Four grown kids, six delightful grandchildren, constant, long-time partner. A retired academic, I'm adapting to life in a Vancouver condo after decades in a waterfront home on a very small (Canadian) West Coast island. Keen to discover what new priorities emerge, what interests persist, in this urban life after 60!
Yesterday, as I said I would, I met a dear friend for coffee. Our friendship stretches further back in my life than any other relationship other than those with my siblings, yet we hadn't seen each other for years. Two hours disappeared in waves of connection and emotion and remembered history and forgotten incidents; when I decided a nap was necessary later in the afternoon, it wasn't just the 8-kilometre round-trip walk to the café that I identified as the instigator of fatigue. . . But oh, to see oneself through the eyes of a good friend. . .
As I said yesterday, I'm thinking about the difference this is making to my self-image these days, but I'm also thinking about some commonalities that are emerging from my conversations with a number of women friends recently, all of us in a similar position within our families -- that is, we all have grandchildren, and our sons and daughters are moving out of the stage where they're desperately grateful for any help at all. They welcome our contributions to their lifestyle management -- most of us find that all babysitting (which those I spoke to are happy to offer, depending on other commitments) is much appreciated-- but having found their own parenting feet and their network of parenting peers, there are times they would prefer that our paths be separate.
I'll say no more about that now, but I wanted to let you know that the post I gestured at yesterday is gestating. It's a tricky topic to manage, as you might imagine, but what my conversations with friends have shown me is that phenomena I'd personalised are probably more general -- and probably more structural or systemic -- than what the media suggests.
But, right, I'm not saying any more for now.
So, the pretty photos?
When I woke from my nap, Pater brought me a cup of tea and suggested I stay where I was, in bed, with a book.
I followed his orders dutifully, so was lucky enough to catch a few magical moments when the afternoon winter sunshine pierced a large hand-blown glass vase I've placed in the corner of our room; last September, delighted at having a large potted hydrangea in our new terrace "garden," I'd tucked a few stems in the vase to dry.
And four and a half months later (Really? That's all it's been?! And we were away for two of those.), while still not properly settled here, there are simple pleasures and beauties declaring themselves daily.
Sometimes I just have to sit still and watch for them.
There you go. I'm going to hazard a yoga class this morning, with Pater, after these weeks of enforced inactivity. I will definitely be taking it gently and carefully. . . .
What about you? What's on your mind, on your schedule, on your to-do list? As always, I'm happy to hear from you if you have a minute.