Maybe “Safe” Is A Better Word Than “Stuck”

English: The Mother Orange Tree, the oldest li...

English: The Mother Orange Tree, the oldest living orange tree in Northern California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I often refer to my husband and myself as Empty Nesters, stuck between two worlds. We still live in the home where we raised our children,  paying outrageous school taxes even though both kids are in college. My mother and sister both live nearby and my husband’s parents live close by as well. But, I know, deep inside, this is not where I want to end up for the rest of our lives.  I’m sure you have heard the term  “The Sandwich Generation” before, it defines us as it does most of the aging “Baby Boomers.” I shudder when I even think of the term “Aging Boomers.” Us? Really?

I have wanted to move to the West Cost for a long time since I was a kid and my dad mentioned he had a possible job interview in California. For someone who is not good with change, I was so excited about the prospect.  I imagined a little white house and garden with bright red flowers on the boarders, an orange tree in the back yard and a red dog named Rusty.

Here, in the Northeast the weather is too cold and I’ve always hated cold weather. For those of you who enjoy the cold and love its sparkling freshness, enjoy it. For all you skiers out there, have a great time racing down those sleek, icy hills, I would be in the chalet drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream anyway. The cold weather makes me hurt all over in general and  living with the chronic pain illness, Fibromyalgia, the cold, bone-chilling weather makes my bones and muscles hurt even more. There is nothing I can do about that except accept it.

I admit, I used to feel closed in not knowing when and where we would move in the future but now it feels alright, in fact it feels safe. Chaos will surely occur if there is any major change and for someone like me, change is always hard. For me, ” A Good Change” is an oxymoron. For little things, I need 24-48 hours to get used to change that is even mildly disturbing, imagine a huge change? The mere thought of moving away from my sister and mother brings tears to my eyes. My children will come visit when they can, it is their turn to live now. So maybe being “stuck” is not so bad, maybe being stuck is just being “safe.” If I look at it that way,  I’m doing alright. Actually, pretty good. I’m enjoying nature in the suburbs, the sweet red cardinals chirping in the trees, the changing of the leaves, the different seasons. Change will happen by itself, there are things we can’t control, health, employment, our children moving away, us moving away, sickness, death. Life brings us one change after another, so right now where we are “stuck” is really a time to rest and appreciate. Whatever comes next, will be very, very different; we will get used to it in time but it won’t be easy to call that place home with all the pieces in the puzzle fitting right into place for a long time. I’m just going to appreciate what I have now, not look backwards and not look forwards, be in the present. Sounds good, right? I’m trying the best that I can.

a drawing of a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle

a drawing of a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FWF: Kellie Elmore, Word Bank: Blanket

1913 photograph of sisters Edith Taliaferro an...

1913 photograph of sisters Edith Taliaferro and Mabel Taliaferro. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Twins

Edith, 88, sat underneath the plaid yellow, blue and red blanket she and her twin sister used to sit under every night after dinner. They both lived in the St. Rourke Hospital For Seniors and shared a room until Martha had fallen ill earlier today. Edith didn’t know what to do with herself. She spoke to no one, she could not eat a bite, she didn’t listen to anything anyone said. Without Martha, she didn’t know what to do with herself, it felt like she was missing parts of herself but didn’t know which ones. She felt confused, her whole body trembled and her lips, smeared with orange lipstick, chattered but they did not form words.

“The Twins” as they were known used to sit in the same green and white patio swing set almost every night as long as it didn’t snow. They sat there in the cold season, huddled together, as well as the warm, they always had something to talk about even when they fussed at each other. They had made no friends at the Hospital For Seniors, they had no interest in that, they had each other and that was enough. Neither of them had married and they didn’t need anyone else.

That very morning the Staff told her Martha was ill but Edith already knew something wasn’t right. She was on her way to their room now to check. She was shaking and needed to stop every few seconds to catch her breath. Martha was ill and Edith tried to get to their room but they had already moved her to the attached hospital.

“Martha, oh Martha” Edith said to her sister who lay limp on the bed, eyes closed, tubes and wires attached everywhere while Edith stroked her creamy white hair. Tears were spilling down her cheeks and Martha had not moved an inch. “She couldn’t speak”, the doctors said “there was no brain function” and that “she was not breathing on her own.” Martha was “brain-dead”, the doctors said and Edith should think about “letting her go that night.” “No, Edith said,” she was too distraught and she wanted one more night with her sister. But yes, she sighed, she would do it in the morning if that was okay. “Of course they said, “very reasonable.” They walked Edith back to her room and offered to give her a sedative to sleep. Edith just shook her had no, back and forth, not saying a word. Edith, with tears streaming down her face sat in their room, wiped her face and waited until she could go back and visit with her sister again. Very quietly, she crept, every few feet to get closer to her beloved sister’s room. No one even noticed her. They knew the heart-breaking decision she would have to make in the morning.

