A Reflection on Aging in General and Launching a Career after 60 in Particular
In the past few years, I’ve developed a mental file I call “My Life’s-Too-Short Bin.” It’s pretty much the opposite of a bucket list. Instead of containing things I want to do before I kick the bucket, it holds things I really don’t have time for anymore.
Here are a few short examples of activities that have gone into my “life’s-too-short” bin in the past.
1) Watching most of what’s on t. v.
2) Being an officer in any club or group.
3) Hanging the wash on the line outside.
4) Making pizza from scratch.
Here’s an example of an activity that’s entering my “life’s-too-short” bin.
If you’ve read my previous blog installment, you know how much I admire my father’s gardens.
So, a couple of years ago after my daughter gave me a copy of Mel Bartholomew’s ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING, I decided that the time had come for me to have a garden, too. And with the ambition of growing my own tomatoes for BLTs and the fervor of the newly converted, in the spring of 2010, I set about it.
First, I sank lots of time planning in a vegetable garden even before I actually started. Next I went out and bought bags of compost, special dirt, and mulch; seeds and sets; and fencing materials. Mostly by hand, I dug two garden beds, each about 4’ wide by 8’ long in the sunny part of the back yard and narrow rows by the south and north fences for peas and beans. After enriching the dirt originally in the yard with compost and special dirt, I planted tomatoes, broccoli, squash, cucumbers, bush beans, peas, some kohlrabi, lettuce, chard, and more tomatoes. I mulched the sets. After that, I built fences around and over the seeds and sets I’d planted to keep out rabbits, squirrels, possums, and last year, a mother raccoon with three precious babies.
And for my efforts, that first year I harvested a few handfuls of beans and peas, darned few tomatoes, and nothing much else, altogether about $10.98 worth of produce.
Now two years later, I’ve reduced my garden to my usual flowers and herbs in pots, a row of beans and another of peas in the one remaining garden plot, and three tomato plants in pots surrounded by a cage made of fencing and fine plastic mesh.
So far this summer, we’ve enjoyed several servings of very fresh peas, beans, half a dozen Early Girl tomatoes and some grape and cherry tomatoes. And I’ve had my first and second BLTs of the year. Still, when I consider how much work went into these vegetables, I’ve concluded that by next year, putting in and tending a vegetable garden might very well have gone into my “life’s-too-short” bin.
This brings me to my last example of activities I have to put in my life’s-too-short bin, one that I announce with considerable regret.
Over the last two years, I have very much enjoyed producing my “fiction addict” blogs in which I’ve described the lessons I’ve learned from reading other authors’ fiction that help me write my own. I have learned a great deal from those authors about mystery fiction, in particular, and my own writing has improved from their examples. Writing those essays has also reassured me that brain rot has not yet set in.
But writing the fiction addict pieces has slowed writing my novel way, way down and as a result, it’s also put off longer my goal of becoming a published novelist, the one item on my bucket list. So I won’t be doing that sort of blog installment anymore.
(I’m leaving all those I’ve written in the archives in case you might like to check them out.)
And, although I hope to keep writing my Late Bloomer blogs on the subjects of aging in general and launching a career after 60 in particular, I’m taking a break from all blogging activities until I finish my Work-in-Progress.
Until then, all the best, Juliet