I officially began my retirement in 2015… so I’m five years into it. A few things remain the same, but most things are a little different. I’m intentionally trying to slow things down, relax more and enjoy what is left of my life. I’m still painting, but not as much. I sort of feel like I can work as hard as I always have, but I know I’m getting older, so I made the decision to get rid of all my tall 32 ft. ladders (I recycled them). I just work now with a 20-footer. Besides not doing high work, I have also cut down on my hours. Instead of 8 or 9-hour days, I limit it to six hours; and I also take a 3 or 4-day break between jobs. But I want to tell you that my work is just as good as it always was, maybe even better. Since I’m trying to slow things down, I’m paying more attention to details. I love my work and also my faithful customers; and I will be working just as long as I can hold a brush and do a good job.
As for my writing, I think I am writing more now than ever. I have more time to write and I think I’m even better at it. I guess the more you read and write and experience life, the better you get at it. At present I am just finishing up my book After the Rapture, and I am also almost finished with this book on my life story—although I haven’t thought of a title for it yet. What’s next? I don’t know, but I’m sure God will nudge me to write something. I have some ideas but nothing solid yet.
Another area of my life that is constantly changing is my relationship with my kids. They are all adults now and their families are multiplying. I already have seven, almost eight grandkids. They came so fast. Justina, the oldest of my children, age 35, is married to Rusty, and they have two kids. They live in Virginia and they both work as nurses. Anthony, age 33, is married to Crystal and they will have two kids in a month. They live in Bloomington, just a half hour drive from me. They also are both working at very good jobs. Joshua, age 31, is single. I keep telling him to remain that way—ha! He also lives fairly close to me and we get together as much as we can. Abigail (Abi) is the youngest, at 29, and she just had her fourth kid. She lives in Texas with her husband Aaron who seem to always have two or three jobs going.
I really love my kids and pray for a them, but I don’t really know them that well. I put the blame mostly on our divorce arrangement, not being able to see them except for two hours a week. But I can’t put all the blame on that. I really could have worked harder to see them more. I could have fought for it, but didn’t. I’m not real sure why. I have sort of a hermit-like nature. I naturally don’t have a great desire to connect with people, not even my own kids. It’s my own selfish nature.
But I still have hope that things will get better. I think we all are working on connecting more—texting and even calling. And I think the more we pray for each other the better it will be. I also want to make regular trips to see my kids and grandkids in Virginia and Texas. That would be good—for them and for me.