Posts from the ‘Growing Old’ Category

To Resolve NOT To Resolve, It’s Not a Question At All

The dawning of a new year and this year, a new decade, is once again upon us. I could swear it was just yesterday we were all anxiously anticipating with trepidation the arrival of the dreaded Y2K virus that would accompany the new millennium. A new century full of potential and pitfalls at our doorsteps was a daunting, yet exciting, prospect. Now here we are knocking on the door of the next decade with the first 10 years already written. Those years have been ones of immense change that no one could have predicted with a crystal ball, not even the famed Ms. Cleo.

No matter how long the previous year seems as we navigate our way through it, looking back, it seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye, good times and challenging ones alike. Perhaps that perception is accelerated when viewed through the prism of age. I can’t swear by this theory, although in my case, it seems to be true. Time does indeed seem to fly when looking back on it.

I don’t usually tend to wax nostalgic, but the past year has been one of immense change, both for myself personally and for the world at large. Change, while sometimes welcome, is not always something that I embrace willingly. I’ve found though, that it comes along whether we are ready for it or not and you better be willing and able to hold on and roll with all that comes with it. The phrase coined by Thomas Paine “Lead, follow or get out of the way”, springs to mind when dealing with life’s twists and turns. Life marches on and you can either find a way to cope and enjoy it, or you’ll be left behind. It’s a powerful force that will not be stopped in favor our of inability to keep up.

In my life, I have the opportunity to interact with a broad spectrum of people. From the very young to those that have weathered many decades, one thing is clear. The world is definitely a very different place with very different mindsets from the one I grew up in. I know that this revelation isn’t something that is new amongst the generations that have come before mine. One thing that has changed drastically however, is the way the world views the future and the potential contained in it. Our willingness and eagerness to succeed and the coping skills that used to be fostered into our childhood lessons aren’t there anymore. I see faces with eyes that seem angry or worried or resigned to life rather than excited by it. The eyes are sometimes in the faces of those that are too young to have so much worry or no hope and drive for the future. So many divert those weary eyes and don’t know how to interact with everyone around them anymore. More and more people don’t look others in the eye anymore for fear of what they might see or give away in themselves.

I don’t mean to sound full of gloom and doom. Like it or not, and I don’t at times, I have never been able to fully extinguish that light at the end of the tunnel belief in my thoughts or in my own life. I’ve always known that every day is different and full of new possibilities. Some of those days will be worse than the one that came before it, and some will be so much better, you feel as if you are floating on air. That is the wonder of living itself. I will confess to wishing at times that life was not quite so colorful or full of the all the things that make me grow, while at the same time making me squirm from the lessons they try to teach me along the way.

The past year and particularly the last 5 months, have seen great changes in my life, some positive and some things that I would not have picked if given the choice. I lost a parent, moved to a new home from one that had been a refuge for the past 21 years and have faced a betrayal that I didn’t see until it rose up out of the blue. The past year has also seen the deepening of friendships that I didn’t know I needed, the memories made with children that are no longer small and constantly surprise and make me proud as they continue to grow into adults and precious times spent with my Dad that are priceless. I’ve learned to bend, learned to adapt. I had no choice and in doing so, have as always, learned about myself, my inner strengths and my resolve. Some things I handled well, others I’d probably do over and in a better manner, but that just isn’t something that we are afforded in life. You live and learn if you’re smart and use those lessons for the rest of your days.

Thomas Paine also said, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” I believe he was right in this assertion. We all have within us the ability to make the best of whatever crosses our particular life path. We can make a difference in the lives of those around us if we put the effort into it, but at the same time, the sooner we realize that there are some things that are simply out of our control, the happier we will be. It’s a hard lesson to learn, particularly for me. I’m a nurturer by nature and at times a controller. It’s hard to let go and realize that you can only control your own path and hope that by example and deeds, your life will positively affect those whose paths you cross. I tend to want the best for those around me and to lessen the unnecessary pain of lessons that test the resolve of those I care for when it’s possible or when they will let me.

