Monday Evening

It has been a very long day today. Mom had a PT appointment, (her last one), and she seems to get more frail every time I take her out. She tries to fool the therapist, but doesn’t. Those therapists weren’t born yesterday, even though they are young. (Everyone is young when you’re 93)!

I would guess nearly every older person thinks they can put one over on those young therapists. My niece Terri, who has done all my PT over the years, knows all the excuses, stories, etc. I went for so long for so many different issues I know I couldn’t fool her even now, nor would I want to. Mom’s biggest fear is she’ll have to leave her home. My childhood friend Peggy said her mom was the same way. Her mom acclimated eventually.

Mom has no inkling of making friends her age. For over 50 years, she’s insisted she’s not “old.” I hate to tell her, but now she is. I’m getting there, 23 years younger than she is. But I’m not trying to fool anyone, either. Least of all myself.

You’re as old as you act, right? Well, no. Acting immature isn’t going to make you younger, just immature. Thinking young, being open to new ideas, and joyfully learning new things is a great way to keep younger. Our Grandma Jewell and her sister Anna were pretty progressive thinkers. When wire rimmed glasses came back in style in the 60s, along with longer hair, they told our dad there wasn’t a lot long with that. They did draw the line when one brother had hair way past his shoulders and wore a ponytail. They thought that was a bit much.

Sometimes, we need to step back and re-evaluate what we value, what we want to associate ourselves with. Sometimes, we need a whole new way of thinking about life in order to resolve an old problem we have. Instead of divorcing a mate, sometimes we need to divorce our parents way of doing things: by repeating behavior patterns we learned at home, we are not thinking about how to make our relationships work, we are simply repeating their mistakes. That modeled behavior is deadly to relationships. You must be open minded enough to try something new. It’s so crazy, it just might work! It’s worth a try.

As a new day dawns tomorrow, try a different way of thinking. It certainly can’t hurt. You might even like it. Look ahead, eagerly, to a new way. Enjoy, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

What Were You Thinking?

Mom did not pose this phrase to us, I recall. Dad was the one who stressed thinking things through before we acted. “Use your head for more than a hat rack!” was his mantra.

We lost the spontaneity of childhood by thinking of consequences before we acted. Of course, if a situation was dangerous, it’s a good thing to pause before acting. Looking back, I’m glad Dad insisted we learn to think first, act second. And yes, we lost spontaneity. That doesn’t matter anymore; I think learning how to problem solve, anticipate an outcome, and weigh one option against another actually helped me. I was a business systems analyst/programmer/coder long before there were many women in the field. It was a sure way to achieve equal pay. Technical abilities are quantifiable. You can keep track and make an assessment of job performance.

I’d never make a good adrenalin junkie. Skydiving is out because of my fragile spine, but I’ll hold your coat while you go! And I’ll cheer you on. Skateboarding, skiing, water sports are all out. There are people who live for that kind of excitement. We know mountain climbers are big risk takers. Sometimes they suffer frostbite, become trapped in avalanches, or die. Success at a big climb is huge. The media is all over it.

When I attend a concert with the Babe, I get a big rush. I take hours to come down from the high. I appreciate the talent and skills our local musician friends all have. It’s hard for me to come down and settle in to go to sleep after we get home. Sometimes it’s 2 a.m. before sleep finds me. But that’s ok. It’s a good thing, an enjoyable thing.

I know I’ll get another rush today when I go to the local nursery to purchase some special geranium plants for the yard. The beauty, the smell of fresh plants, it’s all part of the pleasure there is in the world. I love watching things grow through the summer. The past couple of years, I’ve neglected some plants. I have to form a better habit about that, too. So far, it’s been too cold and rainy for me to even think about the outside. And summer arrived yesterday. It was about 95 degrees. Humid.

And now, I’ve returned from my civic duty of voting, and my mental health improvement project for the summer, purchasing plants for the yard, deck, and patio. Feeling the dirt on my hands, the scent of the flowers, and the satisfaction of watching them grow fills my days with joy. The nursery is in Gretna, and they grow geraniums for the summer, and plant poinsettias for the Christmas season. A small business, they do great things. They start all the plants from the seed. The header is a photo taken this morning.

And as I unloaded the car, I filled the planters by the garage. The four cardboard carriers are now in the entryway. Before I brought them into the house, I looked down and smiled. I smiled because the first photo shows my Mother’s Day bouquet is still alive; second photo shows the hen and chicks are returning for yet another summer, the third photo shows what I need to plant (“What was thinking?”), The fourth and fifth photos show the cute gnome bees at Mom’s doctor’s office last week. I’m doing my part for the bees. How’s that?

Sometimes, folks say it’s no fun being a grownup. Yes, there are bad parts, but there is a lot of fun involved, too. It’s all part of life. Choose to be positive during yours. It helps the bad things more bearable. Time for some lunch now. And off to planting. Unless I take a nap first. We’ll see. Have a beautiful day. See you tomorrow!