Things “Older People” Aren’t Supposed To Do…..(Really??)

I love Jes Baker’s Militant Baker blog (check her out at http://www.themilitantbaker.com). One of her standard and ongoing posts is “Things Fat People Shouldn’t Do,” which is where I got the inspiration for my post this morning.

Some people have the idea that, if you’re older, you have already had your share of fun and don’t need to have any more. Codswallop! Having fun keeps us young, and fun is where you find it.

Now that I’m creeping up on my 64th birthday, there seems to be more whooping and hollering from the younger set (you know who you are) about things that may be “inappropriate” for folks my age. Barring health or mobility or sanity issues, I think that people my age can pretty much do whatever the hell we want. The greatest thing about getting older is that you finally realize that it doesn’t matter what other people think. After all, it’s their perception, which doesn’t always equal the truth.

So, here are some of the things that “some people” feel we shouldn’t be doing ‘at our age:’

  • Wear stylish clothing that suits you–i.e.; if you love wearing a kimono and leggings and ballet flats, wear them with joy–nuts to the current fashions
  • Try out a wild hairdo
  • *Get a makeup makeover every couple of years
  • Wear lots of jewelry
  • Take up a great hobby and make time for it
  • Have loud, raucous sex
  • Smile at everyone (well, put your teeth in first if you have ‘falsies’)
  • Play a musical instrument joyously
  • Dance–any style as long as your heart’s in it
  • Jump on a trampoline
  • Play games with your grandkids that make you look like an idiot (but it doesn’t matter because it makes the kids laugh)
  • Go to a funny movie and laugh out loud–even if you snort and drool when you laugh
  • Make inappropriate jokes amongst yourselves (don’t let the PC police hear you)
  • Enjoy a great glass of wine now and then
  • Fart and then laugh about it (you can’t help it anyway, so you might as well laugh)
  • Go to a restaurant with friends and joke and cut up as if you have all the time in the world
  • Be genuinely YOU–there is only one of you

The important thing about doing fun things is to do them for your own pleasure–things you genuinely enjoy. When we have sincere, from-the-heart good fun, we are confident in our own skins. We are not doing these things to show off or pretend to be younger than we are–we should be doing the things that make us happy. If sitting on the couch in the sunshine doing a crossword puzzle makes you happy, do it! If you’re in good shape and want to run a 5K race with people half your age, do it. The point of having fun is to have fun. 

We should do these things because we want to, not because we are frightened of getting older and we want to “look young.” We should do the things we love that make us happy. Happy people live good lives and make those around them happy. (And as a plus, being yourself makes you look great.) Here’s a secret to looking and feeling younger–keep looking ahead. Enjoy the journey forward, and don’t fret about the past.

To those who feel that folks our age should dress in drab clothing, do ‘old people things’, smell of Bengay and moth balls and just stay out of sight so that our horrid “oldness” doesn’t louse up the view—tough. Get over yourselves. If you’re lucky enough to live as long as we have, maybe your focus will change. Being older is a whole lot more fun than you think!

(Now, what was that about having loud raucous sex?)

*Now this is not only fun, but important. We don’t want to be like poor old Ellie Mae from The Beverly Hillbillies, who still dressed up in pigtails and short-shorts in her ’80s, poor thing.

 

Hot Flashes

Oh, these hot flashes!

I’d rather have rashes

From the plague bubonic,

Or drink cockroach tonic.

I’m hotter than an oven

Inside a witches’ coven,

My internal temp

Keeps me unkempt,

My face, it is rosy—

And makes others nosy

To ask why I’m so warm,

Even in winter storms.

