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My View: Do what you can while you can

By Judith Frizlen

In a moment of overwhelm, I remember saying to my octogenarian mother (who is now deceased) that I wish I could sit on my couch and just read or write all day long.

Without skipping a beat, she said that there would be plenty of time for that later. In other words, my mother was telling me that now is the time to live, to find my joie de vivre (my mom had plenty), knowing a time for quiet will come unbidden, and it’s not all it is cracked up to be.

I followed her advice, making my mother proud of my achievements, but understanding her words did not come until later.

Recently, I made a shift in my working life from an active business owner to a business founder and freelance writer. I now have quiet time to write and a beautiful environment to do it in.

Even so, I miss the people I interacted with regularly. They gave me the opporunity daily to share what I have learned from several decades of study and experience. Those interactions provided an immediate feedback loop for validation, appreciation and learning.

I realize that it is a gift to give what one has to give – it is a gift to be of service to others. My work life gifted me with so much joy, satisfaction and valuable experience.

This transition, this gap between leaving the place where I shared the fruits of my experience and creating new avenues to do so, has demonstrated how important it is to be engaged in life and to share what we have learned. It is important to live a life of purpose and meaning.

When I hear retirees say how busy they are, I have found myself wondering: What is wrong with free time? Now I get it!

They know they have something valuable to give and they find places to do it. They know that full-time free time is not something to strive for but rather to know that if or when it comes, that you will want to know that you did all you could when you could.

In a conversation about retirement, a wise friend told me that she prefers the word “entirement.” This phase of life should sum it all up.

Experience has value accumulated one day, one season and one year at a time. Retirement is not the time to withdraw from the game, it’s the time to play all your cards.

Human value ripens with age, and wisdom is earned through experience. There is no other way to gain it. It’s not the same to know something intellectually as it is to know it experientially.

Many things my mother told me have proven true. Yes, there will likely be a time of quiet, of repose in my life, but there is no need to rush into it.

We all have gifts and talents developed throughout our lives. We develop them in order to share them.

I am grateful my mother shared her wisdom. When she slowly withdrew from activity, we sat together in the quiet. There was a sense of satisfaction, of acceptance coming from my mother and it spread; we were filled up with all that had come before. It was time for quiet.

I learned how to live fully from my mother and then how to let go into repose. Until quiet time comes for me, you can find me actively engaged in life and writing, always writing. It allows me to identify and share what I value, including the words of wise women I have had the pleasure of knowing in my life.

Judith Frizlen, of Buffalo, is the founder of the Rose Garden Early Childhood Center and author of a parenting book.
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