I used to think retirement meant living a life of spontaneity. In fact, that life we used to live, which consisted of dropping in on friends any day of the week and being invited to stay for dinner, driving to another city on weeknights to take in a movie, or spending one evening or weekend day every week at the horse races has long passed. That was before we had goals. That was before everyone became so busy that they had to plan get-togethers weeks in advance. That was before it felt like an imposition to arrive on someone’s doorstep uninvited. That was before we had responsibilities.
Sometimes I feel nostalgia for those times past. Then I remind myself that living a life of spontaneity is good only as long as you don’t want to pursue a particular interest or passion, and I realize it’s too late for me to go back.
You’d think the Christmas season would be a time for spontaneity, except that it’s often more heavily scheduled than any other time of the year. That made today a great time to visit Chihuly Garden and Glass with my friend Ana, my first trip there since it opened last May. No crowds, plenty of room to pose for photos without getting in anyone’s way, friendly, unharried employees, no pressure to buy anything beyond admissions tickets, and a wonderful way to be reminded of the beauty, man-made and otherwise, that surrounds us even on these short, dark winter days.