Friday, June 23, 2017
Summer has arrived. Days are longer, temperatures higher. The sun shines brighter against the azure skies, while campfires cast a glow on starry nights. Life is easier, stress lower. The shorter hours of darkness give us time to do more, to pursue more, to complete more.
Amidst the clamour of this busy, busy world it's as if we have suddenly earned moments to kick back and relax. Work is shifted, or even dropped, for a round or two of golf. Weekend chores are put on hold as we head off to the beach. We give ourselves that one extra chapter in the book, one more morning coffee. It's like a hint of what life will be like when we can leave behind the toil of the workaday world.
Having reached a certain age the notion of retirement has presented itself on occasion in recent months. It's a word I've heard attached to negative connotations by a few others, who fear the notion of a life unfulfilled, of long days with nothing to do. Personally I can't imagine it. Though gainful employment might be gone, I, like Oliver Wendall Holmes, love to play and doubt I'll be quitting that any time soon. Extra time in which to do it can only be a good thing to my mind.
I look to my parents too and the joy they found in their 'golden' years. They were fortunate and retired early, both of them by their mid-50s. They spent summers at their vacation spot in a popular lakeside resort town. My father took up golfing and enjoyed endless hours on the links with his friends and grandsons.
My mother, who defined the term social butterfly, made it her personal mission to become acquainted with everyone she met. Her place became the one for coffee breaks with homemade treats, for knitting and crocheting lessons. Moments without conversation were whiled away in the kitchen where she pursued her love of baking, before the TV, knitting needles in hand while watching her favourite soap, or walking, where she typically made at least one new friend.
Summer evenings were spent with drinks at campfires or in a friendly game of cards when rainy skies shooed them indoors.
Winters, for many years, meant weekend dances at their favourite haunt. Drinks and cards at the Legion, coffee chats at local restaurants were just some of the activities that kept them moving. For a long, long time they celebrated retirement and played. Well.
So unlike some people I'm not remotely fearful of the word retirement. It is to me synonymous with useful leisure. In another recent blog, I spoke of retirement and of the interests I might pursue. Because then there will be time. I can't see anything negative about that.
The majority of retirees that I know are active, fun-loving and ready to go. They travel, seeing the world and learning about new cultures. They volunteer, able now to pursue selfless activities that interest them. They socialize, able to fit in those visits that they've long had to put on hold. And, yes, they play any way they can — golfing, bowling, dancing, and on and on.
You can see every element of retirement and its possibilities, including some humorous takes on the topic, with these terrific clipart collections:
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
I am one of those people for whom the word retirement is finding its way into conversations with increasing frequency. The majority of my friends and acquaintances are already happily welcoming Monday mornings in the same manner they welcomed Saturdays for decades. They enjoy days of coming and going as they please, time spent in interests and pursuits of their making and for their pleasure.
They have finally achieved something close to a hedonistic lifestyle. Let it be said, however, that not one of them should be relegated to any presumed stack of grey-haired uselessness either. They are all living life to the fullest, passing hours committed to charitable deeds, socializing and the proverbial pursuit of happiness.
There is time for rest, too of course. Not, as Sir Lubbock averred, in idleness, but in moments savoured, in life and nature appreciated. They have ultimately found the time to take a break and a breath in this busy, busy life.
And then there are the hobbies. All of the untapped talents, the unexplored interests, the passions are suddenly pursued with abandon. They have become quilters and golfers, travellers and potters. Rather than filling a few spare hours not dedicated to full-time employment, they now give the things they want to do more attention than that which needs to be done.
As they zealously celebrate this reward for jobs well done over the bigger part of their lives, they continue to throw out the word to my husband and I. "When", they urge, "are you retiring." On this subject, however, we continue to be staunchly evasive. Not because we don't have some idea of the when; just that we prefer to not commit at this time.
It is, however, coming close enough that I have begun to seriously consider what interests will occupy my time during retirement. The one thing that keeps coming forward is photography. Having spent 21 years working in journalism I discovered a pleasure in capturing images that I had previously not known existed. With the arrival of my grandchildren that has only intensified. Those faces brighten every day and preserving them at each stage of this all-too-swiftly passing life is my focus.
However, with the pressure of deadlines, my education in using the image editing software was rudimentary at best. A crash course taught me what I needed to know to get the job done, and the hectic schedule left little time for advancing my limited skills.
Enter the 21st century and I'm starting to feel a little left behind. Everyone, from graphic designers to grandmas, is talking about image editing software for their projects, while my abilities have continued to stagnate. Let's face it. What's required for getting a weekly newspaper together doesn't generally get put to a lot of use when you step outside that atmosphere.
And what tends to pop up on the internet for education is often quite advanced. Seeing so many tutorials for everything from creating vectors to mastering 3D effects, I got to wondering if there's any hope for novices to catch up on their own. A few years ago I decided to scope out some tutorials geared specifically to beginners — Photoshop 101 you might say — and actually was pleased to discover there would be plenty of opportunity to up my skills when I was ready. Here's that list again, with a few new additions:
101 Photoshop Tutorials From Competent to Magnificent
mashable.com 12 Beginner Photoshop Tutorials
psdtuts+ 50 Photoshop Tutorials for Clever Beginners
makeuseof.com 10 Must-Know Introductory Photoshop Skills for Beginning Photographers
The Ultimate Photoshop Tutorial for Beginners
Photoshop Essentials Basics