One of the suggestions that financial advisors often make, for purposes of motivating people to save for retirement, is to imagine how an older self would view today’s decisions. That is to say, at 80 or 90 years old, will we feel confident about our finances and believe that we planned well in our younger years?

I haven’t actually done anything that resembles conventional retirement planning because I look at saving in more general terms, as being about future flexibility to make choices. Trying to construct a detailed list of everything that I might need or want, many years from now, doesn’t strike me as useful in such a fast-moving world. The future could—and likely will—turn out to be very different from whatever we envision now.

It’s a pretty safe bet, though, that having more money will improve just about any potential scenario set in this century. Even if the future turns out to be a sci-fi utopia in which robots cater to our every whim for free, it’s going to be a long time before we get there. That being so, I decided to go ahead and try the older self exercise, given the fact that I already have an imaginary 119-year-old self—known as Fannie on this blog—with whom I’ve had several creative conversations.

At first I thought about picturing Fannie at a bank, to be consistent with the topic; but she had her own ideas about that. I found her taking a leisurely walk along a well-kept path in a public park. It was a cool spring morning, and she wore jeans and a light sweater. New leaves and lush grass made everything around us look beautifully green and refreshing.

Path surrounded by greenery in a park.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

A black poodle trotted next to Fannie, with impeccable grooming and a remarkably even gait. It had no leash. A closer look revealed that there was no need for a leash because the poodle was, in fact, a robot. Fannie turned toward me and smiled, opening her hands as if to embrace the surrounding landscape.

“Seriously, a brick-and-mortar bank? I can’t remember when I last saw one of those. Decades ago, I’m sure. Don’t you think this is more pleasant? I was transferring funds with my phone just now, before you arrived.”

I took a breath of the fresh air, which was fragrant with spring blooms, and had to agree that managing bank accounts while taking a stroll in the park certainly was more pleasant than doing it the old-fashioned way.

“So, would you say that the money I saved was enough for you to be comfortable?” I asked.

“That question has both a simple and a complicated answer, as with most things.” Fannie grinned. “By now, you’ve had enough conversations with me that you probably already figured I was going to say something like that.”

A bird trilled cheerfully from somewhere in a nearby tree, as if to share in a little good-hearted amusement.

“The simple answer is yes, I live comfortably, and in part that’s because of your discipline in saving, which I do appreciate. As you know, I have a self-navigating flying car; they’re pricey even in 2083. And of course Maxie here,” and Fannie reached down to pat the dog, “wasn’t cheap, were you, sweetie?”

The robot dog gave a very realistic happy-sounding yip and wagged its tail.

“But the more complicated answer,” Fannie went on, “is that the culture of your time had tremendous uncertainty about the future, and nobody had a clue how to deal with it. Although people had started living much longer, they hadn’t yet created new stories to shape their expectations. So they tried to plan for everything imaginable, which of course stressed them out. Let me turn this conversation around for just a moment, if I may, and give you a question instead: Do you feel totally responsible for my comfort?”

“Well, yes, or at least mostly. Sort of. What I mean, I guess, is that I wouldn’t want to mess things up and leave a future me stuck in a bad situation. You know, this question is a lot harder than it seemed at first.” I made a frustrated gesture, which caused a squirrel in the grass nearby—though evidently unafraid of the robot dog—to hop back a few steps.

“That’s why I asked it,” Fannie calmly informed me. “Now, what would you say to past versions of yourself who felt afraid of making bad decisions about raising children, for instance, or finding the right job?”

“I’d tell them not to worry because the kids and the job turned out just fine.”

There was a comfortable-looking bench to our left, and Fannie took a few steps off the path and sat in it. She gave me a smile. “Sit down and take a load off your feet, both here and in real life. Just relax—you know it’s going to turn out fine, right? You’ve got this.”

Maxie, now sitting next to the bench, yipped again as if in emphasis. I sat down next to Fannie as the scene began to fade; and then, just a moment later, I found myself back in my own time.

The rowing club had a board meeting yesterday. My husband (who has been one of the trustees for the past two years) told me that the meeting might run long because there were several things to talk about, but that he’d like to meet me at the boathouse after the meeting and go rowing in our double anyway.

I wasn’t sure how realistic that was, considering the fact it would get dark before we could do much rowing. I was picturing a chilly, windy night on the river, with mosquitoes, skunks, and other undesirable nocturnal wildlife. But then I decided to change my mindset and imagine having a pleasant evening instead.

The meeting did indeed run long; but as it turned out, we had a good row. There was very little wind, it was still comfortably warm even after sunset, the water was calm, and there was plenty of moonlight. We had the river all to ourselves (though we made sure to put blinking lights on the boat anyway, just to be safe). A mosquito did get my husband once, but they left me alone, and we did not see any skunks.

It all goes to show that, even though negativity may seem like reality, there generally are many other ways to frame our experiences.

Word-art that says "I create my own reality."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

My husband mentioned today that one of the rowing camp members had said, in a recent conversation, that I seemed to be the kind of person who would be good at whatever I did.

It was quite a nice compliment, and somewhat unexpected because I see myself as someone who takes a while to feel confident when I do something new. I don’t often jump into something and find it super-easy from the start. Usually I do keep at it until I’ve given it a fair try, even if I feel anxious, because I know that it will get easier with practice. I suppose that’s a kind of confidence too.

Word-art that says "Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

May 9, 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Over the weekend I attended a rowing camp. The local rowing club arranged for a professional coach to visit and hold a three-day camp on our river, with morning and afternoon sessions each day. The forecast called for rain and high water on Friday, however, and that left us concerned that we might have to cancel the rowing camp if the river got too high.

The weather turned out all right, although the morning group spent part of their time on the indoor rowing machines on Friday because of heavy rain and debris in the river. The rain had mostly cleared up by the time my husband and I arrived for the afternoon session. Although the air was still a bit chilly and the river was flowing faster than usual, the water was very smooth and calm.


We learned some useful tips at the camp that should make us better rowers, and everyone had a good time. I was glad that we hadn’t let weather worries deprive us of the opportunity!

May 2, 2019 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

When I opened the dishwasher yesterday evening to put in a cup, the door suddenly fell down with a WHAM! I looked down and saw a big spring on the floor. The spring itself was in one piece, but the part that attached to the spring obviously was broken. Not a good day, I thought.

Then my husband came home from the gym a few minutes later. After looking at the broken piece, he checked online and told me that a local store had the replacement kit, it wasn’t expensive, and he would fix the dishwasher door when he got home on Thursday.

Then we went out for a walk. It was getting dark, and there was a bit of light rain, but we enjoyed getting outdoors in the fresh air anyway. It turned out to be a good day after all, with no need for worries.

Word-art that says "It's a good day to have a good day."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

My kitchen has a bay window above the sink. I like the way it looks, but it’s a bit awkward because I am short enough that I can’t easily reach the middle section to open and close either the window or the blinds.

Bay window in dim light.

When we moved into the house, I got in the habit of standing on my tiptoes and stretching out to reach the window. Standing on a stepstool is much more comfortable, but now I often find myself closing the blinds without it at sunset just because I haven’t stopped to think about it.

I probably ought to break that habit by making a point of consciously going to get the stepstool whenever I do anything with that window. Of course, it doesn’t really matter much one way or the other; but in general, I see habit-busting as a good way to exercise mental flexibility.

After not getting enough sleep last week, as I mentioned in my previous Nurturing Thursday post, I’ve been making more of an effort to stay well rested. I wear a Fitbit at night to keep track of my sleep; it’s not entirely accurate, but close enough to let me know when I should go to bed earlier.

Meditation also helps with restful sleep. I find Reiki very refreshing, and a few days ago I browsed through a collection of animated sleep mantras, which I enjoyed. Here’s one of the images from that page (reposted with permission). Very soothing—I could definitely doze off looking at it.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I recently volunteered to become the webmaster for the rowing club, which has had various people contributing to its website over the years. Without someone responsible for coordinating the content, the site ended up with outdated pages and not enough fresh material.

A blog post about our “spring break” trip to Tennessee, which had good participation and was a lot of fun for all the members involved, seemed the obvious place to start. I got some photos from one of the trip’s organizers, who often takes pictures of club events. Here’s one of me carrying the bow of a double:

Meg Evans carrying boat at Melton Lake in Tennessee

The weather was gorgeous, and although I got a bit sunburned from so much rowing (some peeling skin on the backs of my hands), it felt like a great adventure. I wrote a cheerful post about what a good time everyone had. The organizer who gave me the photos enjoyed the post so much that she sent an email to all the club’s members complimenting my writing, with a link. It’s always good to be appreciated!

My subconscious mind has been in a cranky mood for the past few weeks.

It all started out innocently enough. I was going out to get my hair done, and then a peculiar thought popped up out of nowhere. Wouldn’t it be interesting to go back to college and study biochemistry?

Well, no, that actually made no practical sense whatsoever, given the fact that I do not have a science background and it is a very difficult and time-consuming course of study. If I wanted to change careers, plenty of other options would be a much better fit.

But it would be so fascinating, the little inner voice persisted. So many amazing things to learn and discover!

I left that odd thought to settle for a few days, and it quieted down. Meanwhile, I was still writing a daily “kindness journal” as described in my New Year’s resolution post, keeping track of ways in which others were kind to me. It was meant to be a reminder that the world is full of kindness.

When March came to an end I’d been keeping that journal for three full months. My subconscious mind made clear it wasn’t happy about that accomplishment, though, because when I picked up a pen to make an entry, it snapped at me like a bad-tempered badger.

Badger showing its teeth.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

“Quit! Right now!” it snarled. “This journal is just another chore draining your energy, and you’ve had too many of those already! You need to take better care of yourself and quit piling on random obligations.”

Well, okay. I hadn’t in fact done much over the winter, but it was true that I had been feeling low on energy, for whatever reason. So I decided to take my cranky inner badger’s advice and abandon the journal, which I figured had probably served its purpose well enough.

After two journal-less weeks, I had a dream that seemed like it was related in some way. In this dream, I asked my husband a question. Instead of answering it directly, he said “Remember,” in a tone that might have been used to lecture a forgetful child. Then he told me something tangential.

I felt annoyed for a moment, and then I started to wake up. As is the way of dreams, I promptly forgot whatever he had been telling me to remember. That seemed hilarious to my half-asleep brain, and I snickered, “Ha, guess what, I forgot already! Phooey to whatever you said!”

After that I woke up more fully and realized that I was being snarky and childish with someone who wasn’t even there. Still, it felt like there was some meaning to this nonexistent and totally silly conversation.

I gave it some thought for the next few days, along with the other weird messages I’d been getting from my subconscious recently, and decided that all of them had to do with saying “Phooey” to expectations. That is to say, I need to lighten up, be more flexible, and not let routines and assumptions get in the way of seeing the world’s possibilities.

After a fun mini-vacation with my husband in Tennessee over a long weekend, in which we got outdoors a lot and enjoyed the warm weather, getting back into my regular routine has left me feeling a bit unfocused. Some of that is because we got back home late on Tuesday night and didn’t get nearly enough sleep. Because I have been reminding myself that there’s no need to do everything all at once, I decided to share this useful reminder for this week’s Nurturing Thursday.

Word-art that says "The secret of getting ahead is getting started." -Mark Twain

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.