|Heading back down after our hike to the top|
Here it is Sunday and I'm still a little sore from that hike. We went more than nine miles and up and down almost 4,000 feet of elevation, one of our more strenuous hikes of the season. The flowers were simply amazing, and I realized that this short season when the snow is gone and the flowers are out... it's almost over. Although we'll continue to spend time in the Mt. Baker wilderness for the next two months, the flowers will be gone and the fall colors will emerge. I enjoy all the seasons up here; in the winter months we sometimes come up to snowshoe, but this is my favorite time, late summer, so I'm going to enjoy every last little bit of it.
Both days this weekend are good for skydiving, so today I'm going to travel south to jump with my friends. That's another activity that is winding down for me, with two more months left in the season. It's been a perfect way for me to let go of it: going now and then and not trying to cram in as much as possible before stopping. And I also realized lately that if I choose to visit southern California and make another skydive or two in the spring, there's nothing stopping me. This is a choice I've made for myself, although as the moment gets closer it feels exactly right. I'm the only experienced skydiver at Snohomish still jumping in my seventies. At least in southern California I can spend time with my peers, but here I'm the oldest by far.
I remember a time when I wasn't the oldest: when I started school, my birthday was the cutoff date for first grade, so I was the very youngest child in the class. Since my dad was in the Air Force and I changed schools often, I remember that I was always feeling a little intimidated by the older kids in my classes. Back then, however, there was nothing like the bullying that I've learned takes place in schools today. I did get in a couple of scrapes with some other girls in my early teen years that I still remember vividly, and that was bad enough. Whew! I wonder where that memory came from; I haven't thought of that in years.
As I've said before, memory is a funny thing. Last night my dreams were filled with struggles: climbing hand over hand up steep hillsides and holding on to keep from falling, trying repeatedly to dial a number on the phone that wouldn't go through, and losing a favorite earring, searching for it without success. I also woke in the middle of the night (not an unusual occurrence) and spent some time thinking about that CT scan I had last week. Although the doctor sent me an email telling me that it was normal, I was able to see what the radiologist reported about his findings on my PeaceHealth website. All my test results are available almost immediately, which is great. No more waiting for the doctor to get back to me.
It was interesting that although my results were normal, it turns out that they are normal for my AGE. There were signs of white matter changes in my brain that are possible signs of cognitive decline. Yes, while the results were "normal," I don't have the brain of a young person any more. And because of the internet, you can bet that I researched everything mentioned in those test results. This can be a good thing, but it can also cause a person like me to second-guess those results and wonder if there is anything I can do to slow down the process. I found this page which was very helpful in putting it all into perspective. I am at a slightly higher risk for stroke.
This shouldn't surprise me, since my father had several strokes before his final heart attack. I remember him telling me that he couldn't differentiate between the sizes of coins in his pocket any more, and I found that strange. It was the result of a stroke, I know now. My mother was convinced that he had many that he never complained about and managed to hide from everybody. He carried nitroglycerine tablets in his pocket that he would use when he was in distress. Nobody realized how much he was using until after he died. He was only 62, and he had severe cardiac disease but, as I've observed in many men, he would rarely go to the doctor. If he had even considered bypass surgery, he would have lived much longer, but he wouldn't go check it out. He knew, however, that his days were numbered.
Now here I am ten years older than he was when he died, and I'm also aware that my days are numbered. You can eat right and exercise, do everything right, and still we all end up with a day that will end the dash in our life span (as in 1942—??). The older I get, the easier it is to think about that day with equanimity. But I'm nowhere near as laid back about the prospect of losing my mind, let me tell you! It seems terrible to think of being alive and not knowing who I am any more. I guess maybe it's time to start doing those brain exercises. You know I am a believer in the ability of exercise to keep the body fit, and I've considered that Lumosity app that is currently being pushed aggressively in the online world. Does anybody know if those things help? I'm curious now that I realize I might actually benefit.
Well, that's about it for this morning. I've got lots of getting ready for the day to do. I'm up to 15 repetitions of the Five Tibetan Rites. I think I will stick with 15 for awhile before moving up to 18 and then finally, 21. It only takes a few minutes in the morning and it's a nice way to start the day. It's almost 7:00am and I've been awake for two hours now. Time to get out of bed! I hope you have a great week and enjoy the last unofficial week of summer.