Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Some thoughts on retirement, politics and creativity

I just read an interesting New Yorker short story ("Hand on Shoulder") and an insightful blog (click here to read the blog) by Ian McEwan. Smart man. Good writer. The blog has an interesting take on freedom and the situation in Israel with the Palestinians--one of the many conundrums of our times.

As I was reading his blog, it struck me as amazing that we can exist successfully in such difficult times, fraught with anger and religious wars, greed, corruption, and all manner of cruelty and stupidity. I'm not as steeped in the news or commentary as I used to be--even when I agree with the point of view, it's hard to deal with the utter craziness--but we can never be far enough away from politics. Outrages seep in every day on my emailed newsletters and TV and in conversation.

If you let it, craziness can permeate every level of life and really bring you down. So we try not to let it. We are the lucky ones who manage to create a livable space that provides us with sanctuary from all of it. We noticed it most starkly on 9/11, when we went from watching the world of horror on TV to soaking up the world of peace in our back yard. It was surreal that in minutes we could change locations and change the world.

Retired is the happiest I have ever been. Our sanctuary provides us with time to do as we please for the most part. The day-to-day To Dos can be managed or put off because tomorrow won't be taken up by the draining insanity of worrying about working for crazy people and doing their "stuff." Now our world is filled with being in touch with friends and writing and traveling and relaxing and bike riding and lunching and going to concerts and art galleries. And we are too busy. How does that happen--that you're busier when you're retired?

We've moved on in our creative life, expanded from writing to taking photos and videos, and I'm really enjoying it. Photography is an old love that I let go dormant during the work years. They come together in travel writing, which I'm to get better at doing. I still have that fiction novel in the back of my mind, and several photo books as well.

Seems impossible, but in the midst of all of it, here I am, in my sanctuary, doing my thing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring came early this year ... and it's beautiful!

Is rock 'n' roll back or have we just been missing it?

Neon Trees--Everybody Talks

We were watching one of the talk shows last night and saw this group singing this song. We really liked it, which was great because it's been a while since we liked a rock group. There were a lot of good groups in the 80s--The Clash, Robert Palmer, The Eurythmics--but there haven't been many since rap came around and dominated the music world. The old stuff is great, but we really liked hearing a group playing 2012 rock 'n' roll.

Friday, April 6, 2012

thoughts on social networking and being in touch

On this day last year in the late afternoon, we were in the Toronto airport waiting for our Air Canada flight to Rome. It doesn't seem possible that it was just a year ago that we started on that six-week adventure through Europe. Every day for the next six weeks will be marked with the memories of that trip. It'll be 'today we were in ... ' every day. No worries, I don't think I'll post every day, but it will be on my mind.

Lately I've been posting to FB regularly and sending emails to friends. I like keeping in touch, even if it's just reaching out to friends and not being sure they'll care. It's kind of like reading the paper when you're with someone and calling out articles to each other or, of course, just sitting an yakking about life in general. I like it when people respond. The surprise of who reacts and how is fun. 

We live in such a big world. Thanks to social networking, we are not only surrounded by a big world, we have a big world ourselves. We have friends visiting and living in many places around the world and the country, some that we haven't seen for years. And yet, we can keep in touch. 

None of it is as personal as face-to-face because who wants to risk the world knowing our personal stuff? But it's at least small talk and a way to make contact--to affirm that we are all still here. In touch--even the phrase suggests the familiarity of touching. 

Blogging seems to me to be like letter writing was when long-distance calling was expensive and there was no internet. It amazes me that there are millions of people who can't imagine life without the internet or cell phones or even remote controls. I was in my forties before I had my first Mac. I think there were Wang word processing systems at work for while before that. And that world wasn't primitive to us. It was our modern world.

Here's a photo of me in the airport after our February trip to southern California. We had such a good time there, except the two days we were sick. We were with friends face-to-face--and there's nothing better than that. 

So here's to being in touch, no matter how you do it.