|Robert, Leo and Cheetah|
The coffee shop is kid friendly and has lots of toys and books that are enjoyed by the patrons' kids. Leo doesn't drink coffee but he sure enjoys the raisins and chocolate chips he begs from the staff. He has recently begun to talk in sentences and I adore reading to him or, more recently, carry on a conversation with him. In fact, I have several friends I met at this coffee shop who have become important to me. The time I spend having my coffee in a comfortable setting has led me to become a "regular." The staff know me and commiserated over my recent theft and were happy to see the iPad return.
It wasn't easy getting up this morning to catch the bus. Because it snowed heavily last night and was still snowing when I walked out the door, it was dark and forbidding. However, I knew I would be happy when I got to town and got to the coffee shop. By the time I finished my morning latte and walked the three blocks to the Y for my class, I didn't even mind the snow and messy sidewalks.
Everyone who follows this blog regularly knows about my Thursday hikes with the Senior Trailblazers. We hike rain or shine, as I've learned you must do if you want to exercise here in the Pacific Northwest. I've been living here close to four years now, and I realize that I've constructed a new life. In a conversation with my partner, I became aware of the fact that I need a temporal structure to my life, where he needs a spatial one. The need to have a schedule, places to go and things to do -- it's important to me not to simply drift along without a plan or a sense of direction.
So many years of my life were spent unquestioningly going to the office, following a schedule so that my tasks would be accomplished, and it seems I've transferred that need for structure into my life in retirement. Although nobody is going to be bent out of shape (or perhaps even notice) if I don't show up, I don't question whether I will get up, have breakfast, dress and head out for the bus so I can get to town and start my day's activities. I just do it.
The only day that has no pre-set schedule is Sunday, so it's become a free-floating day, unless it's summertime and then I go off to the Drop Zone and join my friends at play in the world of skydiving. Looking at my life and how I've designed it in retirement amazes me. I didn't plan it, but it's now part of who I am and what I do with myself.
The intellectual sense of belonging to a larger community comes from the blogosphere. I try to write something three times a week on this blog and once a week on my other one. The myriad blogs I follow are mostly written by people who stimulate my intellect and send me off in directions I would never have discovered otherwise. I look forward to comments and try to make sure that I leave a comment when a post moves me. I know how important it is to me to get feedback, so I try to be generous with my own.
And just like that, a day winds down into evening, when I spend time with my partner, watch a bit of TV or read a book. By the time I climb into bed, it's been a full day. The days pile up one after another, with the occasional blip of disruption... and then I fall back into my comfortable routine. Even though my life today seems predictable, I actually didn't know I would be enjoying myself so much in a world without a job at the center. Life is full of surprises.