Senior Moments ~

Old folks.  Now that my husband has joined the ranks of the “officially old as recognized by the United States government” and I am so close I can breathe in the smell of must and mothballs…I’m seeing old people everywhere.  They touch my heart.  To be honest – with a bit of fear, but also with a whole lot more compassion that I ever had before.

It’s almost wordless Wednesday, so I thought I would share these photos of seniors “having a moment”

May we all age with this much grace.

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I’m 64 and I’m Just Glad to Be Here ~

Yep, one more time with the birthday musings.

I don’t know why, but today I feel OLD.  I felt old yesterday too, and I was only 63 then, so I’m not sure what the heck is going on.   Up until now, I have not been one to think about age.  I passed 30, 50 and even 60 without any visible (or invisible) angst.  Age?  “It’s only a number.  It’s not how old you are, but how old you feel.”  And I feel good – much younger than my calendar years.   But somehow, turning 64 feels different.  I feel different.  My body feels different and my face looks different dammit.  I do not like any of this and I no longer want to play the aging game.  I didn’t even wear my birthday tiara to Starbucks this morning.  Not like me at all.  I’ll slip that purple sparkly crown on my head at every opportunity.   Maybe this year I just need a little time before I’m ready to party.  Time to think about where I’ve been.  Who I’ve been. Who I’ve become, and how I got to right here.  Strange as it sounds, I think I need to mourn just a wee bit.  And then get over it.   I know all the struggles and victories and lessons learned in the past have led me to this particular place at this particular moment in my life.   And it is a very good place to be.   It has been a life worthy of celebration.  It’s just all passing a little too fast.  And I can’t control that.  I like to be in control.  I’m not happy.

So, my gift to myself will be a little self-indulgence.  Spending time.  Looking back.  Taking stock.  Being grateful.  Wondering what the future holds.  But really, just getting back to being glad to be here ~ however damn old I am.

Tonight the kids are coming over to cook us a delicious vegan birthday feast and share the bounty from their garden.   By then, I’ll be ready to get my party on.  To toast a life pretty well lived and celebrate new adventures on the road ahead.

And in the words of Bessie Cooper who turned 116 two days ago, here’s the secret to longevity – Mind your own business and don’t eat junk food.

It was a very good year ~

And that year?  The year I arrived kicking and screaming into this world of, course.  August 29, 1948 to be exact.  So please bear with me because it seems I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to birthdays and aging and how quickly the days are passing.  Yikes!  Not to be morbid.  Just observing.  Perhaps I’m just savoring a little of what has been and wondering what the future holds for the little girl below.

So I thought it might be fun to take a stroll down memory lane.  Here’s what I dug up for 1948.   As you can see, it wasn’t exactly a banner year (well except for me).

  • 1948 was the Year of the Rat.
  • The Frisbee was created by Walter Morrison and Warren Franscioni.  The idea came from college kids who used to toss around empty metal pie plates for entertainment.  Plastic + pie plates = Frisbee.  Times were simpler then weren’t they?
  • Velcro was invented by George de Mestral.  George was a Swiss hiker and inventor.  His idea came from the burrs that stuck to his clothes while hiking. He didn’t exactly replace the zipper as he he hoped, but thanks to velcro my kids didn’t have to tie their tennis shoes until they were old enough to figure it out themselves.
  • Reddi Whip was developed by Bunny Lapin and was first sold door to door by St. Louis milkmen
  • A First Class Stamp cost 3 cents.
  • Ed Sullivan premiered on TV.  The show was Toast of the Town.
  • Bread rationing finally ended in England.  Chocolate was still rationed until 1949.
  • The Wurlitzer Juke Box was invented by Robert Hope Jones
  • Babe Ruth Died.
  • The 1948 summer Olympics were held in London.  The 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled due to the second world war.
  • The State of Israel was created.
  • The first McDonalds restaurant opened.  Ray Kroc bought it 12 years later and the rest is fast food history.
  • Whirlpool introduced the first automatic wringer-washer.  I remember the hand wringer washer in my grandmother’s basement.  It was dangerous – just ask my sister.
  • The biggest hit song of the year was The Woody Woodpecker Song.   The Oscar winning song was Buttons and Bows.  Catchy lyrics I’m sure.
  • The first Polaroid Land Camera went on sale.  It took 1 minute to develop a photo.
  • A gallon of gas was 16 cents, a loaf of bread was 14 cents, and coffee was 85 cents for a two pound bag.
  • You could buy a nice new tract house for around $7,500.

