Last week I wrote about the word retirement being an outdated term. I suggested that for me the term Gran Finale seemed to fit this stage of life because I am living the culmination of all my life experiences and endeavoring to be the best me I ever was!
Well, the responses from some of our Vibrant Old Women readers were really interesting to me and I want to continue the conversation by addressing one of them.
Go back to the previous post and take a look at the Comment by Liz…she concluded that “ Gran Finale sounds too ‘grand’ for my life, which is really very ordinary”.
I would guess that most of us would say that our lives are ordinary, that we live each day much like the one yesterday. We wake up, eat breakfast, have a quiet-time of some sort where we think about life or count our blessings or pray, dress for the day, make a to-do list of some sort, laundry, groceries, meal preparation, house cleaning, etc. Pretty ordinary.
Recently my grandson asked, “so, Granny, what have you been doing lately?” And even though I was thrilled to hear the interest from him, I couldn’t think of an interesting response. In fact, I couldn’t think of anything to say…”hmmm, nuthin’ I think, pretty much nuthin’!” At least it got a laugh from him, but for me it was a little startling. Really?!? I couldn’t think of one interesting thing to say that I have been doing?
Well, ordinary life is kinda like that…sometimes it feels like ‘nuthin’!
But if he would have asked me what I have been thinking about or what have I been learning or how I was feeling, I could have given him long paragraphs. For me this stage of life is giving me the opportunity to think, my own thoughts, to feel, my own feelings, and to learn things about myself and the world that I never took time to realize. And no one is looking over my shoulder to see if I’m “doing it right”.
One comment by Nancy a V.O.W. in St Paul, MN said it well for me when she posted on Facebook recently, “Solitude gives me an opportunity for thinking, reading, reflection, creativity. I think I have more solitude now than ever before in my lifetime. It’s a gift.”
Yesterday in church I suddenly heard the minister say, “…the ordinary found a way to be extraordinary…” and since I had been thinking about the concept of being ordinary, my ears perked! When does the ordinary become extraordinary?
When I am able to find meaning and pleasure, satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment in the everyday tasks and experiences of my life, its extraordinary. When I am able to breath deeply with gratitude for another ordinary day, not fret over mistakes made, or judge others for overlooking me or being different from me, it’s extraordinary. When I can laugh at the changes in my body, my wrinkled skin and whiskered chin and not feel embarrassed or defective, and when I can feel contentment over having the time and need for an afternoon nap without quilt or defense, it’s extraordinary. When I think I am being my best self, it’s extraordinary!
And that’s why this stage in my very ordinary life feels like the Gran Finale. It’s me having the time and opportunity to be my best self, regardless of what I’m doing or not doing. The Gran Finale doesn’t have to be a BIG BOOM or an outrageous display. The Gran Finale is simply the best of the show.
William Martin, “The Parents Tao Te Ching” says it well, just substitute Vibrant Old Women or yourself for children …
“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable, but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them how to cry when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
Are you finding a way to be extraordinary in your ordinary life? How does it look for you?