I’m changing my life.
At a time in life when the end is clearly evident on the distant horizon and the beginnings are in the mist of a distant past, it is rare to be able to find a focus for life force so satisfying and exciting that one is moved to commit, to enlist, to engage with all the vigor left in the old legs.
Eureka! I have found it.
It began with a question … What things in my life have I loved and reveled in at every opportunity? Maybe even developed some skill and expertise in them? There are a few and I list them in no particular order: Teaching, Counseling, Writing. History, Research, Travel. Problem Solving, Sharing, Serving, Learning … and Flying.
The Mission I’ve enlisted for has produced all these things in one exciting basket of heart-warming opportunity and climb-a-high-mountain, swim-a-wide-river challenge.
Two people opened this door for me. My precious wife and a stranger who became a friend. My wife recognized symptoms of staleness creeping into my life as we entered our “second retirement.” The first one of eighteen years was filled with whirlwinds of committees, chairmanships, boards, wine-clubs and many, many friends. Then illness/age leaped into the path and crushed forward progress. I’d begun to write my novels abut the time the illness forced retreat and continue to write today. But somehow, even though folks like the stories, I began to find it more work than creative pleasure. Eagerly writing two or three thousand words at a setting before morphed into writing in my head and finding excuses not to drive the keyboard. I felt it, but truly didn’t see it. She did. And acted.
Eschewing all the details, our dissolving of the dream life we’d created in retirement 1.0 and moving to Reno, Nevada, to create retirement 2.0 introduced us to some new friends. Friends with unique commonalities. My wife saw the opportunity and told new friend, “Get him involved … ”
And God said, “Let there be involvement.” And it was good.
Today I am a Colonel in the Commemorative Air Force, active in the preservation of historic warbirds and passionate about the Mission of inspiring youth, educating them on our American heritage and honoring the heroes who flew the birds in the fight for freedom. The planes are our textbooks and classrooms. But this is just a teaser.
In future blogs I will fill in the fascinating details.
And will tell you all about the “stranger cum friend” that set me on a new path for life.