Getting old is serious stuff. Our bodies are not as agreeable to be flexible as they were when we were thirty and we find ourselves having to get more and more things checked out so that our bodies keep working properly. Our minds slowly change also and we start to find we must pause more to find the right word, the right thought, or the right memory to share with others. Often times, I see comments about "old people" getting in the way or slowing down traffic or making shopping much harder for those younger folks who still have the "taken for granted" ability to zip in and out of situations with hardly a thought. As we age, "zipping" becomes more of a memory than an actual way of moving.
So how do us older folks feel about this whole process? To be honest, sometimes it is downright depressing to feel in the way holding up the works and making younger folks irritated. But there is also an amusing side to all of this, too, because laughing at all the changes that age can cause is much better than moping over it. We are aware that we are nearer the end of our lives than the beginning, but it lets down so many barriers that we do not have to worry about. That can be fun. While younger folks are still attempting to behave with decorum, we older folks have gained the right to just relax our behaviors. It is easier to say what we truly feel, irritate people who are being obnoxious, and just generally have fun with it. We can be easily open with our doctors, with our family members, with our friends, and with total strangers. We have time to stop and fully embrace an appealing moment because there is no hurry to rush anywhere. We can take a nap in the middle of the day without guilt. We can do hobbies that appeal to us, take our time with them, and begin to let others do the "shoveling" of all the stuff we never liked to do anyway.
Yes, it is an interesting time...not at all what I expected, but still interesting. Waking up is not taken for granted now but rather a honored blessing. Being able to get around and do our day to day tasks is a true gift and one deeply appreciated. It is so positive to not be wanting more "stuff" because we finally have the time to completely enjoy the things we already have amassed and never had the time to use fully. We find ourself paring down on materialistic things just because we are tired to keep moving them about and dusting them...lol. We enjoy having less space but with a very comfortable chair and our favorite things at our fingertips. We finally understand the saying that "less is more". Time passes much quicker and it is much more urgent to spend it in enjoyable ways and with enjoyable people and pets. Life is definitely a mandala, spinning round and round, the seasons passing by quickly. Hopefully, most of us find much humor mixed into the whole process.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
When a couple has been together for as many years as we have, we begin to have our own language and behaviors just like twins do when they are young. Many times through the day, we find ourselves chuckling over the things we do so naturally that would look ridiculous to others. To us, these habits are amusing. For example, I put on jeans and a shirt and wear them the entire day. My outfit works for shopping, playing frisbee with the dogs, watching tv, doing housework, and so on. Ralph, on the other hand, has school clothes, agility clothes, dog walking clothes, cleaning clothes, shopping clothes, tv watching clothes, yaddah-yaddah. So when we get ready to do something, I always have to wait for him to put on the appropriate clothes. Now granted, to anyone outside our family, the clothes look basically the same, but he finds a humorous comfort in this habit. While he is changing, I have learned to just play a game that lasts a few minutes on my computer so I don't have to be annoyed waiting for him.
Another thing is his Christmas duck made out of an old piece of very rough wood. I have all the Christmas decoration boxes labelled so I can find what I need each season. Well, while I was otherwise occupied one day many years ago, Ralph added "No Duck" to all the boxes except the one he put it in, which he labelled "DUCK!!!" .....so when he gets out the decorations each year, that duck is the very first thing he gets out and puts up on the mantle. Anyone who saw the boxes would probably wonder what the duck labels are all about.
The differences in our personalities and expectations is like day and night. He can hide something he is waiting for me to find, and if it takes months or even years for me to find it, he never gets impatient. It is very odd to discover something…a note or a little gift…several months after he hid it for me to discover. This has happened on several occasions. If I hide something I want him to discover, it eats away at me steadily until I finally have to tell him where it is. The most I have been able to keep my mouth shut is maybe a couple days…lol. Then I get impatient and ask him why he didn't look in his sock drawer or whatever. How he can maintain that much patience I have no idea? It amazes me.
