My (Very Loose) Plan for Becoming an Old Woman

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A mosey about the neighborhood with the real me; cannot keep me from daily power walking! (No, not my medium-sized mansion in background)

I was struck today by this thought: I may at times, with a sideways glance, look for a way around the inevitability of aging.

This lit up my thinking recently after trying to find a decent and authentic photo for my Facebook account. They tended to look a bit pasty, and as if some stealthy tilling was done along jaw, neck and eyes and then hadn’t tidied up well afterward. I gave up and used the one that is above. It’s authentic–I adore being outdoors! Plus I like seasonal photos. And it’s casual, my basic style these days. And not posed, really, a simple smile. I have a couple that I call my “semi-glamour shots” and they are kind of stagy/cheesy, as if I am expecting to appear on the jacket of a bestselling book shortly. I even took one of me at the computer. Well, that’s where I am much of each day, working on writing. (Pros must photograph those lovely other authors.)

But this was only the first of the triggers for my current ruminations about having once been younger (for quite a good amount of time) and getting older (I am so pleased I made it). And finally, what comes next (hold on awhile as I cram a lot more into my living). But I will get to the other reasons this matter visited me. (It’s not another essay on health issues.)

I realize this thought–that I may be avoiding the reality of aging–is not shocking in youth-centric societies. At least, US culture daily accosts us with a barrage of messages stating that appearing or even acting over the age of 30 or so (i.e., an adult)–or is it now 21?–is undesirable. Perhaps one day to seem more akin to a crime. This brings to mind the seventies film, “Soylent Green”, that disturbing sci fi story that determines various people quite expendable, primarily the aging. Charlton Heston did a bang-up job as our film hero in that year of 2022 (five years away…), a time when overpopulation, environmental crises, and food shortages are deemed of paramount importance. Sound familiar? I read there may be a new version coming out for our pessimistic pleasure.

We are, one has to agree, exhorted to be young– please fake the appearance. Until one’s dying breath, if possible. Our looks, habits, clothing, interests. People remain socially more visible until we start to age discernibly, so the goal is to fool the human eye. (Though I heard someone remark that by late thirties she felt already less visible, was called “Ma’m” as if verging on matronly so required the kid gloves of customer service reserved for older adults). But I am not needing or seeking public scrutiny so this is a relief in the end. I have shone and tarnished, have often rejuvenated and been laissez faire. It’s important how I feel about my life, not the best shot. Yet this culture insists that, as a woman, I am not expected to allow myself to age gradually, naturally and without rancor. It is admittedly a pressure I half-yield to some days. And then I consider that men have so few demands in this regard. I’m for a more level playing field. We are persons first and last, are we not? My husband isn’t forever young, either, and it doesn’t concern him much, if at all.

If it was only young people who were making these rules I might have more conversations with them about it all. I do recall once vividly thinking that “over thirty” was the end and there were moments I did not expect or desire to pass that line. Little did I know that this was the actual start of vaster and better beginnings. But I might ask today’s kids why age seems such a clear marker of human acceptability as well as desirability–and what do their ages actually mean to them in reality, and also to me? How does this impact our respective perceptions, except to bring into focus that we all are at blurred crossroads of one sort or another? But it’s not just young folks, it’s all of us. And it’s such big business, the attempt to stall one’s aging. Companies scheme and undoubtedly shout hurrah as they make their products a little more affordable to a greater population. I personally shop for bargains in face moisturizer but if Lancome (not even close to the most expensive brands) gets cheaper…well, there you go. If only we spent as much time on our insides as we do our outsides. Hopefully, we do, a vast amount more.

Growing up with parents who were older than almost anyone else’s when I was born was not a big deal.  I rarely gave their age a thought. They were busy, ambitious, thoughtful persons until they died at 83 (Dad) and 93 (Mom). I did feel there was a more “ageless” atmosphere at home than in many of my friends. It might have been also due to being last to get born; my oldest sister was thirteen at the time. The age span was fine; it was what I knew.

