Sunday, January 4, 2015

Blog response from a friend

In my blog post last week I discussed some realizations I've come to about the changing nature of Christmas, the physical realities of aging, and my growing abilities to relax rather than being constantly on the go and to let go of unnecessary complexity. I was recuperating from pneumonia and spending quiet time, so I was noticing these things about myself.

Several of the responses were from people I haven't heard from before and most acknowledged a similar situation in themselves. I'm always interested in hearing that I'm not the only one experiencing such and such physical or mental or emotional issue. I love that we're all in this together.

Then I heard by email from a good friend of mine who had a different take on my post. She said, "You need to come home soon. I miss you and you sound depressed. Sorry to be blunt. You are NOT old. We all experience those aches but we don't have PMS or cramps any more or all that awful angst about 'who am I?' I have a ton of energy and can't wait to get up in the morning - we need to see if your CPAP is working correctly. If I was there with you I would kick your butt. Be glad the kids are grown and gone. Job accomplished - well done. This is your time."

I am 66 and this friend is a year or two older than me. She has just recently retired. She is smart and interesting and relishing her new freedom. I respect her opinion so I took another look at what I'd written that prompted her response.

I had forgotten about the PMS and the cramps but I am heartily glad to have them in my past. And the existential angst? I've noticed myself being more accepting and calm about The Way Things Are. I'm pretty content with who I am now. These are only a few of the gifts of aging. I'm thinking if I were given a choice to be 46 again, or 66, I'd take the 66.

I think sometimes I lose sight of what I've gained and pay attention to what I've lost. That's not good, and I'm grateful to my friend for the virtual kick in the butt.

So here's another take on my thoughts of last week.

1. I'm grateful for all the years of Christmas with kids and the years when we traveled or just enjoyed quiet times.

2. I'm grateful that I'm past PMS and cramps and angst, and for modern medicine that provides cataract surgery to millions of elders.

3. I'm grateful to be surrounded by people and activities that interest or provoke or confirm, and that I have the freedom to choose what I'll do with each day.

4. I'm grateful that I'm learning to let go of things over which I have no control and to pay attention to ways I can be useful.

5. I'm grateful that I can sleep until it's light outside.

As usual, it's a matter of perspective.


Travels with Emma said...

I've recently become very fond of sleeping until it's light, but three days a week I have to set an alarm to get up in the dark. Maybe I have to figure out how to change that.

A kick in the rear end by a good friend is sometimes just what we need I'm thinking...

Linda Reeder said...

I see that I didn't comment on that last post. I like this Linda better!

#1Nana said...

I agree that it's better to view the world with an attitude of gratitude. However, there are some realities of aging that I would prefer didn't exist...just when did my bones start creaking? Those minor discomforts don't diminish how grateful I am for the many blessings I have received.

Arkansas Patti said...

I'm right with you till number 5. Lucky you, hopefully I can get there someday. Can't make daylight yet but do sleep till I am done even if it isn't the recommended amount.

DJan said...

I am aware that aging brings inevitable changes, and I myself feel it's all right to moan about them now and then (I certainly do), but this post was very uplifting and a good reminder about the need for perspective. Thanks to your friend, too! :-)

Olga said...

you know that friend is a keeper, right?

Mona McGinnis said...

Linda, I would disagree with your friend. When I read your blog, I saw a woman who surrendered to her circumstances, who used her down time for reflection, and could still find things to be grateful for. Even from a "sick bed" perspective, you were basically positive with some sage advice.

Barb said...

I actually found most of your post to be positive. Life changes and things are different. Realizing that is not depression. My children are grown and Christmases will be different. I cannot do some of the things I once did, but I can do different things that I could not do at another part of my life. One of those things is napping whenever I feel like it, lol.

Anonymous said...

Sure we are aging, but I remember those days of youth that weren't so great either.

We were underwater with our house for many years but stuck with it and now enjoy a paid-for house in our retirement years.

I worked so hard teaching all those years and now I can enjoy 2 days a week, only 2 hours a day, with small first graders. The responsibility has fallen away.

My house had to be clean and perfect for all those youthful years. We entertained quite a bit and it all had to be PERFECT. I nearly killed myself.

Looking back, I realize how much I didn't enjoy each and every day like I am now that I am retired.

Glad your friend kicked a little sense into you. Enjoy these days in 2015. You are very fortunate to be spending them in your retirement home in Arizona. Not that many of us get to do things like that.

Rosaria Williams said...

Now, that's the spin we all anticipate! Frankly, I'm o.k. with feeling blue now and then. We're going through major shifts in roles and purpose.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I think the clue is "recently retired." For the first few years after retiring, I was preoccupied with being "productive." Now, not so much. I waste my time. After decades of working, a single parent, going to grad school, wasting time is fun. Not doing things for show, skipping many of the "ought to" activities is great. I'm not a hermit or overly lazy, I have hobbies, activities, friends, but I treasure being able to live in the slow lane.

P.S. My cpap machine works fine:)

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Linda, I didn't read your initial post as negative. As we age, our lives change and we can't do everything we once did. Family moves on or away, our stamina ain't what it once was, etc. The key to happiness is to appreciate what was and be content with what is, and that's what you have done. And yes, we can stir ourselves to do more, but you already do! You've found a new community full of new friends and activities. I especially liked the fact that you had listened to your own thoughts, or to your heart, and shared with us the truths you heard. I thought that was great. I still do!

Pam said...

Linda, I have come to appreciate honesty--I like the fact that you shared exactly how you were feeling after Christmas. Your friend probably knows you well and was concerned for you, but it's totally okay to have quiet times for healing and regrouping. With the passing of time, there will be changes for each of us, and I believe blogs like yours offer insight to your readers.

Madeline Kasian said...

I think January just lends itself to some soul searching, and you're entitled to be honest and to have some thoughts on life changes that are not all rosy and sugar-coated.I also did not take your post as very negative, just sort of practical and thoughtful.

I am usually in very slow mode every January also.I don't get around to setting new goals or plans till first week of February.i just give in to the quiet time of January and journal a lot. Sleep a lot.Think a lot.

i DID pick a word for the year, though.

I also love sleeping till I WAKE UP NATURALLY-- one of the best gifts of retirement!!

Perpetua said...

I too didn't find your previous post unduly negative - just honest about how your were feeling. I appreciated them both and identified with what you were saying. I too have no compunction about living life in the slow lane and wasting time when I feel like it. :-)

Deb Shucka said...

It's interesting to me that I didn't see the previous post as negative in any way - just reflective. You do sound happier this year than I've heard you, probably since we first met. I think retirement brings a very different perspective on aging than the one I have while I'm still in the saddle. This will all be so cool to discuss next fall. :-)

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

Having just recovered from something similiar to what you had, I can say that it has taken some time for the sun to shine again in my world. I even wrote a post that, if I had a friend like yours, I probably would have been reprimanded for. But, as alway, Dr. Sues was right. He said something to the effect that we should not worry, things will seem better soon...they always do!

If we could bottle "gratitude" it would sell like is the best medicine around.

Coming to the party? We would love to see you.