Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


778 (330) The Pause

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

Our son has spent a lot of time in jail...he's a public defender. Whenever I utter this line I can see the doubt in the eye of my listener during the pause. They are wondering - about me and our son. It is the pause that is the thing. It lets ideas run around in the mind. They bounce from possibility to possibility before settling. The sentence is still wandering. The pause is the thing. The pause gives our mind time to work. It gives us time to think. It calls forth our imagination.

Timing is the thing - someone said that. I'm not sure who. But I do believe it. We need time to sort through possibilities, thoughts, and values. We need time to find out what we are thinking.

We are a society in action. We drive fast, talk fast, eat fast and multitask at whatever we can. This last week I witnessed my granddaughter watching a video, playing a computer game and texting all at the same time. How she does that I don't know. I suppose it is a few seconds here and then a few seconds there. I know I can't do it.

The thing I like best about these podcasts is that it forces me to pause and consider what is happening in my life and the life of those around me. The weekly schedule demands that I pause - and sit still with a cup of coffee and then consider whatever it is that has been occupying my retired mind.

Sometimes we just get too busy doing things that we forget to think. Not that I am against doing things. I like to be busy - busy at times. But not busy all the time and not busy without giving much thought as to why I am doing whatever I am doing. It all stems from that little line in the subheading of this podcast "consider what we are doing with our life".

Last week's podcast dealt with high school graduation and the meaning it had for me - and possibly for you. Those thoughts did not surface until I had a chance to sit down, pause, and reflect on what was happening or what had just happened. It was during the pause that the event took on deeper meaning.

It isn't easy to build a pause or time to think into our schedules today. We have so many distractions or so many attractions. A few nights ago in conversation with friends a comparison and contrast emerged concerning television shows. We all agreed that modern television offers some great viewing that is vastly superior to programing in the past and perhaps even movies today. The television series gives us depth to character, plot and setting. It is not unusual for a program to come to us in the form of a thirteen hour series. It may extend over several years and provide 50 hours of contact with the writers vision. We become "hooked" or 'addicted". We become involved. We have time to think about what is happening.

We had different preferences. We all wanted to watch what the other had seen but - we didn't have time. We could not hit the pause button in our life long enough to add another program to our viewing. Our lives are so busy that we can't pause for something that we really would like to do. There is too much coming at us. Though much of it is good it may not leave enough time for ourselves.

Television shows compete with movies, YouTube videos, computer games, music downloads and audio books. We can do all this without leaving our chair. We can sit and watch - or listen. These events may compete with reading or family conversation. The biggest looser is probably  conversation; sort of a lost art today. We know how to listen and watch machines. We know how to talk without feedback but we don't know how to give and take which is required when engaging in real conversation.

And there is the ever present phone. It has a way of interrupting at any time day or night. The phone scammers from around the world or the little sharp cherp that tells us we have a message. Many, no most of the time it is an alert to something of which we have no interest but yet it demands attention. It is like an addiction that requires action. Our quiet time is destroyed.

All of the above mentioned must be incorporated into a life of work or school for most. Retired folks have the advantage of having passed these two phases of life. We have more time to choose how we spend our minutes.

It is in these minutes saved from the world of school and work that we can experience the magic that comes with the pause. We can silence the world. We can hide out; turn off the electronic world; step out of the traffic rush and the all too frequent lunch in restaurants that are much too loud. We can just sit quietly and contemplate what we are doing with our lives. We can think, or even better we can cease to think and begin to be. We can let our mind drift idly and find that spot that is not moved by the wind of worry or influence of others.

The pause is the thing. We can pause. All we need is the awareness of what we are doing with our lives - and the intention to consider it.

This is Retirement Talk.

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