Thursday, May 21, 2009

Practicing For Retirement

The last few days have passed quickly. Usually a short work week seems twice as long as a normal work week. Like many people I am eager for the long Memorial Day weekend that is approaching. This past Monday I took the day off to recuperate from the busy weekend I had at the monastery. Usually when I am at the monastery I am recuperating from my busy life. This time I had to come home to recuperate. Monday was spent practicing for retirement. I ran a few errands and did a few chores. One of the errands was to get a haircut. I am completely bald on the top of my head but the hair on the sides of my head had gotten long enough to start resembling wings. On windy days I almost took flight. Sometimes I think of shaving my head and beard. I have not been clean shaven since 1978. My children and granddaughter have never seen me without a beard. Even I can not remember what I look like. During the five minutes it took the barber to clip my wings I had her in hysterics. She asked me where I worked so I told her. When she asked what I did, I replied, "As little as possible". I told her that in my head I was ready to retire from working but my wallet tells me I cannot stop. I shared that although my body is getting old, my mind is still young. In spite of being young at heart I am also very good at being an old man. I love days where I have no strict schedule or agenda. I love to "piddle" and to just be open to the day. I am very good at doing nothing. Instead of working I would like to surprise my granddaughter by picking her up after school. We would go get ice cream and talk of many things.

So, I enjoyed my extra day off and the nothingness that seemed so full. Isn't it ironic that when are days are jammed full, they seem so empty of anything meaningful? Yet, a day free of obligation and expectation can be so full? I will take a day of unknown possibility anytime over a day of boring obligations and meaningless tasks. Of course, even these less desired days may have purpose. What is boredom to one is faithfulness to another. Still, in my own life, the sameness and boredom of many days often robs me of happiness. Today, however, the sun is shining and I feel good. I just returned from a walk around the park. My newly shorn head acts like a solar panel. The sun energizes me and gives me zest for living. One more work day and I will have a three day weekend. This will be followed by another short work week and then nine days of vacation. Some days it is good to be me.

The highlight of my workday today was lunch in the park with a friend. We took our lunch across the road from our office and sat on a bench in the shade. It was a beautiful day. The sun was hot but a nice breeze made us feel quite nice. One sign of a good friendship is when you can simply sit together in silence. We talk a lot but we are also comfortable with saying nothing and just enjoying the moment.

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