In spite of living in unplanned retirement, I've found there are certain perks.
We have time to enjoy one another and to carry on whole conversations without rushing off to the office or to a meeting.
We have time to enjoy family--both the one around the corner and the one miles away. I can be on call to sit with grandchildren here or drop everything and head to North Carolina when the new grandchild arrives. When we vacation, we are not pushed to "check in," nor do we have to concern ourselves with "catch up" when we return.
I have time to cook, pretty much when and how much I choose. Our grandchildren think I exist to make dessert, so I try not to disappoint them. This summer I've found quick ways to make pie crust and dough for cobbler in the food processor--a handy find to use with all the peaches and blueberries we've consumed. We've also enjoyed cinnamon bread, mixed and kneaded in a matter of minutes in the food processor. Yesterday I cut back the basil on the front porch so I could make pesto to put in the freezer; cooked country fried steak, one of Tom's favorites, for dinner; and put together a casserole to share with family for Sunday dinner. Later today I'll make another favorite--frozen lime pie. It's fun to have time, not to have to make time to cook.
I also have time to read and read and read! I used to say: too many books; so little time. Now, I can read all day every day if I choose--well, not every day, but most days. At any rate, I do a lot of reading--everything from novels to cookbooks to non-fiction to Christian writings, including commentaries and books on the spiritual disciplines. Recently I have finished two books that I highly recommend: Eugene Peterson's A Long Obedience in the Same Direction and
The Path of Celtic Prayer by Calvin Miller.
The first is based on the Psalms of Ascent (120-134) and is sub-titled, "Discipleship in an Instant Society." For me it was a reminder of not only God's presence in my life, but His active presence. They were words I needed. After all these months of cancer, treatment, remission over and over my spiritual life can resemble a stagnant pool of water. Stagnant pools of water breed mosquitoes if allowed to stand; a stagnant spiritual life breeds questions and complacency.
The Miller book presents a fresh, in depth approach to prayer following the ways of the Celts. It probably does not have as broad an appeal as Peterson's book, but is worth a look to see for yourself. I loved it.
The perks of retirement: time for family, time for the kitchen, time to read.