By Bruce Stambaugh
Just the other day I remarked to my daughter about how fast the days seem to go. I didn’t have to wonder why.
Logic would dictate that just the opposite would be the case in retirement. Weren’t the golden years meant to be slower, more relaxed than when we were younger?
I thought back to my full-time working life when days started early and ran late. Whether in my first career as an educator for 30 years or in my second gig in marketing, a wide variety of activities filled the days.
Add in the agenda of our active, growing children, community commitments, recreation, organizational meetings, and each day just disappeared. There never seemed to be enough time to complete all that was on my daily plate.
As you might imagine, teaching was demanding. I was bone tired by the time Friday rolled around. When I became an administrator, the routines changed, but my duties often extended long after school had been dismissed both for the day and for the year. Mindless meetings had much to do with that dynamic.
Not much changed in my marketing career. I could always count on surprises that suddenly altered my plans for the day.
When I said goodbye to all of that a couple of years ago, I figured my pace would slow down. Instead, life’s speed seems to have accelerated in retirement.
My daughter concurred with me about the quickness of the days. I had to wonder, however, about the look she gave me. Was it a sympathetic gaze into what the future held for her, or was it a look of astonishment at my declaration?
Perhaps there was a third option, one of appreciation for the assistance her mother and I provide to her family. We were in the heart of the volleyball season, and Nana and I do our parts to help make our daughter’s household run as smoothly as possible.
Carrie is the women’s coach at Eastern Mennonite University, and her husband is the chief financial officer for a rapidly growing start-up company. Professional duties pack their daily schedules.
So we do what we can to help. Nana makes meals, tidies up our house and theirs, and does laundry, shopping, and so much more. I have my honey-do lists.
Sometimes I care for our granddog. Sometimes I pick up a grandchild at school and transport them to another venue. Sometimes I serve as the landscaper, and sometimes I help with homework, even if it is math and in Spanish.
All of this interaction helps make the days disappear one right after the other. Of course, it could be that our energy level at this age isn’t what it was in our younger years. Then we chauffeured our son and daughter from school to soccer and piano practices to church youth group in addition to all of our other responsibilities.
Whatever the reasons for time flying, Nana and I prioritize our time and efforts into doing the tasks at hand. In between, we rest, relax, exercise, have lunch on the porch together, pray and meditate each in our individual way.
In truth, we expected all the busyness. We moved from Ohio’s Amish country to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley for just such assignments. It’s our new life calling.
We didn’t realize how very fast these golden times would go, however. In these autumn days of our lives, the time just seems to evaporate. I for one couldn’t be happier.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2018
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