Retirement Happiness — End of Summer Thoughts

In three weeks, the fall equinox will mark the end of summer.   Many deem Labour Day weekend the official end of summer but I’m prepared to wait until September 22 to declare that summer is over.

Endings are always difficult, especially when it marks the passage of a happy and carefree time period.   I wrote about designing my summer in July Happiness — Designing my summer and identified several aspirations for productivity during two summer months.

I wasn’t successful with all aspirations but I did try to live each day consciously. Before the cooler weather comes, here’s a reflection on the blessings of another SouthWest Ontario summer.

I’ll begin with food, one of the greatest pleasures of the season.  Grilling meats and vegetables on the barbeque in preparation for al fresco meals on the deck is the summer routine at the cottage. Along with the usual fare of burgers, steak, chops, and ribs, we’ve experimented with varieties of kabobs flavoured with different marinades.

The local farmer’s market remains fully stocked with Ontario corn, peaches, plums, berries, and melons. I miss the bounty of vegetables from the kitchen garden at our previous home but I’m experimenting with new vegetables — purple beans, fingerling potatoes, and heritage tomatoes.  I’ve made peach and strawberry cobblers, berry tarts, and several sour cream cakes laced with blue berries. The ice cream store on the strip in our cottage town features enticing new flavours of ice cream but the favourite in our family remains the ‘sweet and salty caramel’ that we get only at the local grocery store during the hot months. I’m not sure that there will be enough warm weather to consume every delicious food on offer — but I’m trying!

To accompany summer food, we’ve been experimenting with locally produced wine and beer. Our cottage is near to one of the emerging grape growing regions of Ontario.  Two wineries have opened nearby.  The vines are young but hold promise.  Each winery has a beautiful building with outdoor seating situated for enjoyment of the beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.  Craft beers from regional microbreweries also offer a broad range of tastes.  When enthusiastic servers describe the flavours, who can resist?

One of Lake Huron’s best sandy beaches is steps away from the cottage.  It allows for daily doses of Vitamin D from sunshine. Sunlight is mood-lifting. Days spent playing in the sand and running in and out of the water with our grand daughter increased my summer happiness and helped deepen our relationship. Watching her enjoy the delights of sun and sand brought immense joy to my heart.

Evenings of listening to the sound of waves while staring at the distant horizon at sunset gave time for reflection before some relaxed reading as I attacked the the pile of summer books beside my bed.

Despite a season interrupted with sad events such as a memorial for a dear friend, deaths of people I knew, and hearing of forest fires and floods, I maintained positive energy.  My personal decision to focus on keeping emotions in balance created less uncertainty as I adjusted to bad news and horrific world events.

The biggest summer shortcoming relates to writing aspirations.  I completed a few vignettes for my memoir project but writing stalled during most of the summer.  I authored three guest posts for other blogs that were published —  however, my own blog got short shrift.

On the lighter side, as planned, I wore bright coloured clothes and dangling earrings every day!  At an art show, I met a local artist who repurposes silver cutlery into jewellry pieces.  After a look at the silverware in my flatware chest, I took some sterling coffee spoons and other pieces that have seen little, if any, use in 50 plus years of marriage, to his studio. He crafted a pendant, two pairs of earrings, and a bracelet for me as well as repairing a pair of hand-crafted earrings.  Cutlery that was hidden in a wooden chest got new life! Wearing earrings that touch my neck with every movement remind me to keep having fun every day!

Lake Huron Sunset
Lake Huron Sunset

This picture of one of the great Lake Huron Sunsets, taken from the steps that lead to our beach, serves as a reminder of summer days still left to enjoy. I plan to take full advantage of every day!



4 Replies to “Retirement Happiness — End of Summer Thoughts”

  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful summer! It’s so important to slow down and appreciate all the little pleasures life has to offer. There will be plenty of time to blog as the weather turns cold.

    1. Hi Lynn,
      Summer is a beautiful time. As you can surmise from the post, I don’t want it to end! I’ve been giving myself permission to slow down, smell the roses, and indulge myself in the season. Soon enough, I’ll look at grey skies everyday and wonder where the sun has gone! I hope you will be safe in your home with the approaching hurricane.
      Be well and be safe,

  2. Barb Dorrington says: Reply

    I just read your bog after writing to a friend about how I was feeling about friendships generally. My oldest daughter Ashley has her baby blanket still, but over the years, that blanket has been lovingly patched so many times by her best friend’s mother, it has developed a vibrancy and richness I never expected. Ashley still sleeps with it every night, cuddling her kids under it too. While those patches scaffold over the original blanket, one can still see little snippets of that strong foundation. However, if the patches of life’s colours had not been added, that blanket would have long been frayed and actually would have disintegrated. The blanket needed both its foundation and also its colourful repairs in order to survive. Since losing my husband last month, I now have to begin imagining a life as a single person after having been a couple for over forty years. I am going to need some patches, but my foundation is strong and my hope is to enjoy this third stage of life in spite of life looking very differently to me now. I look at my house in a very new way, and recognize some changes I need to make to feel safe, secure and happy here. That part will take time. Like you, I listen to the sounds of the waves when near water, and my
    grandkids help keep me active and young. The unexpected things do wear me down, like when I go into grocery stores to buy food, and I feel the pain of not buying groceries for Ron, but I still have to pass the aisles where I picked up his energy drinks and I still wave to the pharmacist who helped Ron with his medications almost daily at times. Endings are very difficult. but I am embracing those endings, savouring the memories and sensations. Thank you for writing this post Jeanette. And PS….I need to know the name of that jeweller! Barb

    1. Hi Barb, With Ron’s death, you are facing a major ending in your life. I can’t imagine how many times a day you face unexpected memories as you learn to live alone in the place you shared with him for so many years. I hope that you, like Ashley, have a transitional object or two that helps you. Certainly, time will heal — to an extent — but you’ll always have a hole in your heart as he was so much a part of you. I know you well enough to agree that you have a strong foundation but sometimes you’ll have to lean on your friends for extra strength.
      The silver artist lives just outside of Grand Bend, across from the Pinery Provincial Park. I’ll show off the pieces he made for me when I see you. You can look him up on Facebook at Style ‘n Silver and see some of his work!
      Be well,

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