Sunday, June 22, 2014

These are the good old days

My neighbor, Jennie, is a homeschooling mom with a husband and three children ages 10, 6 and 6 months. Her life is quite busy and sometimes when we meet to chat I've been known to say, "These are the good old days." It's my reminder to her that the life she and her family are making is good.

My life these days is good, too. This is what I got to experience this week:

On Monday, I took a Washington State Ferry to Whidbey Island to do a workplace mediation. We held it at a meditation center because there was no appropriate room at the workplace. The center was a shoeless house (I hadn't brought any socks) and we ended up mediating in a room with Eastern spiritual posters and a shrine, rather than in a simple unadorned room. I do this mediation work as a volunteer; I'm grateful to be retired to have the time to do it. As I took the ferry home in mid-afternoon, I was, as usual, grateful for my life. 

Monday evening I went to the Board meeting at my church. There's a group thinking about creating a "tiny house" community for the homeless in our community. I want to be part of that effort. It's something I can do for the eight months I'm home and perhaps work remotely from Tucson in the winter. I think back to the work I did with Habitat for Humanity and I'm thinking it kind of led me to this local effort.

On Tuesday I was invited to a staff meeting at the massage clinic my business partner runs. I attend those only once in a while. The morale was good; lots of positive energy and laughter, and most of the meeting was conducted by our employees. It hasn't always been like that, so I was glad to see it happening and to be a part of it. Afterwards I met my friend Vicki for coffee. She and her husband spend the winter on a boat in Mexico, and they've just gotten back for the summer. She and I worked together for five years, but these days we scarcely mention the place. We talk about everything else!

On Thursday I spent the day at a workshop on workplace mediations - after doing several of them already without the specialized training.  And on Friday I spent another day at a workshop on how to help divorcing couples divide up their assets. I remembered, again, that it's not always about the money. It's about the value the people place on what they have. It's our job to help them discern what's important to them as they separate.  I love this stuff! It's especially cool that I can take my mediation skills everywhere with me.

And this weekend! Sunny and warm in the Seattle area. Our strawberries are ripe. The spinach and lettuce are growing faster than we can eat it. The blueberries and the peas will be ripe by next week. The corn will be taller than knee high by the fourth of July. I sit in my Adirondack chair in the garden and I feel fabulous - even though my back complains when I stand up. I heard recently that for people over 60, once they stand up, it takes three steps for them to get their body parts working together. That's true for me, for sure!

The best part of these "good old days" is the experience I'm having with my sister Alyx. She is seven years younger than me, and we were never close until after our mother died in 2008. She and her husband moved here from Alaska to take new jobs; they will be living in our back yard for three to six months in their motorhome. They've been here for five weeks and there has been no drama and no stress. Alyx and I sit on the deck and talk while we watch their four indoor cats experience the outdoors for the first time. We are comfortable with each other. We've been talking on the phone for several years - mostly in times of stress for one or both of us - but this time together is the ordinary kind. Tonight Alyx cooked and the four of us ate outdoors and then sat and talked for nearly an hour after dinner. It's an enriching time. 

Art and I have three trips coming up: a family gathering in Idaho over the July 4 weekend, a schooner cruise in Maine in September, and two weeks in Hawaii in November. And then we leave for our winter place in Tucson.  

Today, one day past the summer solstice, the light is long. I went for my two-mile walk this evening and got home at 9:30. It was still light out, with a pink sky, and a newborn foal nursing its mother on a neighbor's acre. 

We've had "good old days" times before, when the eight kids in our blended family were growing up. But this time now, when we're retired and able to choose how to spend each day, is a bonus.

These are the good old days, too.


DJan said...

Your "good old days" sound really lovely, Linda. I think you have found the rhythm and pace that is perfect for your retirement, if you can call it that. You are still a very busy person, albeit doing what you like for yourself rather than doing it to make a living. :-)

Arkansas Patti said...

Ah, your pace always amazes me. Good that you are doing what you want to and enjoy it all.
You are right. Now days I think of my 60's as being the good old days but truly, when I hit 80, these 70's will be the good old days. All a matter of reference.

Olga said...

This is a good reminder that we can't look back on 'good old days' if we don't live in appreciate all the present moments.

#1Nana said...

I relate to the three steps after standing up rule! Every time I stand up I try not to groan LOL! So glad that all is going well with you and Alyx.

Linda Reeder said...

This is a lovely post, Linda. You do so much for others,and it is so gratifying for you too.
Like you, Tom and I are truly loving our "old" days.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear about your housing plan for the homeless. Fresno has a nonprofit organization, affiliated with the Catholic church, that has put these small buildings on their property. A company in town that builds storage sheds provided the buildings. The organization also renovated an old house near their property for single homeless women to sleep in at night. Finding a safe place to rest is the hardest part of being homeless.

Eileen said...

You are inspiring! I retire in three days and sometimes wonder what will I do with all that time! Then there are times when I go through my wish list and wonder how I will ever squeeze it all in. I like the idea of finding my rhythm - a good place to start. Love the idea of small homes for the homeless - innovative! and would truly make a difference to those in need of a roof over their heads!

Grandmother Mary said...

I like your reminder that these are the best (and only) days we have. As for the homeless- it seems remarkable that the need they have (for a home) is the thing denied to the homeless which then drives up a community's expenditures on medical care and legal/penal services for the homeless. It costs less to just provide a home! Look up what Salt Lake City have done to provide housing for their homeless and the money they saved in the process. To say nothing about the humanitarian aspects...

Perpetua said...

A lovely post about what is obviously a full and satisfying life, Linda. I too think the small homes for the homeless project sounds wonderfully worth being involved in. Enjoy all your delicious garden crops!