Skip to main content

A Day Well Spent

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Tue, 06/11/2024 - 15:30

I have done a few homely tasks today, and that makes me feel like I have contributed something. I like that feeling. Women in my generation were raised to serve. We served as waitresses, secretaries, administrative assistants, nurses -- the roles we felt had been assigned because, well, women do these things. It wasn't until the end of my working life that I achieved a position normally held by a man, and for the first year I had to be classified as temporary until I could prove that I could do the job. I could. So for three years, from the age of 62 to 65 I served as Administrator/Chief of Staff for the union that represented 15,000 staff employees in one of the biggest universities in California. I enjoyed the job, and under my watch our budget went from red to black. Programs were working, union staff had workloads balanced, and things hummed along, mostly. I won't bore you with how I came to resign, because it is a sad little story of how mysogyny still rules just under the surface of so many institutions and so many organizations, no matter how enlightened they claim to be. It was time to retire, in any case, even though I could have continued doing the work for several more years. My family situation had changed, new grandchild on the way, and the travel I enjoyed seemed like a bad choice when the battles I knew I would face in that position were already taking up too much of my time and emotional energy. 

It has been seventeen years since I retired, and I can hardly believe that much time has passed. I have delighted in helping with our grandchildren as often as I could, and now one is off to college, one will be a senior in high school, and one a sophomore next year. I published a novel last year, and am working on another one I hope to finish soon.

But as time goes by I find it harder to do the things I took for granted for so many years. My knees are cranky, one of my hips gives me grief, and my energy level has dropped considerably because of a heart that likes to flip into syncopated rhythm every now and then. 

Today, though, I was able to help in a small way in the garden where my daughter runs a preschool. She has rose bushes that bloomed profusely, but now were drooping with spent blossoms. So I spent a little time this morning dead-heading. Isn't that a terrible name for a fairly pleasant task? I snipped away at the old to make room for the new blooms, some of which are already in bud. I listened to the children playing in the back garden while I worked in the front, and found I had more energy than I thought. No stooping or squatting required, thank goodness! And seeing the result was a treat. 

trimmed rose bushes

What are you finding that pleases you today? 

If you are interested you can find my novel at Amazon, here: any independent bookstore. Look for THE CUCKOO by V.R. Nelson-Watts. Hope you enjoy it!