I told my weekend "cohorts" today. Pat's reaction was a gasp of astonishment; Jillian got teary-eyed and said, "I'll miss my buddy!"; Felicia said, "You're too young for that! Aren't you?"; Alissa also teared up and said, "We CAN'T lose you!"; and Pam, who makes the schedule, just hung her head. The things they said were so sweet, and I was so touched. I'm already getting emotional about this (Ken said, "Gee, that's a surprise!" Ha!), and I've got two months to go! Oh, and Jillian said, "This better not mean you're dropping out of the book club!" I assured her that I would not.
I also want to say how much I appreciate the comments you all have left, and how much they touched me. Knowing that you feel happiness for what is happening really makes my day! You all make some really good points, too, and I'll talk about those a little bit. I didn't copy any comments, so I won't be attributing them to anyone in particular, but all the comments can be found in the original entry.
Someone wrote that I probably can't just stay home and read all day...well, knowing me, I probably could! But I agree, I won't do that. I really liked the comments about volunteer work, and that is something I've thought about, too. There's a wonderful state park close by, and they always need volunteer help. We belong to the local chapter of the Audubon Society, so that's another possibility, and there's always the library! I plan on remaining open to the opportunities that arise, and I believe that if you keep an open mind, things will present themselves. (I also believe in pursuing something if you really want it, and I can be pretty strong-willed!) Some time ago, a guy that Ken worked for gave him a book called Half Time by Bob Buford. It's about what you do after you stop your climb to the top of the ladder and start making your way into your "golden years." Ken liked it so much he asked me to read it, and it gave us both a lot to think about. Part of the book's description says, "Half time, then, is a quiet time of deliberate decision-making, restructuring, and passionate contemplation of your heart's deepest desires."
It made us talk about things we might like to do when we retire, whether it's working with Habitat for Humanity or other organizations. We both believe that there are still important things for us to do, but they may not be in our current area of expertise. I'm actually getting excited about pursuing old interests and finding new ones. I know it will be a transition for me, and for us as a couple, but I have faith and confidence in our ability to really enjoy it.
As Shane wrote, I believe the best is yet to come....
A little bit later
I just got the nicest email--Jimmy of Jimmy's Journal has made me an honorary member of Area 51. I'm glad, I'm pleased, I--I'm tickled pink! (If anyone besides me remembers that commercial, I'll be amazed...and I think I'm showing my age!) Thanks, Jimmy!