My parents entertained and my father taught private string lessons after his day job and Mom did alterations on the side so all ages came and went. I was as at ease with older people as I was with younger, perhaps more so. I early learned how to be conversational and courteous as I served coffee and cookies at bridge parties. But I also was included in discussions around a dinner table with astute grown-ups, many of whom were scientists, musicians and educators. Later, I could identify as well with them as with my funky or firebrand friends. It seemed a good thing. Adult interchanges were interesting, whether or not I agreed with or fully comprehended topics. I could ask probing questions; I could offer opinions and be counted.

That inter-generational style of living was repeated, though, in many friends’ homes, as well. We were not as segregated as we are now. Family dinners with as many as possible were common. The truly old were respected, beloved, looked after. They were not left to their own devices or shunted off willy-nilly. Who could afford fancy nursing homes? Who even sought them? They weren’t another part of the big business of aging yet. People took care of their own.

My parents seemed and appeared fine to me in their fifties when I became a teen and far beyond. Their hair was always grayer, then white by the time I hit 21–but there is an early grey-to-whiter hair gene. One niece had long, lovely and mostly white hair by late thirties or so. Others got a characteristic white streak in their twenties. That gene skipped me, the only one to yet have some auburn brown hair striated with silver. Siblings razz me about it. (And by the way, have others noticed young women are lately stripping their hair of natural pigment, then coloring it white-to-silver?–What is that about? A practice run? We older gals should be flattered to be so imitated.)

The parents we had did not grouse about aging. They did not tell me to beware the gnarly ills that awaited me. They were not complainers, true, but they also were lively spirits. I recall my dad sailing a small craft for the first time again in decades when in his sixties. He played tennis with me in his fifties. He took up photography when I was a teen, engaged and bored us with his indexed slide shows of travels they–and we–loved to take whether across the ocean or around the bend. They made music, designed attire, invented games, volunteered at church and elsewhere, went pop-up-camper-style camping until early seventies. I got breathless trying to keep up even though I ran close to the same pace. Their health was problematic at times. Heart disease is the family affair, but that didn’t slow them for long. And they remained lucid as they aged, luckily. How they enriched peoples’ lives, as their friends did, as well.

So what was undesirable, what was wrong with getting older? I truly didn’t see it a liability. We each had our own place, skills and talents and energy and caring to spread around. It wasn’t near what you’d term idyllic. I am not all that nostalgic; there were several trials and losses. They were people who carried burdens, too, as we all can do.

But now I am beginning to think of aging differently. For one thing, my husband has begun to speak of retirement, not yet but sometime in the not-so-distant future. Five years. Perhaps. I stopped working awhile back but he’s a tad younger than I am. It’s a shock to hear him say it, however. From the start of his then-unplanned career when only  20 and still in college he has had a passion for engineering, later landing in management with expertise in quality assurance. I’m not sure how he does the long hours he does. It can worry me. I left my career as a counselor at 63; now I am looking towards 67. It took us awhile to get here. We are supposedly going to soon just hang out together… until those sunset days and nights wind down? Seems like someone else’s story line at times–and will until it materializes in full. I am big on not borrowing from the future when we can inhabit only this moment.

I mentioned a second reason the light bulb went on about avoiding aging: one of our daughters just landed a nice chaplaincy job in management. It’s at a fine assisted living facility. It struck me that she is close to the age, early forties, when I finally left my position managing a thriving home care department in a senior services agency. Whereas she may be edging toward a pinnacle of her career. It seems funny it ended up like this.

