|Deb, me, Sally, Sandi, and Jann at Vashon Island Farmers' Market|
Linda (missing from the picture above, since she was busy checking out the booths at the Vashon Island Saturday morning Farmers' Market), who writes the blog Thoughts from a Bag Lady in Waiting met Deb one morning at a Starbucks in Vancouver, Washington and discussed the possibility of having a gathering of some bloggers that they both follow. They emailed five of us about it, and all but one person accepted the invitation to investigate the feasibility of getting together somewhere. Linda researched some possible locations and dates, and we decided on this weekend and chose Lavender Hill Farm on Vashon Island. After some difficulty finding the ferry (covered pretty well in those two previous links), we have spent the last few days together, getting to know each other in person rather than as virtual entities in the Blogosphere.
We have discovered many things about each other that we didn't know, but mostly there have been only a few surprises in personalities. It makes me realize how much of who we are comes through in the words we write on our blogs. I have been taken by surprise by the dry wit of one, the elegance of another, and the sheer generosity of spirit in every one.
Although I am a bit saturated by all the interaction of the weekend, I am filled with an amazing sense of camaraderie that has developed between us. We've shared, we've cried, and we've laughed until we were holding our sides in pain. Last night I had to pull myself away from the living room and make my way to bed so that I would have time to write a post this morning.
I am the oldest of the group, with the youngest, our baby, nine years younger than me. We are all in our sixties, all committed bloggers, and two are still working as teachers and knew each other before they started blogging (Deb and Sandi). I will write one more post about this weekend on my other blog before I will move on to other things. As I sit here with a cup of coffee, in the living room so I can watch the sun rise and illuminate Mt. Rainier, I am feeling introspective and wondering what I've learned from this weekend.
One thing I've learned that surprises me is that I have actually become less extroverted, and for the first time understand the need for quiet introspection. Since I retired, I haven't been exposed to such a concentrated dose of interaction and find myself looking forward to pulling out my meditation pillow at home and sitting for some time. I miss Smart Guy and the connection that has developed between us since we've moved here. The past five years have changed me. In any group, some people talk more than others, and I've always been one of them, but this weekend taught me that I no longer have a need to be the center of attention for extended periods of time; in fact, it's a bit daunting.
In a group of bright, articulate women, I fit right in. In retirement I've continued to grow and change, and it makes me happy to learn that. I guess I thought that once I no longer had the stimulus of productive work, I'd stagnate and become someone less interesting. That's not true, not for me, not for any of us who have retired. Linda is extremely active, traveling all over the world on a shoestring, marking things off her bucket list, and learning to be certified as a mediator. She performed her magic on me when I got an email about a possible contract job I might (or might not) take on. In a half an hour, all the different aspects of the situation had been examined in terms of what it means for me, and what I want out of it. I am impressed and grateful for her expertise.
There's just the tiniest bit of light in the morning sky, and I m looking at Mt. Rainier on the horizon, thinking about this amazing weekend and what I've learned. It's been an education in more ways than one.