Category Archives: Aging

23Apr/18
reading on the beach

Am I Really “Enough”…

I always thought I was, but now I’m not so sure…

reading on the beach

Am I enough…

As I sat on the beach reading last week from time to time a thought would go through my mind…Am I enough? Me…. the one who always encouraged others to believe this… had my doubts whether or not I was enough…

Webster defines the word “enough” as plenty, sufficient, to the degree that satisfies. Well, who decides what that degree is? Who in our life gets to say that we are sufficient? I believe all of us know the answer to this…it’s just that sometimes we let circumstances going on around us at the time make us question everything and we start to doubt ourselves.

We as humans have a tendency to be hard on ourselves, we think we aren’t good enough. We aren’t a good enough daughter, sister, mother or friend. When our children are having a hard time or going through things we can’t “fix”…is it our fault? Did we do something wrong when they were growing up? Were we bad parents? Did we do enough? Were we good enough?

I ask myself these questions and more.. Am I the reason my kids have problems? Did I do enough to help my daughters, was I a good role model for them? When my friend had a problem with her husband, was I truly there for her? When my sister was sick, did I do enough to help her get through it? When my son was having difficulties, did I do all I could? Did I do enough? Was I “enough?”

“You alone are enough.You have nothing to prove to anybody.”~ Maya Angelou

I think maybe it’s just easier to believe everything that happens is our fault. It is easy to believe we aren’t enough… to take the blame for things we really aren’t responsible for. Yes, we are strong women, but when it comes to our kids all reasoning goes out the window, It’s the same with other family members and friends. We often blame ourselves for the things that happen to them, even when we know that’s not the case.

In reality its not easier to blame ourselves, it’s easier to just accept who we are and not think we need to be something we aren’t…perfect. We are human, we have imperfections. We can’t “fix” everything. I always thought my mom could fix everything and usually she could. So does the fact I can’t make me a bad parent? No! It doesn’t. I know this deep inside somewhere but that stupid doubt rears its ugly head once in awhile and makes me question myself all over again.

We need to stop! Stop questioning ourselves. Stop giving in to the doubts and self talk that blames us for others problems. We don’t have that much power. We barely have enough to control our own lives…let alone the lives of others. And no one…no one can decide that we are not enough. So stop doubting yourself. Just be who you are…The only person on this earth that can decide that you are enough is you! I am the only one that can decide that I am enough. And I am… I am enough and so are you!

Writing helps me sort things out. Just writing this has helped me. It’s helped me to see that I am not responsible for everything that happens to the people I love. Nor can I fix everything that happens to them. I do what I think I should do at the time, hopefully it is the right thing and it is enough. I don’t have super powers that can fix everything….but I don’t have to. I’m not perfect… but I am enough!

“You are enough. You were born being enough. Nothing you say or do will ever add to or subtract from who you are.” ~ Jenny Layton

 

 

 

19Mar/18
creepy

What Are You Afraid Of?

the monster under the bed…

creepy

now this I’m afraid of…

I’m pretty sure we all have “something” we are afraid of…I’m not afraid of most of the things I used to be scared of when I was younger, but I still have fears. I think after going through so many difficult things in my life and as I age, the things I once thought were scary… no longer scare me. Also, I just decided one day to stop living in fear. However that being said, I still have a few things that I’m afraid of.

Ok, let me just get this out of the way… I’ll admit it…I’m still afraid of the “monster under the bed”…I do not EVER allow a leg or arm hang over the edge and never ever look under there in the dark. I always keep a sheet or something(no mater how hot it is) over me while sleeping..just in case the monster decides to come out. I don’t care who you are or what you think of me, this is scary.

I am a little afraid of aging…not that getting older scares me but what comes with it. I want to live a good long life and my grandson just told me he hoped I live into my 90’s..I just don’t want to not be able to do the things I love to do. I have seen my mother decline in health and not be able to get out of bed for 4 years before she actually passed. I don’t want that. I don’t want my kids to have to see me that way. I want to only age to the point I can still enjoy life…I know I have no control over that for the most part but I do try to take care of myself and stay healthy.

Along with aging comes the fact that as we age we lose people we love. I keep losing people. I’m afraid of losing more. I am constantly aware of this. When I was little and lost people I never really experienced the loss like I do now. I remember my mother talking about this as she lost her friends and family but it didn’t affect me so I did not really understand her feelings about this. I value life and my friends and family members so much that each loss is so profound and deeply felt. And I lose a little part of me every time I lose someone.

“Always do what you are afraid to do.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m afraid of never being in love again. I think about this sometimes…will I never know  that feeling again. I’m 68 and at this point the chance for this to happen is slim to none.  I know I have the love of family and friends and believe me when I say how much I appreciate all of that love. I have been lucky to have had several loves in my lifetime and loved each one of them dearly and deeply. If I never experience that kind of love again, I guess what I had will have to have been enough. But I would like to feel that wonderful feeling of loving and being loved one more time.

