Carry on Tuesday: Time will pass and seasons will come and go.

Trixie-a rescued kennel dog

Trixie-a rescued kennel dog (Photo credit: waycooldogs)

The Time In Between

How would you feel if you woke up one ordinary sunny morning and realized that you were now old? No, really, old. It wasn’t from a horror film or a nightmare but it was just realizing what you were seeing up close, really seeing in the mirror. It happened to me, from one night to the next and I was absolutely horrified. That couldn’t be me, could it? Really? Getting older is something I talk about with friends, in the abstract, I talk to people around the same age that I am or family members, but not seriously. Sure we all have some gentle fears for the future and the unknown but we can all relate to it. Any fears we have go away with our yoga class and deep breathing exercises.  Until the day, that one different day, months later, when you are not able to breathe and my heart felt pain all the time and those thoughts become wilder and it truly is alarming. My husband, Gary, called 911 and the ambulance came eventually. Oh, how I didn’t want that, all that fanfare, stretchers and backboards and people taking my pulse and giving me oxygen with the whole street outside, I hated it but I knew there was no choice, so I closed my eyes and with my wicked sense of humor, pretended to be dead.

When the doctor finally came in to see me in the Emergency Room and told me that my heart was perfect and that I had experienced a panic attack, I couldn’t decide if I was relieved or embarrassed at the diagnosis. All they did was hook me up to some oxygen and some sort of sedative and soon I was sleeping. When the doctor ( he looked about 14 ) said I was okay to leave he gave me a prescription for anxiety medication, little orange pills for when I felt this way again, which was probable,”for people your age” the young intern said cheerfully. He said “probable” not “possible” and “for people my age.” What the hell was that supposed to mean? Even though I was groggy, I hated him just for that.

It made me think alright, I guess I couldn’t deny any longer the little things that were happening to me. Like that I  had no hearing at all from my left ear, that my muscles had atrophied so much that when I walked up a flight of stairs I wheezed and clung to the stair rail and that when Bootsie, our dog passed we didn’t replace her and we had been such dog lovers because dogs became too much trouble for us.

Gary started sleeping next door in the “extra bedroom” because of his snoring and sleep apnea and after a while, I got over the loneliness and I really didn’t mind having a room all to myself. I  just stopped caring and this was easier for both of us. Time was whizzing by, seasons came and they left but the routines remained the same, it’s not as if they were traveling the world or doing exciting things, truly they were JUST the things we did every single day.

Wasn’t I just young? Wasn’t that just yesterday? First, playing on the street corners with my friends, then high school and college. Growing up to be independent and living on my own. Getting married and having the two joys of my life, our son and daughter, then they left us too. It all went in a circle but it kept spinning over and over again.I wore jeans and sneakers in college and I still wear them except now I need orthotics in my shoes. My pants are from the “mom” section and my daughter, when she comes to visit with me, rolls her eyes up in disgust.

Time passes, seasons come and go, people die and babies are born, things are fair and yes, unfair and we have no choice but to hang on for dear life. We need to choose to either fight fiercely for the ride or just give in. Today, Gary and I are going to the animal shelter, we have talked about it; we want to adopt a dog again, hopefully not a dog that needs to run around a lot but a dog that needs love, just like us. We will continue to live and fight, get out of bed and walk that dog, together, for however long we have. We’ll name her Trixie.

I’m Older Than That Now

Portrait from India 15

Portrait from India 15 (Photo credit: Zuhair Ahmad)

A new, younger friend, was hesitant to write her feelings down on paper.

Why not? I thought.

And then I remembered and rejoiced in that knowledge.

I’m too old for games, I wrote,
but I can understand why you would be hesitant.
I was like that too, at your age.
I now have the freedom not to care what others think.
Freedom not to even think about what others think, not to hesitate, just say what’s on my mind, politely.
What a luxury, a new luxury  that I had taken for granted. A gift. A heavenly gift.
I never realized it before until the younger one said “I thought about it but I didn’t say anything”
I had forgotten that hesitancy until I was reminded of it.
It’s like inhaling a deep breath, holding it in and effortlessly letting it go,
letting it seep into all the crevices of life, be it ocean or wind, or water.
Drifting aimlessly like a freed red kite among the unencumbered blue sky.
I have earned this.
This is my gift to myself.
I will pride myself on not dyeing my hair, for the few strands that are gray and white,
I will wear them with authenticity.
I will continue to throw back my head with my hair long and laugh.
There really is wisdom, joy and freedom in older age.
Even, especially if you don’t seek it;
it will find you.
Keep your heart open to receiving that gift.