“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. “ (Mark Twain)
Ahhh….to walk away from the hustle and bustle of our busy and hectic jobs! How appropriate for Margaret Roach to include Mark Twain’s quote in her book. Many of us long to find a safe haven tucked away in the country, to experience nature at its best, and to slow the pace of our too often demanding lives. Countless people dream of doing just that but for one reason or another cannot turn this vision into a reality. There is that fear of losing the many securities associated with a job that stops so many of us. Margaret Roach decided to “leave the land of plenty” and her position as Executive Vice President, Editorial Director for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She was able to turn her dream into a reality in 2007. She moved to her vacation home in Copake, New York and began in my opinion a whole new life for herself. Her book, And I Shall Have Some Peace There, describes how this transition evolved and eventually became an actuality for her.
I found myself relating to some of her apprehensions and experiences – no I haven’t quit my job – but I am at the stage in my life where retirement is looming for me just over the horizon. The realization of my identity changing resonated with what Margaret conveyed early on in her book and later throughout her story. I found as she chronicled her experiences in her story I began to surmise this was going to be somewhat of an eye opener for me. In particular, this crucial sentence was of great essence to me: “Who am I if I am not mroach@marthastewart dot com any longer?” Wow! For me I thought, oh my gosh, that will be me soon! Margaret poses this question to herself but have you ever stopped to think of your own identity in relationship to your job? Such a mindboggling thought to think about! A career you’ve had for over 30+ years is a significant component of your identity. This question she asks in actuality was an “Ah ha” moment for me and it might be for you if you take a moment to ponder her query.
Her understanding of nature, her love for gardening and her garden blog, A Way to Garden, are the things she prides herself with today. Her garden to her is likened to a mother caring for and nurturing a child. It is her passion. Margaret shares her encounters with the wildlife such as the many birds which frequent her yard, the frogs and especially the snakes – I check my front door mat before I step outdoors now too after reading her book! I loved reading about her growing relationship with her cat, Jack whom she affectionately calls: Jack, The Demon Cat.
Living out in the country versus living in the city can be considered complete opposites. The quietness Margaret experienced in her home in the country brought back a memory to me. I can truly relate to this as I vividly remember the first night our family spent in our brand new home on December 14th, 1991. We had built a house out in the country on a wooded lot –after 70 trees were felled by my husband & his best friend who both secretly longed to be Paul Bunyan. What I’ll never forget about that night was the absence of city sounds and street lights. They were both replaced by animal sounds and the light of the moon. It was somewhat eerie to me. I now find comfort in the country “nightlife” like Margaret. As I read Margaret’s early encounters with her “quiet” nights, those same familiar thoughts were one in the same.
Additionally I found out Margaret has a certain dislike for bad weather. Yep, I can relate to that too! Albeit snowstorms or severe storm warnings I have the Weather Channel on non-stop while I keep checking the NOAA site from my Blackberry! She describes one bad weather scenario as, “a storm of inconceivable proportion erupts.” She plans for “the battlefield of winter” with her handy checklist of EVERYTHING she might conceivably need to survive an impending winter like no other winter in the history of mankind. When a person lives out in the country being prepared is THE most important factor.
Her description in her book of the anxiety she didn’t experience when thinking about the days of the week in her new life versus her former days of employment made me take notice. Another pleasant experience she shared was when her head hit the pillow at night she said “sleep is not the enemy” in her new world now. How I love this thought! Granted I don’t want to wish my life away but it will be nice to trade in a few bits and pieces from my working days at the onset of my retirement for some of those items she has shared in, And I Shall Have Some Peace There. What made Margaret Roach: mroach@marthastewart dot com– leave her career in search of peace? Read for yourself this true story to discover what she found along the way on her quest for serenity, solitude and randomness.You might discover how to acquire a bit of inner peace for yourself along the way – I did!
This post wouldn’t be complete without a very special thank you to an extraordinary book friend, Danica Kombol for sending me Margaret’s book. Words cannot express my gratitude to you for your continuing thoughtfulness and generosity!