One thing that really scares me is that I will leave this earth without really having done everything I wanted to do or accomplish. I’m afraid of dying without really having lived. Am I doing the things I want to do? Am I giving back? Have I made a difference? These things are important to me and I have been fixated on them lately. I want my days on this earth to mean something. I don’t want to just exist. I want to make a difference, I want to have mattered.

I really don’t want to get into politics or the state of our country and world, however I do worry about the future for our children and their children. But then I think back to when I was a very small child and the adults would all be in the living room talking…and I being the nosey kid I was at the time, would be around the corner listening to to their conversations about how worried they were for the world and what they feared was going to happen. Terrible things were going to happen. I was scared and had nightmares about the things they talked about. This was over 60 years ago and the conversation has stayed with me all my life. But the bad things didn’t happen then and I don’t think they will now. There are always scary times in each lifetime but somehow someway we persevere. We are tough, we survive and get through the difficult times somehow. We are brave! We are not afraid!!!

Oh and I almost forgot…I’m afraid of spiders.  I always have been. My Dad used to have to come up in my bedroom and kill them before I could go to sleep when I was little…and actually when I was a teenager too. I’m still afraid of them. I’m afraid of having one crawl in my ear at night while I sleep. But here’s a thought…maybe, just maybe the monster under the bed will eat all the spiders so I don’t have to be afraid anymore. So see that monster is good for something. Its nice to know you really can find something good in every bad situation..

What are you afraid of?

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

 

12Mar/18
Hope

There’s Aways HOPE…

Hope Springs Eternal”..Alexander Pope

Hope

always.. always Hope…

I haven’t felt much like writing and couldn’t decide on a topic this week…last week I was searching for “something to believe in” ..it seems to be a constant battle lately for me to find better days. I went for a walk yesterday…the sun was shining brightly and it wasn’t as cold as it has been. I even walked longer than my usual 35 minutes, I walked for over an hour. I was looking for signs and of course I found some. But I was also looking for something else, something to give me “hope”…

I really am not this person I feel I have become. I do not give up! But when things just keep happening you sometimes feel like doing just that. I think I usually get this way in March…I am tired of winter and the darkness it brings. I love sunshine and warm weather and by the time March rolls around I am just done. Then throw in the time change and well I just can’t…So as I walked I tried to come up with things that give me hope…and I do know this…There is always hope!

I spent some time with two of my grand kids on Friday and Saturday. They give me hope. The two of them are such loving sweet kids and they give me hope for our future. They are my son’s children and I love spending time with them when I get the chance.  We usually go to a movie and then play games and talk. Yes, we actually talk. They ask me questions about their father growing up and what he was like as a child. We usually wind up laughing hysterically about something I tell them. It makes me happy and fills me with hope to know they want to talk about him and keep him “alive” in their hearts. It is good to be able to talk about him and just feel normal for a little while…I know it is good for all of us to be able to do that. I also love their sweet hugs and kisses and most of all.. hearing them say, “Grammy, I love you!” They give me hope!

After they left I went to the grocery store…now this doesn’t usually fill me with hope…or any kind of enjoyment.. however on this day it did. I saw a cashier who used to work there and had been gone for some time, so I went to his register. He looked up and smiled and I told him I was glad he was back. We chatted for awhile and he asked how my job was going, to which I replied…laid off again. He looked at me, his eyes so very honestly filled with emotion.. he wished me luck and winked. It made my day. And gave me hope.

“Hope is the last thing ever lost.” ~ Italian Proverb

As I was walking I couldn’t help but see the flowers coming up out of the dirt and leaves. The flowers make me happy. I am always amazed that year after year they continue to thrive and grow again after the cold dreary winter. The little ones especially, the crocus and snowdrops. And then the daffodils and tulips that follow. The trees are starting to bud and it all gives me a sense of renewal. It gives me hope.

I can’t help but notice the sounds coming from the trees, the little birds flitting from tree to tree singing their happy little songs and building their nests. I see Cardinals and I saw my first Robin. I am always excited to see them as it really means Spring is here. At least it is supposed to be here. If the robins come back then it’s here….right? I even saw some geese flying back from their vacations in the south. All the birds and animals know it’s Spring…then why doesn’t it feel like it? But..it gives me hope!

I walk along and think what else gives me hope? And what comes to mind is… the beach and the ocean. The ocean gently bringing the waves to the shore and then back out again. The constant in and out of the water and the smell of it brings such a sense of peace. It is definitely something that I love, and something that gives me hope.

As I pass by a playground I see a bunch of children playing and laughing. They are outside playing in the sunshine and enjoying every minute of it. Not one of them has a cell phone or an electronic device. They are climbing on the rock walls and swinging on the swings. The sounds of pure joy permeate the air.  It makes me smile and gives me hope!

“Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and starts to sing while it is still dark.” ~ Unknown

There is goodness and hope out there in the world but it seems we have a tendency to see the bad more so than the good. I share a “good story” on Facebook every day. Some days it takes forever to find one. I see so many horrible stories but very few good ones. It is important to me to find the “good”…and share it. People sometimes comment and like the posts and sometimes they don’t. But when I see people out at a restaurant or shopping somewhere they always comment that they love my “good stories”… So they do make a difference. It is the same with this blog. I think to myself, I don’t feel like writing this week, will anyone even notice it I don’t? And then I remember all the people that tell me they read it and just don’t comment. I have to remember why I do these things. I do them because I love doing them and if a few people get some enjoyment out of it then that is just icing on the cake. And it gives me hope.

All these things give me hope. Also my family and friends that are always reaching out to me keeping me going in these tough times. They are my rock and they give me hope. I know two things..I know that Spring will soon be here and I will once again find something I love to do. While looking for quotes for this post I found so many good ones and just reading them filled me with HOPE! It’s out there..I hope you find it too!

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” ~ Desmond Tutu

 

08Feb/18
Stop

10 Things You Need To Stop Doing…Now!

really you just need to stop….

Stop

Just Stop Now…

After being cooped up inside for a few days due to this sucky weather and reading a lot of peoples Facebook posts… I have come up with some things we all(me too)need to stop doing…

1. Stop complaining about our health – If we are alive..its a good day! We need to think positively about our health and just be glad we’re alive! We aren’t 30 anymore and we aren’t going to feel like we are so we just need to stop complaining. Complaining never helps any situation, it just makes it worse!

2. Stop saving something for another day – We need to stop saving that dress for some wonderful occasion that will never happen..and stop saving that piece of china for that perfect dinner with family or friends…do it now! Wear the dress, use the china!

3. Stop thinking you have to be more – Stop thinking you have to be prettier, thinner, funnier… more something. We will most likely never be the way we think we need to be in our minds…and yes of course if you need to lose some weight due to health reasons by all means do it but if you just think you need to be thinner to be a more perfect you..than don’t! No one is perfect and we are never going to be either.

4. Stop missing the moments – Don’t just spend time with family, friends or your grands…be present in the moment. Stop and take time to enjoy the moments you are spending with them. Don’t get wrapped up in what you should be doing or what you are doing tomorrow. Take time to really enjoy the moment! I recently started to do this! I try to sit back and savor one moment every time I am with my grand kids now. They grow up so fast and the time you have with them is so precious. Take some time to really savor the moments that count.

5. Stop waiting for the perfect time to do something – This is kind of like “saving something for another day” but it is a little different. Stop waiting to take that trip, go see your family or friend in another state, start a new career or craft…do it now! What do we gain by waiting? What if we never get to do it? Just do it now! What do you have to lose?

“It is not too uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

6. Stop worrying – There is no reason for it. I do it, we all do it! I try not to, but sometimes it still happens. The reason I say there is no reason to worry is this…whatever is going to happen…is going to happen. If you can change it before it does…than do that. But if you can’t..all the worrying in the world won’t help the situation and will just make you feel worse! “Don’t worry, be happy!” Thanks Bobby McFerrin…now that will be stuck in my head all day!

7. Stop comparing ourselves to others – I think most of us have always done this. I know I have even as far back as elementary school. Why was my hair curly? Why couldn’t I have clothes like that girl? But today we have social media. Thank goodness we didn’t have it when I was growing up because I think it makes everything worse. Why does she always get to travel? Why is she so thin? Why is he getting another new car and I’m driving this beat up old thing? I am really not like this in real life. I don’t care what others have and am truly happy for people when they get something or go somewhere. But seeing it there every day right in front of your face can be a little daunting..and maybe just maybe make you a little jealous. But we just need to realize our own worth and stop the comparing!

8. Stop playing it safe – If this time in our life isn’t the time to do something then when is? Be daring, take a chance, stop playing it safe! Where has playing it safe gotten us? If you’re not happy with where or who you are right now… try something different, new, exciting. At this point, what do you have to lose? (FYI, I’m not talking about your retirement money or savings..)

9. Stop letting your past define who you are today – Yes our past has made us who we are in so many ways…but it does not have to continue to do so. We can start today and create who we want to be going forward. It doesn’t have to be a huge change…something like moving to a new state. Just do one small thing, one small change. Something you never did before but always wanted to do. Maybe take a class, learn a new language for that trip you are going to take. Just one small change in your everyday life can make such a difference in how you feel.

