Monday, October 29, 2018

First Love

To celebrate my 60th birthday, my two sisters treated me to a baking course at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, VT. We joined eight other food enthusiasts, many who had traveled across the country, to learn how to make wood-fired flatbreads.

Kim, Laurie and Patrice at King Arthur Flour baking school.
From the moment I walked into the classroom, something awakened in me. The individual cooking stations, bright red KitchenAid mixers, large canisters of flour and sugar on the counter, along with other small bowls of measured ingredients that we'd need for our baking, transported me back to my seventh grade home economics classroom.  I came alive over the next four hours as we measured, stirred, kneaded, and baked the dough into beautiful and delicious flatbreads. 

It's not surprising that I felt so good while baking with others in a classroom setting. As a teenager, I loved cooking classes—so much so that I majored in home economics in college. This was my career path for about seven years before having children. Then, as with so many people, I headed in another direction when I pursued my master and doctorate degrees.

Fortunately, my birthday baking course reminded me how much I enjoy baking with others in a communal setting. It awakened my first love! I’ve decided I want to create more of this in my life. I'm looking for a way to bring baking and people together. Now that I know what I want, I can begin to make it happen.

A woman, who I'll call Susan, came up to me after a pre-retirement seminar to tell me how she stumbled upon her first love. When Susan was younger, she enjoyed playing the violin. As she was thinking ahead to retirement, her plan was to pick up the violin again. But, a request to play at a friend's wedding propelled her plan into action. Susan didn’t want to say no, but she also knew that it had been years since she opened her violin case. Putting her fear aside, Susan said yes. She had four months to prepare. She put herself "on the hook."  

The joy that Susan received from this experience is why she shared her story with me. She said she came alive practicing and preparing for the big event. The wedding was several months ago, but Susan continues to pick up her violin everyday. She's grateful that she didn't wait until after retirement to reconnect with her first love.

Perhaps reconnecting with your first love is a great way to add meaning and enjoyment to your retirement years. Ask yourself, "In what situations do I feel most alive?" and "What did I enjoy doing as a 12-year-old child?" Retirement is a great time to learn new skills and have new adventures, but it's also a perfect time to reignite the spark from your first love.

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

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