Doing a Vitals Assessment…

*

Here we are, boys and girls, middle of Week Two, HumpDay, also known as “just make it up, nobody will notice.” How’s your YEAR looking? Yesterday, mine hosted a milestone when I saw my spine surgeon for my one-month-overdue one-year checkup and received my walking papers, signed, sealed, delivered, they’re mine. “Go your way and be well, my child, if pain intrudes again, call us.” I’ll miss seeing him, this kind, young, very tall, very skinny man who almost-casually handed my life back to me. In giving him shit yesterday about his weight, I learned that it’s the same number on the scale as when he left high school. Big deal, I can still wear all the earrings I had back then.

Last year, for all the reasons, will live in infamy in my head until memory fades. 2022 began in a complete fog of pain and opioids, followed by months of hard work. Somewhere along the way I had a second MOHS surgery for basal cell carcinoma, precisely in the middle of my forehead, thank you Ruth Buzzi for the shining example. Fortunately I had a beautiful Middle Eastern surgeon who uses her skills to safeguard women and our spirits, and I’m no scarier-looking than before. In October I fell, destroying my glasses and nearly breaking my orbital socket. The right side of my face and neck were rainbow-hued for too long, and three front teeth are still numb from that little oops. On December 23rd I tested positive for COVID for a second time (first was before all the vaccines), so 2022 ended in much the same way it started… in a fog of pain but minus the opioids, which I really could have used.

So MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone, hope it was swell. Having totally missed it two years in a row now, I know it all happens whether we’re here for it or not. It’s the days ahead of us that count now, and I’m happy and relieved to have a fresh year to work with. Clearly, time is of the essence as I have a ten-year window to reach this goal:

Goal #2. I’ve already impressed the hell outta 5-year-old me.

That little farm girl is proud of me for growing a backbone over these years of existence, with their never-ending onslaught of real stuff hitting the fan. She’s impressed that I finally found my voice and that I no longer silence it under pressure. She’s living vicariously in the freedom I give myself to be me, and she’s a far happier child than I remember being the first time through.

If you don’t give in, life will try to kick you to the curb, teach you a lesson “once and for all,” and wash its hands of you, so all you can do is hang in and work toward better days, because sometimes life doesn’t know beans. 2022 taught me crucial lessons that will be helpful to have on board going forward, one being that, sometimes, briefly being selfish is the answer. It’s an effective shield if wielded judiciously.

Guard the pieces that comprise the real YOU. Don’t give those away indiscriminately.

I’m taking at least two solid truths forward into 2023. First of all, this… I hope to never lose sight of it:

And its corollary:

I hope 2023 finds me doing the things that make the process of staying alive a better proposition for everyone around me. Happy New Year to you, I missed the last two celebrations but I’m here for it all now. Let’s hold hands and do this thing…

Image

The view from here, Week One…

Maria Alfie – Marbles III, 1983, oil on canvas

We survived it. If you’re reading this, you got through the intro to the 2023 dance, along with plenty of other brave souls. And if you’re like me, always going the extra mile, you may even have been recognized for your efforts.

The fresh new year is already bringing its daily load of challenges, and that will likely continue unabated, so remember…

*

Life comes at us without letup most of the time, and we each deal in our own way…

*

*

I found this yesterday and it’s so perfectly said that I sat here in silence for a full five minutes letting the truth of it permeate. It’s exquisite:

*

I did an uncharacteristic thing yesterday and clicked on a Facebook link to a “psychic reading.” Turns out they know me there.

Worth sticking around to find out.

*

So here we all are, putting one foot in front of the other because we weren’t offered another option, doing our best, hoping for the right outcome, human-ing like our lives depended on it. We know we don’t have it all figured out, we’re simply trying to get there in time to catch the last train.

*

A message to 2023:

The past decade has extracted a toll while providing growth and insight.

*

“In this universe we are given two gifts: the ability to love, and the ability to ask questions. Which are, at the same time, the fires that warm us and the fires that scorch us.” -Mary Oliver

*

*

Each new odyssey around the sun comes with its own unique set of events and circumstances, none of which humans are privy to before it happens, so if we want to continue our existence we DEAL, end of story.