Edith climbed into bed with her sissy, Martha, and wrapped her arms around her like they used to do when they were kids taking a nap. She covered them both with their plaid blanket. In her room she had taken as many pills that she could take and still be able to walk. She must have swallowed sixty of them. She tried to take more from the second bottle of pills but she could barely manage to do that. The twins had, between them, almost 150 pills between them for this reason alone. They did not want to live without each other. Edith tried to take more pills now, but she could only take a handful, the rest scattered on the floor.

In the morning, at seven a.m. while doing rounds, the doctor came in and gasped, there were the sisters,” the twins,” arms around each other, frozen in time, in death. They had never wanted to live a life without each other; they used to say their hearts beat for one another and that their souls understood each other without one simple sound. They had planned this all their lives, now, they were at peace.

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Photo property of the photographer

The New Rude

noon8march8962

noon8march8962 (Photo credit: marymactavish)

It’s 2013, and you are an aging Baby Boomer just like me. Mazel Tov. I bet you are so proud. Our music was sublime, our culture was magnificent and yes, it still lives on playing on our iPods and even nostalgic rock ( or nausea rock as my husband calls it) on radio stations and in elevators. We loved peace and each other and now? We are probably unemployed and sulking or depressed. Sorry, I can’t lie and I don’t want to exaggerate either but basically if you were laid off in the last year or two and are an aging baby boomer, luck and time is NOT on your side. My husband and I and our friends are living through it now.

It stings. Because as much as we were popular “way back when” we are the antithesis of that now. We are old, used up. most probably depressed and the last people to be called in for an interview. Don’t believe me? Just ask. Not only are we not called in for interviews, if we are lucky enough to get an interview, there are new rules: rudeness. I worked in Human Resources for over twenty years and I have never seen what I am seeing now which is NOTHING.  There is no follow-up, no “Thanks for interviewing but we have hired someone better qualified” there’s not even a rejection letter. No one even tries to help you or does courtesy interviews, no one lends a helping hand, they just ignore you. People are smug and ill-mannered. Welcome to the unemployment line: it’s where it’s at.

Why are people being so rude? I guess they feel they don’t have to be polite because the alarming mass of people who want jobs, any job. In their mind, why bother with respect and manners, never mind a phone call to follow-up, that sure as hell ain’t happening. Don’t even THINK about it, because you won’t get it. When I think way back to all the acknowledgement letters we sent out for people just to tell them we did receive their résumé it’s amazing. After that we called and sent letters to tell candidates of their status or rejection. We did the best we could. Now? They don’t even try because they know that people are desperate for a job and that is just plain sad. And cruel.

Manners seem to have gone the way with the older generation, yes, us and our parents who we probably take care of along with our children. You wonder why so many of us are anxious? The Sandwich Generation has a lot on our minds, our parent or parents, our children (college age, younger or older) ourselves, health wise and job wise and that we are now old. Old. How did we get here, we ask ourselves? When did we become them?

Sure, we still listen to the same music: James Taylor, Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young (God forbid Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young would do the honor of a real reunion concert but SOMEONE won’t do it)  Thank God for those who will: Paul McCartney and Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel. Apparently, they understand us and indulge us. Thank you, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel for the Reunion Tour, it was one of the best nights of my life. Growing old is hard, we miss the past and we’re scared of the future, thanks for sticking with us. I know the chances of another reunion tour are slight but we will keep hoping….here’s to you!

The photographs are the owners of the photographers.
Thanks to my friend Bruce, for the title.

These Things, These Days

Tide Pool 003

Tide Pool 003 (Photo credit: Sunburned Surveyor)

A penny flipped mid-air,  the sound of dripping water from an old rusty pipe, white pistachio ice cream in an orange, ceramic bowl. Many, many things will happen during the day, most won’t leave an impression, but some will, things you may have not even have noticed consciously. What have you remembered in the corners of your mind?  The pop of very dark, red blood on my ankle after I cut myself, fixing the sink without asking for my husband’s help and my subsequent satisfaction, the texture and exquisite taste of lemon cheesecake swirling on my tongue.

Still not feeling happy but not feeling as depressed, it may take a while. Being on this plateau is fine with me, I am not complaining. I am trying to place the world in different compartments.  There are parts of myself I do not like, I need to own these. I am less patient than I used to be, I am unkind when pushed straight up against a brick wall, lately, I get angry more easily, sadder too; I am most definitely, flawed.

Relationships, each one, are so hard. Our age must be a part of it. We are the aging boomers.Is it our age? . Not so much peace, love and rock n’ roll anymore. Who has the time, the money, the stress free life? There are no relationship that are easy, they all need work and nurturing.  Just what is the right ratio? You only know when you have bumped up against it. Things hurt me more than most but that is something I can’t change, people have called me an Empath Intuitive, for what that is worth. I need to know more about this. Anyone?

