More reasons it’s good to be a boomer.

 

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Naps.

Not chasing the brass monkey.

Remembering The Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

Looking through old photo albums.

Revisiting old neighborhoods and seeing how much they’ve changed.

Comfortable shoes.

Friends who remember you when.

New friends who appreciate who you are now.

More naps.

Being able to appreciate excellent books and music.

Not caring about who the latest star is.

Delighting to the wonders of each changing season.

Sitting on a park bench and watching life go by.

Savoring dark chocolate.  Rich coffee.  Exquisite pesto.  Cheetos.

Protecting your time, privacy and boundaries fiercely.

Lifelong pets.

Not dreading Mondays.

Understanding the value of silence.

Letting things fall away that steal your energy.

Laughing more.

Did we mention naps?

“Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits.”

       Anonymous

Letting some things fall away.

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In many parts of the country, leaves are starting to fall…bringing up images of childhood…remembering orange, red and yellow leaves from several sugar maple trees that lined one of the homes I lived in when I was very young.

They were beautiful. They crackled beneath my bicycle tires. I’d press them between pieces of paper and use crayons to come up with masterpieces (at least in my mind).

Years pass and leaves have become more of a chore, raking, bagging and hauling to the curb. Yet I never pick up a rake that I don’t think about how much fun it was to run and jump into a gigantic pile of them. (Always remembering, as Lucy Van Pelt would tell Charlie Brown, “never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker.”)

And leaves also remind me it’s time to let go of the past.

Pack away the summer clothes and get out the well-worn sweatshirts and long socks. Wrestle the comforter back into the duvet. But more than that, it’s a natural reminder that things fall away, plants stop blooming, and people pass away. Life reinvents itself in preparation for the next season.

It’s never been more true for me than this year, as I’ve once again made a  major life change.

One of the most beautiful passages about this ever appeared in Bambi, written by Felix Salten in 1923. (Not the Disney cartoon version. This book is a beautifully written, deeply moving look at nature, humanity and life itself.) If you never read it, you might pick up a copy. If you did, perhaps you’ll recall this amazing passage from Bambi that takes a gentle look at death, rebirth and so many of the questions many of us still have even though we’re not children anymore.

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The leaves were falling from the great oak at the meadow’s edge. They were falling from all the trees. One branch of the oak reached high above the others and stretched far out over the meadow. Two leaves clung to its very tip. “It isn’t the way it used to be,” said one leaf to the other.

 “No,” the other leaf answered. “So many of us have fallen off tonight we’re almost the only ones left on the branch.”

 “You never know who’s going to go next,” said the first leaf. “Even when it was warm and the sun shone, a storm or a cloudburst would come sometimes, and many leaves were torn off, though they were still very young. You never know who’s going to go next.”

 “The sun hardly shines now,” sighed the second leaf, “and when it does, it gives no warmth. We must have warmth again.”

 “Can it be true,” said the first leaf, “can it really be true, that others come to take our places when we’re gone and the after them still others, and more and more?”

 “It really is true,” whispered the second leaf. “We can’t even begin to imagine it, it’s beyond our powers.”

 “It makes me very sad,” added the first leaf. They were silent for a while. Then the first leaf said quietly to itself, why must we fall?

The second leaf asked, “What happens to us when we have fallen?”

 “We sink down…. What is under us? I don’t know,” answered the first leaf. “Some say one thing, some another, but nobody knows.” The second leaf asked, “Do we feel anything, do we know anything about ourselves when we’re down there?”

 The first leaf answered, “Who knows? Not one of all those down there has ever come back to tell us about it.”

 They were silent again. Then the first leaf said tenderly to the other, “Don’t worry so much about it. You’re trembling.” “That’s nothing,” the second leaf answered, “I tremble at the least thing now. I don’t feel so sure of my hold as I used to.”

 “Let’s not talk any more about such things,” said the first leaf. The other replied, “No, we’ll let it be. But what else shall we talk about?” It was silent, but went on after a while. “Which of us will go first?” “There’s still plenty of time to worry about that,” the other leaf said reassuringly. “Let’s remember how beautiful it was, how wonderful, when the sun came out and shone so warmly we thought we’d burst with life. Do you remember? And the morning dew and the mild and splendid nights….”