I felt pretty young back then. My 350-plus older clients were often frail, with serious health crises and multiple life stressors. I had a calling for that work in much the same way our daughter does. But she is a chaplain while I was just a somewhat besieged mother and wife needing work, then discovered a knack for human services (but still wrote in ragged snippets of time). I fast took to the work as they were some of “my people”; i.e., familiar to me after years of enjoying many older aunts and uncles, my parents, neighbors and family friends. I found myself eagerly absorbing their colorful life stories and worrying about them after work. I wanted to help make their lives safer, more comfortable and valued so they could remain at home if they desired. It was a privilege and it altered my direction; it felt as if God had drawn me to service. My next work was with high risk, addicted, mentally ill youth and adults and it, too, was a passionate commitment. But I never forgot those older adults who gave as much or more than they required of me. I think of them, still, long after they’ve gone. Muse that I’m so close to the ages they were when I was with them.

Now here I am, smack in that part of the process forward and it is like entering some foreign portal I hadn’t mapped out.

When I got the news of her great job I checked out the place she will be working. It looks swanky to me. It is very different from the places I saw while visiting various   homes to assess my clients’ needs. The text states it is “a life plan community”–it was previously called a “continuing care retirement community”. It serves a few hundred people. I studied the attractive grounds and wondered at the money it cost, marveled at the diverse services, the recreational options. The gym was chock full of cheerful persons with pleasing wrinkles and crowned with gleaming white hair. They looked classy on stationary bikes, vigorous in the bright swimming pool. The lawns are very green, houses and apartments uniformly in good taste–it’s clear why people gravitate to such a place. I can see how it might stay a fear of fragility.

It’s a great place for our daughter to work, I’m sure. Still, the lifestyle it espouses alternately fascinates, perplexes and repels me. Plus I could not afford it, I’m sure. But would I want to live there? Set apart from a greater cross section of people? In such an organized and pristine environment? My innermost being resists it. I would rather have a refuge of unbridled countryside and the grit and creative vibrancy of a city–each close to the other as possible, as it is now. Retirement community settings appear limiting to me–at least now– whereas to others they may appear to abound in happy, healthy options at one’s back and call.

But mostly, it seems exclusive and finally lonelier. I want to be all hands and feet in the greater realm of living until I can truly no longer be so. And then, who knows? I might even live in an RV, a studio apartment downtown or in a small room at the edge of a grown child’s abode. I hope to not be an aggravating burden to myself or others; I’d hate to leave this world with a bad reputation.

Alright, the rest of it may be that I don’t yet want to think about where this aging business will take me. It appears to be a bigger jog in the journey. I do know I don’t want to fake it. Nor make it more or less than what it is, another movement through a short time on a small planet. I don’t need to be anything more than who I am, just a better version, I hope. I barely feel much older than I did a couple decades ago except for a monitored, repaired ticker. Surprisingly, I even feel a great deal  better despite those telltale lines on my face that reveal my life. An elderly woman told me once that is a marker of aging: our deepest personhood not matching up with external changes.

I will get to the end, whatever that is.  Right now I never feel as if there is enough time to explore all that captures my scanning attention. There are people to admire and love and learn from, many of whom I do not even yet know. There are scads of books to read and stories to write (I can barely keep up with either), forest trails to hike, bodies of water to get wet in, visual art to make. Places that might use my hands, some care. And, ah, music to bring into heart and mind, to hum and sing. Today I bought two new CDs and played them at a good volume as I wrote, then danced about a few times. I have a mind to put on a long swingy dress and videotape the swooping about, pretending to be an interpretive modern (or let’s say “contemporary”) dancer again. For my children and grandchildren. So they’re assured I have always managed to have fun–and they remember to do so, too.

Life is a place I’ve made a decent, often very good, home and aging seems simply one more thing to accommodate. I am not one for the prosaic as much as for invention. I may not change much of anything. And I am more apt to plan for today, not tomorrow.  I have had personal experience with life being taken in a flash and then having it returned just in time. Best to take it a step at a time, see what unfolds, what I can do. Soul, heart, mind and health the priorities. Broaden those horizons as I move right along. Being old will feel like me, likely with all white hair.

