Rethinking My Time

Throughout my working life, I was career-centered and goal-oriented: another degree to earn, position to seek, skill to develop. I assumed I would teach happily and effectively until I died, my hand clutching my red pen and my head pillowed by a pile of brilliant student essays; they’d then hang a plaque by my classroom: “Mrs. Bohart taught here; so use your quiet voice and spit out your gum.”

But when I was sixty-four, driving to work on a Monday, I realized my enthusiasm for my job had waned; I was weary; there were other things I wanted to do. So I made a decision that was sure and true: It was time for me to retire. Within two months, I did so.

At first, I napped, ate bonbons and dithered. But eventually, I climbed out of my recliner and discovered my happiness didn’t end when I walked away from the fulfilling career I enjoyed for forty-three years.

Then last November, as I celebrated my seventy-fifth birthday, my thoughts led me to another sure truth: My many years limit my future and make the end of my life foreseeable. So my youthful inability to imagine my death has become a wish for as many healthy years as I can get. Accepting the truth of those words liberated me; I began to appreciate more deeply, worry less often, express my love and gratitude more freely and eat more dessert.

I find I now want to spend my time pursuing and enjoying the small, happy moments of daily life: the laughter of teasing grandchildren, the voices of my siblings on the phone, the smiles on the faces of friends when we meet, a baby’s chortles when I pretend-gobble its fingers.

I hope for time to listen to my loved ones tell me their worries, joys and sorrows and have more quiet conversations with my husband as we sit in our yard talking lazily about our day, the personalities of our trees and the bustle of bypassing birds. I want to take more hikes through the yellow confetti of fall in Colorado and more walks through winter’s snowflakes swirling in dance.

I haven’t offered enough help, read enough books, planted enough flowers or done enough singing with tunes from the sixties on the radio. There are jokes I haven’t heard, salmon recipes I haven’t tried and apologies I haven’t made.

I’d like to take time to linger with others I enjoy after dinner, at the party, along the trail, before a sunset, over a cup of coffee or on a deck beneath a sky lit by stars. And feel no need to hurry.

Thus, my much-pondered and difficult decision to stop blogging. I’ve loved every minute and part of creating and writing a blog — especially the friends I’ve made, the posts they’ve written and the comments they’ve made. But I need more time.

I think my great-aunt Beulah would hug me close and agree with my thinking.

Thank you, dear readers, for following my blog and sharing your lives with me. I’ll visit your sites from time to time and carry you and your words with me as I slow my pace in order to become fully aware of the small things that matter.

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