Sometimes I can scarce believe it’s been only four months since I retired; four months since my thoughts were constantly consumed with project plans, deadlines, and other people’s priorities. I spent twenty-five years in the corporate world and, for the most part, received great fulfillment from working hard and seeing a project come together successfully but that world seems far away now.
These days the only deadlines I’m concerned about are what’s coming ripe in my garden and what’s available at the farmer’s market. The project plans I think about when I wake up in the morning have to do with canning, freezing, and dehydrating nature’s bounty.
I’ve spent this morning in the kitchen tending to a big batch of strawberries that were just picked at a local farm last evening. Jewel-toned jars of strawberry jam sit cooling on my kitchen counter right now and I’ve just put two large trays of strawberries in the freezer; I’ll transfer the frozen berries to other containers later today.
Now, I’m getting ready to head out to my garden to harvest basil to put in the dehydrator to use in sauces and recipes later in the year. I’ll also pick some lettuce for a big supper salad and perhaps some Swiss Chard and peas as well.
This new work is different–it’s slow work, meditative work, and it leaves me physically tired and sore at the end of the day sometimes. I’m finding great fulfillment in tending my garden, cooking and serving the freshest ingredients, and preserving fruit and veggies for the future. The satisfication I receive from a days work tending the garden or canning jam is huge and it’s very different from the fulfillment I got from the corporate world for so many years.
It’s personal. It’s lasting It’s like a return to my self.
I can’t help but reflect back to when I was a stay-at-home mom with two young children. In some ways it seems like I’ve come full circle, though that path to get here has been long, rough, and filled with detours. I felt a measure of fulfilment at the labour of my hands back then, though circumstances were such that I longed, and needed, something more.
I can’t help but remember my mom labouring in a sweltering kitchen to can fruit and vegetables. I wonder what occupied her mind as she stood at the stove stirring a pot of bubbling jam. Did she find herself longing for something else too?
I can’t help but consider my grandma–a stern and distant woman who raised three children on her own during the Dirty Thirties on the Saskatchewan prairie after losing her husband a few months after the birth of her third child. I wonder if all of the homemaking chores were just that to her–work–or if she found a measure of fulfilment in tending her garden and preserving its bounty.
I feel blessed on this quiet, albiet busy, morning that the work I am doing today allows time for me to reflect and remember.
Except for the stay-at-home-mom part, we have followed similar paths, Linda. I spent 30 years in the corporate world. Fifteen years ago, I left to follow my heart into writing. Today, I wrote in the morning and after lunch with my husband, I wandered out to the garden to deadhead peonies and iris. We’ve been eating salad out of the garden every night. It’s a good life.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Carol. Having just read both of your books allow me to say I’m very glad you chose to step out of corporate life into a writing life! And yes t is, indeed, a very good life.
Thanks for reading, Linda. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you through writing.
I think your life sounds lovely. warm and fulfilling. I’m so glad it’s all you hoped it would be.
Thank you, Terri. It’s been a long road to get here but so worth the trip!
What a lovely reflection on your “retired” life, Linda. I can relate to not only your contentment with your transition ” back to yourself” but also to the joys of eating fresh produce from the garden. My master gardener hubby supplies us with fresh, delicious vegetables every day now. I’m happy your retirement has proven to be all you had dreamed and maybe even more. Keep enjoying and thank you for sharing.
A master gardener! How wonderful, Kathy! I consider myself a beginner at gardening but the learning process is every so rewarding! I know your own retirement has been rewarding too. Looking forward with great anticipation to your upcoming book release!
I feel fortunate to live long enough to retire and reflect. It sounds like that time for reflection is helping you find your new self. The pictures look good enough to pick and eat; I just can’t smell the freshness.
It is a blessing to have lived long enough to appreciate these simple things, isn’t it, Letty? It’s the simplest things that bring us the greatest joy and reflective moments are perhaps the simplest of all.
Interesting thought…about what would Mom have been thinking of? I don’t know that I ever thought about it before! Lovely blog, Linda.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Karen! I love considering what my family members of yesteryear might have been thinking about back then.
Lovely reflection on the changes you’re experiencing in your new role of retiree, Linda. Feels good, doesn’t it?
Feels great, Sherrey!