We made a pact as we aged to help finish each other's sentences since we kept forgetting words. It worked well, but now that we have aged even more, sometimes neither of us can remember a word we want to say, so our conversations take on a very unique and oddly funny banter back and forth while we discover what we are not finding the words to say. It is not unlike the game of Jeopardy in some cases or Name That Tune. "Did you remember to pick up the…you know…the thing I asked you to get?" I might ask. "What thing?" he inquires. "You know, the third thing on the list I gave you…" I respond. "I lost the list", he replies, "but can you remember what store I was supposed to buy it?" On and on we go until we finally hit the jackpot. It never ceases to be an adventurous conversational journey when we are in this mode of trying to remember something. It usually gets us both laughing.
We also have little jokes between us that others are not aware of. Through years of living together, we don't have to say anything but we are both thinking the same funny thoughts. Mixed up sentences are always fun like "he married his dead wife 30 years ago". I read that one today in a biography. I haven't shared it with Ralph yet, but this would keep one liners running through our heads for five minutes... and if we both actually wrote down our individual muses, our thoughts would be very similar. Then we always have the running jokes like when we are given fries at the drive up window after we asked for none, and one of us will always mumble, "They must have been all out of no fries."
Yes, being married and in each other's daily lives for 41 years is an interesting experience. I have to say that humor is the reigning force that keeps it all working. Ralph is at the agility building in Berwick teaching lessons right now, and yes, he is wearing his agility outfit….and yes, it looks like everything else he wears. I still have on the jeans and shirt I put on this morning. Married life goes on….lol.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
It is now the end of year 2011 and what a year it has been. The nicest event is gaining two new dogs to our canine family. Lucy and Sadie are both wonderful little beings and we feel so blessed to have them join our family. As the months have passed, they have meshed into our pack beautifully and brought joy to so many of our friends who visit us to spend time with the dogs. Our older dogs, Lexi, Jazz, and Sam are delightful to have. They are so well trained, spend much time sleeping, and show so much joy to be with us doing what they can manage. We love them so dearly and although their time left with us might be short, we are treasuring every moment. Kati and Zac are a special team who are the competing agility members of the crew at present. They are also the frisbee stars, catching any frisbee thrown their way and bringing it right back to our feet. Lots of times, Zac passes it off to Kati and she brings it in. Teamwork!
My anxiety came back full force in February and decided to hang around almost all the rest of the year but finally, after a lot of work, I have tamed it once again. I feel very thankful to have such a nice group of friends and professionals to help me learn better ways to deal with panic/anxiety issues. Thank you, each and every one of you!
Ralph retired at the end of June, then went back to work half time in July…lol…but it is wonderful to have him here at home much more. Being here in Sanford, we have much less driving to get groceries, building supplies, etc which enables us to have more time just to relax and do our hobbies. I am heavily into stained glass and Ralph is dividing his time between dog agility and woodworking.
Hopefully, although we are in our sixties, we still have a lot of interesting years ahead of us and many more adventures to experience. Health wise, we are both chugging along just fine. I have lost nearly 50 pounds this year and hope to lose some more weight in 2012. For both of us, having 7 energetic dogs keeps us both much more exercised than we might be otherwise so besides the quiet joy they bring us emotionally, there is a physical health benefit, too. A lot of people remark how lucky the dogs are to have us, but the really astute folks also are aware of how lucky we are to have the dogs! We are thankful to care for them.
Neither Ralph nor I have any ridiculous New Year's resolutions except what we always embrace….to continue to make our little corner of the world a pleasant, positive place…. one that contains plenty of humor and caring for all people with whom we interact. We will continue to appreciate the wonderful beauty of diversity in the people around us and touch our lives. Life can't get much nicer than that!
So to all who take the time to read this, have an adventurous 2012! Both positive and negative things are bound to happen on the journey, but we all have the inner strength to move forward step by step and savor special little moments whenever they occur. Happy New Year!!