We are all doing life in one way or another. If I am ‘doing life’ I want to make it the best, I can. To do this I pause along the roadside of life and create a few ‘I can’ moments. I can do it; I can complete a difficult task; I can achieve my goals – I CAN! But then apart from all those ‘I can’ moments in my life there are other moments that are just rather ordinary.
I am in my retirement years – I have retired from work. But that does not mean I have retired from life. I am ‘doing life.’ I am living life, doing the ordinary as best I can and looking for occasions to unearth the extraordinary.
What about your life? How are you doing life? How should we define ourselves? By a career, a position in a corporation or business, or by our achievements and success? There is nothing wrong with aiming for the apex of success. But alongside this what type of person have we become?
What are we doing when we are doing life? What values underpin our life? These can include kindness, courage, integrity, respect, responsibility, justice, wisdom, fairness, and forgiveness. I often ask myself how many of these values shape my life! We can define ourselves when looking at our character or we can define ourselves by what we do, that is a job.
If I defined myself by my career (when at work) then what would happen when work was no longer part of me ‘doing life?’ Would I get depressed? Would I be unhappy? Would I lose my sense of meaning, my sense of purpose? That is why there are good reasons to transition into the retirement phase of life. Then when in the transition time, it is time to do the things you love. Doing life in retirement is full of opportunity and an occasion for doing it your way.
Albert Einstein said, ‘If you want to live a happy life tie it to a goal not to people or things.’ This is good advice. If we expect others to make us happy, we might become disappointed and disillusioned. People do not always come up to our expectations. Then if we expect things to make us happy such as money, fast cars, first-class travel after a while we might find the shine and our happiness fading.
Was Einstein in his quote asking us to examine ourselves and our motives when we are doing life? If we put our trust in people and things, life may not turn out the way we hope. If we focus on a goal and give it direction and momentum, we can find fulfillment once we achieve our target.
Even then our goals can be quite ordinary. My goal since Thursday was to work out the glitch with my blog website. Technology!! I could not sit around all day trying to resolve the problem. Therefore, my One & Only (O&O) and I set a few goals and moved outside into the garden.
Firstly, we shopped for paint and painted our timber back fence (privacy screening) with deck paint. He was on one side and I was on the other side. It is works well with two doing the job and it is done in half the time. I spent time weeding down one side of our house and pruned our citrus trees. I shovelled soil from the chicken run into a bucket to add to the soil around the trees. That chicken poo will be great nourishment for the trees. I am hopeful next winter we will harvest a bumper crop of oranges, lemons, mandarins and limes. My O&O has also been busy doing life in the garden – weeding, pruning and planting.
Oriental liliums are one of my favourite flowers. The bulbs we planted a few years ago were all dug up by the brush turkeys. Living close to bushland is wonderful. The downside is coping with the turkeys. It is like doing life with people who do not live up to our expectations. As the saying goes – it is hard to fly with the eagles when we are stuck on the ground with the turkeys!
Last week I came across lilium bulbs when out shopping. I bought four. My O&O made wire cylinders to protect the bulbs and deter the turkeys. He dug the holes while I supervised. He replaced some of the older soil with compost and covered the bulbs with more compost and leaf mulch. Then the wire cylinders were placed over the bulbs and secured in place with bamboo stakes on either side (using cable ties). It was a marathon.
But the effort to protect the bulbs will be worth it. Come December we will have sensational flowers to cut and bring inside the house. I will be enjoying the extraordinary fragrance of our home grown liliums. Working in the garden and planting bulbs is an ordinary goal. Yet, it is a place where we can create our own happiness – simply doing life!