BEGINNING of story… here we go. You’ve been warned, bright new year.

Image

Hello? Anybody else here yet?

*

Don’t let me startle you, I’m just over here in 2023 snooping under rocks, checking the temperature, looking at the trends two days in. What I’m picking up so far is that it’s still all about the little things, the crucial details, the fleeting, precious parts of life that we can’t afford to lose sight of or we lose our way.

*

There are unlimited ways to have fun in life… and to BE fun! Amirite??

*

This seems important to carry into the year ahead.

*

As we skeptically eye the blank slate before us, it helps to remember that every new beginning feels this way, and very little of it hinges on us except in the most important ways… one to one, where we have the capacity to make a difference. We don’t know what the year will bring, but experience does tell us a few things: there will be wondrous amazing happenings; there will be heinous horrendous happenings; there will be everything that happens upon the earth with sometimes distressing regularity; and we will deal with it. All of it. Welcome to life.

A word from the truly wise to send us on our way:

“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”

― Rumi

*

P.S…………..

Image

Standing on solemn ceremony…

*

Three mornings from now, it will be a new year. We make such a thing about restarts and clean slates that it tends to crank up the pressure right off the top, making the crispy-clean observance something less than joyful, so this time I’m proceeding on the basis that 2023 is NOBODY’S year, we’re all simply going to stroll nonchalantly to the door, peek through the peephole, open the barrier a crack, read the room, and hang around the coffee machine until the convo starts to sort itself out.

For me, 2023 says less is more. My plan, goal, thought, intent is that if and when the year 2024 shows its face, every drawer, shelf, cabinet, closet, space will have been scrutinized severely and lightened of its load. I feel guilty and heavy-laden if I’m harboring goods of the world for which I have no legit use, especially when I can envision others getting the benefit instead. Excess only adds to my anxiety, and one place that’s due for a purge is the desktop I’m typing on at the moment. Thousands of images, files, and folders must go in the name of mental health. It could happen… bit by bit, step by step.

Random thoughts and admonishments, curated to take us into the immediate future…

Alternatively, I might assign myself the task of adopting more freedom and flexibility.

*

*

Worth keeping in mind during the months ahead…

*

Image

Almost there…

*

Peace. Quiet. Insulation from the bitter cold. Isolation from the bitter of any sort. These are welcome qualities embedded in The Day After, and with a steaming mug of Kim’s coffee in hand, parked in front of my space heater, eye on the frigid streets below, where absolutely nothing is happening at 9am… it’s an okay perspective, good for processing.

We did it, boys and girls. We’ve survived 2022 thus far, with enough optimism left over for contemplating yet another go ’round. Every new year, with its staggeringly-blank slate, presents an Offer We Can’t Refuse, so off we toddle like lemmings, eager to test the waters and prove the worth of all those valuable lessons we learned in past contests.

I have no idea what to expect from the year ahead, except that it will most likely play out in ways I could/would never program on my own. And it will undoubtedly be more of same in many ways, so the resulting balance/imbalance will be key as always. What will life look like as 2023 progresses?

In these days between Christmas and the New Year, we’re afforded an opportunity to think about that question in detail, should we be feeling especially brave and bold. How might things continue to change, for better or worse, since change itself is a given…

For me, 2022 was the year life actually did change big-time: I was provided a way to leave behind the nerve pain that had haunted the 50 years of my life just prior, thereby opening doors thought permanently closed to me. The effects are ongoing, with no reason to switch horses or alter plans, regardless of any setbacks, which are part of everything. A bad fall in October slowed me down but didn’t stop me, so we’re still bringing you our regularly-scheduled programming for the foreseeable future.

One thing humans are desperate for is restarts. “Let me try again. I can do better.” And more often than not, we do. I’m 100% for restarts and second chances and the grace to use them well, and I’m ready for lots more of that in the year ahead of us… grace, mercy, communication, comprehension. Connection.

This part of the calendar year is packed with holiday celebrations of every sort around the globe, with something in it for everyone. As we take a little time to wool-gather… reminisce… make a pin-cushion of our thoughts… I hope we’ll each gain a renewed sense of respect for each other and what it takes to coexist in the world. And work on doing just that…

Image

A gift from last Christmas…

*

Finneas is a brother to Billie Eilish and has worked with her from the start of her career.

