This Is the Life

Blog / Produced by The High Calling

The sun slides down the back side of the day, while I sink into my lawn chair at the campground. I inhale slowly, breathing in this sweet moment of contentment next to a crackling fire.

The fire warms my shins, and I remember right then how my Dad and I have this silly way of acknowledging serene moments like these: We fling our arms straight out, sweep them across the landscape, lift our chins to the sky and shout out, “This is the life!”

I stare into the campfire, and know that this is, indeed, the life. Smoky tendrils dance past me, and I momentarily forget about things like work deadlines and assignments.

It’s true: life in a place with no time-cards or cubicles has definite perks.

But it’s not the only good life, this leisurely life in a lounge chair.

My husband pokes at the campfire with a long stick, when I make my proclamation: “I know this might sound crazy to some people, but I never want to retire.”

Crazy to some people, but not to my husband.

“Me either,” he responds, rearranging logs. Flames rise higher.

We like work. And it's not because we’re looking to get rich. That’s not it at all. We believe that work is an amazing privilege of life on planet Earth. We like the way it feels to be productive, to meet a deadline, to cross off the last item on the to-do list, and to accomplish a task for the greater good. My husband, a farmer, gets almost giddy when it's time to plant crops each spring. Like his own father, my husband says he feels especially close to God while working the land.

Sure, we like work. But we’re not fun-haters. We also like to golf, fish, watch silly movies, belt out '80s tunes and sit quietly by campfires. Instead of calling in sick, we call in well. We choose to set aside our labors, even on days when there's still plenty of work to be done.

Some folks say they'll work hard until retirement, then enjoy their golden years on a beach or a golf course somewhere. My husband says we ought to mix in plenty of play now—rather than saving it for some magical moment of retirement. Because what if we suddenly "arrived" and realized that we waited too long to actually show up?

Some say they want to "work hard, play hard." Not us. We prefer, "Work steady, play steady." Which means we'll keep doing both, as long as we can.

I want to write stories until I’m 90, God-willing, even if all I have left to write is the neighborhood news on my wing of the nursing home. And my husband? He wants to farm. Who knows? Maybe the nursing home staff will put him in charge of watering the plants.

If we do end up in the same nursing home at age 90, I hope we’ll sneak out back from time to time, scooting side by side with our walkers—the ones with tennis balls on the ends for easier pushing. And maybe when the sun slides down the western sky, we’ll find some sticks, build a campfire and tell each other: “This sure has been the life.”

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Image by Patrick. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Post by Jennifer Dukes Lee.