Everyone should have a “Next Thing”. That is not to say that one should not fully enjoy the “Current Thing”, but while the “Current Thing” engages the person, the “Next Thing” engages the imagination.
As Christine and I approached retirement I became aware of the insecurity of not knowing what we would do, what our purposes would be. We began an active dialogue about what our lives would look like. It struck me that the discussions felt a lot like other times when we engaged our imaginations to visualize an upcoming event, plan, or possibility… a “Next Thing”. “Next Things” are not the “Ordinary Things” of job, bills, household. They are the larger things that excite the mind and engage the spirit. They are the things that one feels compelled to think about, talk about, even doodle about. In order to have a “Next Thing”, one must have the mindset of “how can I make that happen!”. Folks who reflexively address a new possibility with all of the reasons why it cannot or will not be, rarely have a “Next Thing”. That mindset serves only to extinguish the spark of imagination.
Individuals may have “Next Things”, but like fine dining they are best shared with someone else. Dining alone is rarely more than feeding the body while a fine meal savored with someone special nourishes the spirit. I am blessed to be married to a very good woman who is open to the possibilities of “Next Things”. At times Christine has tempered my enthusiasm for a “Next Thing”, but never smothered it. She is one who listens and brings her own perspective into play which usually adds extra dimension to mine. At times, she has opened the process with her own “What if we…”.
In 2012 we went to see a movie, “The Way”, which is about a man’s 500 mile walking journey across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. As we left the theater Christine suddenly stopped and turning to me declared, “I am going to do that!”. My reply of the moment was “Can I go too?”. Thus was born one of the larger “Next Things” in our relationship. Scarcely a day went by that we did not share our thoughts and engage our energies in planning to walk the Camino. Neither of us ever cast doubt upon the sanity of our musings and thus in 2013 the improbable became the actual. Such can be the way with “Next Things”. (Originally Posted May 24, 2015)
This coming March, 2018 we embark upon our “Next Thing”. For those of you who enjoy following our travels, this “Next Thing” is truly exceptional. More on that in the future.
Peace Everyone! Pete