1. This blog! As much as it can sometimes feel like one obligation too many, it might astonish you to know just how happy I can be at a certain comment at just the right time, or by the interplay between a few comments, or sometimes by a landslide of comments (for the sheer exuberance of their numbers). The other day it was "A. in London's" comment, the first response to my post on why we're moving now, a post I'd worried into shape and whose content I hoped not only made sense but conveyed the fluctuating emotional weight of our decision-making process. I wanted to be clear about the difficulty of getting to "Yes, It's Time," about the toll moving takes even at our relatively young retirement ages, but also about the relief of a tough resolution taken and the potential joy, even exuberance we sense 'round the corner.
So to have A's comment at the top of the column below my post? Sheer bliss, honestly. She shared her own background generously and succinctly summed up its relevance to demonstrate not only how clearly she "gets" what I'm trying to say, but also to reassure me that I'm on the right track, that others have made trade-offs that propel them into rich and creative futures, that this move will be a gain, not a loss.
And then other commenters joined in, slowly at first -- I think the post was big enough, and was talking about a touchy enough subject that readers were going away to think a bit, then coming back to comment -- and then building momentum. Not only momentum, but the comments started to build the rhythm of a conversation, as so often happens. It's a rich conversation, folding so much wisdom and experience and thoughtfulness and fear and joy and anxiety and wonder that I can only sit back amazed at the privilege of having facilitated it. The hours I spent writing the post over the last several weeks have been richly, richly compensated, and together I think we've created a great resource for anyone who is thinking about whether or not to move during retirement and, if yes, when is a good time to do that. Made me happy, all of it! Thank you!
2. Apologies to those of you who have already seen this on Instagram, but I just can't leave this off the list of Things That Made Me Happy this week. Preposterous as it might seem to be learning a new craft in the final stages of packing, particularly when that craft requires a device that will demand its own packing box. . . . But I'd unearthed this Brio loom when Paul brought boxes up from the crawlspace a few months ago, and while most of those boxes' contents (having sat untouched for over twenty years!) got sent off to recycling or to thrift shops, I'd determined to get the loom set up so that perhaps Nola could try it out. It was a gift for our second daughter (currently living in Rome) 30 Christmases ago. I suspect she would have loved a more commercial gift at the time, and although she made a halfhearted doll blanket or two, it never caught on.
My Instagram posting has already prompted one social media friend to tell me that she has a similar model from her own childhood (and her childhood dates line up more closely with my own than with my daughter's). I don't know how long Swedish company Brio has been making this loom, but I wonder if some of you have also received or given or woven on one.
3. Roses in my garden, especially on days when the warmth of the sunshine coaxes their fragrance to perfume the air around them, and the bees from a neighbour's hive a few hundred metres away buzz happily into them. . .
|Fantin Latour, a wonderfully fragrant 'centifolia' rose|
|more Fantin Latour|
|Graham Thomas, a David Austin rose|
4. Visits with friends. As the packing is nearing completion, and as friends realise how soon the moving trucks are coming, my dayplanner has been filling up with coffee, lunch, and wine dates. Somehow, the last years of work coincided with increased family responsibilities leaving little time for maintaining friendships, and although I've been working on reviving those over the past year of retirement, my focus has been divided, with travels and with moving plans sucking up huge swathes of the calendar. Perhaps someday I'll write more about this, but I will just say here that at times I've lost confidence in my social skills or, perhaps more honestly, if more painfully, in my social value. Anytime I've dared to articulate this, I've been quickly countered, and in a good frame of mind, I'd find lots of evidence against the suspicion myself. But it's definitely surfaced and even bullied from time to time.