10. Stop eating potato chips and ice cream – just kidding…there is no way I’m going to stop doing this. I have cut back and don’t have either of them every day. I also get out and walk and do exercises. But if I don’t feel like doing the exercises or walk…I don’t. And if I want some ice cream, I have it. Life is short… eat the ice cream!

This is my list of 10 things I think we should stop doing. What do you think? Do you have anything to add?

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~ Nelson Mandela

 

25Jan/18
horse on the beach

10 Things I Want To Do Before I Turn 70

and I only have 2 more years to do them….

horse on the beach

Riding a horse on the beach…

Turning 68 this past December gave me cause to stop and think…I only have 2 more years before I turn 70. That just seems incredible to me…wasn’t I just 7? How did this happen so fast, where has the time gone? Mom always said the older you get the faster the time goes…and Mom was right. I have done a lot the past 68 years of my life but there is so much more I want to do, so I decided to write a list. I know I have written bucket lists before and I will again, but right now at this moment in my life these are the 10 things I want to do before I turn the ripe old age of 70. It hurts to even type that!

Here they are….

1. Go horseback riding – I have talked about this and talked about this…but I have never done it. My nieces and my daughter have discussed us doing this together. I don’t care who does it with me…I want to do this before I’m too old to bounce back if I fall off. And doing it on a beach is preferable…

2. Visit all 50 states – I have been to at least 20 I think. I have stopped over in several others during lay overs, but not sure if you can count that or not. Also I have driven through some on the way to other states…can you count them? But I would like to see them all. I could maybe do without North and South Dakota if I have to…just kidding.. Can you say road trip? Or maybe a train across the US…how much fun would that be? Anyone want to go along?

3. Do things I have never done before – Maybe try something new each and every month. I have always tried to learn new things but I seem to have stopped lately. So I am going to try to do this again. Horseback riding can be one of them.. maybe in a state I have never visited before.

4. Write a book – This has been on my bucket list since I was 12 years old but I want to make a deadline for it to happen now. I never did that before. I will write a book before I turn 70!

5. Fulfill a dream – Going to Paris is a dream I have had as long as I had the writing a book thing…maybe I could write a book about my trip to Paris! We need to live our dreams, not just dream them.

“To be 70 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old.” ~ Oliver Wendall Holmes

6. See a band I have always loved and never saw – Well that would be The Beatles, but that isn’t going to happen so I need to see Paul and maybe Ringo..but definitely Paul. I also want to throw in here …to see as many bands and singers as possible since so many of them are passing away each and every day!

7. Dance like no one is watching – And let me just say…I’m pretty sure no one will be… I really want to dance again..I have said this so many times but I really need to do this again before I turn 70. Hopefully sometime this year. There really aren’t that many places to go dancing these days…at least to music I can dance to…or know who is singing the songs that are playing.

8. Read more books – I have tried to read a book a week and have been falling short lately. Last year I think I really did read one a week or almost. It helps me fall asleep and relaxes me before bed time. I have read where it helps boost your brain power, reduces stress and improves your memory. I’m not sure if it does all of that or not but it can’t hurt. Thank goodness I’m reading since I can’t remember anything lately…just think what would happen if I wasn’t… I have always loved reading but I do even more now.

9. Spend more time with family and friends – I really have been doing this but want to do it even more. I have cousins I haven’t seen in ages except at funerals…it would be nice to get together with them and have some fun together. My friends keep me going and are always there to listen when I need them. I don’t honestly know what I would have done without them the past year and a half. I want to make it a thing to get together with a family member or a friend at least once a week. And I want to have gathering of the family I have left before I turn 70.

10. Design my own line of jewelry – I have made jewelry before and I really enjoyed it. I haven’t done it for several years now and I really want to do it again. It relaxes me and makes me feel like I am accomplishing something. I have a few ideas in mind for a cool line of jewelry and want to tie it into something that will honor my son. He was a jeweler at one point in his life. He designed jewelry and repaired jewelry. He loved it! And it was something he spoke about maybe doing again right before he died. So I think he would love it if I did this. In fact I know he would.

Well that’s my “10 things I want to do before I turn 70.” I may not get each and every one of them completely checked off by then but I’m going try my best. What are some things you have always wanted to do but haven’t… maybe giving yourself a deadline would help.

“There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ~ Sophia Loren

 

18Jan/18
sad

I’m Sorry….

I’m just want to let you know….

sad

I’m very sorry…

I feel the need to say I’m sorry. I think some of my family and friends don’t understand why I am different and why I act the way I do now. I know most of you “get it” and get me and do understand why I’m different, but I know even you must at times wonder if it will ever stop or if I am forever going to be this new person. So I must apologize to those of you who wonder and those of you I’ve hurt.

I’m sorry I’m not the same person I once was. The person you knew before July 20th, 2016. The death of my son has changed me forever. I will never be the same.

I’m sorry you don’t think I’m handling things the way I should…or the way you think I should. I am doing the best I can.

