Sunday, October 21, 2007

Time for Thought

I have been thinking a lot about aging these days, probably because I am looking forward to retirement and realize that I must plan my future carefully if I expect to get the most out of my remaining years. I think when you reach that certain age, if you are lucky, you begin to realize that life is giving you a second change chance. When you are young and raising a family you are busy living in your waking hours. Each day is auto-filled with necessary deeds and tasks. People need you, so you spend time working on filling those needs---whether it is earning a living to pay bills or cooking and cleaning and kissing boo-boos or consoling a broken teenage heart.

It is a daily race and you fall into bed at the end of the day, hoping your mind will slow down enough so that you can sleep.

Then, almost suddenly, but not without warning (children entering college, getting married, having their own little ones) you realize that the race is slowing way down. You have time to look to each side and not always ahead. You are going slow enough that you now no longer worry about tripping or mis-reading signs and taking the wrong side road. As a matter of fact, a side road is most appealing.

If you have good health and your finances are secure your side roads are more interesting and more available. But even if life didn't end up like a bushel of sweet peaches, there are still different opportunities and angles that you can think about.

I watched a movie starring one of my favorite actors, Judi Dench, called Ladies in Lavender last night. A scene in which Dench is lost in thought about missed opportunities in her life and future choices she must make remains in my thoughts. Dench is lying casually on her bed with daylight crossing her face showing how lost in thought she is. The scene hangs in my memory because the impression given was that she had been lying there thinking for a long time. I realized that I have not had an opportunity to be lost in thought for quite a while.

I remember days as a young child daydreaming for hours. Do children have time to do that today? Are their days so programmed with activities or so filled with technological temptations that they fail to exercise their thinking muscles and in turn their imagination growth? Are we becoming a nation of doers and not thinkers?

I guess this is why activities such as camping and canoeing appeal to my soul. There is usually time for thought. Walking is another thought-provoking activity I enjoy.

I have decided that getting a little more peace in my life for thought and helping others realize how important thought is will be a new goal in retirement. The next time someone asks me what I will do when I retire, I will answer "Think more."


  1. Well, you will surely have more time to think when you retire. I missed that Dench film, but I w ill look for it.

  2. Tabor, Thank you for this well thoughtout and expressive post about aging and taking time to reflect.

    I love the movie you mentioned "Ladies In Lavender", and isn't Judi Dench wonderful in that role.

    I have this film taped on my cable channel and watch it again and again.

    Judi Dench, according to IMDB will be 73 in December. What a great actress.

  3. I can't recall the last time I was able to sit or lay still in thought long enough to have light cross my face.

    Your post does, however, instill in me a deep need to get my daughter and myself out and about into the fresh air to relfect on life and the beauty around us.

  4. Anonymous12:59 PM

    In this country too, we do everything we can to fill our children's days with so many things that they have no time to daydream whatsoever. Or to do their homework (don't forget, I am a former teacher) and I'm not optimistic about the future of our country populated with non thinkers!
    And yes, retirement is the right time to change and take your time.

  5. I do try to take time to sit and be still, not proper meditating, but with a cup of Earl Grey tea in the morning before the day starts. I watch my mind wandering but dont come back to my breath as I do in meditation.

    But I am right with you on the lack of time - and also enjoying Ladies in Lavender. A lovely film.

  6. Anonymous9:17 PM

    It's so nice when someone notices that thinking is intentional, time-consuming, and a legitimate use of our talents. Thinking, musing, reflecting on our lives; it makes meaning. It's important. Thanks for reminding us. ML, Full Fath.

  7. This is a beautiful and very timely post (for me). You know, just the other day, my older sister asked me why I think I have anxieties and when I said, "Who knows?" she asked if I take the time to meditate. I said 'no' without giving it much thought (ironically). In fact, I do meditate. I spend countless hours down at the dock of the pond, watching, listening, alone but not lonely. I've learned so much through observing the birds of prey, the tiny pond life and the colorful song birds. Animals have it right. They don't really think about 'thinking' ... they just do it.

    Most excellent post!

  8. Anonymous1:39 AM

    Well, ya know I was thinking the other day that I hardly feel 49, maybe more like 25. We weren't able to bear children, so my friends and their children became our own, and so doing we experienced the same separation anxieties.
    We don't look or feel like our elders. For me, personally, I can still run like the wind, though at times, my memory will fail me. I think of times, and songs, gone by and sometimes really wish I could change things that I mis-understood. If this is meant to be, it will be accepted by the recipient of long ago, when times were free and horseback riding in Milpitas the norm. I must appoligize for the transgressions of my youth.

  9. An excellent thought Tabor! And an excellent goal.
    I loved Ladies in Lavender. Judi Dench is a wonderful actress.


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