Socializing

I have had a few days of good socializing.  Friday evening our friends came to supper.  Last minute plans.  Saturday, I spent the day with our daughter at the Renaissance Festival.  Sunday at church, then a long lunch with my brother and sister-in-love at their granddaughter’s birthday party.  My nieces and nephews were there, too, of course.  Had a little bit of visiting and hugging time.

Today, my friend came to work on a project she has going.  She brought her computer so she could work, too.  Fortunately, her battery was low and she forgot her charger.  We were able to spend several hours talking about all sorts of things.  We always find ourselves in such similar situations or frames of mind.  We are the same age.  We have husbands of similar dispositions.  Our children are grown and gone from home.  She is semi-retired. I am basically retired with my little part time position to keep up with. 

We are working on the challenges and uncharted territory of our aging process.  Neither of us are terribly worried about anything other than the loss of energy and stamina.  Of course, we want to look good, but that is secondary.  The changing thought processes, the thermostat issues, the loss of energy and the need for a creative outlet are common issues.

No doubt ours is the story of so many of our peers.  I have been trying to find information for this stage.  There is plenty of information in our faces about the 20- and 30-year-old groups finishing college, launching careers, families, home building.  And the seniors fully retired, traveling, hobbies, dealing with their own set of challenges along with their adult children adjusting to the roles of care givers.  I don’t see much for our life stage.  I guess we are supposed to be having mid-life crises? Those have been made in to jokes and the underlying needs not truly addressed in my preliminary research.  If I wanted to have another career or go to college, sure, but not much for the settling in to our type of lifestyle.

My friend and her husband have one parent living.  She is in a long-term facility and in good health overall, but unable to live alone.  They don’t have grands, yet.  My husband and I have no living parents or grandparents.  We have our two little duchesses who come to visit and bring exuberance to our lives.

I find myself too isolated most of the time.  Even when I am at church, I don’t have a lot of adult time.  When he comes home, we have supper and he needs time to take care of a few chores and time to relax and rest.  I recall a time when my grandmother was isolated.  She seemed to have trouble putting sentences together when I would go see her.  It got better when she got around others and regained her socialization time.  These past few days, I have talked more than usual.  Today, I particularly noticed my voice getting tired from the several hours of conversation. 

Social creatures.  Even those of us who are introverted and enjoy long stretches of time alone need socialization. Time with folks whose company we enjoy to just let conversation flow and thoughts meander.  Today, we laughed at ourselves chasing squirrels in our topics.  We would start someplace and take a few detours before trying to finish the original topic.  I am sure we didn’t finish half of our trains of talk.  And that is just fine.  I am feeling very content after having a chance to hear my own thoughts out loud and echoed back to me with agreement, understanding, questions to help clarify.  New insights brought forth, clarity of ideas emerging.  Laughing and groaning at how human we are. 

I am so very grateful for my friends, for my children, for my family, for my Rock and for our Lord who brings us together.

Fall flowers in Tyler County, Texas.

Forgetting

I had a sign on my icebox for a long while a long while back. I still keep the saying close at hand, though for some reason other things crowded it from the icebox front. 

 It reads:

What really important thing are you forgetting to do?

I ask that question on many different levels.  Did I pay the fuel card bills?  Did I ask him to check the propane tank level?  Did I ask the Lord forgiveness for my recent failures of character?  Did I put water in the dog’s bowl? Am I sure I checked all the supply levels for baking Christmas cookies?

From trivial to profound and back to trivial.

One question that haunts me was asked me on the day we buried Mother.  What are you going to do with the rest of your life?  At the time, all I could think of was raising the children.  At ages 10 (nearly 11) and 12, things were just taking off.  And my father was still living and needed assistance.  The Butler sale launched that year as well.  The question didn’t mean much for a long time. 

A few years later, the children were grown and Daddy and his mother and his father, too.  From September 2003 through April 2007, there was a lot of leaving for us.  We also lost a dear friend during that time.  And Hurricane Rita blew through.  We got down to just having our jobs and the cows for the most part.

Eventually, the children married and finally a couple of duchesses came along to add glitter sparkle to our lives. Figuratively and literally! 

Still, there are some long days of not much going on.  I have been retired just past a year. He is still working.  The duchesses are too far to come and go on a regular basis.  I have some hobbies I have dabbled in through the years. I am so accustomed to not having time to really dig deep on them, I still just dabble. 

I am forgetting to dig deep.

I love to plan things.  Have my tidy little lists of things.  I passed that trait on to our son.  I have notebooks of lists.  I have spent my idle hours for thirty years making lists.  What do I list?  I have a list of plants I want for the jungle garden.  I have lists of household supplies I use so I can try to make a more efficient shopping list.  I have lists of my favorite foods.  I have a list of songs I like.  I have a list of books to read and authors whose works I want to read.  I have a list of topics for essays to write.  I spend more time and energy on my lists instead of attending the things on the lists. 

I love to sort things.  An offshoot of listing or the listing is an offshoot of sorting.  I will sort and reorganize my closets and pantries several times through the year.  I haul off stuff to the Salvation Army or bag it up for some of the teen girls at church or a friend I know would love it. I pass through the thrift store and get some more things and then go through the sifting process again.  I thought for a while I was off my rocker. 

When I look around my house, I see the results of the process.  I have several areas that show my love of tropical things.  I have book cases full of a full range of topics.  I have lovely dishes to use every day.  The walls have several original pieces of amateur art.  Some is my even my own work.  I have a modest collection of evening bags of which I plan to start using for everyday as soon as I can get my load of things I think I need to haul around with me pared down to fit.  I hear several of my besties reading this and cackling with laughter over that remark.  And he just rolled his eyes.  One of the things I get called is bag lady.  I still consider it a lofty goal to achieve.  Maybe beyond my scope. Nevertheless…….. 

I am getting better though.  I have been taking the time to read.  And yesterday, I took time to watch one of the movies on my movies to watch list.  I put in a new flower bed this summer.  I have the photos on the table and have begun the sorting process to make a photo album. (This is from the days of film style cameras.)  I have a number of digital photos I want to print and put in the album eventually.  I make time to spend with my friends and my family.  I am terrible at calling to check on folks.  I hate talking on the phone.  I would rather see someone face to face. I text painfully slow.  (I did learn how to talk to text and my phone seems to understand my accent.)  I go with him to check the cows most times. 

Nothing profound.  Just ordinary living. Working on not forgetting the really important things.  Time with him, time with the offspring, time with friends, time with my own creative muse.   Mundane things in a quiet house on a dusty dead end lane in the boondocks of Southeast Texas.