Frame of Mind

When I woke this morning, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. I thought to myself, this is going to be one of those so-so days and contemplated rolling over and going back to sleep. But the more I lay there, my mind tended to roam to places I never intended it to roam to.

I pictured various scenes, scenes like a very overweight individual out and about shopping; the conditions of various individuals in the doctor’s office where we recently had our follow-up checkup regarding some blood work drawn the week prior. I also pictured the guy looking for a hand-out on the corner with his sign indicating he hadn’t eaten in quite a while. My thoughts roamed all over the place. They took me overseas to our military and I thought of the young recruit in a faraway land weighted down with about 65 pounds of military gear in addition to the weight of the weapons he must carry with him to be safe.

What do all these scenarios have to do with me and my temporary (yes, temporary) attitude. Just this – it didn’t take much thought after reminiscing about scenarios such as those just mentioned to – how shall I put this “Wake up and smell the roses or in my case the coffee!”

Scenes like those just mentioned made me realize just how good many of us have it. As I looked around our bedroom, I seen nothing but items that reminded me of all the fun and good times we had acquiring what it is we wake up to each and every day. I also gave thought to the knowledge that once I did get up and go to the kitchen, it wouldn’t be long before I am sitting there – still in my pajamas drinking a cup of coffee looking out the window hoping to see a glimpse of the sun rising.

We are fortunate enough to go to bed at night and not have to wonder where our next meal is coming from. Or worry constantly about some type of physical impairment or disease we wrestle with every day and wondering about how we are going to get out of bed and manage whatever it is we have to do today. Nor are we  in the military stationed in some foreign country or war-torn area where nomatter how we feel when we wake we do not have the luxury of waking up and saying: Oh, I don’t feel like this is going to be a good day – that’s it – think I will just roll over and go back to sleep. The list that flashed through my mind was endless.

Am I saying that “we don’t have bad days?” Nope, we all do. But what I am saying is that when we think to ourselves – “Why me?” or “What am I to do with myself, how am I to cope?” stop for a moment and just give thought to all the other people in the world that do not have what you have at this particular moment in time. Doing that simple task may be all you need to get your backside out of bed and make the best of what you have. After all, isn’t that what everyone else has to do.

To coin a phrase that sort of sums it up and by the way – just sitting down and writing this short piece put me in a much better frame of mind – “Suck it up, Buttercup” because when you get right down to the “nitty gritty” of it, things could be a lot worse!

Until next time!

As Time Goes By

Time

I recently was reading some of the selected writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder and came across the following: It was entitled – “The Stream of Years.”

“Though old age has gray hair and twinges of rheumatism, remember that childhood has freckles, tonsils, and measles. The stream of passing years is like a river with people being carried along in the current. Some are swept along protesting. Others go with the current freely.”

This got me to thinking about some of the old TV series we used to watch and how at times, if you got right down to thinking about it, we could make a correlation between what the writing behind some of those shows had in common with some of what is going on today and how we, as a people tend to address the handling of it.

For instance, take the show M*A*S*H. Watching reruns of this show with the likes of Capts. Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce, “Trapper John” McIntire, Majs. Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan and Frank Burns, and Cpl. Walter “Radar” O’Reilly, always tends to bring a smile to my face and even though it was about war, some of the best writing in television history was made with the writing of this show.  My thoughts are that this show correlates with a lot of what is going on in the world today. 

Think about it. Many of us find ourselves in impossible predicaments all the time and in many instances, they are situations over which we have little control. Oh, I don’t mean that we are over in a war-torn country and face those dangers day in and day out. But in today’s world there is always the possibility that we may find ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time (recent mass shootings) or we may be told we have some nasty disease over which the doctors cannot control and our days are numbered.

The question becomes, how do we handle it? Our best hope/solution is that we will never be in such a situation. But being the age we old geezers are, the question that weighs heavily on our minds is: “Can we get out of the way of either of these situations?” Truth be told, the answer is probably “No”. Why, because no one can predict the future.  

