My Backyard is Happier Without Me

The best part of traveling (except when traveling to a fabulous fun & friend-filled place like Capitol Reef) is coming home. It’s wonderful to lie down in a bed that conforms to your body while the washing machine hums in the background while tackling the first hill in a mountain range of laundry. When it squeals during the spin cycle, you know that all is well; you’ve heard it before, and it will live to spin again (and again, and again). It’s the peace that results from knowing which screeches to worry about, and which to ignore, that makes a house a home. Knowing what to expect is reassuring and comforting.

When we headed out to Northern California in our little Chinook, the backyard was freshly mowed, and plants had sprouted with a good bit of greenery above ground. I like green. It’s my favorite color, but when we returned home the plants had produced thousands of brightly-colored blooms. These blooms were bigger and brighter than ever before. I’ve nurtured these plants for years, and in my absence, they decide to produce a plethora of pretty flowers. It made me feel kind of un-needed.

When I retired, I vacillated between wanting my former co-workers to miss me and to forget me. I wanted to be remembered for doing a good job, but I also wanted the program I coordinated to continue to be a success. I have to admit, I didn’t necessarily want it to be more successful in my absence (like my backyard just proved to be) than it was while I was at the helm. After a full six months of retirement, I still occasionally experience a sense of panic that I’ve forgotten to go to work. It’s like my recurring nightmare where I have forgotten to attend a class I’m enrolled in, and the final is tomorrow. I’ve even forgotten where and when the class meets, and I’m not wearing any pants.

We’re home now, and the backyard looks beautiful. I’m retired, and the program I once coordinated is being managed by a bright and talented young woman. I’m kind-of depressed about the whole thing.

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