I try, though not always with success, not to grumble about the growing limitations of aging. I can no longer snap the fingers of my left hand due to injury and arthritis. I can live with that and confess that no one is lining up to invite me to keep a jazz beat with my left hand; my right is still ready should the opportunity arise. It was an epic journey to return home after a lengthy absence, consuming fourteen hours of my life. I used almost every mode of transportation aside of a bicycle – car, bus, skytrain, airplane. Upon my arrival at home, I had to stop and think which drawer housed my cutlery – left of the sink, not right as I had grown used to in my absence. Disconcerting. I blame it on fatigue rather than memory lapse. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I no longer bounce at this age, cannot do a cartwheel and if I attempted to perform such a feat who knows where I’d end up. I would require a shameful amount of time to race at my top speed over one hundred metres, whereas back in the day I was kind of speedy. I started wearing glasses when I was thirteen and I grumbled then about having what I deemed poor vision. That’s laughable now and I think I miss my vision more than anything else but it’s a close race. I could go on, but why bother. Suffice to say the list is growing. But … and there is always a but, isn’t there.
The beauty of aging is the gift of time to allow our awareness to gather up an infinite list of gratitude. I don’t mean to imply that younger generations have no time for gratitude, but when you are racing to and from your job, trying to carve out something positive that will leave the world better than you found it, while raising children who don’t always sleep through the night and kick up a fuss at eating vegetables, walking the dog, folding the mountains of laundry, trying to create a meal that doesn’t involve cereal or toast, digging the remnants of cheerios out of car seats – little time remains to stop and smell the roses. The added benefit of my age is I don’t have to be anywhere in the morning, not really. The world’s commerce is not going to grind to a halt in my absence.
I write a blog about my gratitude, have for many years, and I never struggle to come up with something that I am grateful for. Something pops up almost every day. I was not grateful for the incessant rain and grey skies of Vancouver while I was there, and it seems to have come home with me, so I am aching to be grateful for sunshine. It is a fine line we walk as we get older, because it is just as easy to become a grumbler. I hope I can hold firm against that affliction. I’ve known a few grumblers and they are a bit like Winnie the Pooh’s chum Eeyore with a perpetual gloomy cloud over his head, where nothing seems to create joy.
I’m struggling to adjust my inner clock that crossed four time zones to get home. Sleep has always been a struggle for me, but it is worse in these days of readjustment. So, while I lied awake most of last night, instead of counting sheep, I made a mental list of those small things that bring me joy. It wasn’t difficult and it was a lovely way for sleep to eventually find me.
I love the smell of coffee as it always makes me think of Annie and the smell of her kitchen when I burst through the door when she cared for me before I started school. There is no better way to start a day than with Annie and, given the opportunity, I would have stayed five years old forever. Fresh sheets off the clothesline, bubbles in the bath, warm cinnamon buns, little hands in mine rekindling the memory of how my little hand fit so perfectly inside my father’s, hand-written letters from an old friend, the soft tickles of whispers in my ear from grandchildren, the smell of puppies, Gracie’s woofing when she’s happy, the “dailies” with Lor, Thea on the piano, Laurie’s hugs, Aimee’s laugh, Mantha’s cool hands on my head, the kindness of strangers, freshly picked blueberries, a shore lunch of walleye, my daughters’ works of art on my walls, …. zzzzz.