I turned fifty-five, Gerry and I retired, sold our house, and bought cozy bungalow in the tiny town of Okotoks, Alberta. We were twenty minutes from my grandson and less than forty-five minutes from my granddaughter. I had the time I had so desperately wanted to inhabit my home in a way I had not been able to for many years. I created a sanctuary in our home and delighted in stepping into a role I had envisioned while I sat in meeting-after-meeting at my corporate job. I cooked, canned fruit, made quilts, and spent as much time as possible with my beautiful and brilliant grandchildren.
On this morning as I rise to Chair Pose I find my body remembering those first months of yoga practice — my routine too rushed to provide the full benefit — but a beginning and a commitment and resolution to make self-care a priority. It was the right thing to do at the time. The morning yoga and meditation practice grounded me and helped me to reach deep within myself to that place where my core self was waiting, it lifted the tension from my shoulders, and gave me the resolve to commit to a healthier lifestyle.
I smile to myself as I roll up the yoga mat. I have a busy day ahead of me — busier, in many ways, than my corporate job was — but my time is my own now, I set the pace and the schedule, I am doing things that fulfill me, I take time to nourish my body and my soul, and the combination of those things makes all the difference.
Soon, Gerry will rise and we will have breakfast together: a piece of toast with my homemade jam and a boiled egg, or a dish of homemade yogurt with fresh berries. We will take the dogs for a walk and chat about the upcoming day. It’s Thursday, and on Thursdays I go to the retirement home where I meet with a lively group of senior women to help them write the stories of their lives. Some of the ladies are there mostly for the fellowship, and that’s okay, but there are a others who are earnestly trying to write the story of their lives and I help them as best as I can. Their tales are fascinating, they have all lived lives that on the outside appear ordinary, but upon closer examination are filled with adventure and wisdom. These stories deserve to be written down and saved for future generations; in fact we are planning to publish an anthology of these older women’s stories one day soon.