I’m sitting here over my morning tea watching transition across my yard. I have neighbors I won’t see again until early November. The woods between us will soon be completly solid with green leaves and undergrowth. The daffodils have bloomed, followed by the red buds and dog woods. The breathtaking southern azealas are just beginning to burst open in pink and magenta blooms. Winter has expired and spring is birthing right before me.
Friends and I have had deep conversations this week about the transition of teens becoming adults, leaving home, going off to college to be miles apart from us and in charge of their own lives. The words exchanged between us hold both anticipation of the “what comes next” and concern. We are grateful for this next step in their lives. We are frightened of the world they enter which seems more unsteady and unsafe than the one we entered in our passing into adulthood.
I’m having my own moments as I realize that just recently (or so it seems) I helped plan the high school and college graduation celebrations for our five. Soon I’ll begin attending the high school graduations of my oldest grandchildren. That transition came so fast. When did it creep up on me? How did those years pass so quickly?
Retirement is a often held conversation between Dane and me as we contemplate what semi-retired and fully retired means for us. There are many questions about how to embrace this time. We are considering the opportunity to downsize, simplify, unclutter and search for that smaller home in a quiet country setting. Is this time for that quaint cottage with a daily view of God’s mountains? How much of what we’ve accumulated over the years is still necessary for our daily living? How will we part with things that aren’t “necessary” but tell stories of our lives over these past 49 years?
What travel is still on our bucket list? Are there places and things yet for us to to experience?
There is a number that is defined by the date on my birth certificate. For much of my life that number has been of little consequence to me. I’ve often had to do the math to remember what it actually is. Good health has been a gift. Aging is becoming more evident to me and within me. I don’t jump as high or run as fast. My body is telling me it’s on a steady decline and has some limitations. A new medical issue has brought me to a very restrictive pattern of eating. The transition from many of the foods I have loved over the years is changing. I’m learning to enjoy new foods and tastes.
As I look in the mirror it speaks back to me through the wrinkles and age spots. These lines and spots tell the stories of my years. I’m more comfortable with some of these outward markers than others. Many mornings I can bless them. Some mornings I fall into the trap of value being in outward beauty and I have to offer myself and my Creator an apology for being unkind. My stories have molded me into who I am. I am mostly comfortable with me. I like me and am grateful for my stories of living.
I am convinced God has more for me. But what, where, and who? I’ve been in a time of transition, contemplation, requesting and waiting. God is changing some of my community. He is rearranging some of my responsibilities. He is closing some doors. I am longing for Him to open others. I’m not ready to retire to my rocking chair and crochet away the coming years.
Today I am pondering these words of transition.
metamorphosis – still stripping off the confines of the cocoon that binds me from living free
alteration – doing things differently, being kind to my limits, reduced stamina
personal care – caring for my own needs balanced with caring for the needs of others
handover – things to be handed over to the next generation or shared with those who are in need, sold or donated
changeover – handing the mantle to those younger with new ideas.
segue – into old age – whatever that is. Who defines when one is “old”? Does a number define?
shift – in responsibilities, in daily activities, in offering of myself to others.
progression – into retirement – whatever that is. Is retirement a state of being tired again?
purpose – what, who, where, when?
Yes, God…..today I’m asking you what, who, where and when. And God, I refuse to purchase cushions for my rocking chair!
Valerie Avery treasures the journey of embracing all God has gifted her with including creating art and beauty using fibers, beads and nature. The bond of 46 years of marriage has created a legacy as mother to 5 and “Grammie” to 20. She is venturing into the world of writing and is grateful for a place to share stories of growth and hope. You can read more here.