By Joe Rector
Over the last year, I’ve gone through some changes in life. No, all haven’t been welcome, but each has caused me to take a look at things in a different light. Overall, I suppose the new things have been for the best.
Amy lost her job last year at the end of September. We suddenly faced what might be called a cash flow problem: not enough cash was flowing into our bank account. For a while, I was more than a bit miffed about my wife’s losing her job and the way she was dismissed. Over time, however, I just grew too weary of being mad about it. That’s a big change for a person who has forgiven but rarely forgotten. These days I only have a limited amount of energy and refuse to expend it on people or circumstances that don’t matter anymore.
A resulting change from this situation is that I took on a part time job. I was more than content in my retirement and managed to stay busy. Between writing, church projects, and “honey-do’s,” my days were filled with activities. It took a bit of time to get used to working again. The hours have been sometimes long, and the pay is low, but the guys with whom I work are fun and the days pass fast. Folks are surprised when I tell them I’m out of retirement because they know how much I’ve enjoyed it. That nothing is permanent in this life has become glaringly apparent.
I’ve made a commitment to become a good grandparent. Since Madden’s arrival six years ago, I’ve come up short on some attempts at it, and let’s just say my grade as a grandfather has hung around a C-. I want that to change, and with my grandson being a bit older now, I can better relate to him. I’ve told him that doing things are what I do best. No, I don’t play games and never have had much of an imagination. However, I’ll play ball, take hikes, ride mowers, or complete chores with the boy anytime. Maybe I can do a better job in the years to come. I’d like to think that after I’m gone that Madden will have good memories of me.
My writing has also taken a different turn. Time is limited these days, so I’ve had to be more directed in my efforts. Being able to spend days at the keyboard and producing a few more books or editing the two waiting on the computer would be nice. However, these days my limited time for writing is dedicated to this column or other shorter pieces. The saving grace for continuing to develop this gift is that I meet with a group of writers each month (if work allows). I believe that the good lord gave me the ability to write, no matter how well it is done, and I must never let it go.
Perhaps the biggest change in life these days deals with my perspective. It’s occurred to me that I’ve not only reached the top of the hill of life but have also come halfway or more down the other side. Dreams are about short term things—vacations, activities, gatherings. It is so difficult to realize and accept that most of my life is in the rear view mirror. I don’t plan to lie down and wait for the end, but thoughts about it do come more often, and I wonder what it will entail. I miss some of the things about my youth, but the blessings that have come through the years make wanting to go back unappealing. Like many older folks, I now am a bit more philosophical and introspective. Ah, piling up years, you change us so quickly.
Oh, I don’t doubt that some folks who know me will question just how I’m different. Maybe it’s not something that is outside but a change from inside, a feeling that I have and the way I look at things. I’m living from a new perspective now. Life is still good, and relationships are stronger than ever. I am happy; I am content; and I am thankful. It’s all a matter of outlook.