I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Reveling in my humanity

Beautiful sky at Lake Padden
Yesterday I was able to walk with the ladies and complete the entire thing with little to no discomfort in my back. So, finally, I am able to take up my usual exercise-filled days and walk like I normally do. It took more than a month for my tailbone/sacrum area to heal. There are still a few movements that are a bit painful, but considering what I started with, I am thrilled to be so much better.

Today I have considered what I want to discuss, what is on my mind. After last week's mass shootings, I was on edge when I went out in public, but even after a short week, I am feeling much more normal. It's important to be aware of one's surroundings, being situationally aware, but it's also important to carry on and not let yourself get bogged down by fear. Life is fragile in any case, but more so once you become truly old. I want to enjoy every day of those I have left to me.

I'm reading three books at once: a Dave Barry book about the lessons he's learned from his dog Lucy, a book about aging well, and Pete Buttegieg's new book about who he is and why he decided to run for president. Aging Well is on my Kindle, and again I'm wishing I had it in hard copy so I could go back and forth in its pages more easily. And the book by Mayor Pete was sitting on a shelf at the local bookstore, so it was easy to peruse. Writing a memoir when you're in your mid-thirties seems odd, so I was intrigued, picked it up and ended up buying Shortest Way Home. My sister Norma Jean suggested the Dave Barry book, Lessons from Lucy, so I put a hold on it through the library website, and it (of course) showed up right as I had these other two books to read.

They are all very different from one another. I don't want the Dave Barry book to end, so I'm savoring it and reading it slowly. He's such a good writer, and he sure knows how to make me laugh out loud. He and Lucy are "of an age," with Lucy turning ten (seventy in dog years) and Dave turning seventy. He says that this time of life is comparable to the two-minute warning toward the end of a football game, and I ruefully agree. You know you've got less time than ever when you pass that milestone. And for me, that milestone is in the rear-view mirror.
Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes  —Anonymous
It seems like it was just yesterday that I turned seventy, but now I'm past the halfway mark to eighty. Eighty! Not very many people make it to that age without aches and pains and even debility. I'm hoping that I will still be able to carry out some semblance of the life I have today. As I get older, I realize how much of what I thought was essential in everyday activity needs to be modified in order to continue to work properly. "Adapt" is my watchword these days.

I am grateful to be alive during this particular moment in time, when so much has changed to make life more interesting. I mentioned the books I'm reading at the present time, how much they give me and help to keep my brain active. There is also another aspect of life that didn't exist when I was young: computers and the blogosphere. I love to write, and blogging gives me an instant outlet. Not only that, I follow several people around the globe who give me a glimpse into their lives and their own coping mechanisms when things go amiss. Many of my readers use their own method of knowing when a fellow blogger has written a new post. I use The Old Reader, and part of my morning routine is to log in and see what's new. Since I follow close to a hundred different blogs, I'm glad that not everyone writes something new every day, or I'd never be able to keep up. But seeing a new post from someone I consider to be an old friend is a real delight. I get some sort of contentment from learning about the everyday life of others. Plus I often learn something valuable.

And then there's my own small community of friends. In the book about aging well, it turns out that it's important to have a few friends who you can share the ups and downs of life with. Women have more of such friends. I think that's because many men have difficulty bonding with one another. I'm glad to have many friends of both sexes I feel I can talk to and cannot imagine not having that outlet.

Speaking of which, I guess I'd better get up and start my day. My beloved partner still sleeps next to me, and I've got a pretty full day ahead. After the coffee shop and hanging out with friends there, I'll go to Whole Foods and meet Lily there for breakfast. Then she and I will pick blueberries at my friend Judy's house, before taking in a movie at the local independent theater, where Judy will join me. By the time I get home it will be early afternoon, and I'll settle into my easy chair and decide which book to pick up and lose myself in. Not a bad life, not at all.

I hope that you will find some small (or large) delights in your week ahead. And don't forget to pay it forward, give someone a kindness that you wouldn't otherwise have thought of. It's good for both, the giver as well as the receiver. Until we meet here again next week, I wish you all good things.


gigi-hawaii said...

Glad your back is feeling better. That toilet paper analogy by Anonymous made me laugh. So true.

Trish MacGregor said...

Love that Dave Barry book!

