Especially since retirement, Spouse and I have come to appreciate the fact that, since each of us is left with only half a brain at this point in life, the only way we can function is to put those two halves together!
These clocks, and many others, along with candle holders, signs, weather stations, desk sets and now tables, are overrunning all the spaces on the lower level of our split level home. Spouse has been creating these works of art at least since I retired two and a half years ago. Actually he has made more beautiful things and has been making them longer than that.
He made the clock with the San Francisco skyline before we met. This, along with a beautiful large and heavy clock made from burl wood and a game table made from a large spool which previously had carried electric cables wrapped around it, were part of the decor of his Long Beach bachelor pad. Making things like this out of wood was a hobby he had developed when he had first struck out on his own, and he’d made a little money off it by selling them at the swap meet. He had been salivating to get back to it in retirement, and went at it with an enthusiastic vengeance as soon as we were permanently settled in our retirement home.
He still gets a lot of enjoyment out of making this stuff, but that has been unfortunately tempered by our inability to sell any of it. We didn’t really try to sell them for the first year. During that time he was having more fun getting wood from our new neighbors, two or three other retired gentlemen, working to return the raw material to them as finished products. We tried to place them for consignment sale in some local craft shops, but the reception of the owners there was tepid at best. Finally, at the end of last year, we made a sale at an annual holiday arts show. We learned from other craftspeople at that show that the place to move this sort of locally produced natural product was in the Great Smoky Mountains town of Gatlinburg, which, like its neighboring cities of Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, is kind of a rustic yet sophisticated, woodsy yet modern, eclectic and airy “mountain resort” in a beautiful natural area that is now, more often than not, crowded with vehicles and amusements of all types. This gateway to America’s most popular (probably since entry is free) national park boasts an aquarium, an indoor ice rink and a distillery, as well as a “historic beautiful and peaceful craft crawl” on an 8-mile loop of local roads which has been designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail.
It was there, as we walked in and out of half a dozen or so stores that included wood products in their guidebook descriptions, that we were joltingly reminded that nobody uses clocks any more to tell the time; we all do that on our cell phones now. Still, the clocks that Spouse has made in the past remain beautiful works of art, and I think the tables he is slaving over and investing in now, are even more beautiful and, perhaps now that our eyes have been opened to the facts of modern life, possibly even more functional and salable. That, at least, is our hope, as we prepare to bring our wares to the local holiday craft show again later this year, and to really and finally join the 21st century sales force, by taking a class together at the local library so we can learn how to etsy, which I think could probably be a verb like google and facebook.
As I was catching up on emails today, I came across this prompt from yesterday. In the bad old days, when I was working on my last job, being this far behind on emails would have caused a great deal of stress, both internal and probably also coming from Twit and Princess Fairy Dust. I am so fortunate to be out of that situation and to not feel like I’m required to stay consistently current with friends and family, because they are all generally healthy, happy and content as possible given the possibility of a Republican takeover of the federal government. I can say this knowing that most of them are Democrats like me, and if they’re not we’ve already forgiven each other for mutual political lapses, and the RNC ended just last night.
Spouse and I live under the same roof and are generally carefree, content and happy in our retirement home. One reason for this current state of bliss is that, although we keep different schedules and pursue different activities as individuals, we both seem to feel that it’s part of our “marriage contract” to monitor each others’ well being on a daily basis, and to act accordingly. Our daily interactions start when he joins me in my “woman cave”, usually bringing his morning wake-up beverage with him. He’ll come through the door and ask, every day, “Whatcha doin’ dear?” knowing full well that I will be either sitting in front of my computer or reading in my grandma’s pink upholstered rocking chair. He’ll then sit down on the my other grandma’s pink flower covered couch and we’ll begin our mutual morning status checks on sleep pattern and quality of the previous night and the expected aches and pains of old age.
The pattern this morning, however, was very different. I got up and initiated my usual morning routine but, after plowing through the second fifty pages of The Big Sleep, I started to feel a little sleepy myself, and realized that I had hauled my buns out of bed an hour or so earlier than usual. So, I decided to mix things up a bit and go back to bed where, if I was able to catch a few more Z’s, I would probably be a little more energized for all the additional reading and computing I expected to do today. I did fall back to sleep, and when I woke up I simply restarted my morning routine where I had left off, back in the woman cave.