I try to let things roll off my back but they get stuck. I am too sensitive, yes I know. I’m sorry. When people show coldness it feels like stabbing to me. Whoever said “karma is a bitch” first is so deadly right but that is how we learn, isn’t it? The lessons we need to learn usually come from within us.

I feel my mood slipping away, as if I were once again, caught in a tide pool of waves crashing around me. For all the majestic beauty of the ocean it can also be terrifying, disturbing and very dark. When I was a teenager I wandered away for a very long time, stayed away for hours, longer than I ever had, hoping that someone would miss me. Many hours later, I came back  waiting for the howls of relief that I had returned and the shrieks of “where have you been, young lady?” but no one had even noticed that I had gone.

Where is my energy, (not just because I have Fibromyalgia but even before the diagnosis?  Where was my fight, my determination, my drive? I feel like I’m a 33 record in a 45 playing world. (ask your parents!)

My red-brown dog, Lexi, lies against my legs, her show of affection, I still miss my first dog, Callie. You don’t forget love. You can’t, it’s impossible, If only it was that easy. Love lies in your memory and your heart, it reminds you of what you have done wrong and what you have done right. It shows us all that we are fallible and vulnerable. Live your life, but stop and tell the important people you love that YOU LOVE them. Now, before it’s too late while riding the ups and downs of life. I’ve always hated roller coasters. In life, we have no choice but to hold on tight.

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All photographs are the property of the photographers.

Plinky Prompt: Trains, Planes, Automobiles?

  • San Carlos IR wildflowers, 2010, Sunset

    San Carlos IR wildflowers, 2010, Sunset (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely — bike? Hot air balloon?) See all answers

  • Trains, planes, and automobiles
  • Train Plus Car: First a train with a sleeper compartment so I don’t get restless and cranky. Add lots of food and a dining car, seems like fun. Mix in a car somewhere along the line for freedom. Make a lot of stops wherever you feel like it, no reservations. See the beauty of nature, all across the country. Slip into cool streams naked, where the water is crystal clear, drink the water by cupping your hands together, splash the water at your dog and companion. Laugh a lot. Finally get to see a shooting star, you never see them in a city or suburb. Decide where you want to live if you ever get to retire. It’s a trip, a hope, a fantasy all in one. Fresh meadows of wildflowers, a fire at night outside, the smell of burning marshmallows, the feeling of utter peace.

Plinky Prompt: Describe Your Perfect Rainy Day

Bentley Tea Cup

Bentley Tea Cup (Photo credit: snap713)

  • Safe inside, toasty warm, while water pitter-patters on the roof… describe your perfect, rainy afternoon. See all answers
  • Thinking in the rain
  • Actually, my perfect rainy afternoon would be living in a climate where it doesn’t rain BUT, I will be good and play along:

    A cup of jasmine tea, sitting on a window bench, looking outside, my dog sleeping peacefully near me so I can hear her breathing, daydreaming, a fire in the fireplace, writing an entry into my blog, no stress in my life, matching my breathing with the pattern of the rain, no thoughts, mindful meditation. Relaxation.

    English: A snail on a rainy window

    English: A snail on a rainy window (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

The Prayer

prayer..

prayer.. (Photo credit: aronki)

Grieve, not for those

whose souls have been lifted, remember them with love,

but for those who remain here on earth.

Grieve for the people left behind and show them kindness,

offer them to cry unto you, wrap your arms around theirs, allow them to weep.

Show them tenderness.

For we are not put here on this earth beholden unto ourselves

No, we are here for the people of the world and the beautiful nature surrounding us.

Be truthful, be kind and if you cannot be either of these, be silent with thought and regret.

Remember your time here on earth is short, it is just for a visit, spend it well.

For the good of all humans, animals, nature, for the good of yourself

Remain for each other, never against each other

This, is our prayer.

Plinky Prompt:What will you be thinking about on your deathbed?

  • Reflecting at the end of Life
  • The magic rainbow

    The magic rainbow (Photo credit: Escape_to_Christel)

    Hopefully, NOTHING.
    I just want to be at peace and have no pain. I don’t want to THINK about anything, I don’t want to look back, have regrets or analyze my life. When I am on my deathbed (and this is one depressing question) I just want to be at peace. Peace to go forward on my journey to Heaven to reunite me with my loved ones. I will have no regrets because I tried be the best person I could while I was alive. I will be calm and ready for me to be guided with loving hands, Home.

     

Haiku Heights – Nature

Pretty Shells

Pretty Shells (Photo credit: bensheldon)

Soft, coarse, speckled sand

Trying to hide from the sun

My fingers giggle.

**************

Turtle lifts his head

wearily out of his shell

blinks and slides back in.

***************

Pink shells of my heart

Warm my soul with gratitude

I  am at peace now.

****************

Blue-aqua water

Look at my wondrous body

Come alive with strength.

****************