I’ll answer quite bitchy,

(‘Cause I’m also quite itchy)

That hot flashes are crappy,

And make no one happy:

Just wait til you get them

So you can fret, then–

About it being too hot

In any old spot–

You’ll sweat like a hog

And scratch like a dog–

It won’t be fun–

But that’s age, hon–

So get used to it now,

Steaming and wiping your brow

It’s part of the life dance

So make your peace, pull up your pants,

And let each and every bead of sweat

Remind you: YOU’RE NOT DEAD YET!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Dear Friend

The Crankee Yankee (my husband) and I are sad this morning. Our dear friend, Jeannie, from our model train group, the Bedford Boomers, died early this morning.

Long story short, Jeannie was in Mass General in Boston since January for surgery on her esophagus, which needed massive repair. During her stay, many other things happened, including her having to have a pacemaker. After many ups and downs, she was finally ready to come home to her husband of many years and their two cats. She was due to come home tomorrow.

The fact that she instead went to her final home this morning is small comfort to us who will miss her dearly, and for a long, long time. Jeannie loved angels and I am sure beyond any doubt that she is one herself now.

“*Good-night, sweet prince;/

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

*Spoken by Horatio in Act V, Scene ii of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The Unappreciated Art of Thinking Ahead

Oh, if I had a dime for each roll of toilet paper or paper towel I’ve replaced, I would be filthy rich. (But as it is, I’m just filthy.)

It seems my fate in this life is to be The One who finds one last shred of toilet paper clinging for dear life on the roll (this includes my home, other peoples’ homes, gas stations, restaurants and work places). As I change it, I mutter, ‘am I the only person in the world who knows how to do this?!’

We have a pantry downstairs loaded with canned goods (the oldest toward the front, the newest to the back), pasta, jars of olives and peanut butter, bottles of salad dressings and sauces, jars of spices, flat cans of sardines, extra bags of ground coffee, cat food, and so on. All this is in addition to the extra paper goods, soaps, shampoos, lotions, swabs, cotton balls, cat litter and so on. Before we shop, we take a look down there to make sure we aren’t out of anything. However, having things downstairs doesn’t always mean that they make it upstairs.

In my mind, preparedness is next to Godliness, and thinking ahead is pretty close, too. The following is the internal dialogue that runs in my head constantly:

  • “When you see that there is one last scrape of peanut butter in the jar, go downstairs and get the new jar. Bring it upstairs, unscrew the lid and remove its plastic or paper protective seal, and put it where the old jar was.” (This way, the next person who is desperate for a smear of peanut butter on a cracker doesn’t go postal.)
  • “When you see that the paper towel roll is wearing its last clingy bit of paper towel, change the roll!” (The same applies to toilet paper.)
  • “When you leave an inch of milk in the carton, TELL someone! Otherwise, we will think that there is a full carton of milk in the refrigerator—when there ISN’T.”
  • “When you open the refrigerator and see an unidentified something in a container (which usually means it’s been ignored so long it’s turned dark and nasty and probably full of mold and evil), don’t just push it back behind the ketchup. Sooner or later, you’ll have to deal with it! (Usually meaning me.)”
  • “When there are three lonely little ice cubes rattling around in the ice cube tray (yes, we have the kind of refrigerator that does not make its own), refill them!”

…and so on.

And of course, there are many, many more dialogues in my head. Sometimes they break away from me and come pouring out in whispered hisses of indignation–like when the tea kettle is too full and boiling over. And do I get any points for being prepared and thinking ahead? Of course! It gives me that smug and satisfied feeling that I have indeed done some good in the world–even though it’s only in my own house.

…or the workplace, or the gas station, or the restaurant in which I had lunch, or someone’s house where I had to sneak around like a domestic ninja to find where they kept the spare roll.

 

 

Trolls, Troglodytes, Nematodes and So On

Trolls, *troglodytes, **nematodes, oafs, boors, and dufusses comprise a large section of the population. Why is this important, you ask? Because there are so dang many of them! Let me explain.

We’ve all heard of spectrums regarding such things as autism or genius; the scale can go heavy or light. Well, there is a spectrum of annoying people as well; a sliding scale, if you will. None of them is truly evil or harmful, really–just annoying.

