have turned out that we stayed home on Thanksgiving. One jackknifed truck, or one accident, or one airport closure.

We made plans, but we didn't count on them. And things have turned out okay.

I'm looking back on the five months since I left my job. I had three goals for my first year: to learn to teach English as a second language, to get mediation training, and to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity. So far, none of those things have happened. I've started on two of them, but just barely.

What I've done instead is taken six trips, written a bunch of blog entries and a couple of pieces for publication, done a lot of reading, and taken a class on the history of Seattle. Most important, I've learned to how to live with time and quiet.

My plans are good ideas, but they don't necessarily happen. And for me to live well with myself, that needs to be okay. So far, it is.

Art and I will be spending tomorrow with my sister Alyx and my cousin Georgia and their husbands Virgil and Alan. Our parents are all gone now, along with the intergenerational tensions, so we laugh and banter and eat and are grateful for family present. A "memory maker" for each person is included in the dinner menu. Not one of the ten children we have will be with us, and that will be okay.


Teresa Evangeline said...

Sounds perfect! Enjoy your day!

Georgia said...

Looking forward to turkey and stuffing (okay and family too!)

Linda Reeder said...

I've been wondering about you. It sounds like everything is working out well. Have a great Thanksgiving Day.

#1Nana said...

Have a great Thanksgiving. After two days of delayed planes we finally made it through the blizzard to Austin...and 80 degree weather!

Settings goals and making plans is a good thing, but good planners always monitor and adjust. It's like taking a trip on a scenic highway. You plan your route, but if you spot something more interesting (or George Clooney invites you to his villa in Italy) you take advantage of new opportunities. Isn't that the adventure of retirement?

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Linda it sounds like you're going to have a great Thanksgiving doing exactly what was intended for you to do on this day. I'm sure your laughter will fill a stadium by the end of the day :-)

I applaud you for setting out to do the things you mentioned after retiring (esp, HfH building, I've always wanted to do that too!) but also applaud you for recognizing that sometimes life has other plans than the ones we make. Sounds to me like you're rolling with it! Life is far too interesting to plan out all the details right?

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Arkansas Patti said...

We make plans when we have to schedule our time around work. Now is the time for spontaneity. Just enjoy.
Glad you made the trip safely even though it was harrowing in spots.
Happy Thanksgiving.

DJan said...

Well, your blog posts have been a hit to me, and discovering you this past year has also brightened my life, giving me another blessing to be thankful for! Hugs to you, enjoy the day! Happy Thanksgiving!

Sally Wessely said...

I thought of you when I first heard of the predicted storms in Utah. I thought how glad I was that you changed your plans and did not go. It sounds like you Thanksgiving has been great.

Retirement is unpredictable. I know I had plans for my time also. The fact that they have not gone the way I thought they would is ok. I think it is a learning experience to not have schedules and learn that life can be lived without them.

Happy Thanksgiving - even though it is almost over.

Murr Brewster said...

In retirement, I've found that my plans are solider when I declare them retroactively.

Deb Shucka said...

"We made plans, but we didn't count on them. And things have turned out okay." So much wisdom here, for all of us. I hope the rest of your trip is enjoyable, and not too cold.