I’ve been sitting here thinking about what I should write this column about this week. Usually I do not have any trouble coming up with a topic. When I’m out and about something usually pops out and that is what I write about.
Not so this week. I’m retired. No need to go out every day to teach. I’m retired. No need to go to school meetings. I’m retired. No need … Have I made my point?
When I’m stuck for a topic I often go back to my journals. I used to be a prolific journal writer. Not so much so now.
I used to journal often, especially after my divorce, when I was alone. The journaling gave me an opportunity to allow my soul to catch up. I found that I was so busy “doing” I didn’t have time to reflect on why I was “doing.” I wasn’t really alone, I had friends and family, but in those early morning hours and late night hours when I was alone I would share my thoughts with a piece of white lined paper in a Mead Composition notebook.
When I paged through my winter journals today, they were filled with pages and pages of thoughts and comments about the winter weather, mostly the storms and the days that school was closed.
I started thinking about being retired; wondering if I am still a productive member of society. Mostly now I’m sitting at home, straightening up the house, and reading. I’m really glad that Kindles were invented. I don’t even have to go out to the library.
I asked myself –Does a person have to be a productive member of society to be happy? Since my days are no longer filled with helping young people sort out their places in the universe; since my days are no longer filled with community meetings; since my days are no longer filled with church meetings – am I really productive?
Do I even know what happiness is?
I looked back in my journals and found that I had asked myself that same question many times over the years.
I thought back to what made me happy this past month. Here are a few glimpses: Walking into Economart and seeing my granddaughter’s eyes light up and hearing her voice say, “Hi grandma”; sitting across from my grandson at Applebee’s watching him devouring his lunch and then topping it off with a triple chocolate meltdown; having my daughter home for Christmas; enjoying Christmas dinners surrounded by the people I love the most; sitting alone in the living room with the Christmas lights glowing; watching the Ravens’ score the tying touchdown in the last 32 seconds of a playoff game sending the game into overtime; watching David as he doses on his recliner; midnight snowflakes reflecting off a large, full moon; seeing that the cardinals are wintering in the evergreens near the house.
Page 2 of 2 - In other words it is the little things that make me happy.
Little things like looking back in my journals and seeing that back in 2001 I waxed poetic about winter. “The white drift piled the window frame, and through the glass the clothesline posts looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts…” – from Snowbound by John Greenleaf Whittier.
I have replaced my journaling with this column. I am no longer happy to wax poetic about winter.
What is happiness? Still the little things, however, I’m thinking more and more that it is going to be found among the sunshine and warm weather in Arizona while school is being cancelled up here.