3 Years In by Miriam Sagan

By the end of 2019, I’ll have been on the current trajectory of my life’s path for about three years. I retired, and by unplanned coincidence, my mom died. I felt shot out of a cannon–in a good way. I was no longer flying to Boston every three months to caretake. I was no longer going to work. For the first time in my life I felt I wasn’t operating with some kind of deficit. I know this can’t last forever–I’m 65 and well aware of aging. However, I planned to make the most of this new stage, and I think I have. However, I am suffering from a lack of feeling grounded.
I’m not exactly sure why. When I retired, I said I wasn’t going to do
1. Home Improvement
2. A lot more writing
3. Self Improvement of the diet & exercise sort
Well, I did not manage to avoid the first–renovated kitchen, concrete garden pathways, raised garden beds, etc. But it’s been fine–worthwhile.
And I didn’t manage to avoid the second, either. At least this year, I published three books and a chapbook. It’s not quite as prolific as it sounds. Writing takes a while, publishing another while…this was kind of a logjam that came to fruition (mixed metaphor and all).
Mercifully, I’m eating and exercising per usual–a regime of several decades.
I don’t like to live exclusively in the creative world. It feels unbalanced. Maybe I’ve swung too far in that direction. For volunteer work, I did a year of hospice, a year of teaching ESL…when my grand-daughter was born I started taking care of her about two days a week. It’s been tremendous, but maybe too close to the creative world. After all, she and the studio I share with my daughter are in the same house. We started photographing her as part of a project…
I struggled for a long time to live an integrated life. Now I want something…looser? I don’t know. I’m worried about all the things I’m usually worried about–Trump, my chronic pain, my friends’ difficulties, the future.
I keep making a To Do list for getting grounded but it has only two things on it:
1. Learn to bake biscuits.
2. Get an African violet.

And how are you these days?

5 thoughts on “3 Years In by Miriam Sagan

  1. It’s been 3 1/2 years now since I retired. I took your advice and focused on pottery. That’s what keeps me grounded. That and my grandkids. My health is better without the stress of work but I still deal (often resentfully) with those days I have to spend on the couch reading. I travel some. The last time I was gone for 2 months. That’s left me floating now that I’m back. I sometimes have to remind myself “you’re retired, you don’t have to do anything.” This from years of daily obligations. Now I work on remembering it’s about want to, not have to. It works sometimes.

    • Nina–it’s great to catch up with you on this level–I can really relate. That old habit is hard to break–I’ll feel panic–is a semester starting? The answer–no. I gather you are doing great things pottery-wise!

  2. Ah, I love this.  Beyond baking biscuits & adding African violets for your life, I’d nominate more water.  Well, that’s not exactly “grounded”–more like flow-y.  And I know that water’s hard to come by in NM!  But maybe a short walk every day along the Santa Fe River (even if its banks are rarely overflowing), or even just sitting on one of the nearby benches, could do the trick!

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/nov/03/blue-space-living-near-water-good-secret-of-happiness

    Alma Gottlieb ajgottli@gmail.com Providence, RI and Santa Fe, NM “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” – Elie Wiesel “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

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