Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses is the name of a hard rock band from L.A, which was formed in 1985.  Their name seemed the only appropriate title for this post. I remember these guns firing:  President Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, feeling sick watching the news about Columbine, and I remember being unable to grasp that 20 first graders were shot dead in school, and John Lennon had been shot and killed, leaving my generation to grieve his loss and…. The list is so long I can’t even remember all the mass shootings which have occurred in my lifetime, or even this year. They have increased exponentially over my lifetime. I did not have active shooter drills in elementary or high school. We did practice for nuclear attacks by hiding under our desks, but at least the enemy was unseen and we didn’t have to watch our classmates bleed to death. It is now realistic for children to be afraid of being shot to death in school and to be taught how to “protect” themselves from another child or young person with a gun. Now I even need to worry about how safe my son is because he teaches high school. 

Trying to explain the increase in mass shootings without talking about how many guns are sold in this country, a 40% increase from last year, and how rabid the support for the second amendment is, is ignoring reality.   A  U.S. Congressman’s 2021 Christmas card photo is the members of his family all smiling and holding guns, several were automatic rifles like AR-15. To top it off they were asking Santa for ammo. This came a few days after a 15 year old shot and killed four of his classmates with the gun his parents said was his Christmas gift. Some gun owners have crossed the line into the twisted, absurd world of gun worship. I  thought the Christmas card was a SNL skit, but unfortunately not. Soon, I’m sure there will be wedding photos and baby announcements featuring guns. Maybe bridal registries will list ammunition for an AR-15. Bullets for Brides has a nice ring to it!

My father and my brothers were not hunters. In high school I came home from the Oscar-winning movie, “The Deer Hunter”,  profoundly moved.  I believed  the “deer” was spared because it stood for the good in humankind. I truly do not understand the fascination with guns. Guns, and flagrantly displaying your guns may be legal, but am I missing something? Is it he who has the most guns wins?  How much “protection” do we need? I am very frightened by the gun toting people I see in public and feel like the real purpose is to instill fear in those who  are witnesses. When a gun is introduced into any interaction, immediately it becomes the arbiter of inequality. I have the gun so your “ideas” don’t matter, and as we all know you can’t argue with a gun. 

How is it the rest of the world does not suffer from the mass shootings that happen in America? Canadians hunt and get mad at each other, but they are not shooting each other in schools and on the streets. Canadians own about 30 million guns while the US has over 310 million. Canada has much stricter gun control laws than the US. These two factors: the huge number of guns in this country and very lax gun control laws obviously contribute to the high number of mass shootings in the U.S. My theory is the fundamental difference is the gun culture that exists in the U.S., and not in Canada or the rest of the developed world. If it is cool for Mommy and Daddy and Billy and Susie to smile and showcase the guns they are holding on their Christmas cards, what are we communicating? Americans seem to have a set of assumptions and demands about gun rights, but pay little attention to the responsibilities of gun ownership.

Scissors, paper, or rock. Or guns, scissors, paper, or rock?  Or guns, guns, or guns? Sadly, school shootings and gun deaths are rampant. I don’t want to see any more roses thrown on the caskets of our children as they are lowered into the ground.

Justice for All

Lately the  most watched shows on T.V.  have been very controversial jury trials. By virtue of television cameras in the courtroom we were able to watch most of the Derek Chauvin trial, the Rittenhouse trial and the Ahmad Arbery murder trial. We were able to see and hear the lawyers, the judges and the defendants. Whether you agree or disagree with the verdicts, the trials have been a close up look at our justice system. The “truth” is presented to the jury, by the lawyers for both sides, and hopefully the end result is accountability and justice for all. 

In our daily lives, outside of a courtroom, how is justice rendered? It isn’t!  People get by with horrible behaviors all the time and escape any consequences for their behaviors. It’s a difficult truth to accept: life is not fair. Good guys don’t always win, and the truth isn’t always heard. Many rapes are never reported. Money can buy a lot of influence. Reputations can be ruined by  gossip that is untrue. In order for justice to exist, people must be just. So I’m going to start with a definition -just: treating people in a way that is considered morally right. Oh sh*t, we’re all in trouble aren’t we? How do we figure out what is morally right, who gets to make the final decision, does “might” make right? What if you don’t get caught? I desperately want the world to be just, but I have come to accept that justice is not common, and certainly beyond my ability to make happen.

