For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
I like being 60. Thinking about how happy I am with this season of life, I realize that in many ways, I have returned to the things that used to give me joy before kids. I used to have a large rose garden with 50 bushes. I spent hours pulling weeds, pruning limbs, spraying for disease and pests, making sure the irrigation system worked and enjoying time outdoors. Now, I only have 19 bushes, but they are in earth boxes which means that they only require water when the reservoir is dry. I rarely need to weed or spray. If I prune when I cut blooms, the bushes are almost self-sufficient. I enjoy seeing the buds outside and having fresh cuts flowers in the house again. I also used to be a dog trainer. I taught a puppy class one night a week and trained my own dogs one or two nights a week. On weekends, I went to dog shows and collected ribbons, but mostly what I enjoyed was spending time with my dogs. That is the same goal of my current dog training endeavors. Every seminar, training session or camp builds that bond with my dogs. As my friend put it, we “withdraw a lot of trust from the bank account” when we ask our dogs to go to a triaI or learn something new, so we must invest in our relationship with our dogs during training or just spending time together. Four decades ago, I wanted to be a writer, occasionally submitting articles to newspapers, but mostly filling journal after journal with a record of my days. Now, I have published four novels and am about to complete a fifth. Understanding that those three things are some things I enjoyed once, and now, love again helps me to realize the depth of my passion for them. They are more than hobbies. They are a part of who I am. Yet, I felt I must set all those things aside when I had kids. It is hard to write a book when your child is hungry for dinner. You can’t go to dog school when you have a PTA meeting. Roses don’t weed themselves while you are at a soccer game. In other words, the adage, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is true and most dreams don’t squeak loud enough over the daily demands of what must be done at any given moment. I encourage the young moms in my circle of influence that life is made up of seasons and someday, they will once again have time to do the things that they enjoy (not to say raising kids isn’t joyful, but at least for me, every step forward included a step back). But, I think that my young friends (and old) should make it a priority to find time just for them even if it is for a small thing that gives them pleasure. Life flies by. Take time to stop and smell the roses.