There’s that word again, resolve.

To me, it’s not something that can be done on the first day of a brand new year. It’s not something to pledge to blindly and stubbornly adhere to when you have no idea what the future may hold. Resolve, to me, is the backbone and strength to weather whatever storms and rainbows that appear along our journey on the road less traveled when they occur. In order to do that, you can’t lock yourself into a particular path or behavior in anticipation of things and events unknown.

This new year of 2011, as usual, instead of making resolutions, I intend to be resolute. To not just proclaim loudly or even privately to myself on a day that is meant to be full of hope and promise and without the constraints of a year yet lived, things that in a few weeks will be left by the wayside. Instead, I want to be resolute in the decisions I make throughout the year and see them through. To be firm and unwavering, yet not inflexible, and to make things happen that will benefit my life and the lives I touch daily. To do and follow through on the things I can actually accomplish right along with the occasional reaching for the stars and to not spin my wheels endlessly on lost causes. I’m resolute in my determination to screw up as little as humanly possible (screw-ups will occur) and to instead progress in positive ways, great and small.

So, once again, on the eve of the brand new year and brand new decade facing us, I resolve not to resolve anything. I’ll take things as they come and adapt, learn and hopefully grow from them as I enjoy all the nuances of life, both the good and the challenging.

To paraphrase the faux-wisdom that I not only have to say on airplanes, but also from a famous movie..fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night, ride and year. They all are, that is the only guarantee in life that we receive. Such is life, it is here to be lived and not observed.

The alternative is simply unacceptable.

Happy New Year!

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Predict This!

I don’t mind getting wrinkles. The way I see it, wrinkles are just a natural part of going through life. I’ve earned the smile lines on my face from seeing the world through a slightly sarcastic wit and with humor. I’ve even earned a worry line or two as I’ve raised my children or navigated my way through any pitfalls and challenges I’ve encountered. I wear my wrinkles with pride.

I don’t even mind too much the fact that on some days my “get up and go” seems to have done “gone up and went” and left in its wake a sore muscle or two where previously I would have been none the worse for wear. I’ve found ways to work around sore backs or the occasional lack of energy when I’ve been overly ambitious and forgotten the day before that even though my mind still THINKS like a 20-year-old, my body works like a 40 something and will loudly let me know when I’ve done more than I should. I just plan for recovery time and keep the Tylenol handy as needed.

For the most part, I enjoy this stage of life very much.

What DOES bug the holy heck out of me, is not being able to SEE anymore!

I’ve never had great eyesight. I’ve been very nearsighted since 5th grade, a legacy from my Mom. I started wearing contacts in 6th grade and have never looked back (so to speak). The fact that I don’t have and will never have 20/20 vision has always just been a constant in my life and not such a big deal. I have slowly come to the growing realization over the past few years however, that I can no longer see anything right in front of my nose without wearing my Dollar Tree readers. I am officially now blind as a bat, without the benefit of sonar. It turns out that aging is not indeed for wimps.

Plainly put, if I manage to somehow wander out into the world without one of my several dozen pair of reading glasses close at hand, I’m a menace to society. At the very least, I’m prone to severe fubars when it comes to deciphering details on packages or when reading menus in restaurants. My grown children have many stories of horror where they have had to read menu selections to Mom in full view of the public.

Now, finally to my problem de jour. Texting.

I’m hip..I really REALLY am. (quit laughing) I was geeky when geeky wasn’t cool and have maintained my stellar dork status throughout my life by staying current with new technology. I twitter. I blog. I instant message with a favorite Yankee frequently. I get it. While I still enjoy reading an actual book over owning a Kindle or iPad, and on occasion still would rather compose an old-fashioned snail-mail letter or send a handwritten card vs. an e-card, I for the most part, love the convenience of all things electronic. I will admit that I do have my own way of doing things and might put my own twist on how I use all these “timesavers”. Nonetheless, I stay well versed in most of the newest and at times silliest trends and innovations that come down the proverbial pike.

