Annie Dillard once wrote “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
As I move into my mid-60’s (yikes) I realize that this idea of living a good life (whatever that is) means everything. I know I am privileged to have choice in how I live my life–not all do. Discovering a passion, letterpress, and a way to play with words has allowed me to truly slip into flow.
“According to Csikszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning.”
This often happened when I was teaching, working with young adults and helping them find some meaning in their lives (always more important than whatever was in the curriculum). But I’m certainly finding it now in my printing work.
My other joy is having time to play with my grandchildren, watch them grow, and see my own children in their eyes and smiles. I spent yesterday with two children and Sunday will see the other two. Their visits fill me up with indescribable happiness.
Now that I’m settled in my new shop (or settled in two, actually since my new press is at home), I am trying to develop a routine. Summer is not exactly the time to do that, but it’s coming slowly.
I am trying to remember how each moment matters.
Is it the dark? Or is it the cold rain?
Either way, I struggle (as my dad often did) with this weather. Nevertheless, I must pull on my boots (literally pulling on Birkenstock boots today) and head out. I am attending the University of Mary Washington Student Holiday Market as a vendor. I have to admit– this is not my favorite thing to do. Who likes selling themselves? But if I want to get my work out into the world, I have to, well, get it out into the world.
And what I know about weather is this: it always changes, much like anything, any moment in life.
There’s something about little feet, especially the feet of grandchildren. I don’t often post personal photos here, but I couldn’t resist this one. We had gone out to dinner, sitting at an outside restaurant that worked perfectly for the kids. The boy is missing. He spent the evening digging in the mulch with the fork, perfect to occupy his time and give us a moment to down our food.
Two hectic, sometimes crazy weeks with my sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, my mother, my cousins from both my mom’s side and my dad’s, my 90-year-old uncle, and childhood friends. We gather in this place, Shelter Harbor, and make new memories each summer, while living a dream started by a great-grandmother at the turn of the century. Salt water, boats, and memories can do a lot to keep love alive and families together.
“Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short.”
Ok, that title is misleading. Not everyone can do what I did to rest. My husband had ankle replacement surgery recently, and I helped in his recovery (shampooing hair, preparing meals, walking the dog, cutting the grass, etc etc). It doesn’t sound restful, but it was.
What I did while he recuperated:
- thought about printing (this was actually helpful)
- planned card text
- took some online classes
- wrote to people, real snail mail
All of this put me in a calm, relaxed frame of mind. I can tell because this week things are picking up again, and I’m finding less time to get things– you know those important “things” done. I am going to be closing the Etsy shop for a while, planning, making new cards and getting ready for fall.
And then…we’ll jump back into holiday craziness and all that comes with owning a retail space during the shopping season. I think I’ll miss napping the most. But I do have that blue sofa in the shop……