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My sort of “semi-glamour” shot–ok, I know, it doesn’t qualify. There have to be more pretentious ones…(My Gravatar looks fancier!) But subject would benefit from retouch at the least; perhaps teeth capped, a vigorous hair brushing with full-on color, Botox, jawline and neck fix-all according to “Cease Aging Now” experts. I hereby protest! Will go on as is!
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Just kidding, here it is, a dubious semi-glam shot. Not so fancy! A bit of a hair trim (shows off the white; stays unruly by itself, just a tad snazzier. Fully 66. Cheers to all from the 1960s: we protested and braved new paths, fought, dreamed, achieved and stumbled, raised families, labored long and hard, and a great many of us have survived!
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Fave but current second best choice for fb picture, perhaps move to first choice if winter’s blast goes on: having fun outdoors, authentic while incognito. No ageism accepted no matter what faces I show! Let’s all just be people together. 🙂

What I Left and Some of What I’ve Found So Far

11/12: The Professional: last tense days. Note tired eyes, forced, gritted-teeth smile
Writer-Grandmother having a ball with grandkids post-working life
Writer-Grandmother: fun with grandkids, 2 years post-work, when we went strawberry picking

There are at least a few hot-button reasons to feel guilty and worried. To wonder who on earth I think I am to take such a relaxed view of time and money, as well as heady concepts like success, obligation and the impact of even one human life. Some might suspect the cavalier attitude will bring me to ruin. They could be right. Am I somehow above such sweat and commerce, that bourgeois notion that money equals security, even contentment? Let’s face it, it’s more to the point that I am no longer a youthful dynamo dying to shine like a mega floodlight–so the pressure is off, right?

Except I was given pause by the over-sixty cashier yesterday, new to the store. He was congenial, appeared to be above average aptitude, and healthy-looking. I’d imagine he was a suit and wingtip guy at one point. Or a crunchy-granola, forward-thinking  professor. And as I paid for my too-expensive groceries, I wanted to ask: “What are you doing here? Aren’t you retired yet?” If I had paused one more second, I may have crossed the line as I can be that curious.

Then I went home and wondered how I ended up retired in my own early sixties. This is a big issue with “Boomers”–more and more are working longer and longer. Yet I manage to not feel very disturbed about not being part of the club. Okay, I must be honest–nights tossing and turning when contemplating variable savings and whip lashed investments? Sure. I start to consider how to find and buy a smaller, creaky recreational vehicle that might work for long term housing. I obsess, from time to time, over a few debts not yet paid in full and up my payments three-fold. And I hold onto leather footwear and other good basics “just in case” I cannot buy more ever again. And all this despite my spouse still working full-time, at the likely pinnacle of his career. He loves his chosen field, though long hours and travelling are more draining as the years pass. When he recently had health issues that involved hospitalization, I panicked on a few levels–one being financial. Thought: Dear God, I really do need to get another job, guide me on this one! Just in case. The urgency passed, apparently. He got better. I am not rushing out the door, not even to some job that is from ten-to-two, three days a week.

I have not worked for a paycheck for about three and a half years. He hasn’t asked me to. In fact, when I bring it up–that  there must be something, I might even make a pleasant greeter at the grocery– he shushes me. He says he’s glad I’m finally at home, writing daily as I always pined to do, taking care of numerous mundane and difficult tasks. It’s not that we couldn’t well use that extra income. We have significant and fluctuating needs at times and certainly those “wants” like all couples. We just manage alright without it. And that is good enough for now.

We live right on the edge of a wealthy enclave. I see many sleek, steel-grey-to-white-coiffed persons who haven’t stopped working. I cannot imagine why they would not. They slide into their Tesla/Jaguar/BMW or vintage Volvos every day and hit the road with brain primed with espresso, on go. I walk by these lovely houses every day, the ones such hard work have garnered, and wonder why more aren’t sitting on front porches or messing around with roses and weeds. It’s true many have gardeners. But aren’t they going to leave extra time so they can cover less agenda, more wishes? Not only live adventures in the Swiss Alps or moseying about in St. Bart’s or Reykjavik. I mean, just hanging out at home alone, or with friends and relatives. But it is said the more you have, the more you spend. Perhaps, also, the more you believe is ever needed.  The competitive, heady business of acquisition cannot be done with, I suppose. But their material life is not mine. I admire their gardens and porches yet, too, our balcony holds its own charm with chairs and tables and nineteen pots of colorful flowers and pleasant views of trees, neighboring houses and active city streets beyond.

