Gratitude Sunday: One Smile

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.

Quote of the Week – “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.”
Maya Angelou

Sunday Haiku
Small cold blast arrives
on southerly winds, startling
nearly budded plum.

Sunday Musings
As stated, I’m a self-admitted cranky person. Rude people annoy me, as do stupid, unthinking, or selfish behaviors. I learned while growing up to think beyond myself and that has been a repeated mantra in my household. This week we have Valentine’s Day and the focus is love. What is love other than thinking beyond yourself?

Love can be selfish, focusing only on being loved, rather than giving love. Love can be lonely if one defines oneself by others. I don’t really understand phrases like “soul mate”, “better half”, or “completes me”. Love is more than “falling in love” or being “in love”. Perhaps I don’t understand love or loneliness, as our culture presents them anyway.

I am fortunate to not spend my life alone. The hubster and I will mark 43 years together on our anniversary this Valentine’s Day. We committed to lives together and lived together for 17 years before legally, officially marrying 26 years ago. We rarely agree on much, and quite possibly TVs in separate rooms may have made for a stronger relationship: no nightly viewing disagreements.

Our relationship is rocky to say the least, but overall we have an abiding love. He has never supported me financially. In fact, the opposite is true. He has physical challenges and for most of his adult life has not had gainful employment. I have lost count of the number of (women) friends and acquaintances who ask why I didn’t dump him when he failed to support me.

Is that how we define relationships in American society? Definition of marriage: a man must provide all financial support for his partner. I know it’s tradition, and perhaps a lovely thought when the man is able, though it seems to me it leaves the woman beholden or obligated. Since we don’t have a social safety net, somebody, whether male or female, has to provide an income for the family if one does not inherit money. I always liked the equal partnership idea, but that seems contrary to current culture even with the changes to tradition over the last 50 years. My counselor thinks it’s a generational thing, and tells me tides are changing for our younger generations, who communicate and agree upon how they run their households, more the nurturant family instead of the strict father model.

I reminded those “friends” I took a vow, and my vow says, “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse”. You don’t stop loving somebody because they cannot financially support you or because they are physically unable; neither of those reasons is an excuse to abandon a spouse. You might stop loving somebody if they are abusive or cruel, and in the end you must keep yourself safe. The other side of the card is a man of his generation who daily carries the weight of not providing financially for his family. There were trade-offs, for sure, such as we rarely had to have a babysitter, and one or the other of us was always available to run the son to school and events, and we raised our own child without day care.

I’ve never bought the notion that I need “another half” to “complete” me. I’ve had to take care of myself and my family; it’s been up to me. I took care of myself before the hubster was in my life. There is no one who “completes” me. Someone who complements me might be a better concept. I am one whole entire wonderfully cranky person all by myself. A cranky person who is lucky enough to have a person in my life who tolerates all my foibles, farting, and verbal forthcomings. He doesn’t always agree (he hardly ever agrees), but that is what is honorable in our relationship. We don’t agree, we move on, and we don’t kill each other.

We don’t have a commercialized relationship. Consumerism on Valentine’s Day is far from our minds, anniversary gifts non-existent. There is no expectation between us of flowers, or chocolates, or commemorative jewelry, or romantic dinners out. They are simply not in the budget and I refuse to go into debt for “love”. What we have is more like a timeless endurance. I can count on that person being there. He will not solve our problems, and sometimes doesn’t even help me feel better about difficult situations, but he is there nonetheless, standing beside me, maybe not even a champion for my efforts, but at least witness to the daily struggle together.

We are hardwired to care about and for other people. Desire is promoted through novels, TV, movies, and advertising media, however there is much more to love than passion and desire. Sex might be over-rated in our society, aided by the media who uses sexuality as a sales technique. Endurance, tolerance, compromise, contentment, and sharing might be be better aims for the long term love, the ever-after-grow-old-together kind of love. It’s lovely to have someone there, but it doesn’t work that way for everybody. For whatever reason, some of us spend our lives alone. No shame in that, of course, and no fault either. Some situations cannot be helped (or are out of our control) despite our best laid plans or wildest fantasies. It doesn’t matter because in the blink of an eye you may find yourself alone or engaged. Change is the only constant.

For better or worse, for cranky or crankier, the hubster and I celebrate another year together. We are making the adjustment to my semi-retirement, and after years of him being mostly alone in the house, suddenly I am thrust upon him, in his way and space all the time. He is faced with my constant physical reality instead of only enduring me during a few evening hours. He’s learning after all these years how to think beyond himself. I don’t know if it’s a guy thing or a retirement thing or not even a thing. It doesn’t matter. As soon as we get used to it, the dynamics will change and we will accommodate other differences in our growing old together. While I may be cranky, I save my smiles for him, and I hope we get to have many more anniversaries.

Alternate Museland
Civilized behavior has deteriorated in the last several years, and never more so than the last 13 or so months since the 2016 presidential election. We forget our please and thank yous, we forget or distort the words of revered philosophers such as Buddha and Jesus Christ about caring for each other, we show our hate and anger like badges of courage when we could be thinking beyond ourselves and honoring the dignity of each other, even strangers.

After many crude, weird experiences this last year (elder women yelling f-bombs in parking lots, elder men giving one-finger salutes in traffic after cutting me off and coming within inches of clipping my front end, extremely disconnected customer service, I could go on but I’ll spare you), my encounter in the hot tub at the local aquatic center this week was refreshing.