How do you know
If you’ve done everything right?
Is it the love you have at hand
Or the cash you kiss at night?

How do you know
If it was worth it in the end?
Did every second really count
Or were there some you shouldn’t spend
On anything but anyone you love?
Was this the life that you were dreaming of?
A movie night, a yellow light
You’re slowing down and days are adding up

So don’t waste the time you have waiting for time to pass
It’s only a lifetime
That’s only a while
It’s not worth the anger you felt as a child
Don’t waste the time you have waiting for time to pass
It’s only a lifetime
That’s not long enough
You’re not gonna like it without any love
So don’t waste it

I’m unimpressed
By the people preaching pain
For the sake of some small gain
In the sake of someone’s name

I’m unprepared
For my loved ones to be gone
Call ’em far too often now
Worry way too much about mom

Don’t waste the time you have waiting for time to pass
It’s only a lifetime
That’s only a while
It’s not worth the anger you felt as a child
Don’t waste the time you have waiting for time to pass
It’s only a lifetime
That’s not long enough
You’re not gonna like it without any love
So don’t waste it

It’s family and friends, and that’s the truth
The fountain doesn’t give you back your youth
It’s staying up too late at night and laughing under kitchen lights
So hard you start to cry

Don’t waste the time you have waiting for time to pass
It’s only a lifetime
That’s not long enough
You’re not gonna like it without any love
So don’t waste it

–Finneas O’Connell

Image

Christmas happens…

*

Mid week. Hump day. We’ve almost made it to Santa’s birthday, when an angel comes down the chimney and passes judgement on the snacks provided, taking notes for next year. But first… a special weekend with friends… a bit of family time… and then 2023 shows up all shiny and hopeful. The cycle has faithfully renewed itself each year of my existence so I’m going to assume protocol will be followed once again and we’ll be here for it.

Christmas is a Zen affair in our household. No kiddos around to awe and impress, so after our first two extravagant holiday seasons together we’ve foregone the fuss, skipped the middleman, and celebrated in our hearts without need of trappings. TRANSLATION: We’re lazy heathens no longer full of piss and vinegar for every project. We do, however, have a beautiful poinsettia brought to us by friends which is performing a quite admirable solo gig. There are a few people who know to look out for us a little, and I love it so much because here’s the background: farm kids are trusted with responsibility and expected to sink or swim. Same with farm wives. After all that, when I met Kim I’d been looking after six older people… and then two… and then one. He showed up saying “You’re okay, I got you,” and for the first time in memory my personal safety and future didn’t hinge on my own brave efforts. It feels amazing to realize that someone stronger is taking care of the details. And in that vein, I’m grateful to the friends who “see” us and subtly prop us up as things change. That’s an art because WE ARE NOT GETTING OLD, DAMMIT! so it takes a soupçon of tact.

Current outlook encapsulated:

*

So here’s to everyone who takes up the slack… all you real people we depend on in one way or another…

*

In every season of life, I feel an urgency to know things, to understand how it all works, to relate my existence to something meaningful… and that’s why I write. My thanks to Caryn Mirriam Goldberg, a past Kansas Poet Laureate, for sharing this quote.

*

Whatever the days between Halloween and the New Year mean to you, observe them consciously, absorbing their value, and make good memories.

Image

On we go…

*

One down in the string of winter holidays if we don’t count Halloween in our race to 2023. Turkey Day was nice. We skipped the turkey and went straight for our personal list of comfort foods… Kimmers and me, Rita and a friend. Easy to make, satisfying to eat. We raised a solemn toast to all those displaced from their homes and traditional lands so that we might enjoy the bounty of life, and thanked whatsoever gods there may be for the gifts.