Texting, however, has become quite a challenge at times. I sit and watch my kids as they text. The blur of their fingers as they massacre the English language in 160 characters or less, yet can still manage to broker world peace, carry on a verbal conversation AND order pizza at the same time, astounds me. Without a single thought or even a glance most of the time, they can fly on tiny keyboards of varying designs and most of the time, I can even make out the real meaning of what they meant to convey as pertinent information in their texts to me.

Here’s where my individuality (you do remember that dying trait, don’t you?) comes in. My phone has dual keyboards. I love the versatility and many possibilities of it. Not only do I have an actual numerical keyboard to make calls with, I also have a full QWERTY keyboard at the ready for texting or composing my version of War and Peace should I so choose to do so on the flea sized keys. Instead of using the itty bitty “full” size keyboard though, I prefer to use the wonders of “predictive text” instead when I send my pearls of wisdom, edicts from Mom, sarcastic thoughts or purely flagrant flirting out to the world.

This is where the problem begins.

It turns out to my absolute amazement, that predictive text, ISN’T really all that predictive when it comes to putting together words that actually make sense when composing a text message. Who knew?? Apparently everyone but me.

Obviously whomever predicted how most people speak was from Mars (or a man). They also were obviously in severe need of a Magic 8 ball if this is their version of prediction.

Call me crazy, but when I want the word “it” in a sentence, for some reason, I find no rhyme or reason as to why, my phone insists on putting “ht” in as what it THINKS I mean to say. HT isn’t a word in any language I’ve ever encountered, yet my SMARTphone, insists on putting it into everything I write. My shortcoming in not always having reading glasses around when I might need them (insert, all the time) means that anyone receiving my texts has to learn to decipher what I meant to say rather than the cryptic mess of characters they might actually receive. I choose to think of it as creating my own language. Heck, that’s what the kids do with LOL and LMAO and TTFN, so why can’t I invent “senior moment texting”?

Other common words that are likely to be inserted by mistake include, but are not limited to…”nope” for “more”, “of” rather than “me”, “tie” instead of “the” and the ever popular “duck” rather than, well you get the idea. Suffice it to say that I’ve discovered the HARD way that predictive text was not really designed with sexting in mind either.

Most of the time, the people I’m texting are either related to me or are as “mature” in years as I am and have known me a long time, so they are used to whatever might cross their screens and knows what I meant to say and interpret it pretty well. They already know that I use correct grammar and spelling in my texts because the teacher in me will not allow me to use “text-speak” with a clear conscious. Well, I TRY to use correct spelling and punctuation, when I can see what I’m doing and the crack predictive text will let me. On top of it all I think I must type with a Southern accent, so that might lead to a tad more confusion at times when colorful, apparently obscure (for Yankees anyway) phrases emerge from my brain.

Anyway, life goes on and I’m adapting in my own special way. I just simply pretend I MEANT to send whatever gibberish I convey and keep texting. After all, if I can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, I’ll just baffle them with BS instead, as the saying goes.

One of these days they’ll invent a keyboard that isn’t meant for fingers the size of gnats and a TV sized screen for we baby boomers that might be becoming a bit challenged with our eyesight. That way we can see what we’re doing and keep up with each other and all these young whippersnappers that are coming along behind us.

To paraphrase a movie quote from Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes, “I’m older and I spend more money”!! I may also be a tad meaner, but that’s an issue for another day. There HAS to be a growing market for those of us that are slightly sight challenged by our years of experience. (we’ll go with that. See, I CAN be politically correct at times!)

As for the attempts at marketing a phone meant for MY parents, the Jitterbug is a dance, not a phone. Please don’t insult our intelligence, however fleeting it may be. I refuse to be uncool, even it if means I keep sending my own unique brand of communications via text. Perhaps my new way of text-speak will become an overnight sensation.

Anyway BOT, IDK much but I’ll BBL and TTYL. CYA!!!