Wednesday, April 1, 2009

NPR - Sitting at Home

I've written about Mondays, and they're still cool, more than three years after retiring. But Wednesdays are also cool because it's a free day to me and I can choose to go somewhere or just sit at home. And that latter isn't what it was when that was a demeaning phrase, "What, all you're doing is sitting at home?" It's a totally different world than my Dad when he had to answer that question.

For me, it's about freedom. Retiring has always been about freedom. After 38-plus years of college and work, I wanted to be and do what I wanted with the rest of my life, or at least as much as the rest of the world will allow me. I choose some personal journeys and projects to take up more than the rest of my life and work, at least until luck isn't there one moment and has other plans.

And some days it's about just being home and doing whatever crosses the mind. You see with the Internet, there isn't much I can't see or read about the world. With my terrific computer system (sorry, it's a Mac G5) I can do anything my imagination and interests wants to create or do. And with a near-180 view of the southeast out my window to the Narrows Strait and Mt. Rainier in the distance, nature is always there. I just have to look up.

And should I want or choose, and want or need something, town is just a 3 mile walk or drive away. But those are for Thursday and Friday every week. The to go and do list. But I can also just pack the cameras in the van and go somewhere, or take one camera and walk around the semi-rural/suburban neighborhood and take photos.

But some days sitting at home working on personal projects is what makes it right and fun. While I'm a good organizer and manager, I was never a good deadline person. I hate them and always preferred quality over timeliness. And it's why my boss and I didn't get along and partly why I retired earlier than planned. But that's the past and today is now.

There are decisions we face when we retire from one career to a new life. That's a statement of the obvious. My Dad, however, didn't see that, let alone think about it. He puttered his life away in retirement not doing much more than just living as his body slowly betrayed him. He died at 75, just days after his birthday having grown tired of life. He died out of choice, not circumstance.

Years later my Mom told me whatever I do in life to be different than him. "Do what you want.", she said, just don't putter it away. I got his gene to like being at home. And I'm comfortable being alone with my work and everything else myself, life and work entails. That's not unusual, most artists, especially writers, create their work alone.

We see the results and forget the work to get there, mostly a life alone sitting somewhere, usually at home in their den or workshop. Creativity is one of the most alone things anyone can do. You can share your thoughts and ideas, but you're alone with them and yourself when you work on them. I'm not great at anything, just ordinary, but what I do, I do my best and live with the results.

And alone as it is and I am. Sitting at home days like today, just enjoying life and work and the world all around and outside my window. What more could you ask for in life?

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