Our unseen and much-maligned fellow travelers before us paved the way for the societies and civilizations we now take for granted… while they became invisible as a people. We did that. We disappeared them. I’ve been thinking since Thursday about what it means to be invisible, undetected by the world’s radar. My body has almost recovered from my fall in October, but my spirit will never forget the cool detached appraisal from that impeccable young woman as I lay there like a bug on the sidewalk. She made eye contact but never saw me, and went on her way without a second thought. That’s invisibility… when someone or something simply does not exist you’re under no obligation to give weight to it. I’ve tried several times over the past few days to wrestle a feeling into words, but I couldn’t get a handle on it until a story this morning spelled it out: A thing unseen never has to be dealt with.

So true. In a flurry of pre-New Year housekeeping a while back, I sat here and wrote down some honest thoughts, and then before I could change my mind I hit SEND. I did hear back from the person it was sent to, but nothing I said was addressed beyond “hello.” That’s invisibility and it feels like being canceled. I’m getting used to it out there in public… my white hair and wrinkles announce my lack of viability and visibility everywhere I go… but I’m not so familiar with it yet from people I once knew. Such a strange disorienting sensation, and one I apparently need to get used to sooner rather than later because it’s happening with startling regularity at this point. When you say or write something, attempting to keep life honest and real, and not even an echo comes back… do you still exist?

It’s the dilemma of every older person I’ve ever known. Am I still here? Does anybody see me? Does anyone give a flying fvck? Honest answer: No, the world does not care, get over it and fix it yourself. My inner voice, which becomes louder year by year, has been telling me to go where I’m celebrated, rather than stay where I’m merely tolerated, and I’m sure that’s a solution to keep in mind. I only know that if it costs you your peace, it’s too expensive.

*

The world is so full of anger it keeps us off balance. I talked with someone yesterday who’s running primarily on anger fumes right now, and for good reason. We both know we can’t stay this rage-engaged forever, but sometimes it gets shit done from the inside out, where it matters most.

*

*

We are saved by those who tell us the truth… those who come to us bearing gifts of love and grace and an easy transparency that says “I got you.”

Thankful. So thankful.

A special thank you to my husband as we embark on another cold winter, with its lack of sunlight and sometimes unfriendly weather. I’m forever grateful he knew what to do with the grubby old cardboard box full of broken pieces I brought him.

Image

You’ve always had the power, my dear…

*

Have you ever taken note of the way, no matter how far out in the ether we get, life is standing by to provide gentle instruction or yank us into line? It’s uncanny how often I encounter that situation or bring it on myself without even trying.

And have you ever wondered what my blog title means? Twenty years ago I found myself playing for time, and the process has never stopped. Still playing, still breathing, always hoping for more time. And just as there are all kinds of ways to play… music, games, roles, gaslighting… there are myriad more ways to age. I consciously chose long ago to walk willingly into my last set of years and enjoy them in all the ways available, but I have companions who sometimes muck things up for me simply by doing what they do. Old, old companions like melancholy, self-doubt, and depression, whose lies complicate absolutely everything.

For instance, I preach that life is all about change. And then when something in my life changes, I tend to HATE it.

SPOILER: That can be a sign of encroaching crustiness. I’m discovering a list of other indicators, how’s your caffeine supply this morning? Fortified enough to visit my psyche for a minute?

Okay, so…

This blog spot has become more and more about the aging (maturing?) process, which is a no-brainer since I’m now considered an Old.

If you are not yet so designated, time will sooner or later provide you with the following knowledge, and you can save a little angst and hassle by preparing ahead of time:

  • We forget things. Not like appointments or where we left our car keys, but who we really are and how life works, by which I mean it isn’t about us. Very few people remember that we exist at this point… which is quite freeing now that I mention it.
  • The more years we live, the more personal loss we accumulate.
  • The more personal loss we accumulate, the greater our fear of abandonment.
  • The greater our fear of any kind, the more timid the soul.
  • Past the age of viability in the eyes of the greater world, everything becomes a test of one kind or another.
  • The knowledge that we’re failing some of those tests should not be considered a signal to sit down and give up.
  • We do well-meaning things that manage to accomplish the opposite of what we intended.

*

*

I somehow turned into my grandma during these years of crisis and chaos… but did I DIE? Not yet, so there’s still time to learn a couple of things:

Lack of self-respect is self-abuse.

*

No matter what it feels like…

*

This thought helps restore me to myself this morning… and you can trust it too…

*

*

Whatever gives your life just a little bit more peace… do that.

