On Saturday, I was having lunch at one of my favorite luncheonettes, Maritza's in Maple Shade on Main Street. It was their street fair day and my friend, Gail, and I walked outside in the tents for a block or so, but to be honest, most people our age are clearing out our houses and trying to avoid gathering any additional clutter so we don't feel like shopping or even taking home several more bags of free stuff. Stuff is never free.
I noticed, actually, I looked it up, the Wood Street Fair in Burlington City was the same day and I thought briefly about going there, but it was an hour's drive and it was already 2:00, so we ould have been there in time for the packing up, and again, we didn't want any stuff and we don't do crafts any more. Gail used to make and sell stuff and I used to make things, even up to a few Christmas times ago, I was still making crafts for gifts, but I don't anymore.
So what do I do? I started this blog when I still worked as a volunteer. I worked at six different places at that time, about ten years ago already. I started volunteering at Alice Paul Foundation in Mount Laurel, then Whitall House in Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, then Bayshore Discovery Project at Bivalve, Gloucester County Historical Society in Woodbury, and Camden County Historical Society in Camden. I did lots of things in those places and visited lots of historic sites. I was smitten. I drove from the bay, Greenwich to Bordentown seeking lost and found places and wrote about mot of them here on this blog to help my fellow retirees find places to go and things to do.
Recently, however, I noticed that I don't do many of those things or visit those places any more. I still go out to lunch and I still hike. Yesterday I had a delightful time at Pakim Pond. Picked up a grilled cheese at Wawa on the 72 circle and at it in the picnic shelter looking at the Pond. Then Trixie and I (my Lab mix and constant companion) hiked around the pond twice. Her leg was sore so we cut it short and didn't go for the Cranberry Trail. I didn't stop at the markets on the way although I had planned to get apples and maybe some chrysanthemums.
What I do now is go to the gym. It made me think of what is important in life, what you should do to sustain yourself over the long life. Focus on health is one of the all time most rewarding endeavors and that's why I hike or walk every day and go to the gym everyday. What good is a clean house or a new car, if you've had a stroke or can't walk? So I work out and I have to say just three months of a serious 6 day a week work out habit have changed my life.
So, what sustains you? I thought I would ask my friends today when we meet for breakfast at the Metro Diner on Kings Hwy and Rt. 130. Some would say family, others might say friends, and there are those who devoted more of themselves to their volunteer work and it still sustains them. I have family and certainly friends mean a lot. I see a friend or two every day. So I guess friends are high on my list, as is nature. In fact when I am down and can't get myself out of the ditch, I always head for the woods, which I find healing. That's why I was at Pakim Pond yesterday. The park didn't do the job and I still felt sad, so I went to Pakim Pond, and that always works. Nature, then has to be in my top five: Friends, health, nature and pets. Every day my cats and my dog give me affection, companionship, and many smiles. The cats are the funniest. The dog mostly naps. The cats, however, play! They chase and make games for themselves and they make me get out of bed in the morning by burrowing under the covers and biting my toe (not o much fun). The trees outside my window give me enormous joy daily, when they twinkle with the rising un, and dance in the breeze, change colors in fall and drop plops of snow in winter.
One think I worry about and another reason I must stay healthy is to protect my 18 trees. The neighbors have slaughtered their trees one by one over the years and my house which looked like the others once, is now a grove unto itself!