Here is a handy scorecard to keep track of who’s who, placed in order of the ability to annoy, the most annoying first:

Troll: Trolls enjoy making trouble, and are found in online chat rooms, message boards, and all types of social media. The only truly creative thing they do is to make up screen names, such as MajorTroll1, URallstoopid, OhGoStufURself, HaterAde, and so on. They live to stir up trouble, then sit back with a beer and chips to enjoy the ensuing fights. When the fights start to sputter out, the troll goes right back in to stir up the coals.

Troglodyte: Trogs are not as bright as trolls, and not as destructive. They don’t like to venture out beyond their comfort zone, they are suspicious by nature, and they don’t trust anything unfamiliar. They would prefer to live quietly and follow their own routine each day without interruption. They firmly believe that their way of living is the only way, and they resent those who do not agree with them. (Which basically means most of the planet.)

Nematode: Nematodes are small-minded and selfish. They will happily live off others as long as they can get away with it. This includes sleeping on your couch for free as long as they can, sneaking food from your refrigerator during the night, using your expensive shampoo without replacing it, ducking out on paying checks, and they often rifle through your purse for small bills they think you won’t miss.

Oaf: Oafs are a single step above boors. They are nose-picking, knuckle-dragging, slack-jawed folk who are the proverbial bulls in china shops. They step on peoples’ toes, leave a mess wherever they go, they break things, they leave grease and dirt stains on towels, they cut their toenails on your coffee table, and they leave the milk out to sour. Poor things–they just aren’t that smart.

Boor: Boors are a lesser form of your garden variety boob. They interrupt constantly, they demand things be done their way and won’t shut up until they do; they complain, whine and moan about every little thing, and they refuse to use soap or deodorant. (The only good thing about that is that you can smell them before you see them.)

Dufuss: The dufuss is, as they say in the South, just sorry and simple. They can’t do anything right. You can send them off to the store with a $20 bill and a shopping list with four things on it; butter, eggs, bread and coffee, and they’ll mess it up. They’ll have spent the entire $20 on hairspray, bubble gum, the National Enquirer, Cheez Whiz, saltines, marshmallows, a six-pack of Coke, and, for some reason, an entire ham.

I pass this information on because it took me years to figure these types of folk out and I want to save you some time. I mean, it’s not as if these people wear badges explaining who they are–because if they did, you wouldn’t depend on them for anything. You’d know right away that you’d be wasting your breath. It’s sort of like what they say about trying to teach a pig to sing: it does nothing but waste your time and annoy the pig.

*Troglodyte: a person characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes

**Nematodes are the most numerous multicellular animals on earth. Free-living species are abundant, including nematodes that feed on bacteria, fungi, and other nematodes, yet the vast majority of species encountered are poorly understood biologically.

The Fabulous Three

Yesterday I met my two best and oldest friends for lunch. We had not seen each other since November; many life changes happened in that time between then and now. Loved ones died, parents were hospitalized and needed extra help, and there was a major move from an old home into a new one. We are all the same age, and the expected (and unexpected) life changes are coming at us thick and fast for we Fabulous Three.

While we feel the weight of our years and responsibilities, we are still the young and hopeful children we used to be inside. While we no longer ski and skate, or ride down snowy hills in cardboard boxes, play King of the Mountain, or run like the wind, we are still us inside.

Our views on life may differ, we may disagree on politics, we may not care for the same books and TV shows, but we are still friends who have a great deal in common. We have laughed together until we cried, and we have cried together until we could laugh again. The things we unilaterally love are various and wonderful, and we have grown to a mellow age that allows us to overlook our differences. (Small things indeed, compared to a lifetime of friendship!)

But back to yesterday: we celebrated our Christmas together and admired our gifts wholeheartedly. We decided that we are now beyond the laws of everyday folk; we can have our Christmas whenever the hell we want. Likewise for birthdays–we decided that we would throw ourselves a group birthday in June (as none of our real birthdays fall in that month). Why not? After all, we are the Fabulous Three.