I share this birth year with a few notable (and notorious) folks like Alice Cooper, Kathy Bates, Richard Simmons, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Al and Tipper Gore, Prince Charles, Squeaky Fomme (remember her?) and Clarence Thomas.

What’s the point in looking backward?  I’m not sure.  Maybe it helps you put context to who you are when you understand where you came from.   I don’t think I realized this for a long time.  I was too busy looking forward.  Planning for the future.  These days I find myself in the most intriguing place.  I am still looking forward with interest and anticipation.  I’m excited to be planning a whole new chapter in retirement living,  but I am also spending more time looking at where I’ve already been and holding all those special moments up to the light so I can see them clearly again (or really maybe for the first time) now that I have the time and the benefit of distance.  Seeing that little girl on her horse somehow gives me a deeper understanding of the 64 year old woman I am about to become.  I think it’s time I went out and bought myself a new beret.   Yee Haw Cowgirl!

You’ve Gotta Have Hope ~

Wordless Wednesday

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers who follow a practice called Wordless Wednesday.    One day a week they post only photos.  Sometimes a picture really is worth 1,000 words.  I was intrigued by the idea, so I thought I’d give it a try.  I had a wee bit of trouble with the “wordless” part, so here’s my version… almost wordless Wednesday.  Since my 64th birthday is sneaking up on me later this month, this one’s about Hope through the ages.

In my 40’s, Hope came in a jar…

In my 50’s, Hope merged with Wisdom…In my 60’s, I still have Hope, but I really need a Miracle…As for my 70’s and beyond, should I be lucky enough to get there?  I think I’ll throw Hope and caution to the wind and let it all hang out.  Something like this…

File that in the “When I’m Dead File” ~

To be honest, I don’t have a When I’m Dead File – yet.  But apparently I need one and apparently, as someone who has continued to live with my head planted firmly in the sand, I don’t give as much thought to the “when I’m dead” side of life as I should… at my age, because I’m, you know… getting OLD.  My kids already know not to expect any sudden windfalls when I leave this planet.  In fact, my standard line is something I stole from an old Moms Mabley joke I heard on TV 25 years ago… “It won’t be a happy day for anybody when I die”.  I used to threaten them with talk like “You get the car payment and you get my Nordstrom bill”.  Funny then.  Now, maybe not so much.

This topic came up while driving in the car the other evening with the hubs and my sister who’s visiting from Saipan.  Sis says, casually from the back seat, that she already has lists for me – all over her house.  What do to when she’s dead lists.   La La La La…hmmmm.  I do not want to discuss the possibility of either of us having to sort through the remains of each others’ life.  Too morbid.  Not now.  We’re on our way to dinner for God’s sake.  But she got me thinking and that always leads to trouble.  It’s a whole new world, too, with everything we now do online.  Think about it.   Online banking and bill paying are one thing, but even more important – who takes care of your place in the social media world when you are no longer around to post your own updates on Facebook or Linked In?  How do you gracefully shut down someone’s page and is that even possible if you can’t access their profile?   Does that person live on in Facebook limbo for all time?  Who sends out your last blog post?  Believe it or not, I could not find an answer to these questions when I googled them.   So, add this to the list…

My online search did come up with a great article on the Second Act blog entitled “10 Things For Your When I’m Dead File”.  Some of the things on the list were pretty obvious but, if you’re like me, it’s the little details that you tend to gloss over.  This list is a great reminder (or starting point for some of us). It was definitely the little kick-in-the-pants I needed to start getting my own house in order.

So, I’m working on a plan.  Here’s what I have so far ~

1.  Downsize now.  That’s where the whole “If it doesn’t fit in the backpack and rollie, do we really need it” idea first came into play.   How many blenders, waffle irons and crepe makers that we use once a year do we really need?  I posted about our trip to the Goodwill a while back and we’re still going strong in this area.

2.  Start my own When I’m Dead File.  This file should contain everything from the obvious (Will) to the little things you don’t even think about (gym membership) and everything in between.  The 10 Thing List is now printed and taped on the wall in my office.

3.  Have the Talk.  Let my important people know where The File is and, (note to self) for goodness sake, keep it up to date.

Whew!   Frankly, I’m exhausted just thinking about all of this but I’m so glad my sister brought it up.   It’s not much, but it is a start and a plan where no plan had ever been before.  And, it is much better to get started now, while I can still remember where we’ve stashed all those important papers and numbers.