I’m sorry if I sometimes pull away and seem indifferent to you. I’m not feeling that way at all and it’s not you…it’s me. I just get weird at times. I don’t even know why or where these feelings come from..nor can I stop them from happening.

I’m sorry if I yell at you. I have always yelled at those I cared about…I just do it more now. It seems I have no filter these days. I say things that even I don’t know why I’m saying them. I try to stop the words before I say them…but I can’t.

I’m sorry I don’t want to be around drama. I have had enough drama to last me the rest of my life. I want to feel peaceful and be peaceful. If a situation feels like too much for me…I pull away. I retreat. I go inside myself.

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.” ~ Brian Tracy

I’m sorry if our relationship isn’t what it was before and that hurts you. Nothing is the same anymore. I am trying to figure out my new normal…whatever that is and whatever my life will be going forward. Some of my relationships are better, some aren’t. Some are over. I understand if you don’t want me in your life. I know I’m not always easy to be around…I don’t like being around myself at times…

I’m sorry if I turn down invitations or don’t try harder to get together with you. I may be having a bad day and don’t want to pull you into my drama. Sometimes I don’t like being around a lot of people and it gives me anxiety. I have never had this before and it is strange for me to feel this way.

I’m sorry if I worry about you. I have always worried about my family and friends, but I do it more now. If I don’t hear from you, I think something terrible has happened. I freak out and call or text you till I know you are ok. I can’t lose anyone else I care about.

I’m sorry if I can’t make believe something doesn’t bother me. Even if I try to cover it up my face will tell the true story. Ask my daughters…I love them both with all my heart and even they get “the face”…

I’m sorry if you’re thinking all of this is just an excuse for the way I act at times. I worry about that and mentioned it recently to a friend and she said, “you true friends get it.” I hope this is true. But I also know all this can change the dynamics of our relationship. So I understand if you don’t want to be around me. I wasn’t the easiest person to be around before…I’m sure I’m no ray of sunshine now.

My point to all of this was to help you better understand why I act the way I do at times. But there is also a good lesson for all of us in this…. the fact is we never know what someone may be going through and what they are truly feeling at any given moment. Unless you walk in their shoes you can never, never fully understand. So think about that the next time a family member or good friend says or does something you don’t believe they should have. Maybe, just maybe there is a good reason behind that behavior. It might not be what you think is a good reason, but it is their reason.

“Remember anyone can love you when the sun is shining. In the storms is where you learn who truly cares for you.” ~ Unknown

10Dec/17
the locket

The Locket

so much more than a piece of jewelry…

the locket

The locket…

I always wanted a locket. I asked my parents for one every year on my birthday and at Christmas. I got everything else I wanted…well almost…but never a locket. I got a beautiful gold ID bracelet when I was 5 and threw it in the trash can at my Grandma’s house. I wanted a locket. I know it wasn’t nice but I “was” only 5… My mother looked at my arm and asked me where my bracelet was…I took her hand and led her out into the kitchen and pointed in the trash can.. To say she was unhappy with me is putting it mildly. I didn’t get to wear the bracelet for awhile…”until I learned how to take care of it”…

What made me think about this is a few weeks ago a friend and I at work were talking about the days when everyone wore lockets. We both said our grandmothers had one and so did our mothers. But not me, no I never had one. I remember one birthday in particular I again asked for the yearly gift request…a locket. My mother just smiled and said we will see. Here is a picture of me at my birthday party that year…not wearing a locket. My friend sitting next to me is proudly wearing hers though. Me…I’m the one with the kind of sad look on my face…and its my party…and “I’ll cry if I want to”..

birthday party

Cheri with a locket…me with no locket…

And so this continued throughout my life…this no locket thing. Every year I would wish so hard for someone…anyone to give me a locket. And every year I would be disappointed when I didn’t get one. I would even see a woman on tv wearing one and think to myself…how can they have a locket and I still don’t…

After a while I think lockets became passe..I never saw anyone wearing one and to tell you the truth I had forgotten about my desire to have one. That is until I finally received one. As most of you who read my blog know, my son committed suicide in July of 2016. At Christmas last year my youngest daughter presented me with a gift. Everyone stood around me as I opened the gift and to my surprise…it was a beautiful locket. I loved it! I had finally got a locket. However little did I know that this was not just any locket…she had spent weeks making this one herself. I thought it was beautiful and I finally got what I had always wished for most. My locket.

As I looked at the beautiful necklace my daughter told me to open it and inside was a picture of my son. It was taken just 2 short weeks before his death. It caught me off guard. I loved it!

locket

The inside with my son’s picture..

