What’s Next?

Odd Squad is a children’s program PBS. All the “agents” have names starting with O, and they investigate all manner of bizarre and absurd events. It’s funny, and my child self would have enjoyed this a lot (think Monty Python for kids). One of the characters is Doctor O. Once she’s finished with a problem, she shouts out “what’s next”. Here’s a clip if you’re interested. This seems an appropriate area of exploration for this newly retired doctor.

I’ve had ideas all along about my next. One big area is travel. Part of me would love to be a vagabond, exploring the world as my interest/curiosity dictated. I bought my van a few years back with this in mind, and in my imagination/fantasy world, I was going to spend roughly half the year vagabonding about north America in the van, and a significant portion of the rest of the year exploring other parts of the planet. As the saying goes, life is what happens while you’re making other plans. Owing to many factors, chief amongst them BA’s health issues and the covid pandemic, that plan is undergoing significant modification. Travel will still happen, but not in the same way.

So what else? How do I wish to spend my days? Creativity is important to me, exploring and learning. Physical activity and being out in the natural world. A friend of mine once mentioned that his ex-wife had described him as a serial hobbyist. He plunges deeply into something, having it be front and center in his life, until he’s done, and then he’s on to the next. I resonate with that description as well. I’ll follow an interest or passion in some depth, and when its over, it’s over. Over can be decided for many reasons, but the common thread is that it no longer feels fun or interesting enough for the time and energy involved.

I enjoy exploring something in depth, doing it, learning how it’s done, understanding how it works. This has been the case with a number of physical activities including gymnastics, figure skating, and triathlon. Sometimes I’m done with it due to external circumstances, other times the physical cost is too much, or I recognize that I’ve reached the limit of my abilities in a particular area. I’m considering reclaiming some things that have been put aside in the past owing to other priorities or obligations.

Writing is one of those things, hence my participation in this blog challenge. I’ve also been collecting other ideas I may explore. I also enjoy glass work. I’ve done some glass fusing as well as working with hot glass, primarily making glass beads. It’s fun, creative, and I get to play with both fire and color. I took a glass blowing course some years back, and while I enjoyed it, it also became clear that it was going to take a lot of time and money to develop any significant skill and probably wouldn’t be a good choice.

Color is something that intrigues me as well. In glass work, that’s a big thing, and today’s featured image is a small string of origami cranes I made during my father’s final days. Creating is fun, as is learning how something is done. I like to cook, and I enjoy figuring out how to make something tasty, although some days I’m not much interested in cooking anything.

This is Easter weekend (and Passover, and Ramadan). Religion isn’t a part of my life these days, but I do recall the fun of dying Easter eggs-that color thing again. Some were gorgeous, and on others, I discovered that too many combinations ended up at mud-colored. That reminds me of one of the things I like about working relatively small in glass–if the wondrous bead of my imagination looks more like a cowpie when it comes out of the kiln, I haven’t lost too much in terms of time and money in its creation. An ugly dyed egg still works just fine for breakfast or a snack.

At this point, I don’t know what my next will be, and of course, as we’ve all been reminded these past few years, none of us ever really knows what is next. But I’ve got some ideas. Interesting and colorful is where I’ll start.

2 thoughts on “What’s Next?

  1. I love your meandering, your searching of what’s next. At the beginning of retirement is a perfect time for this. Who will you be without the cover of your career persona? I’m like you in that once I’ve done something, I’m ready for the next thing. I could never understand my nurse peers who stayed at the hospital where we trained for their entire career. I thrived on working in new places, etc. At 80, I still love pondering about my own next! What will I be when I grow up?

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  2. Glass is fascinating — light AND color. Reading this made me remember weekends when I was teaching. I remember thinking, “It’s Saturday. I can do whatever I want.” Now that’s not so exceptional but just as wonderful and it IS Saturday and Bear and I took a long and beautiful walk.

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