Some famous quotes on friendship that I love, and that remind me of The Fabulous Three:

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow T. Wilson

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” — Albert Camus

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ― C.S. Lewis

“Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives.” – Alexander Dumas

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” – William Shakespeare

“Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.” – Oscar Wilde

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” ― Linda Grayson

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” – Elbert Hubbard

“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.” – Octavia Butler

“Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“Friends are the family you choose.” – Jess C. Scott

“Tis the privilege of friendship to talk nonsense, and to have her nonsense respected”. – Charles Lamb

“You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job.” – Laurence J. Peter

“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

“Do not save your loving speeches
For your friends till they are dead;
Do not write them on their tombstones,
Speak them rather now instead.” – Anna Cummins

…….and then one from me:

“The Fabulous Three,

My two friends and me–

We’ve been together,

Through all sorts of weather

We’ve lived far away

Then came home to stay.

Never to part

From the friends of our hearts,

The Fabulous Three,

Shall we always be,

Through thin and through thick,

We each are a brick

In the firm foundation

Of our friendship nation–

How lucky are we,

The Fabulous Three,

To  be friends all these years

Though laughter and tears,

Let the new changes come

Wherever they’re from!

We three will be ready,

To hold on and be steady–

We are friends well-chosen,

And I am supposin’

That’s how it will be

Forever for the Fabulous Three!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, Yoda–There is No Do Without a Try First

Anyone who is or ever has been a Star Wars fan knows Yoda’s stern command to Luke Skywalker: “There is no try; only DO!”

Well, Yoda old buddy, that may work for Jedi knights, but not always for us regular people. Sometimes you have to try before you can do. Say, for example, when my dad taught me how to ride a bike for the first time. He made it look so easy that I didn’t even hear his advice to take it slow–I grabbed the bike, hopped on and promptly fell over. After that, I was much more willing to listen, and try again.

Trying is the first step to doing, Yoda’s advice notwithstanding:

  • If I didn’t try to teach myself guitar and banjo when I was a teen, I wouldn’t be taking ukulele lessons now.
  • If I never tried out for a major part in a play in high school, I would not be the me I am today. Back then, I was headed down the wrong path, and the school plays saved me.
  • If I never married my first husband, I wouldn’t be married to the Crankee Yankee (my current and last and best husband) now.

There’s a story I read a long time ago that got me thinking about trying things out first before doing them.  In the story, a father presented his daughter with a lovely little string of pearls on her tenth birthday. She loved them, and wore them every day. She took good care of them, and each night she put them away carefully in their special silk box.

Two years later when she was about to celebrate her twelfth birthday, her father asked her to give him back the string of pearls. She cried and begged him not to make her give them up; she loved them so. He asked her to think about it, and told her that she would be much happier if she gave him back her treasured pearls.

She thought about it for two days. It hurt her heart, but she knew that her father would never lie or disappoint her. So the next day, holding back her tears, she placed the silk box containing her pearls in her father’s hand.

He smiled at her, and said, “Now I will show you why this will make you happy.” He gave her a small box wrapped in pink paper and tied with a lacy white bow. When she opened the box, there was a beautiful string of luminous white pearls inside, strung with a lovely golden clasp. She gasped, and her father said, “The first string of pearls I gave you was pretty, but they weren’t real pearls. I watched as you took such good care of them and appreciated them. You are now old enough and responsible enough to wear the real thing.”

If we don’t try something first, it’s likely we won’t ever do it. This is what our lives are for: trying and then doing.

We try our best to live well, treat others fairly and kindly, love our families, friends, pets, neighbors, and reach out to the world in our own way. Sometimes in our lives we may be asked to give up something that we care about; only to receive something better. Which we wouldn’t get at all, if not for trying first.

Take that, Yoda!