The tears started flowing as I held the locket in my hand and wrapped my arms around my daughter. This was such a precious gift and I started to tell her how much I loved it. Before I could finish she stopped me and said, “turn it over and look at the back.” And that is when I really lost it. On the backside of the locket when I turned it over was my son’s signature…his own handwriting..I would know it anywhere. And now it is on this beautiful necklace. There was also a butterfly which he loved and always considered a sign. And now I do as well…a sign from him.

back of the locket

A butterfly and his signature….

I couldn’t believe that my daughter made this and worked on it for weeks to have it ready for me by Christmas. I couldn’t stop crying and told her it was the most beautiful thing she could ever have given me and if she never gave me another thing…this was enough…

I wear this locket every day and I think of my daughter when I look at it and give thanks for her thinking of making me such a wonderful gift. I also think of my son when I look at it and feel as if he is with me every day…there in the locket, close to my heart. Sometimes if I am having a really bad day or feeling a little sad..I get this strange feeling and I look down and the locket is flipped over to his signature…I look up to the sky and say…”Thank you Dave.”

“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.” ~ Pinder

Did you ever have a locket? Did you ever receive a gift that just blew you away?

10Nov/17
kids

Remember When…

ah, yes…those were the days..or were they??

kids

Back in the day….

I ran across this photo the other day..it is one of my all time favorites of my 3 kids taken by my ex-husband. Must have been late 70’s considering their ages. But it got me to thinking….What will people of this generation do when all their photos are on their phones or computers and not in albums or hanging on the wall? There are so many things I wish we still did or had from “back in my day”…and here are a few I came up with..

Remember when TV was free – We had I think, about 8 channels and an antenna to get them. But we didn’t know any different and were happy with that. We also had such quality shows on tv back then. Now we have thousands of channels.. a very expensive bill each month….and nothing to watch.

Remember when it was free to play sports in school – at least I don’t remember paying for anything back then. I don’t remember paying for anything my kids did in school either. They just played and had fun. Sports back then weren’t  such a big deal as they are today and they didn’t have to go 4 hours from home to play their game. I also don’t remember having to buy them all the things they needed to use everyday, like pencils or tablets(and I mean paper ones). They got them at school. For free.

Remember when doctor visit costs were minimal and no insurance was needed – the doctor we went to knew us…I mean knew us…he knew everything about us and our family and we never had to remind him of something he should have known because “he” was the doctor. He was like a family member. And he cared.

Remember when we knew all of our neighbors –  And I do mean all of them. It was great. Our parents didn’t have to worry about us because someone always knew us and what we were up to. I have lived in this house for 10 years and only know the person who lives to the left of my house. Maybe if people would try to get to know their neighbors again it would help us all understand each other a little better.

Remember when people said hi to you on the street – This is kind of related to knowing our neighbors but not really. We would go to the mall or grocery store or even just walking down the street somewhere and come upon a stranger…we would smile and they would smile back and offer a greeting of some sort. Now if I smile at someone I don’t know they look at me like I have two heads. Would it really hurt you to just smile back…

Remember when families ate dinner together every night – Yes, every night…regardless who had some activity or sport we still ate together. We laughed and we all told stories about our day. We bonded for that hour or half hour or whatever amount of time we had. But we had it and we were all together…and we were better for having had it.

Remember when people weren’t checking their phones every five minutes – We could go to dinner with friends or family members and actually have an uninterrupted conversation. Wow. I know some of you didn’t know this could even happen. I know I am guilty of doing it sometimes but I try to turn it off and just enjoy the people around me. Life is short. We all need to be more present in the moments we have with the people we care about.

Remember when people dressed appropriately – People dressed professionally for work. They wore suits and the women wore dresses. Yes, I get that times have changed and these are old fashioned outdated rules. Having said that, is it appropriate to wear tennis outfits and exercise outfits to work?? And my answer to that is a big NO…unless of course you are on your way to play tennis or work out. But not at work. At the store where I work they recently relaxed their rules about what the employees could wear. Now customers ask me who works here and who can I talk to about this item I bought…they say it is hard to tell who is working here and who is on their way to the gym. I have to agree with them. There is something to be said about looking professional at your job…if you dress like you don’t care, quite possibly you don’t! And this goes for kids as well. The way they dress for school or to come to the mall is appalling…I realize this makes me sound like an old lady…well so be it. Who are these parents letting their kids go out of the house looking like they are going to the beach…tank tops(the kind I wear under things) and their tummies sticking out? I could go on and on about this one…it is all about having a little respect.

Remember when we left things unlocked – We left our cars and our doors unlocked when I was growing up. Now we have security systems in both and they still get broken into. What has changed? Why did people behave differently back then?

Remember having fallout shelters – I recently dropped my grand daughter off at school and saw a very faded “Fallout Shelter” sign on the side of the building. The school was built in 1949. It immediately took me back to the 60’s and seeing this sign everywhere. We also had drills in school where we were all huddled under our desks or out in the hall way crouched down on all fours covering our heads with our arms. Do they even do this at school anymore?

