Well, I’m leaving. In fact, I’m retiring, sort of. These days, most people don’t do more than “sort of” retire, which is probably healthy. We all need to feel we belong somewhere and have a contribution to make.

Anyway, I’ll be working part-time in a town office near my home, as well as doing whatever freelance editing and writing I can find. I will also be getting outdoors more, sleeping a little later, going to the transfer station in the middle of the week, volunteering, reading and so on.

While I’ll be glad to reduce the amount of stress in my life, I will miss the things that have made reporting such a good niche for me over the years: talking to people and telling their stories; helping reporters get better at gathering, refining and telling stories; finding the word that is, as Mark Twain said, “the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

And sharing my journey through this world with you in this column.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the present moment. It is the only moment we have, ever. We can think about past moments, project ourselves into future moments, but we have to do that in the present. That’s where we live, and yet, we often pay little attention to it. We’re busy thinking about what we have to do this afternoon, a report that’s due tomorrow, what happened to us yesterday or last week. And so the moments slip by, unnoticed, uncelebrated, in a sense unlived.

If there is one thing I want to do with this next chapter of my life, it is to pay more attention to the present moment, to sit with it, feel it, be in it without trying to change it. To just live it. This is not an easy thing to do, obviously, or there would be no point in my writing about it. Most of us were taught that simply to be in the moment is lazy, unproductive — as if productivity were the ultimate reason for existence. I suspect that if there is an “ultimate reason,” it has more to do with being than doing.

Some ways I have found to be present to the present are meditation, walking in nature, playing with my dog, listening to music, sitting with another person and simply listening with no agenda. I’m sure there are many more. When I am present in the moment, I feel more connected to my surroundings and to the person or people I’m with. I am aware at a deep level that I am a part of everything, because all things partake of the oneness of creation.

To me, nothing is more valuable than this profound sense of belonging. I am at home in a way I never am otherwise. It is the ultimate consolation, as if I were standing on a hilltop surrounded by blue sky with the arms of my beloved — the Eternal Friend — around me.

I want to know the consolation of the Friend more often in these next years, and to share it with others. Because I know that I’m not sufficient unto myself, but am unavoidably connected to all that is. That everything is made of everything else, and all that exists is continually loved into being by the Friend.

I hope to continue this column in my new life, so keep watching this space. And don’t forget to savor the present moment.

Republican Journal Editor Sarah E. Reynolds is a longtime employee of MaineStay Media.

filed under: