Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Wild. Fires. Burnt forests.
Rain needed. Wind not wanted.
Nature’s summer cleanse.
I’m at a difficult age in my life. I am older, but not elder. I can do some, but not as much as I used to. The spirit is willing but the body rebels. These changes are not what I anticipated in the aging process. What do I know? I haven’t been through this before.
The first set of tween years seems clearly defined. You are growing up and you can feel it. Your body is changing fast, your emotions are doing a two step boogie right in there as well. A four year set of numbers are a part of the physical maturing process. 9 is a special year, your last single digit year. Then 10, your first double digit year. And 11, your first double number (two of the same number) year. Then 12, the last year before you are a teenager. So many firsts in those four years. For me, I had my first pair of eyeglasses at 9, my first brassiere and menses at 12, my first year of middle school.
In these years you move from grade school to middle school. Your skills are developing; you are learning more, getting smarter, and are more able to express yourself.
You are getting taller, and rounder. There are new muscles and new strength you didn’t have before. Your body is richening, ripening, creating oil, sweat, moisture, and odors it didn’t before. Girls learn the joys and sorrows of the monthly cycle, and the possibilities of pregnancy and motherhood. Boys learn the challenges of the often unexpected workings of the male anatomy, and must learn the responsibility of prospective fatherhood.
It’s so new. It’s exciting. Feelings emerge of amazing proportions. It will be several years before you settle into this new body and mind you are gaining.
The second set of tweens are a bit stranger, another interesting progression of years. Suddenly you are 59, your last year of being middle-aged. Then you are 60, your first year of being “older”. And 61, the year between older and qualifying for Social Security. 62 and you can begin to choose to collect your Social Security benefits. It’s your right; you earned them. 63 and 64 passes into 65 when you are forced onto Medicare, unless you are wealthy enough to afford your own premium health care. For most Baby Boomers, 66 arrives with qualifying for “full” Social Security benefits (though 70 is when you can receive the “maximum” amount due to you). You don’t have to choose to retire from work, but many people do.
You have worked 30 or 40 years of your life, paid taxes, contributed to your community and its economy. Your body is changing again, even though you care for your health as best you can. You are losing strength, perhaps gaining or losing weight for the first time. Yet, you are still gaining knowledge. Your abilities change; you are likely able to do less; you are tired. Your sleep changes, along with your taste buds. You nose and earlobes get longer; your eyelids droop and your eyebrows thin. Your hair whitens and thins; your skin becomes dry, crepey, and sags. Your body begins to fail; hearing and eyesight begin to fade. Your sweat and breath sours and your skin smells moldy sometimes, despite diligent hygiene routines. Women become dry; men are still challenged by the unexpected workings of the male anatomy.
I have been dry these last 10 years, no cycle, no blood, no chance of babies, though babies are all I seem to dream about. My skin produces little of the oil that used to keep it supple and wrinkle free. I have to supplement with lotions and creams, experimenting with products to find acceptable moisturizers that really do the job without feeling greasy or leaving a residue, while having a pleasing smell to my nose and others. My wild white hairs give away my age though my past oily skin still looks soft with a few wrinkles and sags.
At a time when you need more wits about you than ever before because of the many decisions that can present themselves (retirement choices, empty nest downsizing, medical issues), the mind wanders, uncooperating, forgetful, prescient of what may be coming to be with you daily. The brain will say, “Let’s do!” The body says, “Whoa, you want me to do what?!?”
They are difficult, this second set of tween years. We have to take them as we go along and make up our own rules to fit our own lives. If you are still able to do something, do it. Don’t skip it just because somebody says you are too old. If you are able to take advantage of a new experience, do not deny yourself; you might not have another chance. In the end most folks regret the things they didn’t do. Now is the time to stop acquiring things and begin acquiring more experiences and memories.
And just when you are settling into this phase, sometimes before you think you are ready, the next step of aging is upon you. You are elderly. Maybe not able at all anymore.
Everybody dies sooner or later. That particular piece of life is non-negotiable, despite all our advances in science and medicine, whose proponents want you to think if you do what they say you will have a longer healthier life. It can all be over in the blink of an eye no matter your age or health status. No one gets out of here alive.
During my terrible tweens I plan to kick as hard as I can, as long as I can. To sing off key as loudly as I can. To absorb hours of fresh air and eyes full of nature and feel sand under my feet. To listen to birds and teenagers and little children. To take every minute given to me and wring every speck of life from it including naps.
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – some plants that normally bloom in spring are blooming a second time this summer like this pale purple wisteria; and this creamy white and gold lovely I don’t know the name of; pale magenta crepe mrytle, see the bees hiding among the blossoms?
Currently Reading – The Small Backs of Children (2015, fiction) by Lydia Yuknavitch; Getting What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security (2015, governmental law) by Laurence Kotlikoff; Finding Peter: A True Story of the Hand of Providence and Evidence of Life After Death (2015, biography). Yes, concurrently.
This week I have been grateful for:
- The night wind caressing my bare skin.
- Night coming earlier and the natural progression of the light.
- Dinner out with a friend.
- Getting a small fence put in so neighbors can’t look right into my yard. Good fences make good neighbors.
- Getting compliments on my new clothing choices. Thanking my sister for her help in choosing.
- Finding a pretty pair of flip flops that will work with the new dress for my nephew’s wedding as I was purging some old things I don’t wear. In case I don’t find some pretty flats. Surprising what you have in your closet you forget about.
- Discovering a flock of swifts who have taken over a local chimney, and every evening give the neighborhood a theatrical nature show.
- The rich warm smell of afternoon sun.
- A lovely refreshing windy rainstorm that blew through our area.
- A safe grocery shopping tour after the rainstorm and seeing the aftermath of two accidents in which entire sections of roads had to be closed for the clean-up.
- A box of sweet black mission figs. So yummy.
- Fresh tomatoes and basil and caprese salad.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch