Is that a cow or a deer in the road?

Getting older is a funny thing. It’s not at all what I thought it would be. When I thought about it in my 20s and 30s.

Way back then, when I thought about getting older, it was something far, far off in the distance — like that wavery, shimmery image you sometimes see when you’re driving down a summer road and there are no other cars in sight. It’s there, but it’s not quite real.

Then, suddenly, it is there, right in front of you. The line on the horizon is clear and sharp and you see, plain as day, that there is a deer, or maybe a stray cow, standing in the middle of the road. You hammer on the brakes, your heart leaps into your throat, you nearly pee your pants, but, miraculously, you avoid a collision. The cow stares back, unperturbed; the deer flicks its white tail saucily and bounds daintily on its way.

You’re left shaking, maybe crying a little, glad that you’re alive, that the cow or the deer is alive and you restart the car and carry on your way. A lot more cautiously. And it occurs to you that life is unpredictable, and oh, so tenuous. You vow to be more careful, to pay better attention, to enjoy every moment given to you from that moment on.

But, as time passes the memory of that moment fades and you start wondering if it really happened the way you think it did. Was the cow or the deer really just standing there, or was it meandering across the road? Did you really screech to a halt in a panic, or did you simply tap the brakes as you swerved to miss the animal? Were you imagining the fear and the emotion of the moment, or did saying so just make for a better story?

Getting older, as it turns out, isn’t nearly as scary as I once imagined it would be. I mostly travel at a safe speed, pay better attention in my travels and tend to see things as they are, when they are.

Instead of not expecting the unexpected, or being unprepared to expect the unexpected, I’ve learned that just over the next rise, or just past that next shiny spot in the road is something that’s going to challenge me and that I can pretty much handle whatever it is in my path.

Sometimes I miss that feeling of invincibility I had when I was younger, that romantic notion that age could never catch up with me, the feeling that the road in front of me was going to stretch on into forever. Then I look behind me and see the road full of the obstacles, the yield and stop signs, the people and places I’ve passed by and through on my way to making it to where I am now, and I’m glad and I’m grateful.

 

 

Day 61

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The tree that had the light – unfortunately my skills couldn’t capture it – but it was there!

I’m a lucky grandma. I get to spend a week with my grandbabies. Their parents are off for a little R&R.

So I’m spending these few days getting to know them all just a little better. They’re growing up so fast and becoming such interesting people. I love how their personalities just shine through; they’re not babies anymore. It’s great having real conversations with them and  getting small glimpses of the adults they’ll one day become.

Of course, realizing that they’re getting older reminds me that I am, too. Sigh. I don’t have the energy I did when they were small and when it’s bedtime for them, its bedtime for me.

I like that I get this mini opportunity to grand-parent. The joy of preparing meals for them and sitting down together to eat and talk and laugh. Asking them how school was and did they learn anything interesting. The answer is the same one their father gave me: no. Just doing small things for them that I hope will make them smile. It’s such a joy.

I have always been very conscious of time. The limit of it, the way it is expended in each and every heartbeat and I’ve tried as hard as I can to make sure the time I’ve been given is not wasted.

Lately, and I know this has a lot to do with my father’s passing and my impending 60th birthday, I’ve been doing a lot of wondering about how I’ve spent my time.

When I look back I see the mistakes I made, and I truly regret them. But then, I look at my grandchildren and I see how everything I’ve done has led to them. And for that I have no regret.

The sun is shining today, making the frost in the trees sparkle. At breakfast, my grandsons were talking about it. The youngest told his brother “look at that tree, the top is like a light,” with the wonder only an eight-year old can have.  His brother, who is two years older, scoffed and replied, not unkindly, “it’s not a light, it’s just the sun shining on the frost.” The youngest took a bite of cereal and then very calmly and firmly said, “It’s light. And it’s sparkly.”

I’m so glad I was there to hear them. It’s always the small things.

#57 – like the ketchup, it’s coming slowly

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I’ve been home for a couple of days. I love being home. I’m sure I’ve said before how my home is my happy place.

It’s also a source of worry and anxiety at the moment. There are so many half-finished projects here – painting, windows, floors, deck, garage – the list goes on.

Whenever I walk through the doors after having been gone for a while I feel this immense sense of relief and release. Then, after a few hours I start feeling anxious and in need of doing something.

I look around and think – okay, let’s make a list. So, I do. And by the time I’m done I’m so overwhelmed that I don’t know where to start.

Part of the problem is knowing that I won’t be staying for very long. It’s so hard to accomplish anything when you can’t completely focus on the task you’ve chosen.

Because it’s never a situation of having only one thing to do, there’s all the other bits and pieces of life that have to be taken care of as well.

I’m beginning to worry that I’ll ever get anything done. I have great intentions and my desire to get things done is as strong as it ever was. The problem is I can’t seem to muster the requisite energy and the willpower.

I got home Wednesday around noon. After a bite of lunch and a small rest, I took stock. I’d had some vehicle troubles on the way home, so that was priority number one. Then it was heading out to the store for some staples. After that I unpacked, made a couple of calls and decided I’d better get the driveway shoveled. That was my day.

I came in from shoveling thinking I’d have supper and then get started on some other project, but after supper I was pooped. I watched television and drank tea until it was time for bed.

I’m sorry for boring you with such mundane details, but I’m trying to make sense of where my time goes and why I always have this feeling of having not done enough with it.