 “Now the nights are dreadful,” the second leaf complained, “and there is no end to them.” “We shouldn’t complain,” said the first leaf gently. “We’ve outlived many, many others.”  

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 “Have I changed much?” asked the second leaf shyly.

 “Not in the least,” the first leaf said. “You think so only because I’ve gotten to be so yellow and ugly. But it’s different in your case.”

 “You’re fooling me,” said the second leaf.

 “No, really,” the first leaf answered eagerly, “believe me, you’re as lovely as the day you were born. Here and there may be a little yellow spot. But it’s hardly noticeable and makes you only more beautiful, believe me.”

 “Thanks,” whispered the second leaf, quite touched. “I don’t believe you, not altogether but I thank you because you are so kind. You’ve always been so kind to me. I’m just beginning to understand how kind you are.”

 “Hush,” said the other leaf, and kept silent itself, for it was too troubled to talk anymore.

 Then they were both silent. Hours passed. A moist wind blew, cold and hostile, through the treetops. “Ah, now,” said the second leaf, “I….”

 Then its voice broke off. It was torn from its place and spun down. Winter had come.

*******

 I’m grateful for the seasons, and how the light changes with each. I’m  grateful for the memories of fall afternoons raking leaves.  I’m grateful that for almost a decade, I had beautiful aspens and gorgeous oaks sharing their leaves with me.  I”m grateful for the opportunity to see how Fall unfolds in a new zip code.  I’m grateful I’m here to see it all. 

To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

Sit still.

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When was the last time you rested?

Really rested?

Turned off the phone?

Did not check for emails?

Did not check social media?

Put away your daily planner?

Sat still?

Opened the windows and listened to the wind?

Sat outside and watched the birds?

Pondered the clouds?

Just breathed?

We must rest.

It’s very important.

It’s when the answers come.

What if we all started right now…..?

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

     Ovid

50+ Olympics.

Now that the Olympics are over, I think it’s time we came up with our own set of events for people over 50. Some require certain skills, others just call for the ability of each of us to laugh at ourselves and keep going. But all are medal-worthy.

Running to the train. Forget the movies. Have you ever tried running to a train, dragging two suitcases, a purse or a computer bag or a briefcase, possibly a hat or a jacket, and managed to breathe and keep your composure? If so, you get a silver medal. If you’ve done this over the age of 50, you get a gold medal. If you’ve done it over the age of 60, God bless you.

DSCN4415Texting. Hey, let’s face it. It’s not the easy. Especially for older, sometimes stiff, fingers that just don’t move as well as they used to. Add small keyboards on phones and you sometimes have hilarious results. Or obscene ones. Be careful.   The difficulty factor rises after happy hour.

Opening chip bags. I know, we’re not supposed to eat them. But we do. And I’d like to meet the sadist who designs bags that cannot be opened by humans. I sometimes wonder if they give the bags to the gorillas to see if they can open them. If they can, they fail. It’s only those bags which no life form can open that make it through the assembly line. So if you have started walking around your house with a pair of scissors in your pocket, you may pass go and collect $100.

Recognizing anyone on late night television. Come on. Be honest. When you turn on a talk show at night, do you know who anyone is? Can you name their songs? Have you ever seen them before? Being tired will not raise your score. Bonus points if you know who anyone is on the music awards show.

Knowing where your glasses are. I’m thinking this could replace the 100-year dash, slower, but with more obstacles. So knee pads and a helmet could be required. When the starter’s gun goes off, everyone must find their glasses within an hour and return to their original spot. You can’t stop along the way to do other tasks. You must proceed to the place where your glasses are. Asking your dog to help you is not fair and will result in a penalty.

Running.   I mean, do we really need to even talk about this? Just don’t do it.

Staying up late.   It looks easy, but if you haven’t tried it lately, be cautious. Train slowly. Pace yourself. And if you have the opposite problem and are unable to ever fall asleep, I’d suggest reading through a legal contract.

Of course there are many more…and I’d love to hear your suggestions. It’s interesting to approach a stage of life where sometimes doing the simplest things just feels good.

And it’s okay to ask for help.

And it’s okay to just decide maybe you don’t want to do that difficult thing anymore.

(Except for the chips. Anyone have a hammer?)

“I still have a full deck, I just shuffle slower now.”    

         Anonymous

 

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