There is something about digging up soil that is so therapeutic. Digging and planting new plants is a reminder about how beautiful life is. I love planting and watching them grow, but they do need nurturing if they are going to make it. That is what takes the time and retirement gives me more time to take care of them properly. The weeds are pulled out a little sooner now and I also seem to have more time to simply enjoy them.
Over the years I have changed the way I garden. Instead of buying mostly annuals, I have switched to more perennials. Using the Internet, I try to buy plants that bloom at different times so that there is always something new blooming. Additionally, I created a
Fairy garden under our front tree. It’s not exactly the way I want it yet, but it sure has been a way to use my creativity.
Gardening is a lot like life. Each season of life brings something new. Sometimes we can plan it and sometimes we can’t. Looking at the calendar, I realized this year is almost half over. I stopped for a moment to see if I was taking time to tend to my life and start new things that will help me grow. The answer is yes. I have challenged myself to continue to read the authors that I admire and want to learn from. Joining a The Jerry Jenkin’s Writer’s Guild has given me many opportunities to expand my own craft. Even though as a teacher I taught writing, I have a lot to learn. I had a Twitter Chat discussion about writing with Book Baby which was very informative. I also have joined groups online to talk about writing and books I was reading. I am learning a new program for my pictures called Canva. That has been such fun! I also have been blogging for our local Pregnancy Resource Center.
Nurturing my own growth also means my spiritual health. Retirement has given me the time I need to grow in my relationship with God. He’s given me so much and I just take time daily to thank him for the many gifts he has given me. There are so many ways to do Bible study online. I just completed my second one with Faithgateway and am so excited that they will start a new one in a couple of weeks. We watch a video online (weekly) and do the study on our own (or with a small group). Once a week we join the group online to discuss the questions (which lasts for an hour). I wasn’t sure I would get much out of doing a study like this, but I am here to say it was amazing and I learned so much from the others in the group.
Gardening also reminded me that I need to tend to my own body, too. Age seems to bring many new aches, pains, or changes that can be become challenging if we lose control (like balance and strength) . I started a new 21 day fitness challenge and am on day 14. What a difference! Just go at your own pace, with approval from your doctor, and listen to your body. My body said ouch more than once. But I didn’t stop because being retired and older means you still need to keep in shape. Exercise is something that we don’t always look forward to, but the benefits outweigh the pain.Those friends who don’t exercise seem to have more health issues.
Lastly, retirement can be a time to be more generous. Generosity can come in many different forms. Maybe it means sending an e-mail or text with encouragement. It might mean having a cup of coffee and listening to a friend in need when you would rather be doing something for yourself. Sending a card to someone who is alone may lift their spirits. The flowers in the garden might be a great gift for a lonely widow. Gently used books could be a comfort to someone who is bedridden or perhaps for the ICU waiting room. Of course, money is also a way to become more generous. I like to do it anonymously. The possibilities are endless.
So how is your gardening going? Are things blooming or are the weeds choking the new opportunities out? Try some new things. You will see how much you will grow and how fulfilling life can be.