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, October 13, 2019

Beginnings and endings

Leaves and water
I had a bit of a scare this morning when I went to turn on my laptop. It was dead. No nothing, and I tried everything I knew to make it turn on. Then I got my iPad and searched for what to do if such a thing happened, and I found the solution. Why in the world it just didn't turn on was rather upsetting. After a "hard restart," everything seems to be normal again.

After having read about the problems with the new operating system that Apple just released, I decided not to put it on my laptop. This dear friend of mine (my MacBook Air) is now four years old and it doesn't seem to like the latest updates very much. It's getting to be time to replace my old friend. After having checked online, I realize it's becoming a necessity. Sigh. More things to get used to, different plugs and ports, as well as a new operating system. But at least I've got my laptop up and running for the moment.

Yesterday I went to the outdoor wedding of my friend Carrie, who runs my favorite coffee shop, and Tim, who started out as a customer and became her boyfriend. They are now married. It was brave to have an outdoor wedding at this time of year, because it could have been raining, freezing cold, or even snowing. But the weather cooperated: it was a little cool but pleasant, cloudy with no wind. It was a lovely ceremony and then afterwards they had arranged for a reception at a local brewery (Twin Sisters). We were all given one drink and a selection of sandwiches and the usual trays of cold food. I enjoyed a turkey sandwich and a lovely IPA.

At the same time, another dear friend of mine, Lily, who lives in our apartment complex, filed for divorce on Friday. She is sad and still living here until she finds a new place that she can afford. She pays an enormous amount every month for her year-old car, so her options are limited. I think she has found a coworker to move in with, until she has time to find something more permanent. She is a very hard worker and has become a good friend.

So some things have just begun, and others are ending. I think Lily will be just fine once she has worked everything out. She knows she has my friendship, and we will still be seeing each other often, hopefully. And of course I'll see my friend Carrie almost every day at the coffee shop. She and her new husband will be continuing their lives as before, since they had already been living together. Not much will change for them, but the commitment and ceremony always make a difference, in my own experience.

I've been married four times myself, with those old relationships long in my past. Although I was very young (and pregnant) with the first one, it lasted five years and produced two children. By the time I had turned thirty, all three marriages were behind me, and I embarked on a two-decade period of not being married. Then at fifty, I met my current and forever partner, and we have now been together more than a quarter of a century. We have grown old together, and I cannot imagine my life without him. I cherish every day we share.

All of my family members will be gathering in Texas to celebrate the marriage of my nephew. It's a big affair and I decided not to attend, although all the rest of my siblings will be there. They have a formal dress code, with the women expected to wear a cocktail dress or a formal jumpsuit. Even if I had been thinking of attending, I haven't worn anything like that in decades, and it would have been enough to give me pause. I'll see plenty of pictures, I'm sure, and I'm just a little sad not to be there with them, but also relieved not to have to deal with the travel headaches.

The older I get, the less I want to leave my own routine and home. It's not that I can't, but I sure don't want to if I don't have to. My sister PJ died in 2014, and that was the last time I visited Texas. Perhaps it would be prudent to attend when it's a happy occasion, but I just can't get excited about traveling right now. Am I becoming an old fuddy-duddy? It sure looks like it. When you're approaching eighty, it's almost expected. (I've still got a few years before then.)

Physical changes are expected, definitely. I've slowed down considerably, and yesterday I decided not to try to keep up with the ladies' walking group. I started out with them, and as hard as I tried, I could not stay with them, so I just turned around and headed out to the nearby park for a nice solitary walk at a reasonable pace. It just occurred to me that I am by far the oldest member of this group, so there might be a reason I'm lagging behind. Usually other women are available for me to walk with, but they had the good sense not to even come out for this particular walk.

It's becoming obvious that I've been in a bit of denial about what I can and cannot do these days. My seventy-seventh birthday is right around the corner, and I keep forgetting that my days of challenging myself to do harder things, go faster, and keep forging ahead as usual are over. At least I'm in fairly good shape, and if I can keep myself active and healthy, I can continue at a slower pace for a good long time to come.

As I sit here in the dark with the laptop illuminating the room, I realize that my life is pretty darn good, and I've got lots to be grateful for. Not the least of my blessings is my dear husband sleeping next to me, and my absent family and friends. Although my sister Norma Jean is the only one with whom I keep in constant contact, they are all there if I need them. And they know I am here as well, even if I am not traveling to Texas next month to attend the wedding.

And I know that you, my dear blogging family, are always there. I follow your lives and enjoy seeing what you're up to, and I look forward to your comments. The beginning and ending of life's ups and downs goes on with all of you, too, and I am always happy to hear of joyful events in your lives. I am there with you when you face some of life's ordeals. That's what community is all about.
The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. —Richard Bach
Well, with that delightful quote, I'm off to find out what today will bring me. First of all will be the coffee shop, of course, and then perhaps a nice walk if the weather cooperates. Until we meet again, dear ones, I wish you all good things and hope that you will find much to be grateful for.


Linda Reeder said...

We have to replace our desktop - do they even make "desktop" computers anymore? - and my little laptop, and I am dreading it, learning new systems, missing old features, getting everything transferred. But I do love what technology adds to my life, so I gotta' keep up.

I would have issues with that wedding dress code. I don't wear dresses at all anymore and I certainly can't wear fancy shoes. They would have to let me in in a dressy pants suit, which I have, and "sensible shoes". :-)

I feel bad for people who lose their life partners and have to start over but I know that future happiness sometimes requires a new start. I wish Lily well.

