Yes, I have been thinking. Perhaps it is more a statement of the fact that I am getting older and that I am retired. Approaching my sixty-fifth birthday, the official date when one becomes a “senior citizen,” in an invitation to do some serious thinking.
I am not talking about all the successes or the failures that have marked the first sixty-four years of my life – we all have our own unique successes and failures. So what am I talking about when I say “serious thinking?” Well, the answer to that will come out or it won’t as this post continues. As you can probably tell, I am just letting it happen.
I guess, that is a good place to start – letting it all just happen. I find myself, less and less trying to make things happen. The early part of my adulthood, that was a full-time occupation with making a family happen and making a career happen, as well as a number of planned activities along the way that would best be filed under relaxation and recreation. Nothing was left to chance. Before heading out for a tour, I would study maps in order to calculate time and distance and to see what was between points A, and B, and so on. Armed with that information I would then plan our activity stops and rest stops. It seemed that the more I planned, the less stressful it all became once we packed the kids into the car and began our holiday. My career(s) were planned in much the same fashion. I guess you could say I was somewhat of a controlling person though I did defer to my wife on many things that weren’t career related. After all, a happy wife meant everyone would be happy.
Now, I still plan, but it is not so intensive or rigid. As my wife and I find ourselves driving from a new point A to point B, all it takes from either of us is a wondering out loud to stop the vehicle to explore a park or to take a few more photos to add to the tens of thousands of other photos stuffed into our photo archives. I think we are able to relax with a sketchy plan because all of our earlier plans invariably fell apart due to unforeseen circumstances such as missing a ferry, or having to sit in a tiny mid-western town while waiting for a vehicle to be repaired. But mostly, it was our children growing into adults that cured us of thinking we could actually control the universe. Each of our three children followed their own plans – intentional or accidental – not even stopping for a moment to consider our dreams for them. Their teenage years taught us so much.
Today, it is almost enough to simply find some sunshine and relax in it wearing as little as possible, preferably nothing at all, and just breathe in the sounds of nature, sensing the presence of each other as being a presence that is more than proximity.
I will come back to thinking again at another time. Right now, the sun is shining and a warm space in my yard is calling me.