Still, a wraparound porch with landscaped yard would be a fine sit for contemplation. And I am not one to just sit. I apparently get a few things done stealthily. What on earth do I do all day now that I retired, another builder dweller asks. She never hears our TV –her constant companion– but does faintly hear classical music and maybe…jazz? I do seem to be move about, though. I ask if I am noisy but she shakes her head with a smile, says “Have a good day”, closes her door.

I tried it this week, doing nothing much the last couple of days–nothing that one would note as an accomplishment, even a small one. I have my trusty Moleskin Journal where I plan the upcoming week. Most days are packed just enough with writing, daily walks and other exercise, appointments, meeting up with family for one thing or another, household business and errands. You will notice I don’t mention getting together with my friends; they are among those who yet work forty hours a week. I feel intrusive and guilty when I call them during the week. They are bone-tired while I am bubbling over, wanting to catch up, make plans.

But for a couple of days, I more often sat and read. A lot. I am (we both are) a bibliophile–books line most walls where there isn’t furniture– and subscribe to at least a dozen magazines and journals so there is a plethora of reading material. I tend to read a few pages at a time, between laundry loads or waiting at appointments, while boiling water for iced tea. Usually before sleep. So I read long, without checking the clock, caught up on magazines so that I am now about done with June and July issues. Started a new mystery and a nonfiction book, read long enough to abandon the first and continue the second.

I also watched several episodes on Netflix of a Canadian series I love, “Heartland.” (My neighbor will be glad to hear of that–but it was late at night in bed.) I walked longer than usual, sometimes twice a day. I took more pictures during my walks. I rearranged the pots on the balcony, plucked dead blossoms. And I got up a few times after bedtime to revise things I had written, including the last post, as the errors and new ideas haunt me until I commit to them. That is a certain kind of work, I suppose, but it is overall pleasant effort put forth.

This all felt luxurious to me, perhaps a little wasteful of time. But the most fun and absolute least regretted (not one minute) was time with two of our five grandchildren. We went to city center for an outing yesterday.

First I took Avery (14) and Asher (10) out to lunch. The first place we had chosen was very crowded but Avery spotted a pizza place. The mini pizzas were perfect size, baked in a big wood fired oven, crispy and tasty. Then we headed to our main destination: a put-put golf venue. However, on the way Asher saw the huge glass Apple store and requested we go check out various technological enticements. He and Avery tried many as I watched over their shoulders, duly informed of their purpose and operations.

Then on to a weird, all black light illuminated, cavernous pirate cove where we played eighteen holes of mini golf. All the white bits on us glowed bluish-bright. I was rather good at the game. I had forewarned them, as I’ve had more practice than they. The fine art of whacking a tiny glowing ball took us 45 minutes.

The last of our stops was The Fossil Cartel, which displays and sells rocks of all sorts. This was a major draw; they’ve been avid rock hunters thanks to my son, Joshua. He makes jewelry out of hunted rocks and other pieces. I bought a couple–amethyst and a blue goldstone orb for Asher and Joshua, respectively. Avery spied a lamp made of glowing rose quartz that she was quick to agree was quite costly. Perhaps one day.

And then I took them to their house across town and went back to mine. I was more tired than anticipated after four hours running around with delightful young ones. So I arranged dirty dishes in the dishwasher, then wrote a measly half hour (usually 6-8+ hours at a stretch) and read more of The Writer magazine until my husband got home. We walked a half hour about the neighborhood. He made (frozen) tasty salmon patties with a heaping green salad and baked potatoes. Very nice. We put our feet up at around nine o’clock.

