There are days when my thoughts about living a more meaningful life come in waves, either knocking me off balance or forcing me to dig my feet in to prevent that from happening. Evenings are worse, especially if I’m curled up on the sofa watching ‘The Biggest Loser’ or ‘The Voice’ – yet again. Then the little devils get really prickly, thrumming like a run of xylophone mallets at my badly tuned conscience. Finally, tired of being knocked over and plinked upon, and determined to overcome the delightful reluctance I’ve developed to ever be meaningful again now that I’ve jettisoned my 9- to-5 (read 8-to-7) hamster work-wheel, I ask a well-placed neighbor if my old skills might be useful to my lovely community of mountain men and women. With startling rapidity, the waves recede, and the xylophone mallets strike with soft and sweet precision. I sign up for, and on to, meaningfulness. It happens like this:
“Hi, Mrs. Stevenson, this is Roger Watley, community director. I’ve just received your email and wanted to call you personally and welcome you to our Association. Very pleased indeed to have you on board.
“Oh, thank you, Mr. Watley. How kind of you to call.
“Not at all – and please call me Roger.”
“Of course – and I’m Cynthia”.
“I wanted to let you know that some of our program chairs are meeting in the Gristmill next Thursday evening to discuss the plans we’re working on – and I wonder if you might be interested in attending as my guest. I see you have experience writing newsletters, and that you worked as a business consultant and marketer. I’d like the other program chairs to meet you if you have the time. We’re looking at several new directions for (description of needs and objectives) so any thoughts or ideas you might want to contribute would be welcomed, I’m sure”.
“That’s very kind of you, Roger. I’d be happy to join you.
“Great! I’ll email you with further details. And again, thanks for your interest.”
“My pleasure”. My what? Oh, never mind..
Did I hear you sigh in disbelief at the thought of a happily retired senior citizen running with new-found enthusiasm to morning coffee meetings and evening brainstorming sessions in the Gristmill? You didn’t? That was me?
OK, so it’s wonderful to have the time to chat on Facebook with family and friends all over the world and keep my mind active with online classes. It’s wonderful to hit the trails with a husband and dog who enjoy hiking as much as I do. It’s wonderful to feel my breath catch in my throat at the sight of a spotted owl flashing into a thicketed perch, or an eagle swooping above my head, its wings casting long, racing shadows on the ground ahead. It’s wonderful to have a garden that I’m working hard to reclaim from rocky soil so I can plant every perennial that has the slightest chance of withstanding sub-zero winter temperatures and the salivating jaws of the young deer that wander through it. And it’s wonderful to see scattered rocks metamorphose into artfully designed borders for my shrubs and plants. But on its own, it’s not enough. I still have something to give; something that others need.
I rub at the crick in my neck, and smile as I stretch my arms above my head. A warm, creeping glow of meaningfulness makes its way up my spine.