I am enjoying the wonderful absence of urgency and stress. We have had two weeks at home after the trip to New Zealand and there is plenty of time to do anything that needs to be done, but nothing seems particularly important. I love lazy mornings with slow starts, problem is my lazy mornings can easily run into the afternoon.
Make new friends but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold
This old refrain keeps echoing through my mind. These eight weeks have been full of precious new and old friends and family. The intensity of the delight in reconnecting with people has surprised me.
We have had many conversations with friends about how much you need to work at our stage of life. Could work look differently than it does now? Longer leave periods? Part time? Less stressful jobs? Can you retire too young? How much money do you really need to retire? How do you have an interesting and fulfilling job without the inane and insane pressure to perform at a level where work takes all of you and there is almost nothing left for family, friends and other pursuits? I now know I will never see the utopia promised by management gurus in the 80’s of workplaces that honestly value their staff, managers who truly lead rather than punish and flexible work practises. Still I’m glad I was deluded by that for a while rather than consumed by obsessive daily, sometimes hourly, measuring of key performance indicators which leads to the churn and burn of staff. I frequently call myself the “Eternal Optimist” so it’s taken me a long time to become this cynical about organisational greed. Will I go back, who knows, I have months yet to decide?
I have had a wonderful space during these last two weeks to focus on my book with the working title “Not Forgotten”. With a mind that is not crowded by work and a body that is not exhausted, I have managed to complete the first draft. I know many more drafts will be required yet but I have a framework with a beginning, middle and end. A weight is lifted and I will enjoy slotting in additional information and polishing my work.
Writing the blogs on my childhood memories and the joyfulness of reconnecting with old friends and family (Touching the ghost of my childhood, More than a family barbeque and Warming my heart by the fire of a long burning friendship) has been bittersweet. I have become acutely aware that while I have a childhood space in my mind which is warm, safe and comforting, my friend, about who I am writing the book, has no safe childhood place in her mind at all. Her entire childhood was like living in hell. For the book I need to explore the concept of a mind with a complete absence of pleasurable childhood memories, although it’s not a void, it’s full of nightmares.
Now that I am no longer ensconced in my windowless office I notice older people and am so aware there is a huge difference in the quality of people’s lives as they age. Health and time is really all we have, so I’d better use both wisely.
As for Steven and I, we are travelling well together, enjoying each other’s company, no sniping yet! He looks younger now that he is relaxed. The next part of the adventure is two more weeks in Australia before we head of overseas. Thanks for joining us.