Yesterday, I got down to cleaning and purging – a task that I’m coming to believe is like living in hell. No matter how much you do there’s still more, and it never seems like you’re making a dent in any of it.

I focused on a bunch of small tasks yesterday – I cleaned out a few drawers, did a bigger grocery run, got my appointments made and posted a bunch of stuff I want to get rid of on buy and sell sites.

Then it was monitoring replies to my posts, getting soup ready for supper and working on finishing up a crochet project I’d  started. I wanted to start painting window frames, but.  .  . by 7 o’clock I was done.

More tv and a few games on my tablet before heading to bed and reading.

It doesn’t sound like much, does it? But I swear, I FELT busy, and I was too tired after supper to seriously think of doing anything more.

I know that much of this has to do with age – it’s a natural progression to slow down. But I’m also fighting with a sense of guilt for not having the kind of energy and enthusiasm I once had for fluffing up my nest.

I’ve got to figure this out.

 

41st Purge

pexels-photo-235474.jpegThe weather has been very odd the last few days.

First, it’s blisteringly cold. Then it warms up to the point it was raining last night. Today it’s bloody cold again.

I get tired of saying, ah well, winter in Alberta, but really.  . .

Today I started an aquafit class. It was a lot tougher than I thought. Trying to force foam dumbbells through the water while holding them at waist height is not as easy as you’d think. A couple of times I felt like I was going to lose control and one or both of my arms would just go rocketing up out of the water and I’d look like a drunk synchronised swimmer. Thankfully, our instructor seemed to know exactly when we’d reached our limit and she’d let us have a millisecond of rest.

Another thing that’s way hard in the water? Jogging. Fast. She had us do the equivalent of wind sprints all the while exhorting us to keep our shoulders back, our heads up, our backs straight and our stomachs in. Seriously. Water torture.

Never mind my whining. I enjoyed the class and I’m looking forward to continuing.

You know what else I enjoyed? Getting the senior discount! I don’t want to brag or nothin’, but I saved 75% of the regular cost. Ha, ha. Take that. I think I’m going to like being 60.

Well, I’m trying to convince myself that I will. Think young to stay young.

July 25th

Day 207 — Took a leap today and we’ll see where I land.  I may be aging, but I aim to stay young in my mind, my heart and my body.

Finished Full Dark, No Stars the other day  and have begun Vanishing Point by W. O. Mitchell.

Full Dark, No Stars was great — vintage SK.  I liked all the stories — there are four — but my favorites were Big Driver and A Good Marriage.  I think A Good Marriage was my absolute fave.  Fair Extension deserves a shout out too, just for the fact that Mr. King deals extremely well with a trait most of us pretend not to have in our natures.  Jealousy.  It’s dark, it’s horrifying, and you can find disturbing bits of yourself in the anti-hero.  SK does what he does so well.  Truly a master.

Finally completed weeding the main front garden.  The path is clear and things that weren’t getting their fair share of sun are now basking in it.  Next up — rock garden.  Which really should be a cake-walk.  Then, I’ve got to start focussing on indoor chores and touching up windows around the ol’ place.

A very cool and somewhat windy day — a high of 22 degrees.  The forecast for this weekend?  We’re looking at a high of 18 on Saturday.

Really?

Really!

“When I’m 54. . .”

If they can play, why can't I? Image source: http://www.signsfunny.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/grannies.jpg

 

 

That old Beatles’ song jumped to mind right now.  I will be 54 this year.  Youch!  Trouble is, I don’t feel like I’m going to be that old, except. . .

. . . when I do things like play basketball against a bunch of Grade 9 students.

Many, many moons ago I played basketball.  That would be about 40 moons, for those who want to figure it out.  Since then, my hand has not dribbled a ball, these knees and ankles have not locked or pivoted.  Yesterday, I took part in our pep-rally to finish the basketball season.

What was I thinking?  Apparently, I wasn’t.

But, I did have fun.  However, it is a very humbling experience to find yourself out on a court with a bunch of young, athletic girls running like the wind around you, and you, able only — and that, barely — to manage a minute and a half of charging aimlessly up and down the court.

My first shift I thought I was going to pass out.  I headed unsteadily to the bench not even able to croak out “sub!”  My frantic waving did the trick, though.  And there I sat huffing and puffing, sucking in huge lungsful of air all the while wondering if I could manage to stay on the bench.

Something that would have shamed my much younger self from 40 years ago.  Then, I would have wanted to be on the court for the whole game.  Would have been angry to have been taken off.  Yesterday, though, I was begging not be put back on.

I did manage to do three shifts in a fifteen minute game.  Never mind all that laughing!  It was the longest 15 minutes of this old girl’s life in a long, long time.  I wiped out once, but got back on my feet in what I hope was a graceful way.  I think I clothes-lined one of the opposing players across the throat in my zeal to block her path; I know I stepped on someone’s foot, and I’m damn sure I was guilty of numerous minor fouls.

Thank God the refs were blind.  We staff gave it our best, but in the end youth beat us — but only by one or two points.

I had so much fun playing that game yesterday, and despite my sore back and bruised hip I’m thinking it would be fun to ‘get back in the game’ on a regular basis.  By regular, I mean once a week.  If we could get a team of women together for a weekly, friendly game I think I would really enjoy it.

Just, please, coach, don’t put me in too much.