In the interim, unbeknownst to me, my poor caring Spouse had come up to join me and became a bit concerned to find me not upright in a chair but quietly prone back in my bed. When he returned to restart his usual morning routine he made a point to tell me that he really to make sure that I was OK since it was so unlike me to sleep during the day, unlike him and most other husbands I know who, for some reason, as a group, feel that a midday nap is a right and requirement to keep their grizzly bear grumpiness in check, especially if if they have been cooped up in the house with their wives all day i.e. every weekend while they were working.
Restating, and commenting where necessary, on Beliefnet.com’s “5 Things I Can’t Worry about Anymore.” Go to link above for entire presentation.
I’m putting the final slide first, because to me it’s the most important and powerful statement anyone, but especially a young baby boomer and recent retiree like me, can make, and is the first step to happiness at any point in a MATURE life.
“LET IT GO!!… (M)ake sure not to allow certain things in or give credence to toxic behaviors. Letting go of worry should start now not when you’re so hurt and bitter. Let life be enjoyed now.”
Slide 1 says “I was told when you become older that…. (s)ituations like heartbreak, obnoxious people, haters, jealousies, and insecurities will lose (their) grip… (B)y the time we’ve grown up (parts of us may be” emotionally calloused’ (their words, I just think – or at least hope, in our old age – we’ve gotten past all that wasted and unproductive emotion, each in our own ways and to our own extents), so it makes sense that we don’t need to offer an audience to thoughts, or typical assaults (though occasionally we might still have to fight them off, or at least I do.)”
“LIBERATION IS BECKONING!! Mak(e) the decision to shake it off, along with (beginning the) practice of what will (AND WILL NOT) be tolerated.”
I skipped Slide 2 – “Don’t Let People Control You” because I haven’t allowed that for a long time.
Slide 3 is titled “Insecurities” and starts off by saying “I don’t have time for insecurities, or rejection.” Well, whoever wrote this may not have time for them but, in my own head and in the world in general, they are just a fact of life, so I allow only small increments of time for them. It goes on to say “If there is something that will slow one down fast, and keep you in mediocrity–these two enemies will.” Mediocrity, or at least good enough, is OK with me.
The last and most important point of this slide is one that I heartily endorse. “ If there needs to be healing, take the control and get your house in order, like the mind, heart, and emotions, (acceptance of physical limitations and exercising control over relationships).”
Slide 4 is entitled “Making People Happy” but in my book should be entitled “Make Yourself Happy First. It will make those who love you, care about you, or just happen to be hanging around you happy, too. And If it doesn’t, why should you care?”
I know my substitute title is a long one but it more clearly describes how I feel about my loved ones and the other people who might be around me when I feel like leaving my house. “I don’t have to worry about making people happy all the time. This can be is about relationships, work, or just people in general. I learned (at the same time I decided to embrace my calling as a happy old fart) I don’t need to justify a given situation, life is too short. ‘A lot of people are crazy, cruel and negative. They got a little too much time on their hands to discuss everybody else. I have a limited amount of energy to blow in a day. I’d rather read something that I like or watch a program I enjoy or ride my damn motorcycle or throw back a couple of shots of tequila with my friends,’ Queen Latifah (a mature woman) said.”
Slide 6 is titled “Take on Fear” and includes the same type of clap-trap advice and pablum that appears in just about anything that is written in the self-help vein. Fortunately, at least in my view, I have never, or at least not knowingly except for maybe during the time I was in therapy, seen anything in the way of a fear, named or otherwise, that kept me from doing anything. Of course, I am clearly not someone who can evaluate myself, which is why I’ve always had to hire professionals to do it, or sometimes taken the word of a friend who has not been around me in a long time so is in a similarly objective position to render judgment about all the stuff I may have dumped on him/her all at once.
The best part of this slide says “Don’t squander energy on fear, and procrastination. Use this to an advantage by replacing these with productive thoughts, affirmations, and action.” I may have unconsciously employed these messages to get past my unidentified, unanalyzed and unnamed fears but have still not succeeded in getting past my procrastination. Even though, as an old fart, I logically know that my time is limited, now that my time is really my own, I know that whatever I don’t get done today will still usually still be there to do tomorrow. If it’s not, it wasn’t that important to me in the first place, and my priorities are the only ones that count.
Slide 7 is titled “Put it Behind You” and goes on to say “(i)t’s alright that you’re not perfect, no one is. Embrace the flaws, and start some self-loving. Mistakes happen, shake it off and move on to forgive yourself, and others. This will help you enjoy tremendous freedoms.” That, my friend, is true wisdom. I didn’t know or accept this until my kids were in their teens and I was in my 50’s, but taking this advice has allowed me to be happier with my life and with myself as I am than I’d ever thought possible.