March 20, 2015 by Jean
As the days get longer, the snow begins to melt, and the sap rises in the sugar maple trees, I find that my enthusiasm for getting out, doing things and meeting people is also rising. Last week, I went out to a movie with my friend Anne on Sunday, went to a lecture at the McLaughlin Garden on Wednesday, and met my friend Jan for breakfast on Friday. This week, my W.O.W. retiree group met for lunch and a book discussion on Monday, I gave a talk on garden blogs as part of the McLaughlin Garden’s winter lecture series on Wednesday, and planned a trip to Portland to visit with my friend Joyce on Friday.
Beginning next week, I’m going to be adding two scheduled activities to my weekly calendar. My Senior College course on “Forests and Fields of Maine” begins on Friday and will meet every Friday afternoon for six weeks. On the spur of the moment, I also added a Thursday activity when I received an email from the Portland Public Library announcing a new “creative aging” program, a 10-week free vocal workshop. The announcement described the program this way:
Participate in exploring a variety of musical genres, with lots of laughing, and time for coffee and socializing as well. Meet your neighbors, learn (or re-learn) to sing with abandon, and reap the benefits of adding texture, connection, and years to your life.
I did a lot of singing early in my life. I sang a solo for my kindergarten’s end-of-year program for parents and was regularly called on by my first-grade teacher to stand at the front of the class and lead the singing of rounds. Later, I sang in the church choir. In high school, I sang in the glee club, performed in the production of “Oklahoma!”, and did occasional vocal performances as part of a trio I formed with friends. In college, I sang in the chorus and also in a smaller choral group. But once I graduated from college, my participation in formal singing ended. I’ve missed it, and I’ve been aware that my vocal skills have deteriorated for lack of practice. As soon as I saw this announcement, I knew this program was for me and I registered immediately by return email.
Both the Senior College class and the vocal workshop should provide opportunities to meet new people. The McLaughlin Garden events have also turned out to be a great way to get to know people with shared interests. I’m heeding the lesson of my friend Atsuko’s gift for developing a diverse array of friendships from different parts of her life (see A Community of Caring).
For the past several months, I’ve felt like a bear who just wanted to hibernate. Now, with the (literal and metaphorical) sap rising, I’m up and awake and ready to leave my den and get out to explore this new world of retirement.