Meteorology is a science, but also a guessing game. Put together all the forecasting models to get a picture of what is to come, and you prepare for that. But, every now and then, Mother Nature has a different plan as she did last night. Accumulated snow was two to three times more than predicted. We were expecting one to three inches. We got six+.
It didn’t take that long to move the snow, our sidewalks and drive are not that big.
The snow may be a bit of inconvenience, but it also produces a bit of art, like our lower level windows.
More snow and ice is forecast for tonight and into tomorrow.
What a year it has been. Or, has not been is more like it. Self-isolation has been the standard operating procedure. Staying home. Wearing masks when running the necessary errands to sustain life. Eliminating travel.
Staying safe created a horrible, lonely year, and in review, I made a short list of all the things I have missed.
Things I missed:
Handshakes and hugs
Eating at a restaurant
Going to the movies
Fishing with friends
Horizons Unlimited Virginia Motorcycle Travelers Meeting
Wandering through the vendors at art fairs and festivals
The Labor Day Taildragger Fly-in Breakfast at Red Stewart Airfield
Hugs and handshakes
Motorcycle camping with friends
The Family Picnic
Entertaining friends at our house, or their house
Motorcycling to coffee/breakfast/lunch with friends
Did I mention handshakes and hugs? The human touch
Using the internet and technology, I found a way to stay in touch with friends. Maybe you have too. Do you Zoom?
Things I managed to do:
Walks with Lin
Motorcycle rides, but no touring
Cooking, but I’m the cook at our house anyway
Zoom meetings with family and friends
Drastically reduced my alcohol consumption despite the pandemic, which really goes against the grain in these circumstances
Binge-watch programs on Netflix
Watch more college and pro football than ever before
Spend way too much time on Facebook
Bought and sold motorcycles
Turned 70 years old in November. BTW, 70 is the new 50.
Made love to my wife, Lin, 24/7/366. 2020 was a leap year.
Yeah. What a year. 2021 starts tomorrow, and vaccinations are just around the corner. Can I start planning now?
Today is the last day of November. The 30th. It seems like the year has gone by so fast, and yet perilously slow as caution and quarantine take priority.
The weather has finally turned. What was a comfortable temperature in the low to mid fifties, is now in the mid to low thirties, raining and forecasts of the first snow that will slow down traffic and cause a little havoc on the roads and highways.
For the most part, the flowerbeds have been cleaned. The hydrangea have been cut back and hostas trimmed of their wilting leaves. It is hibernation time for the plants, and feels the same within the house.
It is a curious time going into winter. Outside activities are being replaced with indoors. Daylight is dwindling still, and yet only three weeks remain before this globe of ours starts its path around the sun to a place when a minute here and there of daylight will be added to our days. I am already anxious for that.
It seems I have been fighting this for some time. A realization. People would ask me if I am retired, and I would give them my standard answer, “I am semi-retired, but I still do a little writing and photography.” If they asked my wife, she would say, “Oh yeah. He’s retired.”
And that 1970 song by Edwin Starr keeps ringing in my head, “War! What is it good for? … Absolutely nothing.” Maybe that song sticks in my head because I was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1970 and went to Vietnam in 1971. I did my best. I served my country. But, what exactly was that war all about?
I kind of feel like that about retirement. What is retirement really all about? What is it good for? There is some reality that must be faced, and it comes with new opportunities and challenges. First, there is a lot of freedom in retirement. No schedule that you have to keep. You can sleep in, or get up every morning before 6:30 like I do with or without an alarm clock. You can do the things you want and go to places you have always wanted to see. Of course, there are financial considerations.
You can do things for others. Put others first. Serve others. There can be a lot of joy in serving others, and it’s not like work in a dreary job, where no one or few appreciate your efforts.
In retirement, I have found joy in volunteering. To serve others. To help bring someone else along or lift them up. To share skills and knowledge. Yes, there are some schedules to keep, and accountability, but there is joy. Fulfillment. Happiness.
I have concluded that I am actually not retired. I am 68 years old and a Volunteer. And, I will keep writing and photographing, but just for me. You can read along, if you want, here in these pages.