Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Pardon me, while I catch my breath.

There are those who believe if you haven’t reached your potential (whatever the heck that really means) by a certain age that you are doomed to live out the rest of your natural days as an aging failure and waste of space.  Even the hit TV show American Idol has a cap on age, as the contestants can only range from 16-28 years old, so those closing in on 30 will have no chance whatsoever to be idolized.  Which is weird, since Scowling Cowell is the driving force behind Susan Boyle these days and she’s closing in on menopause (I have permission to say that, as we’re close in age) – which just goes to show that some of us older chicks can still rock the rafters, when given the chance.

 

A well-meaning mentor once shook his finger at me when I was 27 and loudly announced to everyone in the room that it was a shame I “never amounted to anything” and how disappointed he was that my “most productive years” were behind me.  Hmph.  I didn’t have my first child until I was 30, so what did he know about the subject.  But still, behind me?  I still had a pulse.  My brain was still active (over-active, to be honest).  The body was still strong, willing and had a great work ethic.  What was with the behind me nonsense?

 

Not having the toughened hide of a rhino, those words rang in my ears over time, as I believed that powerful, successful man who let everyone in on his opinion of me that afternoon and again as he repeated the statement to me privately time and time again.  Silly me, I spent a lot of days questioning my ability to accomplish much, if anything, and before I knew it days added up to years.  However, looking back now, I realize I accomplished so much without ever even noticing it.

 

For starters, I have two incredible young human beings that will go into the world as truly decent members of society thanks to continual molding and shaping that took place 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week over nearly two decades.  I have no preconceived notions of who they will be or what they will accomplish, but I know the world will be a better place because of them.  My daughter, with her incredible gifts of empathy and nurturing wants to be nurse – having watched the ongoing caregiving of so many loved ones in her life (Grandmas Ann and Nola, “honorary Grandma” Anneliese, Grandpa Will, Aunt Shiffie, friends and neighbors).  My son, even with the pressure of autism on his shoulders, has skills and gifts that are continually encouraged that I’m certain will allow him to be a functioning member of society, albeit a bit quirky and colorful (which isn’t such a bad thing from my vantage point).

 

Charitable efforts my family has participated in over the years here in our valley has resulted in the giving of blood (drives), sweat and tears to assist others but in return we’ve received the gift of wonderfully strong relationships in our community, making our lives richer and sweeter and giving my children the chance to see the incredible power of people helping people.  Participating in events that affect those I love most, ranging from autism to diabetes to cancer – I am grateful to still have the strength to face ongoing battles that must still be fought in the days to come.

 

On top of what has already come to pass in my lifetime, I am excited about the possibility of what comes next, based on the examples of great men and women who didn’t even begin to recognize their potential until they had some mileage under the hood.  Like my Great Aunt Annie, who lived to be 107 years old, who enrolled as a student at UCLA in her 40’s which turned out to be just the beginning of a whole new chapter of her life, certainly not a gradual and slow decline.  Renowned American folk artist “Grandma Moses” didn’t pick up a paint brush until she was in her 70’s, doing so only because arthritis ruined her career in embroidery, seeing opportunity in another art form, not failure at the loss of another at an age when many would simply give up.

 

As youngsters, we spend a fair amount of time thinking about what we will be when we grow up.  Then, as we go through the motions of figuring that out, many of us end up on a path whose street signs we never saw coming.  A wiser person than me once said, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”  Ain’t that the truth?  One day you wake up and realize it’s as though who you thought you were going to be or the life you thought you were going to live was colored by somebody else’s paint brush.  Then, sitting in the middle of the armchair of your life, you once again think about the next chapters of your existence.  You may think you see retirement on the horizon, but the economy dictates otherwise.  Those children you sent out into the world, may boomerang back home unable to achieve the American Dream (at least the one that consists of career, home, car, kid(s) and annual vacations).  The person you thought you’d grow old and putter around the garden with either becomes ill, incompatible or non existent for a variety of reasons.  For sanity’s sake, it’s best to plan, but don’t try to plan the outcome.  Life doesn’t work that way.

 

There is great truth to be found in bumper sticker wisdom, in moments like this.  Seriously.  On the highways and byways of a lifetime, you may come upon the “One Day at a Time” phrase on the back of a car in a big hurry to get to the next stoplight.  If you squeeze that sentiment on down to the size of a BB, I think it’s best to take it one breath at a time.  After all, that’s really all you get – one at a time, with no guarantee for more or hidden clause for extras.  Better make the most of every one you get.

 

#OMGfacts on Twitter offered up this great bit of wisdom recently: Hoover Dam was built to last 2,000 years.  The concrete in it will not even be fully cured for another 500 years.  If Hoover Dam isn’t yet finished who’s to say that you or I are on the road to obsolete and insignificant aging obscurity?  I still have a pulse.  My brain is still active (truthfully, sort of hyper-over-active).  My body is still pretty strong, definitely willing, with a great work ethic and willing to fight.  Far as I know, my best days may very well be in front of me.  From this day forward, I believe I shall instead take comfort knowing I may not be fully cured for a while yet.  In fact, I may even have great power to generate in breaths yet to come.  I strongly suggest you join me.

Leave a Reply