Image

Yes, it’s TODAY…

*

There was one assignment on our minds when we woke up this morning: VOTE. We could have availed ourselves of that sacred right at any point during the early voting period, but we value the experience of casting our votes in a building constructed in 1873 which has served many purposes and is now an art gallery and event venue built of stone, brick, and heavy timber called Cider Gallery. Its heft and patina speak of the kind of temporary permanence humans seek in life, and that particular spot never fails to renew my hope, here in Free Kansas, that democracy will continue despite all odds.

*

*

After the voting, we went across town to La Estrella for lunch, Kim’s choice and a totally intuitive one. They’re a family business, which when we discovered them consisted of a grocery store and a tiny kitchen/restaurant space. They’re now in a shiny new location, with the grocery store on the bottom floor and an inviting restaurant and ice cream shop on the upper level. The food is authentic to the family’s origins and we can’t get enough of it, but it’s the vibe itself that pulls me in. And today, on Voting Day, it was the place to be. The patrons are from Mexico, Central America and points between, with an eclectic mix of every shade of brown/black/white. At noon on a weekday it’s mostly blue-collar guys grabbing a quick lunch, sharing tables as needed, calling out each other’s numbers including ours, a thread of I-got-you running through the room. The place was packed today and we’re so happy for their success in Lawrence USA. And on this day, when our entire way of life as Americans could well be hanging in the balance, that singular message was a gift… I got you.

*

And now we’ll wait for possibly a week or more to know for sure which way things went. That’s a long time to stay curled in the fetal position, so it finally becomes necessary to simply trust the wisdom of the ages…

Image

And the quest goes on…

*

You know how life catches your eye and you can absolutely SEE yourself doing whatever it is, totally visualize it? So you DO the thing, and the moment you step out onto the high wire without a safety harness you wake up from the dream and there you are, naked as Godiva under the spotlights, balance pole missing, and no clue what to do. Working Without Annette is terrifying.

That, boys and girls, was day one at dance fitness class, and it was so much fun I went back for day two! After Tuesday’s initiation https://playingfortimeblog.com/2022/11/02/the-quest/ I flaked off all day Wednesday, didn’t go for a stroll Thursday morning, and cruised into class ready to get my dance on. Knowing how quickly the first day’s meltdown started, I slow-walked my way through the first half-hour, only to find myself in trouble again. Kim and I are still scoping out the various triggers for focal seizure but they include elevated heart rate and body temperature, both of which, as it turns out, that particular class is specifically designed to do, DUH. With fifteen minutes left on the clock, I decided to grab my things and head for the exit, knowing that once the cold wind hit me I could likely make it to the car. Focal seizures, for me at least, have a specific pattern… a head-to-toe sweat meltdown, shaking, dizziness, and hyperventilation, followed by confusion, disorientation, paranoia and crying. I’m sure it isn’t pretty to watch, so all I wanted was the safety of my car, and I knew Kim’s truck was close by and he couldn’t leave without seeing me there. It’s a huge facility, so I didn’t have time to look for him.

He, however, was hot on my trail, drove us home, and we arrived with a greater understanding of the situation than when we went out there. What we’ve learned so far:

  1. I simply showed up too early to the party, lacking a real clue as to the toll extracted by eight years in my recliner. In terms of spinal healing and energy restoration, I need training wheels, even after all the miles I’ve walked in the past year.
  2. A part of me is still the barefoot farm girl always running, the bicycle rider, the cheerleader, the girl who loved to dance even though she kinda stank at it, and although all of that was in the BEFORE time, when my body was still whole, I can SEE it, dammit, so I should still be able to make it happen… but I can’t necessarily still make it all happen.
  3. Kim nailed the obvious… “You know, you don’t DO mornings! This was never gonna work!” That moment when a light goes on and you get an idea how to proceed from here…

DISCLAIMER: I’m usually up by 6:30 or earlier, but I’m semi-comatose until about lunchtime. Parts of my brain are awake, but they’re occupied with writing words on the screen, and coffee-management. Those brain-parts apparently prefer peace and quiet until fully saturated, and are mos def not in favor of bouncing the molecules around in taxing ways before their time; therefore, I’ve made a large note to self:

YOU DO NOT DO MORNINGS

I’ll find what works as the energy reserves return and not worry about it… my body will tell me.