After two days of being very busy here at home, I am slowing down today. I have to go out and get a new watch battery - I am so dependent on a wrist watch!- and there is Isaac's soccer match to attend this afternoon. I have spent lots of time on family business, preparing for our annual cabin trustees meeting. I am the secretary and have created the agenda, set up new email lists, taken in suggestions and reports to be shared. It will be held during the annual cider bee, but I am not attending. The Sounders playoff match is now set for the same time, the tickets are automatically charged to us, and Tom and I want to use them. Our choice is not popular with the rest of the family, but as the old Rick Nelson "Garden Party" song goes, "sometimes you can't please everybody, so you've gotta please yourself"
Happy Sunday to you.

William Kendall said...

It occurs to me that it's been years since I've worn a tie. And I don't even have a proper suit anymore, as I have no real need of one.

Marie Smith said...

I would feel the same about such a dress code. My husband doesn’t own a suit either. You don’t need one for the trails and walkways!

Rian said...

First off... our laptop goes AWOL on occasion - but so far, DH has been able to get it back on track. It isn't that old. We still have the old desktop with Vista up and running (although we seldom use it).
As for "the older I get, the less I want to leave my own routine and home..." this is very true for me also. Oh, I imagine I still have a few 'adventures' left in me, but the call to stay close to home seems greater these days.
And I'm learning when to "push" myself and when not to. Seems that physically I can't push too hard - but mentally/emotionally a little push doesn't hurt.

gigi-hawaii said...

Good post. Sorry you don't have the travel bug, but I, too, have stopped traveling. I have not traveled since 2013, and I don't miss it.

Elephant's Child said...

I am younger than you, but am very, very fond of my routine. And have lost the travel bug.
I have shared my life with my partner for over forty years now. Our commitment is too each other so we have never formalised it. I do understand that it is an essential for some though. And a good celebration is always welcome.
Love that quote. And hope your week is filled to the brim with good things.

Gigi said...

I love that quote!

My laptop fan is running constantly whenever it's awake; so we are just waiting for it to die. In the meantime, we bought an external hard drive and transferred all photos/important files to it so that we don't lose everything when this one finally dies.

I can understand not wanting to travel but I did want to add - generally, I have found, dress codes are usually a little more lax for the older people at weddings. When we went to my brother-in-law's wedding, my mother-in-law wore a fancier top, plain black pants and sensible shoes. And it was fine.

Have beautiful week, D'Jan!

Red said...

I've been thinking about you and your difficult choices lately. Since I turn 80 in a few days, I've decided that it's the right time to give some things up. So I will no longer cycle or ice skate. No sense trying to be a hero and then hurt myself and have problems for the rest of my life. I have other things I can do so no worries.

The Furry Gnome said...

The older I get the less I want to leave my routine too! And the physical changes have hit hard!

Linda Myers said...

I wouldn't go to a wedding that required me to wear a dress - which I have none of. I went to a wedding in Denver last month and I wore black slacks and a "Free Grandma Hugs" t-shirt.

I note that I have taken seven trips this year and I have no desire to add any more. Instead, I've taken up yoga again and bought an e-bike which I ride nearly every day. I have developed arthritis in my knee, so I need to keep up with the exercise.

Rita said...

So many changes. You'll be a comfort to Lily, I'm sure. I wouldn't like to travel anymore even if I could. At least no farther than Minneapolis by car if I could--LOL! ;) Only because I have family and friends down there. So far, you do make it down to Florida once a year...and you've never, ever struck me as an old fuddy-duddy. :)

Arkansas Patti said...

Sorry that a new computer may be on the horizon. I hate those learning curve days.
I know how you feel about the travel. Not too long ago, such an event would have me grinning and thinking "road trip!!!" Now days I think a card and gift are perfect.
Sorry about your friend and the upset in her life. Good thing she has you and others to lean on.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Sorry to hear about Lily's divorce....hope she recovers and gets a place to live that she can afford.

I am certain you could have found a dress or snazzy pants suit if the trip to the Texas wedding was a possibility. It is okay that you don't want to go.

My desk top is on borrowed time Windows 7 and I think it is 10 plus years old. Oh my...sand my husband struggles with Windows 10. I dread the day that my computer has a black or blue screen.

Hope you have a good week. Cool here and will rain any minute:) At least it is not snow.

C-ingspots said...

Hi DJan, it's so good to read your familiar words. I've been sorely remiss with my own posts and also at reading others'.
You and my sister must be very close in age. Although we live near each other, I'm sorry to say that we don't speak or see each other more than a few times a year. Recently, she dropped by the clinic where I work and I was a little bit shocked to see her so frail looking. Although you may not be able to keep up and do everything quite the same as you have in the past, at least you're active and also keep your mind sharp. My sis is aging faster than she should because she isn't physically active at all, and doesn't do anything to keep her brain engaged either. Unless you consider online shopping and game playing a healthy past time. She also has 3 of her grown (in their 50's) children and at least 1 great grandchildren living with her who do nothing but keep their household in a constant state of turmoil. Not a healthy environment at all. I can't imagine the stress that she and her husband endure, but it is their choice. By comparison, I hope to continue to age much more like you are doing. You are inspirational whether you realize it or not.
Hope you have a good week.