So, if you too, are a fan of M*A*S*H, like I was and still am, you will recall, Hawkeye had his own unorthodox way of handling most situations he became involved in. Remember, he didn’t ask to be in the war, let alone Korea, especially being a doctor as he was. How did he handle it?  As we seen in the shows, Hawkeye makes the best of his life by lots of heavy drinking, carousing with the nurses, and his never-ending pranks he comes up with to get a rise out of those around him, especially the unpleasantly stiff and callous Major Frank Burns and/or Major “Hot Lips” Houlihan. He does this, (getting stoned) to avoid the truth of where he is, whenever possible (remember his beloved martinis that he used to conjure up in the tent he shared with B. J. Hunnicut). If you will recall they made their own homemade gin. Deep down inside, Hawkeye was a decent sort of guy and in my opinion one of the more memorable characters in the series.  

So, what can we do to protect ourselves in such a world today? We cannot stop going shopping or to restaurants for fear someone may shoot us. Nor can we worry about coming down with some dreaded disease. Each of our bodies are different and each handles the daily eating, working, sleeping, resting and so forth we do day in and day out in our own different ways. We need to take each day as it comes and go with the flow. Should we be diagnosed with some curable or even non-curable disease, best thing we can do for ourselves and our loved ones, is to take the advice of the doctor and follow their instructions to the best of our ability. In other words, stay informed about what the disease is and how it affects us and well, just deal with it. As for the shopping or going out to eat, most of us old folk, enjoy going to public places to shop and/or eat and we cannot stop doing that. What we need to get in the habit of is to be a bit more vigilant about our surroundings while we are out and about.  

I myself, find writing helps and thus the reason I keep a daily journal although truth be told, seeing that we are home more than we are out and about, I am certain my personal journal would be boring to the average reader. As much as I don’t really like the idea I am about to mention, fact is that we must be more like turtles. If you will recall, turtles have that outer shell designed to protect themselves and we too need to create what might be called an outer shell to protect us, if you will, from the life that goes on outside our own little world.

As I mentioned, I like to write and for me – researching and writing about wild and crazy comical things takes my mind off the weird stuff that is happening in our world today. It also gives me a lot of personal satisfaction when someone says to me: “I enjoyed your quip on Facebook this morning – keep it up.” Or when I get a comment or two about a monthly article I write for our community newsletter saying how much the article was enjoyed. At this stage of my life, I would have to say there are three things that get me out of bed every morning in spite of what all is going on in the world around me and those three things are: Family, My Writing, and Line dancing.

There are some other shows I truly miss – shows like the Beverly Hillbillies, The Honeymooners, Laugh-In, and who can’t forget the Carol Burnett Show. Now they were shows that made you forget both your personal troubles and those of the world. Why? Because they made you laugh yourself silly. The perfect way to end a day. But wait, there is also one more show (an oldie but a goodie) that we recently came across – well it has been a few months now – and that is “As Time Goes By” with Dame Judy Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. This by far is one of our favorite bedtime TV shows to watch. Watching this show enables us to go to bed with a smile on our face knowing that tomorrow is another day. One day at a time or as the title of the show reads – “As time goes by!”

Until next time!

Second-Guessing vs Grass is Greener on the Other Side

Second guess is defined as to question a decision or action that has already been completed. An example of second guess is when you make a decision and then you start to think about it a little more and decide another decision might have been better. Why do we, as seniors, find it necessary to second-guess ourselves so much in our later years?

Have you ever noticed that as we age, we find it harder and harder to make certain decisions and find ourselves putting things off because of one thing or another? I like to refer to this as second-guessing ourselves.

Are the decisions we make good things or should we be seeking another opinion on? And what if that other opinion differs from the decision we originally came up with?

