Blogging is a self-indulgent activity—there’s no denying it. I write to express what is significant and meaningful to me and presume—of all things—that others should be interested in it. How much more self-indulgent can one get? I do have some redeeming features, but self-expression gets the better of me. Oh, and it gets worse. Not only am I writing this blog, but I am also attempting to produce a novel. Talk about presumption! But what I want to say--again--in this blog is that in retirement I am discovering life anew. I never realized during my professional career that those things about which I claimed to have no interest have suddenly become a part of me in a way I never knew possible.
My neighbor used to come home from work in the evenings to garden. In California, there are gardening activities year-round, and she always had something to do. Her husband did the cooking, so she was free to putter around the yard. I never saw the fascination. In fact, I used to tell people that gardening wasn’t of interest to me, but that I enjoyed the fruits of others’ labor. I noticed all the dogwood trees between here and the boys’ schools. I admired the flowered borders at the edge of others’ lawns, the prolific azalea bushes up against houses, the little gardens in the roundabouts in France, the soaring trees in Sacramento—known by some as the city with the most trees (exceeded only by Paris until their great winter storm of several years ago when so many blew over). Now I find myself looking forward to the next gardening project as much as I look back on my accomplishments of the day before. Even the simple process of rearranging the lavender pots on the patio seems worthwhile. I finally get it!
For those of you who have been regularly reading my blog, you may remember my story about the interview I had with the young, bright government leaders of tomorrow when they asked me what I might have done differently in my career given the opportunity; and I responded that I would have worked less. A few months have passed since that interview, and I know in my heart that it was the right thing to say. I also know in my heart that none of them will follow my advice. They are ambitious and look forward to much success in their careers. They will put aside their personal pleasures—most of them—and will work day and night and weekends to create a reputation for dependability and creativity in upholding, massaging and developing law and rules that govern our public lives. And good for them. I only hope that at some point when they are more mature—and hopefully before they retire—they, too, will discover the need to have balance in their lives and to appreciate the value of some good, old-fashioned self-indulgence.