Friday Favorites 9/20/2013

surf

Pier-to-Pier in Newport Beach

It is a sure sign of my advancing age  that when I run into old neighbors or friends I haven’t seen for a while, they ask if I’m still working.   The easy answer, which I usually give, is that I’m semi-retired.  But the truth is, I’m working nearly full time on about 30% of my days and completely retired on the rest.  It is a lifestyle that requires continual adaptation, particularly those transitions from working to not working.  Please note, in my life, not working does not mean nothing to do.  Between my writing avocation (of which this blog is part), my interests, and a fairly active senior life style with my wife, Muri, there are always things to do.  If I choose to do them.  And that, my friends, is exactly the rub in my retirement.  When life is in session and I need to be distracted, working always gave me something I had to do (at least if I wanted to be paid).  On my retired days, though, I can choose to sit and fret or play mindless computer games until I look up and see a day completely wasted.  Ask any retired male.  The words wasted and unproductive can insidiously sour a retirement, even in easy times.

So yesterday, with no work to do, I took my hyper-active brain to the beach.  Yes, the rest of me went along, too.  This is the best time of year for a someone seeking solitude to find it on our beautiful beaches.   The kids are back in school and most of the tourists are gone.  I found a spot near Balboa Pier and set up my chair.  For some reason, I love piers and from my spot in the sand, I could see Newport Pier, too, in the distance to my right.  I sat down and closed my eyes, listening to the crash of waves on the shore and the whispering of the sands as the Pacific drew its waters back again.   Like breathing in and breathing out.  Like a mantra, instant meditation.  Like the voice of God … I’m here, I’m here.  There is perhaps nothing as calming as the sound of the surf and it’s there for the listening.  Yes, parking was $3.  But Xanax is $20 a bottle, therapy’s $100 an hour, and, as the old MasterCard commercials said: Inspiration?  Priceless.  My Friday Favorite.  The only question is, why don’t I go more often?

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