B and I have been busy lately. But we've also been wondering: What's the point? Are we doing anything meaningful? Are we making any difference?
To be honest, B worries about this more than I do. Still, I look at my calendar for the week. I see that it's full of activity. But at the end of the week I wonder: Have I accomplished anything?
B is busy volunteering at her church and doing yoga at the YMCA and visiting with her new friends. I keep busy doing my blog, playing weekly golf with a group of retired guys, going to table tennis at a local club.
Fortunately, neither one of us has to spend too much time on doctor appointments. She had her cataract surgery. I go to the orthopedist now and then for a checkup on my back and my knees. We joke about how as we get older, it takes more time just to take care of our daily routines -- stretching and doing our exercises, making an effort to eat right and take our vitamins,. and ... er ... it seems we spend a lot of time looking for reading glasses, searching for car keys, and fiddling with something that's gone wrong on the computer or the phone.
Now both of us have started in on our new semester at the Center for Learning in Retirement, held at our local college. I'm taking a history course on the Civil War and a literature course on James Joyce's Ulysses. Also, B and I for the first time are leading our local chapter of the Socrates Cafe. We hope that will be interesting, and not too challenging.
But still, maybe because it's September, and even though I've been out of school for decades, there's still that feeling that we should be starting something new. That somehow we should be moving up to a new school or at least a new grade. Or maybe starting a new job.
One reason for this feeling -- this low level of floating anxiety -- may be that we've spent the last four years finding our place in retirement, relocating our home and establishing new lives. That has been a big project, and through it all we knew there was an overarching goal to our efforts.
First we spent a year decluttering our old house, fixing it up and putting it on the market. Then we spent a year living in a one-bedroom condo and traveling around four or five states looking for the place we wanted to resettle. Then, after we finally bought a new house, it's taken us two years to fix it up and to find new friends and new activities.
But now most of that has been accomplished. We're done with the house. We're settled in. We'll still be meeting new people, trying out new activities -- I'm thinking about joining our local photography club, for example -- but the major items have been accomplished. So what's next?
B is leaving in a few days to go babysit her two grandchildren in Charleston, SC, while the kids go away for a few days. She's looking forward to that. Then we're planning our November trip to see my daughter who's expecting my first grandchild.
We'll be going back to see my daughter in February, after the baby comes. We don't know how long we'll be staying at that point. We don't know how much she'll need us, or want us. But then it will be on to Charleston again. Even though our grandchildren live hundreds of miles away, we want them to know who we are, and that means we have to visit for more than a few days once or twice a year.
We have used Facetime to talk to our oldest grandson, who's 2 1/2. He's old enough now to recognize us on screen, and to interact with us to a small degree. Anyway, he's happy to see us, if his laughter and his antics are any way to judge.
I wonder: Just as we have settled here, with our focus on our new house and our new community, is our focus now going to turn once again . . . to our grandchildren and what they will mean for our future lives? I don't know. But I guess I'm coming to realize, once again, that we do our best, we try to make some impact, and then life moves on.