We search for a way to believe that though justice may not be evident or swift, it still happens. We say things like “You reap what you sow.” or “What goes around, comes around.”. We talk about karma:  “the force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person.” I think of good karma as being earned by a person’s moral behaviors, such as doing the right thing, even if doing wrong or getting even is much more appealing. Similarly bad karma is earned by a person’s bad behaviors, even if they are not held accountable or suffer immediate consequences. In my own case, the concept of karma is motivation for me to do the right thing, and a warning to me about the long term consequences of my immoral behaviors. I may not get to bang the gavel or tip the scales for  justice, or even see justice in my lifetime, but if karma is real I can believe justice exists across time and place.  What pisses me off is that justice is not my job, but being “just” is.In spite of my desire to mete out justice to those who have harmed me or others, I am not being “just” if I respond out of the space of getting even or revenge. “

“An eye for an eye…”is not justice, but what is “Turn the other cheek”? I’m just not sure what to do with my feelings of “It’s just not fair.” or “How can they get away with that?” Several years ago I found some behaviors by members on the board of my HOA as being particularly egregious. I tried and tried to stop the behaviors, and I admit not always in a just manner. I was sick about my helplessness, and had tried bringing in as many other agencies to help as I thought of. I didn’t know what to do with my rage. It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right and I was sick about it. And then, by chance, I encountered a Fort Collins City Council member who I asked for help. The next day the City acted and the HOA board was forced to rectify the horrible situation. I doubt the board members felt like they were brought to justice. They had no idea how much I had suffered and I don’t think they would have cared. An unjust situation was righted and I set the process in motion. I felt good about that. Today, several years later, just thinking about this time puts knots in my stomach. The rage can still leak out. I’m ashamed to admit that I still want the individuals to suffer, to pay for what they did. Bad Karma for them and for me.


“Why is he not answering my text? I sent it a few hours ago. He doesn’t pay attention to me.” I double check my message threads and discover I never sent the message! Silly me. Notice how quickly I jump to negative assumptions? Where is Roscoe? I call for him and eventually start panicking when he doesn’t appear. Did I forget to let him in? He’s not outside. And then I remember I got something out of my second bedroom, and I check and open the door and he trots out like”What took you so long?”  I don’t know, I think why didn’t I notice he came in the room? Simple innocuous explanations for situations that gave me the run around, with frustration and anxiety as the result. I make mistakes and over react. I’m not superior. I’m solidly a member of the masses of people who make mistakes. I’m right in the trenches with the rest of humanity. I think its time for me to get humble.

I really don’t like to admit that I don’t know the answer, or to be embarrassed by my “duh” behaviors. After all I am a smarty-pants and know everything“. Perhaps I’m even infallible! Well, obviously not infallible! I’ve never had a stellar positive body image, but believe me, you can call me fat and I certainly won’t be happy, but call me stupid and I will be enraged. What’s the big deal? To tell the truth I’m not entirely sure, but I have some ideas. In my early school years I was fearful and quiet,  but I did get positive attention from my teachers for reading quickly and “knowing the answer”. My hand would fly up and I would be thinking “Pick me , pick me!” I knew the answer 99% of the time and my self esteem was soon tied to having correct answers and understanding. I never wanted to feel like I didn’t know what to do. I was lost in a sea of siblings, with parents too busy to always pay attention to me. I felt like it was up to me to take care of myself, and that meant I needed lots of brain power. Today, I feel sad for that little girl who grabbed at whatever could help her feel more secure.