I like to soak in the hot water. Plain, no bubbles. I rarely (like never) turn on the jacuzzi jets. It is a shared public pool and most people enjoy the bubbles. To each his own. I don’t complain because it is a shared public pool. If the bubbles are on when I get in, I don’t ask if folks mind if I turn them off, because they would look at me as if I were from Mars. Who doesn’t like the bubbles, right? Hwell…

If I am in the pool and a newcomer sees the bubbles are off, they usually walk straight to the timer and pop the bubbles on. I don’t complain. It’s a shared pool, even if I was there first. Mostly if you try to teach “common courtesy” it falls on deaf ears anyway, as most people adhere to the “I’m the only person in the world” attitude.

In the 10 plus years I have used the hot tub at the facility, I have been asked maybe six times if I minded the bubbles. To which I always respond, “Thank you for asking. I prefer it without bubbles, but it is a shared pool, and if you prefer bubbles, please, go ahead.” Every person has then turned on the bubbles.

So, Friday night I’m in the pool alone, finally warm to the bone, starting to relax after my hour and a half workout, and a man’s voice behind me says, “Do you like the bubbles on?” I turned and responded as usual, to which he said, “I can wait then”, and he got into the tub.

Good thing there isn’t far to fall in the hot tub, because I was knocked over. “Thank you. Thank you for asking. You are sweet,” I say. He says, “Isn’t that’s how it should be? You were here first.” I said, “Hwell, that’s how I’ve always thought it should be, but that’s rarely how it goes. You are too kind.” And he’s like “Not at all.” Then we proceeded to have a conversation about civility, manners, thinking beyond yourself (specifically when it came to fishing and how people could choose the whole lake to fish from rather than right beside you), courtesy, and sensible direct communication.

When I was ready to get out a few minutes later I thanked him for our conversation, told him I was leaving and did not know how to work the bubble timer (truth). He nodded and followed me up the steps so he could turn it on himself.

That, right there, is how we think beyond ourselves. Sometimes it only takes a few kind honest words, no cranky voice needed.

Color Watchcolorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Focus on crocus this week as they are popping up all over the neighborhood. Sunny yellow. Faded royal purple. Exotic purple and white stripes. Pristine white with saffron center.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Binged through season 7 of Game of Thrones (2017, rated TV – MA) and the theme for this season is “It doesn’t matter”. Sounds much like the current American administration or a philosophy for life. No spoilers. * The Scapegoat (1958, not rated) with Sir Alec Guinness adapted from the novel by Daphne du Maurier. Several characters and plot elements deleted from the story as written by the author to fit the time elements of a movie, and one of the great surprises is Bette Davis portraying the morphine addicted dowager. * Season 3 of Gotham (2017, rated TV – MA), a guilty pleasure because of the violence element, but the characters are darkly compelling as this is the story of a young Bruce Wayne, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, James Gordon before he is police commissioner, and other Batman characters like the Penguin, the Riddler, and the Joker, only in a vastly different light than the movies, or the TV series with Adam West, or the animated series.

Currently ReadingRed Clocks (2018, fiction) by Leni Zumas. A world where the President of the United States gives the rights of life, liberty, and property to an embryo at the moment of conception, abortion is illegal, and how four women deal with the changes in policy. The writing is poetic, the premise is frightening. * Learning To Be Old: Gender, Culture, and Aging (2003, aging and psychology) by Margaret Cruickshank. Class issues, the elephant in the room, are a major element in the health of aging Americans, more so for women, and especially women of color.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • The kind, civil gentleman in the hot tub.
  • A safe journey on my four hour grocery shopping trip after the check-engine light came on.
  • The 2018 Winter Olympics. I am the best armchair spectator. I can do all the sports…in my dreams. Such lovely dreams.
  • Admiring the bodies and skills of the Olympic contenders, optimal physicality. My body has never cooperated that way, I am graceful in my clumsiness.
  • The creativity and variety of the skating costumes.
  • The extremely cold weather being somewhere I am not.
  • My TV antenna which gives me access to local digital TV channels. I don’t watch much but I want it when I want it.
  • My random queenly attitude. See above about wanting.
  • Coca-cola, for me the nectar of the Gods, for that occasional treat. See above about wanting.
  • Watching the progress of the children-tadpoles at the swimming pool. Each child is different, some afraid, some brave, but each one gains skill or confidence over the 5 week course.
  • The skill of the swim instructors at my pool, who each have learned and individualized techniques for behavior correction that does not include shaming.
  • Satisfying my asparagus craving, even though it wasn’t local.
  • Tacos.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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2 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: One Smile

  1. piratesorka says:

    Funny you should mention the “Bubbles versus No Bubbles” thing. I love sitting in the hot tub but I do not enjoy seeing my swimsuit wave all over with the bubbles. Other times I appreciate the bubble action when I direct it to my lower back or my knees.
    You actually got married on Valentines Day? It just struck me as surprising. Such a commercial artificial sort of day, not what I would have thought of you two.. Ahh well, to each their own…or not
    Beautiful purple flowers, so lovely.

    Like

    • sassy kas says:

      Well you know the original idea was to marry on Halloween if we ever got around to it. Then the son surprised us with his imminence, got the diagnosis on February 4, my paternal grandmother’s birthday, and on the 14th we filled the County courthouse with all our freaks and geeks friends to be legal. Took that long to make all the calls and get a few invitations sent to folks out of town (the days of expensive long distance phone calls). For hubster, it’s an easy day to remember rather than some random day. Not that I’m that romantic, as you well know.

      Like

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