So what’s it REALLY like getting older, you ask?

ANSWER: It’s weird AF. You’re still the same person you always were, with life lessons blended into the mix, but whatever fires the engine eventually starts quiet-quitting. Grossly unfair, but what isn’t?

Here’s a thing to know, right off the top:

I’m the only one who does this to me, but that’s all it takes.

*

*

*

Never let anyone steal your magic…

*

Speaking of magic… this takes me home somewhere and I hope you love it too. Have a beautiful autumn Sunday.

*
ADDENDUM: Just as I was finishing this blog post, my computer shut down without warning and I lost all but the opening line. I steamed for a bit, quietly enjoyed my always-healing Sunday omelet, and sat myself down to retrieve what I could from the still-sleepy brain matter. Not saying everything happens for a reason because I specifically do not believe that to be true, but this turned out to be a far better post, so sometimes good things do come from sucky ones. Never, never, never give up. It’s so cute how life’s always directly at hand to provide an object lesson.

Image

The quest…

*

Did something yesterday that I’ve been looking forward to for months… I started a dance fitness class and omigod, it kicked my butt! An hour of moving everything you’ve got, some of it with weights in hand, with no breaks… I’ve never been so glad for my yoga mat and a cool-down. Found out after class, which is predominantly seniors, that there are people who’ve been taking it for ten years and still don’t try to do all the steps, whereas I jumped out there gangbusters like some kinda old cheerleader and depleted my store of energy and stamina in the first fifteen minutes. Kim was there playing PickleBall, left a few minutes ahead of me, and by the time I got home he had the spa water running and gave me sweet hugs for staying to the end. Full disclosure, I slept all afternoon, something I learned from John… go unconscious until the storm passes over. Got up, ate pizza made by Kim, went to bed at 8:30.

It gives me great pleasure to assure you that life goes on. Got up at 6am, sore spots mostly gone, energy restored to current acceptable levels, so… no harm no foul.

It’s a T-Th class, so today will be Whatever It Is, Judy’s Not Doing It day. And then I’ll attack Thursday’s class with a different plan in mind. First of all, I won’t spend a half-hour on the walking track beforehand (yeah, forgot to tell you about that). And then when the music cranks up, I’ll cruise… just keep something in motion all the time until everything can move at once and feel good about it. You know, sometime in the next ten years.

Life is hard for perfectionists. We only want it exactly right all the time RIGHT NOW, and we’re far more demanding of ourselves than we are of anyone else in the world. No matter how many lessons we get in patience, reality, life… we can’t give up the quest for PERFECT, which likely represents finally fixing ourselves, so no, we’re not quitting.

*

*

Why I strive for bland perfection who could know, but there’s this…

Facts are facts, however…

*

If we’re honest with ourselves, and let’s always be that at a minimum, life as a creature on a planet hurtling through space is not an easy assignment. We’re supposed to somehow inherit perfect parents who will raise us with an ever-unfolding comprehension of our existence because they themselves were raised perfectly, and on and on. The truth is that we find ourselves alone in the world insufficiently clad against the elements, struggling to comprehend quickly so as not to be overtaken and eaten by progress we couldn’t see coming. Nobody really knew to tell us… and so it goes. A Mayfly lives for 24 hours and dies with no unfinished business. A human may live past 100 years and never fully comprehend what it’s all about in the ways that matter… but when we do catch a glimpse once in a while, we know the pursuit is more than worth it.

I’m ready to pursue a restful HumpDay, get over it, and get on with it. I wish the same for you… look your hurdles in the eye and … GO!

Just don’t be this poor guy…

Image

I hope you dance…

October Sunrise – Kim Smith 10/23/2022

There are few things in this life so soothing to me as a dark quiet house just before dawn, steaming mug of coffee in hand, a blank page before me. A day begun in peace and solitude generally turns out pretty okay, because it’s all about attitude and it starts on the inside.

*

Fall makes me think about school, and school makes me newly appreciate children with their optimism and natural joy. For them, life is real every second.

