When your world changes due to work, retirement, health, outside forces or just a hit of bad or good luck, the opportunities and frustrations seem suddenly different but the song remains the same: you can't ever maximize more than two out of three things and you have to take the inevitable setbacks with resilience. Hard to keep in mind when you lose several in a row, but trust that the principle of Balance will benignly work things out, more or less.
Unplanned unemployment is so much harder than an orderly retirement, obviously, but there are some who don't have much going on that can compare to the sense of importance and accomplishment at work, and that's a danger sign. You can stop being essential and important and it doesn't invalidate that you were for quite a while. It's okay -- remember, you're mortal and that's that; do you have the stuff to rearrange your meaning like a jigsaw puzzle that was complete and is now just a heap of pieces again? Don't be afraid to look at those old pieces of you and make a new picture. You had to follow the instructions on the box the first time. Now you can have some creative fun and get away with it. No one's really watching anymore.
My own plan is so trivial it would be embarassing if I gave a hoot. It's just to plan and set up little projects to keep what's left of the mind in working order, do some good, keep skills up and be open to serendipity as I range around this little patch of Earth. I've done big fat expensive exhausting projects in the working world, and usually pulled them off, but it's good for yourself and the succeeding generation which needs to grow and prove itself, to move off the stage and into the microcosm. Small is beautiful.
The last few weeks have been a dance with Nature, and she's stepping on my toes. Working on the facade of The Local Beat Cafe's building downtown and finishing the box garden in Zach's yard are both dependent on fairly good weather, and that's been seen only occasionally between rolling waves of rainstorms. I take the umbrella along most days, a feeble defense, but it's all I've got (except permanently wet shoes). Any progress made is a joy since no one's setting deadlines; look at the broccoli forming in the picture above. I guess the rain has its good side.
Sometime in mid-June (after a fun break to attend nephew John's wedding in Louisville), I hope to finish and post the picture of the re-done Local Beat Cafe facade, with the new sidewalk and streetlight. The newspaper gave them a front-page story and two photos in Sunday's edition; the publicity, the bright new look and the musicians playing there for the love of it are, we hope, a perfect storm that will bring a sunny tomorrow.
The next project? I've had little time to practice my four-string thunder machine, so when I'm in California during August that will be the thing to do (along with lessons, maybe, at Jensen's Music on De La Vina Street, unless they throw me out as a hopeless case).
Moving sideways in life instead of up? Feels just fine.