My experiences in childhood prepared me to value “readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic”. Being a good student was not a bad outcome, but unfortunately “book learnin’” was not the only kind of smarts I needed to be a successful adult. I found out that I couldn’t think my way out of many situations. My emotional intelligence report card was dotted with “F’s”. I actually thought that “dumbing” myself down was a viable way to get whatever outcome I wanted,  even if I knew that what I wanted was harmful to me. Many times I knew better, but my warped emotions and emotional reasoning created enough denial to over-rule myself. I allowed myself to feel some superiority because like Yogi, I knew I was “smarter than the average bear.” A lot of good that did me…

So here I am, an older woman, and I’m no longer trying to use my intelligence as currency. My intelligence is a gift, nurtured by my diligence for lifelong learning. I’m more emotionally intelligent now and I know there is heart smart and brain smart. Finally, I have learned that humility is the best antidote to any arrogance I feel intellectually and emotionally. 

Play Nice With The Other Kids

For years, when I headed out the door to go to work, Roger would call down the stairs “Play nice with the other kids.” Depending on my mood I chuckled or grumbled.  Of course, adults have learned to play well with others. Right? Wrong! The level of the “playing” field in Congress is very much the opposite of nice. It is an arena where cruelty, and threatening behavior is common place. The message is “Be afraid, be very afraid.”  Security for Democratic Congressmen has increased exponentially, and threats against them, election officials , health care professionals, and even school board members have also increased exponentially.  Playground bullies got nothin’ on Congress. Washing their months out with soap is a risky proposition when some members of Congress can barely part with their guns on the floor of Congress.   “Who me? Can’t you take a joke?”—joking or hiding behind the silent wall of your buddies, even if they are Congressman, does not negate how the threat landed.

Paul Gosar, a Republican congressman, posted an anime video of him killing Democratic congressman, Alexandra Occasio Cortez, and attacking President Biden. He was censured by the House, but right after the censure Gosar reposted the video. I guess he got away with a slap on the wrist and thumbed his nose at the censure. Unfortunately, I am sure there will be more physical violence and people will die.  In high school, his nickname was The Weasel. Paul Gosar’s brothers and sister recently wrote an opinion piece warning  how “ridiculously unfit” their brother is to be a U.S. Congressman. It would be a good bet that he did not get their vote. They write that Gosar is a bigot, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and associates himself with White Nationalists, none are endearing qualities.  They believe Gosar was also instrumental in inciting the violence on January 6. It appears the Weasel is still living up to his nickname. Perhaps his siblings should have been listened to before he was elected.

Consider this, if your group of friends all swear like a drunken sailor, eventually swearing will seem very normal. We all get desensitized to what we see day after day. With frequent exposure to other’s  behaviors we develop a new normal that fits our new reality. We get used to it. We may think that our families do things the right way, after all it’s what we’ve seen and experienced for years. I’m afraid we will get used to violent rhetoric and threatening behaviors; i.e.that’s how Congress always behaves.  How low can we go before the brakes are applied?  Is it all harmless? Is it true that “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” What if the “sticks and stones” are assault rifles? There is no debating with a gun. Social media speeds up the spreading of lies and personal attacks, and words do hurt ourselves and others. How many times can we see the dysfunction and violence in Congress before we get numb to it? I don’t want to find out.

Pandemic Proofs

A drumroll please! I put my sweatshirt on this morning and reached back to pull my hair out of my collar and it hit me like a lightning bolt—my hair is long enough, to do that thing that women with long hair do, to get their hair unstuck from their collars!  So what?  You may be wondering if I’m a “Hair” fan or have a Samson complex, but no and no. I’m just a Covid survivor who decided to let my hair grow during the pandemic time out. I’ve had one haircut in almost two years, and my compulsion to try a million different styles and haircuts has been stymied. My hair is longer than it’s ever been and I like it, even if it took me 69 years to grow it out. So what’s the takeaway? It’s my realization that “Better late than never.” is really true.  I’ll take my truisms however and wherever  they come.

A drumroll please! I’m never going to get that “bad boy” tamed and to fall in love with me. AND I’m never going to completely give up that fantasy. Yes Bobby is now 70, with those same bedroom eyes, and looking like he’s still 25, and he’s given up all of his bad habits, like doing drugs, and professes deep love for me. It’s never going to happen! I can entertain my fantasy and still know when it’s time to shelve the fantasy. Yes, I know I’m older now,  but I spent a lot of time during Covid watching movies about young love that ended well. The girl and the guy got together. They are forever stuck in time, but I got older and experIenced the good and the bad of “mature” love. Now I am online and hoping for one more love relationship for myself,  and trying to stay away from the “bad(old) boys”. “ Can’t you hear Roy Orbison crooning “Only the Covid Lonely”?

