I am a morning person. I wake early each morning to thank God for the night’s rest and the gift of a new day. Each morning I see a woman in the mirror who is like a stranger. She doesn’t look like the energy driven woman inside me. The morning hours are my most productive. I have tons of energy. But as each hour passes, the energy decreases.
This morning I was cleaning the glass on my storm/screen door before 7:30am. One of my neighbors was walking her little dog. I waved and smiled. The sun was shining through the cloud cover and everyone’s garden areas glowed with beautiful colors. I planned to write this blog from my porch, but it is not quite sixty degrees, so a little chilly for me.
I will go out with my Bible and a cup of tea soon because that is where I feel close to God. When I first saw this condo, I felt God had led me here, so I never looked at another place. This was the first, and I knew, just knew, it was going to be my last residence on earth. I get teary-eyed whenever I stop and bask in God’s creation, whether looking through my office window, like now, or sitting on the porch. It’s like Psalm 23…”my cup runneth over.”
The mirror mocks me each morning. The woman staring at me is not the one inside me. The one inside me is young and full of dreams. She’s energetic and can do anything she sets her mind to do. But the woman in the mirror reminds me this body is temporary and is prone to deteriorate. And so, I sit here with my cup of tea, anticipating the new body and new home awaiting me in Heaven.
In the meantime, I will dream, give thanks, and try hard to age gracefully, and appreciate the woman in the mirror.
As I age, I find my good sense isn’t as good as it used to be! I needed to make cookies and fudge to mail out of state today. Wanting them to be as fresh as possible, I decided to wait until after dinner to begin cooking.
Concrete floors. Enough said? I began with the cookies at 5:30 pm thinking it would only take a couple of hours. But then I decided I had enough ingredients to make four kinds of cookies. Four hours later, I finished washing and cleaning the kitchen…only to remember I still needed to make a couple batches of fudge.
When I finally settled into bed close to midnight, I had terrible acid reflux. Why? Well, I did have to make sure everything tasted all right. I needed an Alka-Seltzer but my cabinet was bare. I can’t sleep with my upper body elevated on pillows, so it was around two am when I finally dozed off.
This morning, I could barely stand. All those hours in the kitchen on my feet…enough said, right? I need to get the box in the mail today hoping it will arrive in time for Christmas. That means standing in a long line at the post office. Ouch.
And that, dear readers, is a true story of a 78 year old woman whose good sense might have been okay thirty years ago, but not so much today. I wonder if it is too much to ask Santa to bring me a little more good sense for Christmas. LOL!
In reality, it is so easy for my brain to tell me I can do the same things I did when I was younger and for me to believe it. I’m grateful for all I can still do at my age when many can’t. I only need to learn not to wait until the last minute because the body doesn’t work as fast as the brain does these days! Lifting my cup of tea with a smile as I wish you all a day to laugh at yourself. You are only as old as you allow yourself to believe!
I learned the art of aging gracefully from my husband. One of his favorite hobbies was gardening. He loved being outdoors, mowing the lawn, weeding, planting multiple gardens and maintaining them, building and maintaining a backyard pond and so much more. He loved to build with wood. He didn’t need plans. His ideas transformed into beautiful creations. He made toy boxes for the grandchildren, hobby horses, bridges for the pond, a backyard swing and arbor (with grapevines and clematis) and so much more. He transformed rooms inside the house, built-in bookshelves, and even a fireplace complete with mantle. A neighbor wanted a bookshelf for her young daughter that looked like a house and asked him if he would build it. He did. The last thing his hands created was a wishing well for the prayer garden at the church we attended.
In 2010, his battle with illness began. His creativity was stifled with the need for oxygen therapy 24×7. He was, as he put it, tethered to a hose like a bull with a ring in his nose. His sense of humor never left him, though he could no longer do the things he loved. He was gracious when I took over mowing even though my efforts were not up to his standards. He watched as my son-in-law with a little help from me, put down over 60 bags of mulch in the multiple gardens. He watched as the largest part of the pond was demolished and filled in because he could no longer maintain it. And he never complained. He enjoyed family and displayed a sense of humor throughout his struggle.
He spent hours giving himself breathing treatments while reading the Bible. His activity level diminished and he lived the truth of accepting severe limitations. And Just a few weeks before God called him home, he sat in a lawn chair with his oxygen, a hat, and a pair of shears as he pruned the lilac tree.
I believe the years of being his caregiver taught me how to age gracefully. I only wish he was still with me so we could age gracefully together.