Saturday, August 31, 2019

Choose the Bigger Life

Gretchen Rubin writes in her book Outer Order—Inner Calm, “When trying to make a tough choice, challenge yourself: ‘Choose the bigger life.’”
I kept this quote in mind while vacationing in Iceland this past week. The first stop on our tour was Seljalandsfoss, a waterfall that you can walk behind. As Dave and I approached it, he said, “Are you going to go behind it?” Without hesitation I said, “Yes.” From the backside I experienced the exhilaration of water falling 65 meters over an old sea cliff. Even though the climb was more challenging than I expected, I’m glad I chose the bigger life. 

Another stop on our itinerary was hiking into a glacial ice cave. I was expecting a beautiful walk surrounded by blue ice and stalactites and stalagmites. Maybe something like you’d see in Disney’s Frozen movie. Instead, because of the lava particles, the glacier was black. When our guide showed us how to strap ice cleats to our hiking boots I knew this was not going to be what I expected. Still, I pulled on the cleats and made my way into the cave. I tasted 3,000-year-old ice. Cool. Well, cold. I chose the bigger life. 

Philosopher Henry David Thoreau wrote, “I love a broad margin to my life.” I like to imagine a sheet of lined paper with wide margins—space to write my bigger life.

The late Maya Angelo reminds us, "Because of the routines we follow, we often forget that life is an ongoing adventure." Similarly, Robin Sharma, best-selling author and leadership expert, says, “Don’t live the same day for 75 years and call it a life.”

Instead, choose the bigger life.

Copyright 2019. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Return to What You Know

My mom taught me to sew when I was in the fifth grade. And for the next 30 years, I sewed something almost every day. During that time I had a baby quilt business and also designed and manufactured my own line of children’s clothing. Most days you’d find me walking around the house wearing a tape measure as if it were a necklace. 

These days I don’t sew very often, so yesterday when I made new cushion covers for a wicker chair, I noticed how good it felt to have a tape measure around my neck.  I sensed I was returning to a familiar activity that brings great satisfaction. I was rediscovering the simple pleasure of sewing.

Retirement is a perfect time to learn new skills and explore different interests and hobbies. And it’s also a time to return to what you know—especially if you feel like everything has changed. This was the case for Ruth Reichl, former Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine, a role she held for 10 years until the magazine came to an abrupt closing in 2009.

In her book, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Save My Life, Reichl writes, “My kitchen year started in time of trouble, but it taught me a great deal. When I went back to cooking I rediscovered simple pleasures, and as I began to appreciate the world around me, I learned that the secret to life is finding joy in ordinary things.”

As you work to create a meaningful retirement, remember what used to bring joy and satisfaction. Then go do more of that.

Copyright 2019. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.