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Posts Tagged ‘age’

It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone. (Andy Rooney)

My vacuum cleaner and I have more in common than I like to admit. Two of my toes are bound together after a mishap in my living room, and the electrical cord on my vacuum cleaner is held together with enough tape to stock a hardware store.

The vacuum and I both wheeze around too much dust.

“Come on!” I call to it. “One more time over the shag carpet.”

As an inanimate object, its answer is a weak whirring sigh.

If I were asked to follow my double-jointed youngest granddaughter’s exercise routine, my sigh would be similar.

Older citizens have limitations. Physically. Not when it comes to a capacity for giving and caring. We can live locked inside our pain or despite it. My grandson calls me a wrinkled kid because I get down on the floor and play with him. Perfection isn’t required. Not when imagination fills in the gaps.

Imagination, hope, love—gifts inanimate objects don’t have as they age. I pray to continue to learn, to celebrate possibilities hidden inside each new crease.

 

 

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The only way out is through. (Robert Frost)

I don’t know the age of the woman to my far right in exercise class, but I’m impressed with her attempts to follow the instructor’s directions. She has a pronounced dowager’s hump and an unsteady gait, yet she shrugs, holds onto a chair, and fumbles with a length of elastic tubing used to increase strength.

Later, Jay and I chat with some friends, a couple who also attended the class.

The wife says the elderly lady told her at the end of class, “I wish I were seventy again.”

I smile, as if some angel were trying to get through via direct line, since I missed the subtle cues.

I am seventy. Sure, I have limitations. The mirror is far more truthful than I would like. However, this seventy-year-old blogger can tread water for an hour. Two hours with an intervening bathroom break. My balance, despite vertigo issues, isn’t bad. I can play with my grandchildren—on the floor—and then get up again, without the help of any mechanical device. Or groans. Gracefulness may be another issue.

Perfect doesn’t exist anyway.

Goals for improvement? Yes, I’ve got plenty of them. Some reasonable, some not. That doesn’t mean I need to live inside expectations. (Easier said than done.)

At home I haven’t finished breakfast dishes. There is laundry sorted in our tiny hall; mundane chores fill my schedule and complicate my priorities. And, uh oh, did I double book something this weekend?

As the four of us share my husband says something funny. In Spanish. I laugh. My knowledge of the language wouldn’t fill a tortilla, but I understand. Right now, life is good. The only way out…? Through. Every day. Up, down, and around as the path leads. Sometimes days and choices become difficult. At other times, they are as ordinary as a spin through the wash machine.

If or when, I reach the age of the woman in today’s class, I hope I have the courage and self-acceptance to struggle among the younger seniors, yet know inside my fragile body, my spirit is whole.

Whole, always whole, even in the most broken places…

my left hand, small, heavily veined, arthritic, yet capable

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If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator. (W. Beran Wolfe)

My birthday approaches—and the vision that faces me in the mirror changed over the years. Fortunately, my happiness no longer relies on a young, smooth complexion or a waistline that would have made Scarlet O’Hara jealous with her pinched, ridiculously tiny middle. I need to look beyond the surface, or inside it, depending upon my perspective at the time.

My middle granddaughter, kindergarten age, once told me she could tell I was older than her daddy; I have wrinkles. Fortunately, I was able to laugh. She meant no insult. She was merely pointing out facts. And my reflection agrees, even when the light has been dimmed.

In some ways I am busier now than I was thirty years ago. Sure, I worked an over-full day in a hospital pharmacy and I had two young boys, but I had little notion of who I was. A task was simply a task. One day led to another and I fell into it with little purpose except to survive. Someday, I wanted to write, but those dream moments felt as vague as fog seen through a window, untouched, distant.

My life now is no more perfect than anyone else’s. However, I no longer live in the past or wait for the future.

When I was born there was a hole in the placenta that fed me. I was starved for the first and last time in my life. My head was the size of a small wilted orange. I weighed four pounds, seven and one-half ounces, full term. My mother was told her newborn would be fine with a little more weight on her skinny limbs. Mom didn’t believe the hospital personnel, especially since I was rushed to the nursery, no time for a quick see-you-later. She did not get the chance to count my fingers and toes until ten days after my birth, the day I was discharged. Therefore, we never bonded as parent and child. However, as the years passed birthdays became enormous celebrations.

As my family grew we celebrated with our cousins. All the children received gifts. The birthday child was honored with cake, candles, the traditional works, but all of us opened un-birthday gifts, such as tiny toy cars or coloring books, balloons or crayons.

The disconnection between my mother and me was not malicious or intentional. It happened because it did. And strange as it may seem, the experience gave me a richer understanding of the less-than-perfect parts inside others. And I am grateful for that lack of love.

Today I type words on a page that celebrate the positive, hug grandchildren, try to let friends see the goodness I see in them, make up my own recipes and add extra servings of affection in each dish. I try to refrain from the negative and after a slip-up, remember to say, I’m sorry. My name remains internationally unknown; I’m not a millionaire, and my publications haven’t made it to any famous listings.

But, the metaphorical button that rolled under the radiator can stay there. I have more important goals to pursue.

happy thankful Optimism Revolution

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