Many of us, tend to say as we enter our twilight years, that getting old is not for sissies – usually based on problems with our health. Health problems, I can deal with. Usually with health problems the situation is that you either have a problem or you don’t, or you are told that in the near future, things are going to change and here is what you must do to be prepared for them. While we may not like it – hey – at our age, most of us try to roll with the punches and thus do what the doctor says.

Not so with the second-guessing type scenario. There is something you want to do that could possibly make your life better but there is that nagging question in the back of your head, will the change be for the better? We know that at our age nothing is guaranteed. The thought process is that hopefully, your life will change for the better but there is no guarantee hence the second-guessing and wondering if you are or will be doing the right thing.

This overall thought process raises so many questions, the main one being: Do we take the chance knowing that depending on what we eventually end up doing, we will have to live with the consequences as there will be no turning back. Or, do we withdraw into our shell like the turtle and say to ourselves – I know what I have in here – why risk it wondering if the grass will be greener on the other side?

I am sure those of you reading this are aware that “the grass is greener syndrome” means that individuals having this syndrome have an inability to feel content with their life as it is, and relentlessly seek something better.  Having made it to the grand old age of 78 soon to be 79, I feel certain that this dilemma happens just as much during our retirement years as it did during our working years and thus the reason for the article. Chances are that many of us senior citizens have been in this dilemma more times than we care to admit to and in each case, my guess is that there were always a couple of hiccups along the way to make the challenge even more interesting.   

Why the word hiccups – primarily because it is these hiccups that make us question our initial decision (you know the one that put us in this position in the first place, thinking that the grass may be greener on the other side), thus opening the door to second-guessing ourselves.  

So, the question becomes: At what point in one’s lives do we feel content with where we are in life and thus no longer have to second-guess decisions that we may or may not make. Decisions we consider to be relevant to our future well-being?  

Interesting dilemma, isn’t it?

Until next time!

Donut and Coffee

Thought I would write something different today – so I am going to share a “Drabble” with you entitled: Apple Fritter!

What is it about the day when we wake and know not what it is we hope to accomplish? Is it boredom? Pure laziness? Is this what retirement is all about? Shouldn’t there be something more? How do we overcome these slumps? I know – coffee and a donut! But then there is always the weight issue to be concerned about. But truly one donut and a cup of coffee shouldn’t make all that difference. Besides, my colonoscopy prep is tomorrow. How long will that donut be in me? Perhaps, I should go with an apple fritter instead. Yummy – can’t wait!

coffee and donut

Cooling Thoughts

One Day at a Time!

I have been reading selected readings from the Wit and Wisdom of Laura Ingalls Wilder and thought to myself that the knowledge imparted upon us in these short witticisms would also serve us well into our retirement years.  

“We would be much cooler and less tired if, instead of thinking of the weather and our weariness, we would try to remember the birds’ songs we heard in the early morning or notice the view of the woods and hills or of the valley and stream.”

I know that many of us like to think that we would not want to go back to the days of yesteryear, but after reading a passage like the above and then picturing in our minds the likes of which we see, hear, and read about today, one begins to wonder if the days of old with all the troubles they endured were as bad as some make them out to be.

Has the temperature changed over the years? Probably so. Do we get tired more quickly today than our forefathers might have? Again, probably so. But were we aware of all the problems of the world both here at home and abroad on a 24-hours a day/7days a week/52 weeks of the year basis? I think not. Chances are, that depending on where you were living, by the time you received the news of some disaster or calamity, it had been over and done with and people were getting on with their lives.

So, in reviewing the above writing, I contend that we would be wise to heed the words spoken in this passage by thinking more about the good things in life (birds singing early in the morning) and take notice of all the good things that surround  us (view of the woods and hills or the valley and stream). Chances are that we would no longer feel the unbearable heat from the sun nor notice how tired our bodies are from the work we do. Bottom line is that we would in all probability be thankful that we are alive and able to move about freely taking life one day at a time and enjoying the fact that while we woke up this morning, quite a few people were not as fortunate.

Until next time.