In past years I have put our grill away for the winter with a cursory cleaning. This January I took it all apart and gave it a thorough cleaning. Today I took it out of storage and set it up. I decided to look at the owner’s manual. (I knew where it was!). I wanted to find out about a chain that hangs inside the left door. It is a match holder that Weber had thoughtfully added. I may try to figure out something more useful for it. But I also found out that the starter was not broken, as I thought it had been for the last two years. It just needed a new battery. I didn’t even know that it had one!
This and so much more is part of retirement. Retirement is, within one’s means, a time of doing what you want. Retirement is a time of getting up without an alarm, except on rare occasions. Retirement is a time to reflect on life, or it can be.
I have often envisioned retirement as the time during which I would read the classic Western philosophers — Plato, Aristotle, Augustine of Hippo, Anselm, Aquinas, and so forth, down through the ages. I have envisioned retirement as a time to read history. I have envisioned retirement as a time to delve into cooking. I have envisioned retirement as a time to devote to our garden and landscaping, to our house and to travel. I have envisioned retirement as a time to devote more time to prayer and reflection. Mary and I our members of The Renaissance Society at California Sate University in Sacramento. This helps me be inspired about the reading. So far, gardening has been a project in I have started with vigor. Thus far, deferred house repairs remain deferred. (I need to leap in, even if I don’t know what I’m doing.). And so far I have avoided the opportunities for prayer and contemplation.
I want to get up early in the morning for prayer and reflection and for reading and writing. Sometimes (like this morning), I am successful about doing that. Often times I am not. I am not because retirement is also a time when we can and do watch the late night talk shows and movies and Masterpiece mysteries without worrying about getting up the next morning.
Throughout much of my adult life one of my shortcomings has been setting goals that are somewhat out of reach. I set the “stretch goals” and forget to set smaller intermittent ones in order to reach the final step. (I decided to learn German as part of my graduate studies. I started with Heidegger’s Being and Time. I have not finished.) Perhaps for me retirement is a time to learn how to set more attainable goals that can lead to a more reachable success, like thoroughly cleaning my barbecue grill.