Retirement redefines the calendar.
Once our lives were a steady rhythm of weekday responsibilities and weekends of cherished free time…
I remember the melancholy of Sunday night when going to sleep meant relinquishing control back to the demands of the work week.
Now we generally explore the world during the weekdays when recreation areas are abandoned.
Except when we go to spend time with our adult kids and families…still deeply immersed in the work/school stage of life.
The weekend becomes the window of time when we can relax and enjoy each other’s company all together.
Time for golfing, hiking…
winery visits, a leisurely game of disc golf,
antique store exploring, a geocache or two…. early dinner, camp fire
and evening conversation.
Today I had the pleasure of attending university math classes taught by my son as a part of his post-doctoral position at KSU.
Having spent most of my life associated with educational institutions in some way…. hanging out in the halls of a university felt vaguely familiar and comfortable. Not being able to follow the advanced mathematics lessons made me wonder how many classes I’d have to go back and take to be able to make sense of it all.
I always loved going to school and often thought, if someone would pay me… I would have eagerly agreed to be a professional student in lieu of having to get a real job 🙂
The most profound thing I’ve learned through years in higher ed, though…is that “the more I know, the more I know I don’t know.” It is all of the unanswered questions unearthed that reveal the mysteries yet to be explored.
Hence, my love of education is really less about knowledge….and more about ignorance….because what I love most is the PROCESS of learning…the cycles of curiosity, observation, questioning, collaboration, connections….. ultimately generating more questions. It is this process of wrestling with ignorance that sparks my passion for experience and life-long learning.
This quest for learning even propels my travel… national parks offer campfire talks and ranger led hikes – I love it. I jump at the chance to attend photography classes, go on organized hikes, watch documentaries, listen to TED talks and subscribe to NPR podcasts.
And so…. today I am deeply thankful for the enormity of my ignorance…. for I surely will NEVER run out of curiosities! 🙂
Thirty nine years ago I was fresh out of high school, anxious to leave home and experience life. College was a challenge, friends were fun, and then it was time to tackle the real world.
I didn’t look at decisions I made then in terms of how they would shape my life over the decades ahead. Falling in love, starting a family, choosing a career… life was a huge whirlwind of decisions and experiences… responsibilities and obligations.
Six years later we had a litter of kids at our heels… each had at least one brother and one sister to pester… and our little family seemed perfect. Then things got hectic… and the years whizzed by.
Our children were our life. We gave them experiences to ignite their curiosity, nurture their strengths and support their ambitions…. and we hoped that they would find happiness as they pursued their dreams. They each found partners that made them smile… and they ventured off on their own adventures.
There have been graduations, weddings and birthings, reunions and cross-country moves…. and what used to be just the two of us… has grown to be TWENTY (one is not quite hatched).
NOTHING can make me smile from the bottom of my soul more than the love I feel for this ever-growing bundle of people. We are scattered far enough that our time together is pre-planned and precious.
The moments captured in photos of siblings and cousins, smiles and smirks…. the life changing events that we get to experience with them… fill me with the deepest gratitude I can imagine.
I cherish every moment I get to spend watching their lives unfold.