Remember when appliances and cars lasted forever – Very rare was the occasion we had to replace an appliance. They just didn’t break down. They lasted so long my parents would just get tired of them and buy an updated one. And cars…my Dad would always buy new and it would last until he was sick of it. And they didn’t always need a repair or a part fixed.  If it did, he could most times fix it himself. We didn’t have to take it in to the dealer and have them run it on some machine to have the electrical system checked out to see what the problem was. Of course he always bought an American car. He had a fit when I got a foreign one.

These are just a few I thought of. I know there are a bunch more and maybe you can think of something I didn’t and post it below in the comments. I also tend to think the music was better back then too, but that’s just me.

“Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.” ~ Franklin Pierce Adams (too funny and too true…I do have a bad memory these days)

03Nov/17
family

I Want Things Back The Way They Were…

I know it’s not possible…but I still want it!

I miss all my family members who are no longer here….

The holidays are coming…whether we want them to come or not! I see the ads on tv and the decorations going up in the stores. I used to love the holidays and now I don’t.

I had a huge family growing up. I was one of the lucky ones. My mother was one of 8 and my father was one of 5. I had so many aunts, uncles and cousins it was hard to keep track of all of them. But it was so wonderful having a large family and getting together with them to celebrate the holidays. We spent most holidays together, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day….and then Thanksgiving and Christmas was just our immediate family.

One by one over the past few years we have lost so many family members and we continue to lose them. I know this happens to every family and I know it is a part of growing older. I accept that. I don’t like it..but I accept it. What I have trouble accepting is the people I have lost due to them dying before their time and therefore changing the way we celebrate or actually not celebrate anymore.

My oldest child and I were just discussing what we would do for Thanksgiving this year. Would we go out to eat or just make something for the two of us here at the house? It’s just us now, her and I. My youngest lives over 500 miles away, and my middle child is gone. Many years ago we used to go to Mom’s and then we started going out to eat when it got to be too much for her. My youngest daughter would have it at her house in later years and then after she moved my son and daughter in law continued the tradition. Now none of those is an option.

It never really mattered where we had our gatherings…. it only mattered that we were all there. Everyone together, laughing, playing stupid games until someone peed themselves…usually my sister. And then later the men would all gather in a room with a tv and the women would be in the kitchen cleaning up the mess and having a little extra dessert. Now due to the death of my son and my daughter living in Vermont it leaves my older daughter and I… just us two. There will be no big celebration or gathering of family and friends.

family gatherings

this is the way it used to be…

It isn’t just Thanksgiving. As we talked the other night.. we realized this is “it” now. This is our new normal…or whatever “it” is. With most of the family gone and so many friends who have moved away…it’s just her and I. So what’s the answer? Can you rent a family? Maybe we should volunteer somewhere… I know we were lucky to have had the family we did, but sometimes having had that just makes it harder when you don’t… and I’m really not trying to play the “poor me”….”pity us” card. I’m just asking where does that leave us…

What do other people do? I know we can’t be the only ones that this has happened to. Maybe we should advertise in the paper… we can’t be the only two that are alone. And I know I am not alone. I have my daughter here, thank goodness. But what if I didn’t? I like spending time alone and have done it for a long time now. That isn’t what we are talking about here. I’m talking about not having my people anymore. Not having our family gatherings anymore. This is the time of the year you spend with family and we don’t have any to spend it with…living here in the area. Last year I begged my niece to have Thanksgiving at her house. I just didn’t want to be alone so close to losing my son. She did of course and we had a wonderful family time together. (and just fyi, women were in the kitchen and men in the living room with the tv..LOL)

There have been few times in the past when I wished I didn’t have to go to the family gathering. I wanted to do something different…go somewhere else….spend time with some other people for a change…just once… “What’s the big deal, they won’t even miss me if I don’t go.” This is what I thought at the time. But that’s not how it is at all. I would have been missed and it would have made a difference if i wasn’t there. I know that now… I didn’t then. Why does it take us so long to realize the value of family and the people we love? Now I get it. Now I would give anything to have those special family times back.. Just one more time!

Do you get together with your family? Do you still have a large family? Do you enjoy your times together?

“Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.” ~ Michael J Fox

 

 

 

 

17Oct/17
Class Reunion

The Class Reunion… Part 2

and yes, “he” was there….

Class Reunion

The Class

I enjoyed this class reunion so much..I think more than any before. The reason for this is that I realize how precious life is now and that maybe some of us won’t be here for the 55th. I might not be here for the 55th. A prayer was said at the beginning and the names of all those in the class who had passed were read aloud. I knew most of them had passed but to hear that list made me so very sad.

