Springing Forward

The hospice nurse says my mother no longer experiences time in the same way most people do.  Do you think it might be contagious? 

Never before in my life have I messed anything up because of the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.  Last Sunday, I was getting ready to go to church.  I happened to look down at my phone and noticed it said the time was an hour later than I thought it was.  I wondered what was wrong with my phone.  As it turns out, nothing. 

I went to church, still operating firmly in Eastern Standard Time despite all iPhone indications to the contrary.  I thought I was arriving early for Sunday School and was surprised at how full the parking lot already was.  I noticed some folks going into the church and wondered at that.  By Terri Time, it was just about an hour before the service was to start and people usually don’t arrive that early.  Finally, out of nowhere (or, maybe, out of the numerous hints that my brain was consuming but apparently not digesting very quickly), I realized that Daylight Savings Time might just have started at 2:00 o’clock that morning.   

So, I did not have a spring forward this year.  It was more like a stumble forward.  Maybe I was actually pushed directly into the path of an oncoming time change.  I think there might be a message for me in this. 

I think I may have become a little stuck in flux during this past season.  Is that an oxymoron?  Can one be “stuck” if one is in a state of “flux?”  All I know is that I think my brain has been wallowing in some sort of disagreeable sludge ever since my mom had her stroke.  I have become used to living in a nearly constant mood of sadness, anxiety, fear, and inadequacy. It has become a comfortable ooze, if not a pleasant one.  I tend to sink deeper into it rather than exerting the effort to lumber out of it.  Yes, this whole journey started back in the last Daylight Savings Time.  Theoretically, I’ve had a couple of time changes to adapt to my new circumstances. I’m not sure my transmission is that good, though.  It tends to slip.  Given my sinister slide into the emotional muck, I’d say I had no trouble at all “falling back.” 

Now that spring is here (whether I sprung with it or not), it might be a good time to recognize and acknowledge new birth.  There has been a lot of growing inside me recently.  I’ve graduated from my perception that retirement is simply well-earned rest.  I’m now seeing how retirement can and should be enriching, as well as restful.    More than two years after my move, I have started thinking of Florida as “home.”  It no longer feels disloyal to prefer my life in Florida to what I was experiencing back in California.  I believe I have learned more about myself in the past two years than in the prior 30 plus “career” years put together.  The best news about that self-education is that I am figuring out how to appreciate myself.  I’m not saying that I am all that and a bag of chips, but I think I can now safely say that I am at least the bag of chips.  

In addition to recognizing and acknowledging the new beginnings I’ve birthed since my retirement, spring seems a good time to nurture the seedlings that are beginning to sprout for other changes.  I know I’ll never be okay with my mother’s condition, but I do sometimes feel the stirrings of acceptance and reconciliation.  This spring, I want to be a gardener.  I want to tend to my mother’s heart- to fill it with beautiful flowers and plants and lovely scents to remind her how much she is loved.  I also want to tend my own heart- to heal it and love it and remind it of how much I love. 

Is spring growing season for you?  Any particular “gardening” you are planning for this year?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Happy almost spring!

Terri 🙂

6 thoughts on “Springing Forward”

  1. “I’ve graduated from my perception that retirement is simply well-earned rest.” Terri, that’s one of the best lines I’ve heard about retirement. You are so right – retirement should be enriching and restful. That balance is something that I try to strive towards. I’ve caught myself without a reply twice in the past month to the question – what’s new? I’ve been cocooning and it’s time to wake up beginning with a reply to that question other than “it’s all old”.

    1. Thanks, Mona. It can sometimes feel like every day is the same old thing, but I also think even the same old thing can give us an opportunity to do something new- a new approach, a new perspective, a new chance to make ourselves happy.

  2. Terri, you have gone through so much in one year and have progressed due to it. Remember to nurture yourself always and keep looking up! Your dear mother is being cared for and that is good. You are a dear daughter for her to enjoy as much as she can. Yes, you can nurture her as a garden is nurtured. How kind of you to think of that. You are a good friend and I appreciate all you did for me in my working days. Thanks for that too.

    Love you, Lois

    1. Thanks, Lois! I love you, too. I always hoped that, after I am gone, people would think of me as a kind, Christian woman of great integrity. Unfortunately, as I told people throughout my career, “hope” is not a strategy! I have to keep building kindness, Christianity, and integrity. It is a lifelong job- some days I do better than others. Thanks for thinking I’ve been at least a little successful at least some of the time! ❤

  3. While I’m not dealing with anything compared to you, I felt this winter was especially tough. I really wanted my January to be a great start – my vision board was Live Life. January & February certainly didn’t feel like that! While DST gave us below freezing temperatures here (the flowers are NOT happy), today is sunshine and blue sky. I’m hoping this spring will bring some new elements into my life. I really like your metaphor of nurturing the seedlings… in my case the seedlings of my dreams. A new house (right-sized) and some interesting travel. Two elements on that Live Life vision board!

    1. Hi Pat! Do you think maybe we put too much pressure on ourselves to achieve new year’s resolutions in January? First, we have all the post-holiday letdown. Then, we pile self-improvement expectations in ourselves! Besides, it is too cold to grow in the winter! Our seedlings need a little sunlight, don’t you think? Maybe spring is a better time for growth. It is kind of neat when new growth takes us by surprise, isn’t it? You think you are just going through the motions and, all of a sudden, some new understanding or passion sneaks up on you. Good luck with your house hunting and travel plans!

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