Aging Well

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“Oh, I’m too old for that “.

Spoken by someone 80?

Spoken by a young man. He was too old to learn to snowboard.

So often aging fosters an ageism attitude against living life in crescendo.

It creates the perspective that there is a ‘proper’ age for pursuing a life pleasure.

Even a simple life pleasure.

Like pierced ears.

Unlike babies today who get theirs pierced at six months, I had gotten mine done at the age of twelve. As so often happens (apparently), the holes kept closing up, as I stopped wearing them while caring for my young sons. Glittering gold in a mother’s ears tempts babies to touch and to pull.

When I occasionally attempted to wear pierced earrings, each time I painfully re-pierced them. Finally, I gave up, boxing my mostly gifted, pierced earrings.

I reasoned that I was too old to bother having my ears re-pierced.

Yet, if a child of ten said ,”My earholes are closing up, but, I won’t bother, I’m too old to get my ears re-pierced“, we’d laugh.

Too old?

Surely a ridiculous concept for a ten year old.

Yet, when a man or woman of 60+ says this, people typically nod in agreement.

Getting ears re-pierced is not a big deal nor is it expensive.

Yet, ageism held me back.

Where do we get the concept that we are too old?

Exactly what age is too old for challenges?

Exactly what age is too old for learning?

Exactly what age is too old for adventure?

Aging may effect both body and mind.

It need not affect aging well in spirit.

 

Live Life Aging WellAn eighty year old I know bought season tickets for this upcoming fall theatre, which commences in six months.

Therein lies the spirit of aging well.

Living life in crescendo means aging without ageism.

For me, aging well commenced with re-pierced ears.

Mother’s Day

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196309_354299498010521_402835107_nWith Mother’s Day fast approaching, i was determined to find my mother a gift that would make her smile.

Even though I was only thirteen at the time, I knew she was having a challenging year, both personally and financially.

So, I asked her to accompany me to look for running shoes. I had an ulterior motive.

While shopping, I hoped she’d reveal a gift that she’d love to have, but did not have the money to purchase. Knowing her well, I could have bought her practical items. But, this year needed something special to lift her spirits.  

As we walked through several large department stores, I commented on items I knew she liked: pretty dishes, extravagant purses and once, even a painting. Preoccupied with her life issues, she barely even glanced at most of them.

But, after I bought my new shoes, she paused to stare at a particular mannequin.

“Wow”, she said, “Imagine wearing that.”

Ah, at last, a gift that clearly met my criteria!

537750_387474191341295_903780686_nEarly next morning, I returned to the store, excited that the mannequin still displayed its wears.

As I enthusiastically gushed that it was the perfect gift for my 45-year-old mother, the sales woman hesitated as she rang through my purchases.

“These are a little expensive, dear. Are you sure she’d really like these?”, she asked.

Well, of course, I was sure. My mother had told me herself. Price didn’t matter. Making her smile mattered.

On Mother’s Day, as my mother slowly pulled apart the yellow wrapping paper, I could barely contain my hands from pulling the gift out.

Frowning at first glance, she quickly smiled with motherly warmth.

“Why, honey, these really are something. They are so …unique.  I sure wouldn’t want to wear them out. I’ll wear them on only a very special occasion.”

Dangling the hanger awkwardly, she held up the outfit the mannequin had worn:

A sequins studded thick black leather bra- with matching panties, of course.

This Mother’s Day, mothers everywhere will open up equally tacky gifts-

And SMILE.

For all they see is the love that accompanies it.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Earth Day 2017

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High above the road sits a substantial bundle of twigs, carefully constructed to situate within its hard confines.

An eagle dives in, fish clutched in its talons, bending low to land on the edge.

Clearly, there is at least one hatched eaglet inside this nest.

While an eagle in full flight is breath-taking, this particular nature sighting keeps me pondering all day.

This eagle’s nest sits perched within the steel girding of a hydroelectric power link that crisscrosses my city.

 

 

There are trees in nearby flying range; yet, none so tall as that power grid.

Tall trees are becoming a rarity in our cites.