The day started out on a somber note and ended on a happy one. I walked in The Out of the Darkness Walk to promote suicide awareness in honor of my son in the morning. I couldn’t help the walk and the reunion were on the same day and thought I would be able to do both with no problem. I did the walk last year as well and forgot how emotional it was for me. Not a good way to start out a fun filled day with my class of 1967.

I came home from the walk exhausted both physically and mentally. I even thought about not going to the reunion. My daughter was going to my home town as well to meet her cousin and said she would take me and pick me up so that made things a bit easier for me. I wouldn’t have to drive home at 11:30 at night by myself. So I decided I would go. I had been looking forward to the reunion for quite some time and thought I just needed to make myself do it.

Now the next step was deciding what to wear…I had an outfit picked out but that didn’t give me the desired look. You know the one I talked about last week…the one where I looked 20 years younger and 30 pounds lighter…or was it the other way around?? Well nothing in my closet came even close to doing that. So I just settled on wearing what made me feel comfortable.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” ~ Dr Seuss

Ok, I know you are all waiting to hear about the person I was hoping to avoid seeing. If you read last weeks post you know I had some trepidation about a “certain person” that I had heard was coming to this reunion. A person I hadn’t seen or heard from in 25 years. There are many reasons I was hoping to avoid seeing him…but you will have to wait for the book to come out to find out exactly what those reasons are.

A bunch of us arrived together making me feel a little more relaxed. As I walked in the door my eyes quickly scanned the room for him but I didn’t see him. I realized he wouldn’t look like he did 25 years ago but I didn’t think he was there and felt more at ease. The group I was with quickly found a table and then we all started walking around talking to everyone. I loved catching up with people I hadn’t seen in forever. There were quite a bunch of them who hadn’t been to a reunion in a long time that came to this one on Saturday night.

Dinner was served and still no sign of “him.” I couldn’t take the suspense any longer and asked one of the committee members if “he” was coming? The committee member said he had indeed paid but was not there. Maybe he wasn’t going to show…it would be so like him. I was very relieved and I know my friends were relieved for me as well. Not five minutes later, the same committee member came over and said, “I spoke to soon. He just showed up!” He also went into why he was late…a friend(a girl of course) wasn’t going to come and he talked her into coming with him. But she hadn’t paid for a ticket, so he had a brief discussion at the sign in table to get them to allow her to come in with him. But she wouldn’t eat… And quickly added that they were “just friends”…

I searched the room, but still didn’t see him…until I did..he was of course sitting with his usual group of friends. And the girl. I continued to do what I had been doing…talking to people, people from different parts of my life. Elementary school, junior high and high school. We all marveled at how social media had kept some of the group in contact. And more than a few said they liked knowing what is going on with people in our class every day even though we are miles apart.

I was surprised at the number of people who were on social media and especially the ones that said they read my blog. It is hard to know who reads it when people don’t comment on it. I was pleasantly surprised. So many telling me how much they loved it and to keep on writing. A few asked who “he” was and a few, much to my surprise, said I know who “he’ is.

Things were going along quite well, I was having a great time and thought I dodged the bullet and he wasn’t going to talk to me. Maybe someone had even told him I didn’t want him to. All of the sudden, as I was standing by our table talking to two friends… I felt an arm go around my shoulders. I didn’t need to turn around to know whose arm it was. But I did. Here is how the scenario played out..as I turned to find his face almost directly in mine…

Him: “Well Hello”

Me: “Hi”

Him: “How are you?”

Me: “Fine”

Him: “You still live in Frederick?”

Me: “No.”

Him: “Where are you living now?”

Me: “Close to PA.” (note, only time I said more than one word)

Him: “Well you look great.”

Me: “Thanks”

And with that I turned around and started talking to my friend again. I felt him take his arm off of my shoulders and walk away. That was it! The next day, I was second guessing myself. Should I have talked more to him? Should I have asked him why he did what he did and why he lied? Should I have given him the chance to explain? But then I thought to myself… I bought his story 25 years ago, would I have bought the one he would have told me Saturday night? Was he different now, had he changed? He really had a line, always has. I am a pretty good judge of character and he had me completely fooled 25 years ago. I wasn’t going to give him the chance to do that again.

I don’t know and now I guess I never will know if he has changed. I hope so. For him and his family. I do know now I made the right decision not to get into a lengthy conversation with him. I enjoyed my 50th reunion.. I didn’t let him ruin that. I couldn’t  let that happen. There were too many good people there and too many good things happening. I wanted those to be the memories I remember when I think about that night. But I also want to remember I stood up to him, I didn’t back down. I think he must know why I did what I did or he wouldn’t have given up so easily and walked away..but then again knowing him, maybe he doesn’t. And that’s ok too.

Do you go to your high school reunions? Why or why not?

“Yes, we talk to each other on Facebook… but that just isn’t good enough….you can’t hug someone on FB. And I like to hug.” ~ me