The Essence of Retirement

B2016 BenmoreRedwoodsIt is a truism that people often say, “I don’t know how I ever had time to work . . . . .”  The days slip by so pleasantly that I find myself thinking the same, however, this past week is a good example of how time can be expanded to achieve goals and objectives as well as treats and fun-time. My main concern right now has been to actually sit down at the computer and get writing. Perhaps I should say Writing with a capital W. I think it has been a surprise to those who know me, that the promised book has never appeared. Today I found myself explaining to someone how eleven years of retirement had passed me by with very little to show for it, other than the blog posts and a few facebook entries.

Retirement was thrust upon me due to ill health. I’ve told people that so often that it kind of trips off the tongue. But the point is, that now I am feeling better than many a long year. Ok I know that could be seen as tempting fate, but it is worth saying it again. I have space in my head to gather thoughts and form words and actually get serious with my trusty computer. And it is a lot more healthy than concentrating solely on newsprint and other media, especially with so much vitriol and nastiness to add to the awful fact of war, violence and crime. I know it is important to be well read, particularly with the decision we all have to make in the UK about Europe and the EU, but. . . . . . .. life is about good things as well as difficult and dark things. I know several people right now who are determined to make the best of really hard situations. The least I can do is to write the wretched book I have been promising for years.

Of course, I expected to write the grand novel, the one that everybody is supposed to have in them. But a bringing together of memories for those close to me, is every bit as good. As well as being easier. For instance I sat down today and two hours disappeared as I flew back in my mind to rationing and postwar London. And I realised I am grateful to have had the life I have had.

B2016 BenmoreEckriverAnd today’s life is pretty good too. During this past week, HBTW Misty and I took advantage of the good weather and declared a Day Out. This pretty river is at the boundary of Benmore Botanical Gardens where we wandered, very happily like the three old codgers we are, for several hours.

The Redwoods at the top were planted in 1863 and are already 40 metres high, well on their way to becoming enormous guardians of the garden. There are over 300 species of rhododendrons, many azaleas and a huge variety of trees. But the restored Victorian Fernery was, for me, the icing on the cake. By the way I had an iced empire biscuit at the cafe and very good it was too – that and a pot of Earl Grey tea.

B2016 BenmorefountainMy point is, that life is a mixture of all sorts of things: good, bad, indifferent, hurtful, disappointing, joyful, wonderful and all sorts more. To take enjoyment in the day and to live it to the exclusion of everything else is a rare gift, one which is to be celebrated. I remember so well how difficult it was when my sons (4 of them, by the way,) were young. But the secret then was to do things that they could not help but enjoy. Things like, jumping down giant sand dunes, damming streams, collecting hens’ eggs, playing with puppies, all the sorts of things we used to do before computers and social media. I’m not saying technology is bad – but it is different.

B2016 BenmoreferneryBack to Benmore Gardens – I had to struggle up some very steep and winding steps to actually get to the Fernery. And it meant braving a dark and forbidding looking entry which was the equivalent of being at forest-floor level beneath the high canopy of trees in the rain-forest. Himself and the dog had to wait outside, though HBTW had his own tour while I recovered in the sun with Herself.

B2016 BenmorefernerystepsThis week has been a lesson in how to make the most of life. I know I am in a fortunate place health-wise and that others are less able. I know that the weather has been incredible. And I know it is easy to be cheerful when the sun shines. The hope is that if and when a dark day comes along, we will have built up a reservoir of spare capacity. And more than anything, I hope we can share some of the good experiences with others.

What’s been good in your life this week?

Blessings from Dalamory

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14 Responses to The Essence of Retirement

  1. How amazing to have Botanical Gardens which accept dogs. We went to the Beth Chatto Gardens in Essex last week!

  2. Freda, I have had a book I am writing (off and on) on the go for longer than I care to admit.
    I find Donald Miller’s book writing schedule helpful. Here it is. You might like it. Good luck to you and me!
    http://www.storylineblog.com/storyline-productivity-schedule.pdf

  3. So far, I’ve had a good week. My garden is finally in bloom (the rain comes at night) and I have several good books on the go. We have doctors appointments this week, and I begin therapy on my shoulder. I too retired for medical reasons, and am happy to have had the same 10-11 years. I would love to stroll through your botanic gardens, so beautiful

    Yes, the world is strife ridden, and always has been. Reading history and working on my ancestry have made me more thoughtful about other people and other times.

    For one thing, children don’t die so readily these days, something most of us can appreciate. At least they don’t die from disease at the same rates. Other causes remain and need addressing, but we can take comfort knowing there are solutions and in the good things in life too.

  4. That’s a good and gracious reminder Freda, thank you for that gentle reminder.
    I’m still here, reading.

    Blessings.

  5. freda says:

    That’s a good point about childhood death rates improving, Dianne, and also having the hope that human beings are developing all sorts of remedies and solutions to social problems.

    Rain is all around us at the moment, but it looks like watering will be needed this evening again.

  6. freda says:

    Glad to hear from you Randall.

  7. freda says:

    Thanks, Anita, the book writing schedule does indeed look helpful. Now all I have to do is to look at it and get writing!

  8. tabor says:

    The weather and my health have been hunky dory and I am happy with that!!

  9. I’m beginning to look forward to retirement, that must be your doing!!
    These past few days have been good here also, as I took a serious decision and payed my older cousin the visit I had been holding up for long. The decisions outcome is yet to be seen, the visit however, was very nice. An unexpected meeting at the trainstation made me feel old and yet cheerful, there was one of the young boys from my first ministeryear, now with wife and child, then a sulkylooking charmer with his first moped.
    Oh, I think the Lord writes our story and experience it bit by bit walking next to us. Your job is to look back and capture emotions and history in writing.
    How absolutely lovely these pictures are , what a day that was!!!

  10. Sheila says:

    I am glad you are feeling well and enjoying nature. I retired as part of a plan to travel and work at living instead of living at work. I am very grateful! And for a mini golf get get away with good friends. Life is good.

  11. freda says:

    A good place to be, Tabor

  12. freda says:

    Solveig, i love the idea of walking next to us through life. I hope the outcome of your visit to your cousin is positive.

  13. freda says:

    Sheila, you do so well at truly living life. Go for it always.

  14. Sue says:

    Oh, it sounds wonderful! You do right to just enjoy every minute and that really is a message for all of us.

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