On the Benefits of Aging

I’m curious about my growing “ability” (for lack of a better word) to be content with doing nothing, defined here as the antithesis of accomplishment.

It’s been  a couple of days since my husband and I returned from a short trip to Nanibijou Lodge, about 15 miles east of Grand Marais, Minnesota.

I spent our second afternoon sitting in an Adirondack chair on the shores of Lake Superior, the Lodge a few hundred steps behind me. The dining room would be open for dinner soon. Are there any superlatives to describe food that haven’t been over-used? Awesome; delicious; creative…they all apply, but unlike the food at Nani that they describe, those adjectives are boring.

But for now, until it’s time to go in, the mesmerizing pattern of waves on the beach leave me contented and contemplative.

I find I’m curious about my growing “ability” (for lack of a better word) to be content with doing nothing, defined here as the antithesis of accomplishment.

I’d packed a pair of hiking shoes, my Kindle, a small tin of watercolors, a brush, my leather-bound hand made journal, and my favorite pen. Except for the Kindle, all my other toys remained idle and, with only a few hours remaining in our brief but idyllic stay, I predicted that idle is how they’d remain. I was right.

I was content to watch Lake Superior’s rhythmic waves move in and out of the shoreline.

I was content to count ore boats on their way in and out of Duluth’s harbor. (Current count: zero.)

I was content to sit on the lodge’s red and yellow upper deck, dozing in and out of the chapters of Rabbi Harold Kushner’s latest book, “Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life.”

I’ve spent vacation time like this before, but guilt about not using blocks of free time working at something–a chapter in a book I’m struggling with, a hike through woods rich with pine cones begging to be painted–would nag me.

Is it that there’s something about having turned 70 that’s responsible for this new-found sense of peace? Because peace is where I’m at. (By the way, Kushner’s book is quite fine.)

IMG_0071

The dining room at Naniboujou Lodge

Author: Judy Westergard

Retired English teacher, self-taught painter, inveterate reader and still lovin' my Kindle!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s