These events took place on a Tuesday afternoon and early evening in mid-summer. If I was still employed at the non-profit mental health agency where I worked many years, this could not have happened. Seeing our family was another To Do list point enumerated on my planner–it happened but squeezed in between all else. The clock was always ticking. Such is the working life and life beyond it. Today I don’t wear a watch. Time seems to melt as events unfold.

At noon, I would have been counseling, full-steam ahead. Substance addicted and/or mentally ill and court mandated DUII clients (drinking and driving under the influence). Released inmates needing post-prison aftercare and monitoring. Self-referred persons with situational depression due to grief and loss, unemployment or ill health blues and fears. Clients whose children had been removed from the home due to parental drinking and drugging or domestic violence. People came from all walks of life. As they entered my office, their burdensome pain and suffering relented bit by bit or all in a desperate rush. But if they were court mandated for drinking and driving and they felt it entirely unfair, they sat stonily. Or angrily. Either way, the next fifty-five minutes could be just as demanding as any session. Some clients might say brutal. I was not known for cushioning matters for people who drank more than the legal limit, then blithely driving along causing havoc and worse– or fatefully escaping it one more time.

I taught alcohol and drug education groups each evening (some mornings, as well) for an hour and a half or facilitated women-only group therapy. These could extend past the time limit if there was a lively discussion or intense sharing going on. And then there were the urinalyses. Well, when was this not done: between individual sessions, between groups, sometimes during. Some required my presence in the restroom for observed UAs–the court system and DHS often required it. Or I did if I had good reason to suspect specimens were actually offerings from others.

Documentation of all on computer (by hand, many years ago) took an unreasonable amount of time. But unless something was committed to a permanent record, it never happened. Meticulousness and promptness was how this was fulfilled. I worked a four, ten hour/day work week that became–as any human service employees will agree– more like a twelve hour day. That meant I got home around nine-thirty many nights, rarely before eight-thirty. And that meant we ate quite late–my husband cooked, as he was home earlier. But I first walked 30-45 minutes before I ate every night for heart health, rain or shine, darkness or not, alone or not.

Then my agency’s two-story building was accessed by a burglar (computers, TVs, looking for drugs from a locked cabinet) while another employee and I worked alone at night. In our offices on the second floor, we didn’t hear much of anything–rather, not what we thought could be dangerous. I did listen closely once or twice but kept on. As usual upon departure, I double checked outside doors and made sure all lights were off. I hesitated–instinct, I am sure. Then I walked out to my car in a dim parking lot. My work mate had said to go on, but I waited in my locked car. When she came down, we left.

The next morning we heard the news; the entry and burglary occurred partly while we were there. They thought it was a client who knew the ins and outs of the place. We were appalled but reassured that things would be taken in hand. Yes, incidents had occurred even in other work places. We knew we were at risk, working with the volatile, confused, paranoid, desperate. But this was different. I had been there, felt something amiss and we had been there without any security. My husband started to meet me at the end of my work day. He drove from his workplace a half hour away to my work place, waited until I got into my car, then drove off behind me. He was that worried, insisted I not come out until he got there.

I began to think twice about that job. My entire career, the places I had gone alone, the fraught people I had shared a room with, a few events with bad results. That isolated parking area and building were never well lit that late. Everyone else was gone by then. I had at times been entirely alone in the building at night; that night my co-worker happened to be there. The doors were obviously not that secure. There was no alarm system. No security personnel. After that event I complained  more about the building and its lacks. The complaints fell on deaf ears, in fact, they were thought over reactive. I documented issues and resultant communications for a later discussion with the Human Resources Director. Then, finally–disappointed, worn out by the fight to get more assistance with the night hour security issues– I handed in my resignation.

I said: “Maybe I am ready to retire. But I have done the best I could here. And I still believe the safety of all is compromised. I now relent.”

