Today I will be revisiting my 30s and 40s. Or maybe simulating them is a better way to put it. The family’s coming over for dinner, and I’m cooking. I plan to spend time on the floor with not one but two babies. Seems apt, in a time where I’m sorting out the question of So Then What Happened, to backtrack. See what’s there.
I had tea this week with a reader, a woman of my general age, who is also mulling over retiring or taking another job in her career field. It was a beautiful afternoon, hotter here than previous Octobers, and in Northern California style we sat outside a cafe under an oak and let the sun walk across our table. Onto our faces.
It came time to end the conversation, clear by then that we had a lot in common and would look for another opportunity to talk. A persistent part of my self of felt the need to sum up, to call out the highest order issue. “The thing is, I said, “At this point, what with my mom’s surgery and all, I am thinking a lot about how much time is left.”
Those aren’t my exact words. I paraphrase. I imagine you will forgive me.
I kept talking, another persisting trait. “It’s not about what to do next, it’s about 50 or 60 more years. If I’m aggressively optimistic. And I’m wondering what’s the best decision now for that entire future time span.’
Do you guys remember I went to a yoga class? Man it kicked me to the curb. I felt very clearly what almost 2 years in an office had done to my body. If I do nothing to remediate my poor soft tissues I’ll regret it.
So Then What Happens? Get fit? Develop a consuming hobby and the concomitant required expertise? (Significant Husband and I are thinking hiking. Did you know how much gear one can acquire if one so desires? My goodness.) Dive into a cause? Or take on one more capitalist gig? (The word capitalist is wholly mine. Few people use expressions like that in corporate America.)
Because work is fun. Work is hard, sure, but it’s exhilarating, consuming, compelling, satisfying. I like to solve hard problems. I like to face down ambiguity and risk. I like deciding. And especially, something that I’ve noticed since I came home, I like having other people on my team.
Kind of goes with the talking. Extroverts are us.
The women I was having tea with had made a plan and timeline for her decisions. I am was impressed. For some reason, I need to follow a random walk methodology. Wait for inspiration. Attend the hidden.
Go to sleep. Dream. Wake up in the middle of the night. Check email. Sleep. Wake up. Check my body. How does it feel today? Read a cookbook. Pot roast? Chicken tarragon?
Go outside. Prune roses. Pick forget-me-not burrs out of the hiking socks I wore under my Crocs. Lesson learned. Buy new flannel pajama bottoms. Keep foot up and notice that it appears to be healing.
Scribble notes on paper. When I’m really thinking, I still need to engage my handwriting. Is that true for everyone in my generation?
Wait. Pay attention. And, it appears for me at least, use big words. In this process, you guys are on my team, and I appreciate it. Have a wonderful weekend.