But, in front of my own house grow three sixty-year-old cedar trees. Not so long ago the house builder dropped by, hoping to still find the trees he planted. I am quick to express my gratitude for his gift, especially since my shortened cedars stand in an area of rapid multi-density development. Old standing trees are being quickly pulled down, cut into logs, and hauled away like trash.

Yet, each tree has a lifetime of stories.

When  I sit perched at my computer, my thoughts are often drawn away from its unnatural glare to search tree branches for the source of unusual trilling of prolific singing birds

As twilight lengthens, baby racoons chirp furiously their warnings when my son walks beneath their high cedar home. In threes, they are preparing to traipse down for their evening food scavenging.

Food they once ate in broad daylight, like summer ripe cherries in our backyard tree.

Peter OnlyThat cherry tree’s sturdy limbs also supported yearly tree-fort reconstruction. My lads entertained grandiose engineering ideas that never came to fruition; but those ideas kept their days occupied within tree branches.

Sun-warmed cherries provided ample fresh snacks; food for boys and raccoons alike.

In deep winter, the tree offered shelter for blue jays and incessant hammering woodpeckers, undisturbed by lads sitting in a hammock slung between two branches or the swinging of a roped tire.

 

I have but a small city sized lot, in an ever-expanding city landscape. Yet, trees fortuitously planted by that builder years before we arrived continue to grace my family with memoirs of tree stories.

trees are poems that the Earth writes upon the sky Kahlil Gibson

With much of my local landscape changing, I wonder not so much of what is now gone but rather, what more will be missed.

Like the eaglet born within its steel lined nest, children born today will miss what is rapidly being removed from their landscape.

A steel girded home for a newly born eaglet is surely better than no home.

 

Yet, who would not rather wish for that eaglet trees so tall that natural green leaves would surround its nest.

Who would not rather wish for children the breathtaking experience of standing beneath hundred year old trees flush with blossoms.

Trees readily co-exist in an urban setting. By their existence, they provide not only living breath but a life-essence presence.

Far better to plant trees today, that will soar to great heights, than to regret their loss later. Planting now ensures future generations will be able to discover life experiences that await within their presence.

While an eaglet may be born within steel grids, it quickly masters skills to soar far beyond human vision.

Not so for the small birds, squirrels, and raccoons.

Not so for the small child, teen, and adult.

Within several city blocks, I am privileged to experience trees and their life stories. In my city, all it has taken is political will and public determination.

To plant trees is a legacy planted for all future generations.

Feathered

Furred

Fleshed.

 

 

 

 

Related Articles :

Sentinels of the Earth 

For the love of Trees

 

World Autism Awareness Day 2017

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I do not have an autistic child or grandchild.

But,  I do frequently chat with parents whose children have autism.

Is that a child with autism or an autistic child?

Is that simply a semantics question?

I think not.

To say  ‘A child with autism’ is to focus first on the child, a person.

To say,  ‘An autistic child’,  is to first focus on their life challenge.

Lisa Genova’s compelling and insightful novel Love Anthony reveals the difference.

This book considers the parents’ perspective, parents who often find their child bewildering and frequently nearly impossible. They struggle to hug and to love their child, a child who often hates to be touched or makes eye contact.

Yet longing to hug and to be loved is a struggle for the child with autism as well.

They hear that their brain doesn’t work right, yet ” it doesn’t feel broken to me”, as Lisa Genova’s character with autism reveals.

Genova’s interpretation of Anthony’s autistic mind gifts us an authentic and memorable voice that is simultaneously heart-breaking and breath-taking.

While autism might be a life challenge, Love Anthony reminds us that challenges in life can become life-affirming.

 

As we attend to the daily details of our lives, we all yearn to love and to be loved as we struggle with life’s challenges.  

To love and to be loved makes each of our lives worthwhile.

 

Those who live with autism yearn for no less than that.

Related:

Movie:Temple Grandin (2010).  TED talk by Temple Grandin, who was recently named to the US National Women’s Hall of Fame 

Blog: Life with Greyson and Parker, an honest and insightful mother of two children with “Superpowers” blogs on her life with them.

Books: Love Anthony by Louise Genova . A good review here from a mother of a child with autism. Reaching One Thousand, a memoir by Rachel’s son, who has autism

Man sues Gym