Good Morning, Hen!
Happy 85! Remember when you were 74 and you were beginning to recognize the benefits and limitations of aging? Remember being home in the Hudson Valley for more than a year during the great pandemic? Remember coming to the conclusion that enough had changed in your life that it was time to make a major shift and sell your house and property and move close enough to the children and grandchildren? I’m betting that now, in retrospect, it was the right move. I’m guessing that not only were you able to spend more time with your family but that you were able to be helpful to them in more ways than you even imagined.
Remember when you were worried that letting go of all those hiking trails and all the physical work that your property required would limit your access to, and motivation for, movement and exercise? Well, I’ll bet you were surprised by how well you adapted. Maybe now that you’re 85 you’re thinking that being a couch potato is not such a bad idea. But up until now, I’m sure you’re still giving those young whippersnappers a run…um, fast walk for their money! Way to go!
And, in the off chance that you’re not as mobile as I thought you’d still be, I know you likely found a way to counter that with lots of other ways to generate good energy, laughter, and happiness.
Remember, 85 is just a number. Perhaps today you’d like to write to your 95 year old self and wonder, on paper, or computer, or whatever new technology that will exist then, what it might be like for him.
P.S. Remember, you’re as young as you’ll ever be and as old as you’ve ever been!
Winter is Coming
Hey old Wal,
Hope you are having a wonderful day… it’s good to be alive and experience the joy of simple pleasures that each day brings. Celebrate, because you have exceeded expectations! Who knew we’d live this long?
For the longest time you and I operated on a plateau of reasonable health and function. This last dozen years have brought accelerating challenges. You have experienced diminishment and loss that causes Current Wal a great deal of anxiety and heartbreak to consider. You have lived through difficult periods in the lives of those who you love so much. And yet you have found the strength in that which remains.
If the flames of youth are gone, well, the glowing coals still provide steady warmth to you and the circle of friends and family that gather close. That’s your mission: bring cheer to those you love – and more! Cherish the love of your life. Heart is more important than brain, but keep that sharp as well! Don’t stand still – keep exploring, keep creating. I know you will.
I am jealous of the interesting new discoveries that you have found – and the knowledge of how our grandkids and kids have developed their life stories. I’ll bet you could share some fine news – so be sure to write back to me!
We’ll never figure out whether this dance of energy, frequency, and matter is transitional or has some timeless component, but act as if we have faith in the outcome. We both know winter is coming — let’s show the world how a good man meets his end of days.
Dear Old Curmudgeon
Henry’s topic gave me pause to contemplate some serious issues. A letter to me 10 years from now left me wondering would there be anyone there to read it! Perhaps “address unknown” or “return to sender“ might apply. Not sure there is a post office in the options available. It made me ponder some scary but rational concepts. How many more Christmas trees do I have left to decorate? How many birthday candles, mine or others, are left to blow out? Will I have the breath to blow them out? Will I be mobile enough to get around? Will my care worker secretly beat me when no one is looking? How many more car registrations can I arrange? How many presidential elections? How many friends are left to talk to and laugh with and cry with? How many dog licks left? Well you get my drift and probably can come up with other significant how many mores! But let’s suppose I make it to my 85th birthday. My letter might be something like this…
Dear You old Curmudgeon, You,
Surprised this letter reached you, huh? You did it, you son of a gun! I know you like to say whatever is on your mind regardless how it may come out!
That glass should be pretty full by now though for most of your life you saw a lot of glass cause it protected you from disappointment! Political correctness is old news now. You’ve got the scars that allow you to speak whatever is on your mind! I bet secretly, you are thanking whatever force has helped you through the last ten years. And look, you are still upright, your license has not expired and I think I saw you doing the lindy with the bathroom door knob as your partner! Ok, yes I have been known to do the lindy with various doors when the oldies play.
I hear your prayers at night and the appreciation comes through loud are clear. Your appreciation of two careers that you loved, the love of your kids that you experienced, and the world you created with you, your friends and loved ones shared is quite admirable! It is ok to feel proud of what you accomplished. Former students acknowledged your impact on their lives. Your humor made people laugh, your sensitivity and empathy for others less fortunate than you have been comfort to others. And remember all that silly stuff you used to worry about- what a waste of time and effort that all was but in retrospect, maybe that was what made you the compassionate, caring person you became. You love yourself now, don’t you, you old softee? You finally got it! The world, or at least the part that you occupied over the years, is a better place because you were in it! You didn’t hear your friends when they told you that but now, at 85 you can take it in and acknowledge it. Hey, I love you.