I've just had a birthday. I've lived a long time. It's funny, but I'm enjoying life more and more. It's rather strange to me, too. When I examine this conclusion, I find the answer--I want less and less of prestige, money, running around activities, rich food, expensive pastimes.
I seem to be enjoying myself more. Since widowhood, I've had to adjust to more and more hours alone. Throwing myself into another marriage didn't appeal to me. Necessity caused me to examine myself more--what caused me to be thrilled by just living?
Living simply, frugally is vital to me. Frugality doesn't mean stinginess to me--it means not to waste things--like throwing away good food (my Lab gets some, and my mulch pile some!), not buying new clothes that I really don't need or want--to be "in." Rather, as now, I'm resurrecting clothes from 25 years ago (I kept these tailored suits and dresses because the materials were superb--and they are now in fashion!) and I'm staying in my 50-year-old house (instead of moving to a swank condo), and remodeling, repairing, rearranging the antique furniture--to name a few improvements. All these activities help me to live frugally. I like the feeling that comes from not wasting!
My interests are changing too. All through school, I majored in art. Never have I used this talent professionally. I've used it beautifying my house and garden--through the years--with my husband and children. Now, there's been an itch to daily sketch and paint--garden herbs and trees--in fact to just carry a sketchbook to cement the habit of letting my pencil and paint express my feelings about the beauty of life.
After college, I went deeply into a singing career. I've said I sang for my supper and lunch countless times when invited. I learned operatic roles as well. Something paled within me. Did I really want the rigors of a professional singer? Why try so hard--I've had so much already--choir singing and family-around-the piano singing suited me more. Now, I sing inside with my garden birds!
My views are changing too. Religion is importantly present--but a different kind than my upbringing conditioned me for. It is so personal, so private--it is hard to describe--but my actions, deeds, harmonious relationships seem to show forth my inner convictions more than conventional religious activities.
LOIS ARENZ BERND