It felt like a defeat. During the last day exit meeting, the Director seemed shocked. She vowed to address all, offered me a position in another clinic. I declined. Sometimes you just know it is time to say farewell.

I’d had enough. Not of the actual work, which felt like a calling to me–the nitty-gritty work of counseling and educating those who demanded–deserved–steady guidance and encouragement. But of politics and funding issues, too-long hours and high case loads. In fact, I had started that specific track of my career right after age forty after discovering a passion and natural ability for helping seemingly hopeless addicts and alcoholics, the abandoned, forgotten ones with mental health disabilities. It scared me that I was getting tired, physically and mentally. That I was starting to worry too much about the machinations of that agency as well as safety. My clients had always abided within my first and last thought during each day and evening.

The first two years I quit working the yearning to get back in there came and went. My alcohol and drug counseling certification was placed on sabbatical status while I sent occasional resumes out. It seemed odd there were no responses: I’d never not been able to get a job quickly. Those close to me suggested it was a sign to forget it. It seemed possible; I still wanted interviews. But I had plenty to do and was not bored. I thought maybe within a year at least I’dd find something new. I still missed my clients.

But over time, motivation to keep looking assumed less importance.

I had long desired to return to writing full time, as I infrequently had during a sometimes unpredictable adulthood. I had for years been writing for a block of hours on Fridays, my one day off. I’d jotted ideas down at work if all was caught up for a few minutes.So now I began to write a little more each day, and quickly found it as before–writing fast in concentrated hours. The flood gates of imagination were thrown open with the simple addition of time and a freed mind and soul. The stories would not leave me alone. I was breathlessly, extravagantly happy and told myself to calm down, take it one day at a time, stay disciplined. It all began to work together. I published one thing again, then another. I developed this blog.

So, sure, there is one reason or another to look for work–money for bills and the years ahead, for additional health insurance. The need to help others is still present. I know I should volunteer. But I am impatient with all the “should” stuff and getting more attuned to “want to and will do.” What I have loved but was often neglected comes to the fore. Working with and for others is a priority but there are many ways to do this. I am thinking it over as I write. I am praying for clarity and sniffing out opportunities. I could encourage personal storytelling with at risk youth. I could share poetry about life’s hardship and healings at more readings. There are hot meals needed and that lets me interact with isolated folks as I once did with Meals-on-Wheels program.

I guess I may have needed a big rest from the human condition, the ways it weeps and howls, triumphs or falters. Inside me is such love for those with whom I have crossed paths over the decades. They demonstrated how to find more courage in the midst of mayhem and how to persist despite no earthly good reason.  But most of all I learned how to find ever deepening wells of compassion and mercy. Within myself and within others.

The next time I see that cashier I will chat a bit, thank him for his assistance. I am certain he gave his decision to keep working longer–or to return–plenty of thought. He is doing a good job. I hope life is going well for him. I could worry each day that I am not bringing home a paycheck to add to the pot.  Most of the time I do not. I have this time to live, right now. I am a heart patient who has so far prevailed but I don’t know what tomorrow brings. None of us do–more and more we are finding the world is built on sand and it so often brings the chaos of trouble with unjust endings.

There is a lifetime of endeavors for all humans. Besides the need to survive, it is in our make-up to seek the next thing worthy of our efforts to assess, tackle, solve, wonder over. For me, work continues, just not as a counselor right now even while I remain on sabbatical status. I was, am and will be a writer, though. A person seeking creative expression each day, for there is a surplus of opportunity. I am thankful each day I have more time. We must divine what is right for ourselves, invest in the richest life possible, the one we truly value. There is a lot of stuff we don’t own that we might. But this is true fortune to me–family and friends, my faith and optimism put into action, caring for my wellness, more engagement in living fully. This is on my best daily agenda, nothing more. I anticipate what unfolds with trust and curiosity.

Playing put-put golf
Playing put-put golf
7/16 Freedom to hike and walk more, another passion
7/16 Freedom to hike and walk more, another passion