Welcome to “It’s Never Too Late: Uncovering the Magic of Writing After Sixty,” I’m Dr. Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Christian nonfiction author and poet. This is my writer’s log for June 30, 2023, the last day of June! Today, I’m writing about my writing life as a sixty-nine-year-old writer.
This week has been challenging for me.
Challenge One – Travel
I’m getting back into my routine after traveling last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I made a six hundred miles round trip to meet my brother. It was our first face-to-face visit with each other since November 2019. We both stayed in the same hotel.
The trip allowed us to check on our parents’ graves and to visit the graves of our maternal grandparents and many maternal aunts and uncles.
They’re buried in a family cemetery in the country. The cemetery does not offer perpetual care. If we need more dirt added to a grave, you have to request it from the cemetery association.
Fortunately, my brother does the heavy lifting and works with the proper authorities to get things fixed. Family is special, and I am blessed that he and I get along and converse regularly.
Challenge Two – A New Daily Task
The Monday before making the three-day trip, I joined a fitness center. No, my goal isn’t to pump iron.
Instead, I joined to have an indoor location to walk on a treadmill. The fitness center location is about five minutes from where I stay.
My routing is to go twice a day at least five days a week. The plan is to go for a morning walking session and an afternoon walking session.
Each session on the treadmill is 30 minutes of waking. I found I take an hour from leaving the house to returning. The travel time is about minutes each way. Five minutes plus five minutes equals ten minutes. It takes about five minutes to get out of the car, go through check in and to do a few words of small talk with the staff. That has me to fifteen minutes. I next stretch my legs and hip muscles. This adds five more minutes and we’re now up to twenty minutes.
It’s on to the treadmill. Five minutes are used to set down my water bottle, keys, glasses, and iPhone and select a podcast to listen to on the iPhone or have my Kindle with a book. I get those staged for listening or reading.
It’s time to start and I’m now up to twenty-five minutes since leaving the house. Pushing the green start button, I set the incline at 0.5% and walk at a two miles per hour pace for thirty minutes.
Walk my mile passes fast and then the treadmill transitions to a five minutes cool down time and I’m at fifty-five minutes. I pick up up stuff, get in the car and return to the house. One hour has been used … and that’s if I don’t run into someone I know and I almost run into some I know.
My friend Morris who used to own JGs Old Fashioned Hamburgers is always there in the afternoon. He reminds me of my late father. He’s in his eighties, lonesome for conversation, and a great guy. We chit chat at least ten or fifteen minutes. I’ve known him long time and remember him telling me of his girls graduating from high school, college, marrying, etc. The older of the daughters is now fifty. Friends are special and I appreciate his friendship.
I have two young women baristas and one of the young men baristas from my favorite Starbucks also works out there. They are in their early twenties. Surprise describes their reaction to my age, that I have long hair with a ponytail, and I still have dark hair. It also amazes them I’m a writer. They’ve found my books online in a local bookstore didn’t have them, but said they could get them a copy. It seems to encourage them to engage in their creative pursuits.
Challenge Three – Hot Weather
The hot weather has been rough. I’m not as young as I once was, and the heat has slowed me down. I do everything slower.
Challenge Four – Trans-Pacific Cruise Planning
Getting the arrangements completed for the trip’s week stay in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia took several hours this week. The cruise is about 100 days away.
Challenge Five – Not Neglecting Friends and Family
Human beings need other people and friends.
I’m blessed with several friends.
I find my life enriched when I have lunch and go for a walk with my friend Les..
We help each other out with life challenges. Our wives both passed away in a two-year time frame..
My local writing group is important. Doing something with people in person is critical in my thinking. I’m still learning the group but it takes time as Covid has made the meetings remote until a few months ago.
I’m blessed to have “she who can’t be named on the Internet” in my life. She’s a beautiful, intelligent woman who knows how to balance life where I don’t feel second fiddle to her family (sister, adult children, and grandchildren).
My adults children and grandchildren are important to me. I strive to have life balance where I’m there for them, but not intrusive into their lives.
Church and Bible study with Christian writing friends are also important. I still make church and Bible fellowship class 48 out of 52 weeks a year. It’s foundational to my life.
Balancing the demands of life with the writing life is tough.
Getting up and go to Starbucks twenty-eight out of thirty days a month to write, rewrite, and edit is my routine. I sometimes wish “life” didn’t impede my writing.
Knowing I must maintain my physical health to be a healthy writer, that I need the relationships to not be a lonely writer and to maintain my mental health motivates me.
I remember from my seminary days the need for a balanced life.
Using the biblical description of Jesus’ childhood given in Luke 2:41-52, we can better understand growing up in terms of four overlapping categories: mental (wisdom), physical (stature), social (favor with men) and spiritual (favor with God). That’s the balance I strive for in my life.
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”Luke 2:41-52 KJV