Tabor said...

Your blogs are always my pick-me-up. You have that rational and peaceful bone that gets one through the day. I refuse to be extra watchful...except in crowds where I have usually been more careful. I am going to live each day as if I deserve it!

Marie Smith said...

I’ll look for the book about Lucy. Our grand-dog is nine and my husband and I are approaching seventy. I think we’d like that book. Have a great week back on the trails again!

Marty said...

Love Dave Barry - didn't know we were the same age.
I'm on the verge (just a matter of weeks) before 70 myself and I'm like to say that I'm not in denial, just disbelief. I truly feel exactly (I think) as I did in my 50s and aside from a couple of run-ins with cancer years ago, I'm very healthy. I guess I have much to be thankful for, too.

Arkansas Patti said...

Phooey, you got me excited about Dave's book so I popped over to my library for the kindle version and they only have the audio book. Will keep looking. I mean Dave and a dog---what's not to love? I'll keep looking.
So glad you are finally getting back to normal. Just don't push your self too hard.

Rian said...

You sound like me, DJan... reading 3 books at once. I usually have 2 'real' books going... and a third on Kindle. I read whichever one draws me back at the time. Dave Barry's "Lessons from Lucy sounds like a winner". I will check it out as soon as I finish the 3 I'm on now.
And you mentioned about being 'on edge' after last week's mass shootings. I understand this. We cannot have fear take over our lives, but yes... it does affect us. When DH and I were out at a restaurant for lunch, we were seated up by the front doors and for the first time in my life the thought of the possibility of a mass shooter occurred to me (sign of the times I guess). And the political climate doesn't help.

Elephant's Child said...

I always love your thoughtful Sunday posts. A long distance chat with a friend. A wise friend.

Linda Myers said...

Very glad you've healed up. These things take time, it seems.

One of the things I love about our place in Tucson is the friendships and community. So life-enhancing!

Gigi said...

Glad to hear that you are on the mend! Have a great week!

Linda Reeder said...

I have never even tried to read three books, or even two, at a time. I don't get that much reading in in a day once I've read the news paper and editorials on line and Facebook and blogs.

Red said...

These three books sound like an interesting read. I'll look for them. My eighty is coming much sooner than yours. 80 is a marker that is messing with my mind. All the other birthdays ...no sweat. 40...50...65. I never thought much of them. 80 had me thinking.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Be careful! Hang onto every healthy day you can! I see so many people in clinics and hospitals that have to be pushed around in wheelchairs. My Mom will be 90 in the Fall, she is struggling with back pain. I am not sure how much longer she will walk. They resist moving to an apartment. Dad still mows the lawn and tends the flowers, and I hope he doesn't start wandering off lost anytime soon as he has some dementia and some days are worse than others. :)

Rita said...

So happy you made a hike again in just a month!
As usual, I hope you give us a movie review. ;)
Life is good! :)

Galen Pearl said...

100 blogs?! Oh my, that is a commitment. I don't know how you have time, what with all your activities. You are one busy person. And yet you always seem so relaxed in your blog posts. In bed, with your tea, next to your sleeping partner.

Glad you are back to hiking. I know you love it so much. And yes, while our bodies do start to show some wear and tear at this age, we can work with them to enjoy life to the fullest.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, thanks for reminding me to pay forward the goodness of my life. There's so much for which to be grateful. I hope you enjoyed whatever movie you viewed yesterday. I'm reading the latest Daniel Silva book as well as a novel that a fellow blogger just published. I hope to write about it in an upcoming posting. Have a great week. Peace.

William Kendall said...

Well said!

Glenda Beall said...

I learned something today from reading your blog. I want to read those books you mentioned. Also, I will look into the site that lists the blogs. Like you, I fight with the back pain and right now mine is better as well. I blame my problem on sitting at the computer too much.
As for the mass shootings, it has affected all of us, I think, and we do think before we go out in public. I would not go to a concert or any place with lots of people right now. We must do something about these murderous guns.
Love you post as always.

Friko said...

Your Sunday posts are invariably a tonic and every one makes me want to look at life like you do. I dislike the desperate kind of ‘being positive’, but you are life enhancingly and calmly, unobtrusively positive and you give me hope that I too can life an accepting and acceptable life. Thank you.