My daughter Laura's almost daily blog reviews The Nesting Place today and is getting a record number of responses. She zeroes in on an issue in the book that I have been thinking about as I have kept up this retirement blog. I quote from the end of her long and rather acerbic review:
Which brings me to another issue that’s been bothering me about this book. It’s celebrating “imperfection” and how we’re all imperfect, and she’s imperfect too! And we’re supposed to like her more for all her flaws. I know people love this narrative. People have written me that their favorite blog posts are ones in which I’ve talked about my struggle to lose weight, my falling off the wagon with running, etc. This sometimes makes me feel like an anthropologist studying a culture, because I really don’t understand why people find these low moment narratives as compelling as they do. It’s not just my belief that life isn’t lived in epiphanies; non-fiction cannot always contort itself into the hero’s journey. The issue is that I’m more drawn to people’s talents and achievements. I want to get to know Smith because she’s an incredibly creative designer, not because she and her husband got into 6-figures of debt. I want to learn from her decorating ideas, not feel better about myself because hey, she has flaws and I have flaws too.
I have not posted compelling "low moment narratives." My blog postings have been almost always upbeat this year. Even when they are about aging bodies or unfulfilled goals, they usually end in thankfulness. Do I feel that way all the time?
No, but I don't write on the days or nights when I am a bit bored or worried or restless. Maybe I don't want to share all that much about the down times. But the truth is that there have not been many down times--yet!
This past week I was beginning to think that I needed more structure in my life and more ways to be of help to others. I prayed about it. Was my first answer to prayer my daughter's request to come help out in July when her nanny has a week off and she is under a deadline? Maybe it was. I hope to be able to help her out!
I researched local volunteer options online and may look into our wonderful library that has provided me with such immediate results when I request anything. I hope an opportunity will present itself to use my skills and experience to teach an illiterate adult to read. I know they are out there but we need to find each other.
I have not regretted for a moment that I made the decision to retire. Life has been good. I don't need to "re-invent" myself--a phrase I have read more than once for retirees. But I do need to look for opportunities to help others in ways that I can really enjoy myself too. Any suggestions?
And why the tulip photo? These flowers with their beautiful and unlikely combination of colors were in front of the Notre Dame's Snite Museum of Art this week. They are a work of art in themselves and I wanted to share them!