*

*

*

We can remain childlike if we never forget the important things…

*

We can ask childlike questions…

*

We can stay childlike about history…

*

We can stay childlike in our hopes and dreams…

*

A timely reminder for the adults in the room…

*

If we so choose, we can keep a childlike spirit until the end of our days. We simply have to remember how to dance…

I hope you dance.

Image

Things… they happen

*

Couldn’t find it on my bucket list when I went to cross it off, but I finally earned a decent shiner in my lifetime, and it was so easy to do! Almost made it home from my walk Monday afternoon when I stubbed my toe in the driveway to our building and went down. I don’t remember the fall, just the solid impact and the aftermath. Once my senses returned I was trying to see where all my stuff was… little shoulder bag with essentials, my glasses, my walking pole, the tiny hearing aid that flew across the pavement… when a svelte young businesswoman drove slowly out the drive, looking at me turtled up while deciding to do nothing. It felt precisely like somebody was looking but not seeing. I was a bug on the sidewalk. Fortunately, a woman likely in her 60s hopped out of her car and tried to help me get my feet under me. Due to my suddenly messed up right side we were having no success, when a man in his 50s strode over and carefully lifted me under my arms so I could stand up, gathered my detritus for me, and saw me to the door. Those two people have obviously lived long enough to know everybody’s gonna need a hand sometime, and they made all the difference. I actually feel kinda bad for that lovely young woman… Karma never forgets and this mama’s heart wonders what the cost might be. Oh well.

So yeah, that’s how that was. My cheek swelled about 3″ beyond its limits, with the outline of my ruined glasses showing like a roadmap, and now we get to marvel over the beautifully changing fall colors on this canvas of a face, starting with livid purple. It’s been necessary to show myself in medical offices, making sure everything still checks out, and I have a disclaimer: Be advised that if you indicate Kim and say “I’ll bet HE did that, right?” I will look you in the eye and ask why you’d say that. “Do you hit YOUR wife?” It strikes me as an old-white-man thing to say and I’ll call you out. An old white man with Dr. in front of his name asked me that question on Tuesday, but the right words hadn’t yet formed in my frontal cortex where expressive language resides. Come at me again, you old fart, with your not-humor, I’ve got your answer right here.

Here’s the truth: if you’re a woman and you ask me that same question you’ll do it tentatively, softly, with eyes downcast, and you either know me really well or not at all. If you know me enough to trust me, you’re asking for yourself, things have happened, and you need someone to tell. And you know Kim would never hit me, but you need an in. If you don’t actually know me, you don’t know my husband either or you’d have the answer already. If you’re a man and ask me, something in you is damn proud of him for supposedly asserting his rightful authority over a clearly insubordinate wife. I’m not having it, Mr. Cellophane, sit down. And don’t speak to me again without authorization.

Okay… all better now.

Anyway, if you’re either brave or a masochist, here’s what it looked like Tuesday morning:

By evening, gravity was carrying it all south down to my real wrinkles and I have a kind of wondrous scary pirate vibe going now. No more pics, and I know you’re thanking me. My medical-everything friend Regina told us to go to a Mexican grocery and get arnica gel for the bruises. She broke her orbital socket last summer so she knows… and she’s right. It works. Not fast enough that I won’t shock my hairdresser out of her boots today… but I can see a difference already.

I have a love/hate attitude toward the new boots I was wearing when I fell, but I’ll put something on and get back on the horse today, walking to my haircut and home again, before an excess of caution puts me back in my comfy chair to stay. Cannot, will not, have that.

You know why I write about getting older?

  1. Barring circumstances, everyone goes there.
  2. There’s no cure for it.
  3. It gets realer and realer.
  4. If I can scout ahead and warn you of some of the pitfalls, well… one is glad to be of service.
  5. This is a part of life to be enjoyed, if possible, rather than discounted as “just getting old.”

