Neighborly Advice

When I was in my twenties I had a neighbor that was well into his eighties.  He insisted that the two main ingredients for quality of life was to always stay busy and never stop learning.

It sounded really profound at the time.  Kind of like coming from a prophet in the high mountains of Tibet.

In hind sight, now that I really understand the definition of “busy” I might have some issues with at least part of his philosophy.  When one is sixty years your senior “staying busy” might consist of getting dressed for breakfast and taking a mid-day nap.  As Forest Gump might say, “busy is, as busy does”   I’m taking “busy” completely out of the equation.  “Learning”, however, I’m with him one hundred percent.

In the event  my neighbor was right, and I think he was,  I’ve migrated towards educating myself to all the things I may have missed while hanging on the corporate  ladder.  I’ve gotten involved in some of the new techniques  in quilting.  I’m really “in” to “sculptured felting” and intrigued with “long wool locks felting.”  I’ve even taken a renewed interest in Pinterest.

These were some of the things I was doing with intentions of rewarding myself when I suddenly realized they were all making me feel guilty.  It’s like a backwards postpartum depression.  I have become so accustomed to bringing home the bacon I won’t stop to make myself an omelet.  In the back of my mind is the ever present, lingering idea that the simple act of enjoyment indicates I must not be prioritizing my time.

When contemplating retirement I carefully examined all the obvious survival  aspects of fire, food and shelter.  I calculated real estate taxes, insurance and gasoline expenses along with adjustments for anticipated  utility increases.   I just didn’t grasp the extent of the mental adjustment I might have to make to keep from feeling so irresponsible for having a well thought out plan..

So this may be my own profound wisdom I have recently discovered.  Retirement should not be from one extreme to the other.  It cannot be totally stagnated, nor should it require working beyond one’s comfort level.  Surely, there is an even balance.  I’ll let you know.

Taking my own words to heart, at least for today, I invited some of my animals into the front yard.  They’re  quite fond of ornamental flowers but this time of year it really doesn’t matter, does it?

I just sat on the porch watching as the sheep and goats were soon joined by wild rabbits and squirrels and we all enjoined the afternoon together.  If anyone asks about me,  just tell them I’m “busy”.

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