Next month marks two years since I retired. The time flew by with travel including the Big Dogs Road Trip and other excursions, nose work trialing and training, many quilts sewn, over one hundred books read, the acquisition of a swim spa, and creation of a huge garden. At the top of my accomplishments is helping to take care of our grandson who has changed my world. In fact, this once professional would be quite content to sit in a rocking chair with him the rest of my life. Except, he is growing so fast and now prefers to play and move rather than sit in a chair with Grammie!
Other than Big Dogs Road Trip, I have done little writing. I was recently convicted that I am squandering my gift. Restarting this blog is like putting my toes in the spa water on a winters day. I know I will like it once I am fully immersed but getting in takes a bit of time and courage.
Last week, I did something else I haven’t done in a long time, I gave a talk to a group of people. Instead of a history talk, I spoke about Big Dogs Road Trip as part of a travel series for our local library. The audience of about forty-five people seemed to enjoy the presentation and laughed in all the right places. It was fun reviewing our travels and recounting memories with Glen and the girls. I was reminded of why it is important to record those events.
I was also reminded of the importance of encouragement. A woman came up to me after the talk and poured out compliment upon compliment. I wish I could have recorded what she said for the future, but what I remember included such things as how creative, intelligent, and witty I am. She said I was an excellent writer and speaker and knew how to engage an audience. She finished by telling me to continue to bring joy and laughter to the world. I just wanted to sit down and ask her to say it all again slowly so I could write it all down and repeat it to myself every morning.
On my way home, it occurred to me how often these days, I refer to myself as stupid or dumb. I should have done something differently or said something differently. I should have left more time, spent more time, taken more time. But the kind woman’s statement lingered with me. I am not stupid. Maybe, I am careless or wasteful sometimes, but I am not dumb.
Her words changed not just my day, but my outlook. Since that time, when I’ve caught myself thinking I was dumb or stupid, I’ve repeated one of her compliments to myself. It also reminded me that I’ve always believed that the purpose of writing is to encourage others. I haven’t done much of it lately, but plan to rectify that omission starting today.
In the meantime, march over to the mirror and say this to yourself, “I am,” then fill in the blank with a compliment. I’m kind, I’m resourceful, I’m generous, I’m loving, I’m SMART, I’m creative, I’m funny. I’m a great cook, writer, speaker, singer, babysitter, artist, encourager, mechanic, builder. I work hard, take care of myself and others, know when to rest, hold fun parties, give good gifts, listen, play. I save money, paper, the environment, turtles, dogs, cats.
Because YOU aren’t stupid. And neither am I.