Don’t fear life, it goes on. Never let the bastards wear you down, compadres. Your horse is waiting…

Image

Theatre of the mind…

*

She’s up at 6am, sitting in the quiet dark again, mind running… not an unpleasant experience since she’s never been very afraid of herself. Her DH** has already headed across town for a healthy morning of sportsing, while the sky darkens even more just before the sun starts to show its power. This is what she does… she thinks. The thoughts need no jumpstart, they come unbidden as soon as the dreaded wokeness arrives, and often they’re an extension of dreams rudely interrupted before resolution.

She’s hungry, but too rooted in place to go pour a bowl of cereal. She loves the dark but despises the cold… wants/doesn’t want to go walking. Knows she’ll suffer guilt if she doesn’t. She hates the news, but reads it most days because part of the cost of living is to stay aware of what’s coming at us. She has online friends around the world she can share thoughts with, any hour of the day or night… but she mostly leaves them their solitude, the thing she values most. She needs peace and quiet like breathable air; therefore, she can’t complain about the loneliness inherent in that environment… and doesn’t. She’s well aware that we can’t have it all.

A sobering realization sets in right about now on the personal timeline: The older people who told us things when we were younger people? They were right, 100%. At some point you run out of fulfilling things to do. People who once needed you, don’t. Even if you walk for two hours every day (the girl we’re talking about doesn’t), that leaves lots of hours before bedtime. If you keep every scrap of laundry washed and put away, there’s no dust in your house, the bathrooms sparkle, your computer files are organized… all of which is purely theoretical in my case… whaddaya gonna do with the rest of your sweet life, bubbie?

The answer can’t be the copout “I don’t know,” so if you’re in the neighborhood of my Boomer years I suggest you make a plan, because life doesn’t live itself. Now that I’m physically mobile again my body and brain have to have something to do. I love the lack of responsibility and accountability brought on by retirement, but did I DIE?? Not yet, so the same old thing every day (doing a lot of nothing) isn’t gonna cut it. Our grandparents knew real stuff: life is a lonely proposition, we’re pretty much on our own from womb to tomb, and a late-life plan is a definite priority… I’m just telling you these things so you don’t have to hear it from a stranger. If we’re lucky we get old and we’re still the same people with the same need to know things, do meaningful things, make a dent of some kind just by being here… and that takes planning, because the general world doesn’t know we exist by the time we’re this age.

I’m 75 now, the age some of my family members were when I became their advocate, legal and otherwise. Since I’m not old like, you know, they were, I’ve made a plan and I like it, but don’t tell Life… it has a way of messing with the intentions of mice and men. Wherever you are now, I hope you have some kind of schematic for the medicare years that goes beyond keeping body and soul together. Think about what sparks excitement in you, thereby keeping you out of depression, and do that thing. ALL the things. DO ALL THE THINGS!!!

*

LIFE, like my bowl of cereal this morning, is too delicious to waste.

**Dear Husband/Darling Husband/Designated Hitter/Dead Heat

Image

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Playing for Time

"How did it get so late so soon?" ~Dr. Seuss

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East

Live Life, Be Happy

Welcome to my weekly blog on life's happiness. We are all human and we all deserve to smile. Click a blog title or scroll down. Thanks for stopping by.

Wild Like the Flowers

Rhymes and Reasons

The Last Nightowl

Just the journal of an aging man looking at the world

Jenna Prosceno

Permission to be Human

Flora Fiction

Creative Space + Literary Magazine

tonysbologna : Honest. Satirical. Observations

Funny Blogs With A Hint Of Personal Development

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

The Alchemist's Studio

Raku pottery, vases, and gifts

Russel Ray Photos

Life from Southern California, mostly San Diego County

Phicklephilly

The parts of my life I allow you to see

Going Medieval

Medieval History, Pop Culture, Swearing

It Takes Two.

twinning with the Eichmans

Vox Populi

A curated webspace for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 15,000 daily subscribers. Over 7,000 archived posts.

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

FranklyWrite

Live Life Write

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Drinking Tips for Teens

Creative humour, satire and other bad ideas by Ross Murray, an author living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Is it truth or fiction? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

Gretchen L. Kelly

KenRobert.com

random thoughts and scattered poems

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Musings of a Penpusher

A Taurean suffering from cacoethes scribendi - an incurable itch to write.

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Funnier In Writing

A Humor Blog for Horrible People

%d bloggers like this: