I closed a business and returned to school at 32. I had intended to finish the last two years of my BA, get credentials for teaching English in high school, and learn Spanish sufficient to read Latin American fiction in the original. But I had too much fun learning and continued immediately for three years in a Ph.D. program. While I chose not to continue beyond that time, I remain proud of the decisions and commitments this entailed and the lessons I learned about the work of following one's path/deisres/dreams.
More than a decade after that experience I tired of the supervisory side of my work as a non-profit and social services program manager. I spent two years as a potter, until a shoulder injury two weeks before the Fremont Fair made me recognize how precarious that career could be. So now I am once again well established in a more conventional career, finding challenges and opportunities for new learning while managing to avoid the supervisory chores I had found so unappealing.
The other key part of my life is preparing for retirement and assessing how I will want to spend it when it comes in the next couple of years. Right now the planning is still more of a fun exercise most of the time. But it does impact current decision quite frequently, such as whether to set up my own pottery studio or wood shop at home, knowing that I would almost certainly not have room for it if I moved.
And of course there is this dating stuff.
Getting over it.
Making personal decisions that balance risk and benefit, and supporting those decisions with action, introspection, and a willingness to live with consequences.
Laughing, though I may be better at making others laugh.
Musical parody (you should have my Bush version of My Country Tis of Thee, which began My Country tis of me, what need of liberty. Of me you'll sing).
For somebody who nearly made a career out of Victorian fiction and poetry, and who returned to school to better read modern Latin American literature, I sure don't read much fiction these days. What that experience taught me more than anything else is that all good writing is fair game for enjoyment. It is the language and the attempt to communicate something of value through all the richness of language that makes reading a pleasure. So I still love works by Carlos Fuentes, Vargas Llosa, Marquez, Machado de Assis, Dickens, George Meredith, and others and reread them occasionally. When I was younger I craved John Cheever's novels and stories, Malamud, Bellow, and others. Now I read mostly essays, science writing, and travel writing. An example of something I really enjoyed is "The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction" by David Quemmen. It deals with timely and critical things, combining deep research, clear, complex, and compelling arguments, and an effective narrative.
I haven't been to many movies or plays lately (see What I'm Doing with My Life, above) but I am hoping to catch the Seattle Opera's Porgy and Bess. Now Gershwin, he's a favorite.
Good radio: KBCS, BBC online, KING
My Kindle (which I expected to despise and still distrust but which makes reading so physically easy on my aging eyes)
My cedar-shaded bower of a patio, where I am now, listening to the chirping of the neighbor birds and preschoolers
Something to learn, practice, make, appreciate, fix, understand, conceive, or any combination of the above.
My passport, mostly unused but ready for action