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Thread: Daily Bread

  1. #411
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    So far I've enjoyed every stage of my journey. When I talk to my kids who have young families, I immediately think of Maurice Chevalier--"I'm Glad I'm Not Young Anymore." I loved it while it lasted. I look back at photographs and I think "Gee, I looked better than I thought I did at that time!" but I'm fine today with my sags and wrinkles and freedom to plan my day the way I want.

    I don't know what will happen over the next decade or two, if I'm to be one of the lucky ones that fulfills the life expectancy numbers they quote. As for death, I hope I am ready when it comes, and I would not want my last thoughts about my life to be what my MIL's were: she told me a couple of days before she died: "I lived a wasted life." I still have things I want to do, and I don't want my work in Pharma to keep crowding those things out.

    My son writes songs, and here are the lyrics to one of his songs, which speaks to the matter-of-factness with which I think I approach aging:

    This is my rising moon
    These are my crow’s feet
    These are my laughing lines
    A shadow on a charcoal street

    This is my setting sun
    This is my aging face
    Smiling on and on
    Flowers in a kitchen vase
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  2. #412
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    Oh Catherine, your son's lyrics are beautiful.

  3. #413
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    Catherine, why did your MIL feel like her life was wasted? I too have enjoyed the seasons of my life. I would not want to raise my kids again although I enjoyed it very much at the time. One reason we have been taking 2 big trips every year is so we aren’t missing out on what we wanted to do. DH is interviewing for a f.t. job and if he gets it we will only be taking one a year. He is not ready to be retired.

  4. #414
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Tybee: Thank you. I'm his mother, so I'm biased, but I do think he's a poet.

    TT: My MIL lived a traditional 50s life for a female, which was derailed when her husband died in his 40s, leaving her with two kids to raise. She had her parents live with her to cut down on living expenses, and her mother would constantly remind her that her job was to be a mother. My MIL learned how to drive and took a FT clerk's job in Macy's, never imagining that she might do better with her "can do" nature. She felt a career would undermine her job as a mother. Her mother also told her that if she went out and had fun, she was also abandoning her children. So she never met anyone or dated. This was the set-up for her symbiotic, dysfunctional relationship with BIL.

    She scrimped and saved on her sales clerk salary, and provided for the family, kept a clean, well-maintained house, and lived extremely frugally. When she was close to retirement age, she was given the opportunity to work in the retail workers union office--as a member of the union she had always spoken up for her co-workers and called management out on grievances. So now she would be paid for it.

    She was elected to serve as vice-president of the Macy's RWDSU and started commuting to Herald Square via a train and two subway trains--in her late 60s. But she LOVED that job, and she excelled. She was a force to be reckoned with if you were management. She reluctantly retired at age 75, and always played around with going back. But instead she grew depressed and disinterested in life in general. So, her "wasted life" was not realizing she could have had a very successful career in the union, and she also didn't have to endure such self-sacrifice, just because of her mother's expectations.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  5. #415
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Cath, your comment about your MIL goes to show how important it is to give each person the gift of a positive sense of the value of their life in terms that they can understand. It is a skill that I learned slowly over time. It is also hard to do at times as the listener has self-expectations that are unmet and won't hear about anything else.

    I have loved my life with all its ups and downs. I decided to let go of the 'downs', cherish the 'ups' and am glad to be living now. I tell my neighbours that I am going to be in my house until I am 99 and will re-evaluate then.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  6. #416
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    Catherine, that’s sad that her mother put such expectations on her. She sounds like a smart, good woman.

  7. #417
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Huh. When I read Wiliiamsmith's latest post, I had a hard time identifying with it. My childhood was not so happy that I would want to go back to it if I could. I miss my mid-20s, when I had graduated from college and life was full of possibility. And maybe it helps that I have another quarter-century to fulfill the life-expectancy -- err -- expectancy. But I think I'm living my best life right now and I hope that continues for years to come.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  8. #418
    Williamsmith
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    I spent a childhood of countless hours playing all sorts of games with one person. We invented all sorts of competitions, created extravagant worlds of fantasy, dreamed of becoming meaningful members of the community and wildly successful in everything we would try. We sprawled out on fields of grass flat on our backs and stared at the cumulus clouds as they floated by and wondered where they might end up and eventually where we might end up. The possibilities were always endless and always exciting and exhilarating. Our child minds never imagined we might fail at anything or come up short or someday not have those endless horizons to explore.

    Imagine a hospital room and being told you are so sick nothing can be done for you just one week before Christmas .....and now your child like dream is simply to get released for Christmas. All your dreams, your plans, your wild fantasies smashed in pieces before you with no glue to put it right. My former playmate, my forever blood. His nightmare, my confusion.

    “Christmas makes me both happy and blue.”


  9. #419
    Williamsmith
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    He’d packed what he thought he’d need for a weeks stay in the cabin. It was to be a time of isolation and there was a strange comfort that settled around him as he steered the truck up the lonely winding approach to the place he used to share with a brother and a father and a mother. He had a sort of nostalgia for those days and part of the reason he came here alone was to see if he could stir up remembrances of good days gone by and at the same time possibly remind himself that he had a life to live without them and what the purpose of that life might be. But not without their memory or inspiration, so up the truck climbed, switchback after switchback dodging fallen trees and rocking through pot holes that hadn’t been fixed in several seasons.

    Even through the ever increasing heaviness of the snowfall and as the wind buffeted the truck and with the heater on the old truck blowing as hard as it could, he looked out at landmarks as they passed by and thought of events in the past. The frog pond where he and his brother played endless hours while dad saw to the woodpile or fixed the last leak in the camp roof. That old grand maple tree where he’d silently waited with his father on the opening day of deer season fifty years ago. The wooden planks that had been nailed into the trunk were mostly gone now, one just hanging on by a rusty nail. The old stand not fit for climbing into seemed to shout at him as he passed. It was begging to be repaired.

    On the last bit of the lane in sight of the dilapidated cabin an old snag had fallen across. He had to stop and get out to size it up. He rolled a heavy log chain out of the bed and onto the ground. Looking for a gap between the log and the frozen ground and jamming his gloved hand here and there blindly under the snow he was able to wrap it and hook the chain and pull it far enough off the road. He passed the fire ring and the frozen outhouse, brakes squealing in complaint as he came to a stop.

    There with both hands on the wheel, flurries racing past the windshield cutting the headlights and disappearing onto the ground....he just sat and stared at the place. The ghosts of days past must be out there amongst the trees, and sitting around the campfire and ambling about inside. They must in the kitchen cooking a bacon and egg breakfast or wrapped in a moldy blanket in one of the upstairs bunks not wanting to roll out of bed. They must be sleepily stumbling down the creaking steps toward the smell of Maxwell House and Jimmy Dean.

    He thought he saw the back of a hunter leaning against a shag bark hickory, blazed orange dotted with a yellow tag cradling a beloved Remington Gamemaster like a baby. He smelled the ash of the wood stove being stoked and its heavy cast iron door and wire handle squealing shut. Mom leaned against the door on the porch, her hair pulled back but a few strands hanging in her eyes, she brushed them back and they stubbornly fell again.

    This is part of why he had come here. The other part was yet unknown to him. In search of answers about how to carry on or perhaps instinctually returning to this primal place. Convinced of the need to reconnect, he stepped out and began unloading food, clothing and memories. It was time to take inventory and press on. But first the inventory.


  10. #420
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    WS, you are introducing me to singers and music that I have not truly appreciated or even heard before like this one. I treasure each one and the intro to each.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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