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Hard Work is Good for the Heart


Gardening at Chrysalis House

People keep asking me about the next book I’m writing.  I’m grateful for their interest and I am a few thousand words into it.  Much of it will cover how I started and, with the Board, grew Women Leading Kentucky for fifteen years!  No title yet, and it’s a bit harder to write than my memoir, A Willful Child.  Did I just say a bit harder?  Let’s face it, writing a book is hard work.  Very hard work.  Not just developing the story but finding the perspective and carrying through with the theme (such as where’s that lost safety deposit box key and what’s in the box?); refining the characters (“…her sweating, ample body could be seen from three sides in the flexible mirror atop the antique maple dresser); spicing up the sense of place with images of sound (like the cawing of crows in the next field) and smells (the sausages and onions cooked out in the open on NYC’s 116th Street) and tastes (like Portofino’s mushroom ravioli cooked with nothing but butter and sage).  All these things require hard thinking and sometimes, research.  But then, most good things require hard work, don’t they?

Find something you love or have always wanted to do and get started on it before you leave your business or job.  There’s so much to be done to make our communities and schools better than they are.  The Carnegie Center always needs volunteer tutors to help students; the humane societies in and around Lexington are often looking for people to help foster dogs and cats; after-school programs need volunteers to lead camps and other activities.  Call a local non-profit to see what they might need. Find a way to get involved. It’ll be good for your heart and the days ahead.

Yesterday I ran into a colleague who’s just retired and she said she’s loving the retirement life but sometimes has long, long days with nothing to do.  We shared a laugh about how doing nothing can be hard work.  But it’s true. One of the reasons I choose the word transitioning rather than retirement for this stage of my life is that it includes the idea of action, staying engaged, and I think that’s important for anyone in their 60’s or 70’s to consider as they plan for retirement/transitioning.  Not only do I work on the new book, I serve on the board of the Lyric Theatre and chair the board of the Carnegie Center.  It gets me out of bed in the morning!

Ya’ll stay in touch now.   Janet