Daily Connector | Life in the slow lane | Julie Hart

When I decided to semi-retire from teaching at Ohio Dominican last May, I gathered advice from retired friends.  I heard, establish a daily routine and don’t make any major volunteer commitments for a year as you discover a new rhythm.  So, I eased into retirement by teaching just two courses last fall semester, volunteered for two months in San Antonio Texas this winter and arrived home in mid-March just in time to shelter in place! 

In the spirit of establishing a routine, I start my day around 7:30am with a half hour of centering prayer.  I roll out of bed around 8am for a bowl of granola and a mug of coffee with my life partner Phil.  It’s been wonderful to enjoy breakfast on the deck observing our deer, birds, groundhogs and even a mink.  Then, I take time to read Father Richard Rohr’s Daily Reflection, check email and read the New York Times.  I admit to being a news junky but while I am still teaching part time again this fall; I will keep up with the news.  There are so many current topics that touch on courses I teach in Nonviolent Social Change and Racial Justice. We then hop in the car to explore a bike path or metro park.  Favorites include Walhalla Road and Overbrook Drive in Clintonville, Sharon and Blendon Woods and multiple segments of Alum Creek Bike Path.  Then, there is weeding the garden before the heat of the day sets in.  I love working the soil and feeling a part of green and growing things. 

Phil and I reunite for lunch to discuss the news of the day.  He is both a critical reader and thinker and thus he keeps me on my toes.  In the afternoon, I sew for 3-4 hours piecing together comforter tops for the MCC projects abroad.  It has been so healing for me when others reach out in kindness during difficult times and I imagine each recipient of the comforters feeling affirmed and not so alone as they receive their beautiful new comforter in their refugee camp somewhere in Syria or Africa.  But the sewing would not be nearly as fun without my simultaneous books on tape.  I have enjoyed Becoming by Michele Obama, the new Frederick Douglas biography, The Overstory, Eleanor Olifant is Completely Fine, Talking to Strangers by Malcomb Gladwell and currently Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb.  Oh, the joys of novels and biographies!

In the evening, there is dinner with Phil and Shakita and then the 6 o’clock news on PBS and often a PBS miniseries.  My current favorite is Last Tango in Halifax.  This tidy routine does require some exclamation points.  My favorites have been dinner with couple friends at a six-foot distance on our decks followed by a hymn sing or a sing-a-long of pop tunes from the 60’s. Canoeing on Hoover Reservoir is the best.  Life in the slow lane feels very good indeed!

Comment by Mim: The garden did not seem to get the memo on life in the slow lane! From June 9th to July 14th.