Oh, and one more thing.  If you see my picture pop up on Facebook long after I’ve left this life, please leave me a comment and let me know what’s new.  Or at least click “Like”.  You never know…

Have you seen my glasses?

Or my car keys, or my book, or, or, or…   Oh yes, we’ve entered a new era at Casa Sims.  The one where you can’t remember what you did two minutes ago.  Like where the hell did I put my car keys because they certainly are not in the special car key compartment in my purse where I always put my car keys.  Except, apparently not this time.  So, the search begins – feel around in the giant purse I use because it holds all of the important things I must carry with me at all times.  Pull out the seemingly endless stream of tiny paper receipts, semi-used but still good in an emergency napkins, glasses (several pairs), wallet, phone, camera + + +.  It’s all there, but not the keys.  Search some more.  Upstairs.  Downstairs.  All over the house…no keys.  Try the purse one more time.  Voila.  They were there all the time.  Hiding from me in the one tiny corner I missed.  Hubby gets that certain smile on his face but keeps his mouth shut.  Smart man.  He knows.  It’s the same thing with the glasses.   Keys, glasses, glasses, keys.  Lost then found.  Only to be lost again.  Repeat daily.

Then there are the new and interesting conversations.  They go something like this…
Hubs, sitting in his recliner chair watching TV:  “What’s the name of that guy I like?”
Me: “What guy?”  Hubs:  “You know, the one on that TV show”  Me:  “What TV show?”  Hubs:  “The one with the guy I like.  I don’t remember the name …”  Me:  “I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about!”  Hubs:  “Ok. Nevermind.”  Rinse and repeat.

It gets even better when we are both on the same wrong track.   Off we go to the grocery store.  Hubby and I.  Park the car.  Walk into the store having an animated conversation.  That’s when we suddenly stop, look at each other and, in unison:  “What was it we came in here for?”  I kid you not.

Is it just us or does this happen to everyone at some point?  Does grey in your hair automatically lead to mass dropping of functional brain cells?  Maybe…a little.  But I’m convinced that all this forgetfulness is Mother Nature’s not so subtle reminder to slow down.  Pay attention.  And for God’s sake, find our sense of humor.   Because it is funny.   We can’t control getting older.  Like it or not, it’s out of our hands.  But we can sit up, slow down, pay attention, live the details of every moment and savor the things we do remember.  Laugh out loud.  At ourselves.  Laughter is medicine.  And quit worrying about not finding the car keys.    The time to worry is when you can no longer find the car.

Now, where did I put my glasses?

Night Driving ~

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.”  E.L. Doctorow    I came across this quote about the writing process the other day, but I think it is right up there as some of the best advice on Life, I’ve heard in a while.

This really hit me right between the eyes yesterday when I drove to a friend’s house for dinner.  She lives on Parrott Mountain.  It’s really not much of a mountain, but for this city girl driving an SUV that still feels just a tad too big to handle + some steep curves + narrow (sometimes gravel) roads, + a lack of decent night vision = the whole drive kinda spooked me.  I arrived at her place already worrying about the drive back down and wanting to make sure I did that drive while it was still light.  It was in the back of my mind all evening and was obvious to the three dear women who were my dinner companions.  I was very cautious about my wine intake (not a bad thing that) and I was keeping one eye on the clock.  I let fear of some future unknown possibility lurk around and try to push out my enjoyment of the moment.  I pushed it aside.  It pushed back.  Fear does that if you let it.

We had a lovely time talking, laughing, eating a delicious dinner and finally playing a game called Mexican Train.  This game has many different rules, so we played by whatever rule worked in the moment.   I was playing by whatever rule would end the game quicker.  This didn’t work. The “ladies” (and after several glasses of vino, I’m using that term very loosely) called me out on my obvious worry.   Here’s the comment that hit the nail squarely on the head “You are planning to be a world traveler with a backpack and you are afraid to drive in the dark?  How’s that gonna work?”  Well, yes I am.  So, I probably won’t be doing any night driving in any other country either.  But, I got the point… clearly, I’ve got some work to do here.

And, because I’m sure you want to know, here’s how the evening ended.  Despite all my worry and planning, it got late and I was doomed to driving down the mountain in the DARK.  So, I followed a friend who knew the road, took an easier way and drove a little slower than she normally would have to lead me to the highway in about five minutes.  Piece of cake.  Why did I get all up in my head over nothing?  How many times do I let myself do this?  Way too many.  I think most people do in some way – maybe just not about driving in the dark.

Oh, and I did a little checking and it turns out I’m not the only one who has a problem driving in the dark.