A drumroll please!  Amazon not withstanding, I’ve finally figured out that almost all my “needs” are really just “wants”. Ordering groceries, toiletries and cleaning supplies on-line eliminated strolling through the grocery store, seeing things that I needed to have that were not on my list. Out of sight, out of mind. During Covid, it was such a complicated process to grocery shop on line that I got into the habit of repeating my previous order and adding just a few things that were different for that week. It didn’t matter that I narrowed my choices.  I still found what I needed and didn’t miss what I didn’t see. I had many clothes that were not worn for over a year. I walked a lot, so sweats and running shoes were my wardrobe staples, and I still had way more of those than I needed. It was freeing not to be led around by my nose seeking all those things I just had to have. I became a Covid consumer and I want to remain a Covid consumer after, hopefully, Covid is gone.

A drumroll please!  Navigating social distancing, masking rules and living in fear from an invisible and potentially deadly enemy is incredibly isolating.  After well over a year of living with Covid, I’m convinced it’s true, “No man is an island.” Relationships with family and friends are essential to my well-being and I need physical contact. “We are Family.” and “I Get by With a Little help from My Friends.” are my new theme songs. Loneliness was the other pandemic during Covid, potentially as deadly as the virus. I am sure we need each other to help us remember what it means to be human and to be humane. We don’t need more things, we need love. Those of us who are lucky enough to have indoor pets have been able to feel and pet warm bodies, and I prefer my  doggies to some humans I know. So hats off to our 4 legged pandemic pets.

If we have learned what our values are, and renewed our commitment to live a more loving and kind existence, we can honor what will be close to 1 million fellow Americans who have lost their lives during this horrible and humbling pandemic. 

That’s Funny

Sometimes it really is true that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I just accidentally sent a “super like” to a rather suspect 80 year old guy on Match, who may have said he was looking for hook-ups!!  But what’s really funny is he will go “view” me and decide I’m not even hook-up worthy…  That’s the update on my on-line dating experiment or fiasco, which ever you want to call it. Most of the “likes” I’ve gotten have been from guys who live on Mars or didn’t post a photo. How do you meet for coffee when the guy is from Canada, California or Mars? And of course, without a photo to look at, it’s quite like a shot in the dark. Is he 18 or 100,  or white, black or, god forbid, orange? Maybe he has a swatzicka tattooed on his cheek. Or is he selfie challenged? With all of this consternation, why am I still on the dating site? Good question.

 I never want to say “My late husband Roger.”  Roger is not late, he’s a permanent no show. He died six years ago. Anyway Roger was a master storyteller and pretty good at remembering jokes and not screwing up the punch line. Most people that knew him would agree that he was a very funny guy. I, however, can’t tell a joke to save my ass and my storytelling wanders and meanders, and the thought train goes off the track, and I forget important details, and you can’t follow me and…. See what I mean? Molly did a handstand the other day so she could pee right where Roscoe peed. This made me laugh when I saw it, but I doubt most people would think it very funny. Roger told the story of the night his parents went out and he and his brother ground up all the onions in his Mom’s garden, and how eyes watered and the smell didn’t go away for weeks. I always thought that was a funny story. All I know is that Roger made me laugh and he could even get me to laugh at myself.  So I try to carry on his irreverent attitude and cast my online dating experiences in a humorous light, a la Roger.

Is it my profile photos that deter men from contacting me? Would a young Barbra Streisand have gotten lots of “likes” on Match, or would her snoz have been a turn off for most guys. I think Robert Redford would have gotten more “likes” on Match than Paul Newman, and I am also sure that every “like” Paul Newman got would have mentioned his beautiful blue eyes. There may be a formula for success for on-line dating, but nobody is willing to give me the recipe for the secret sauce. I suppose saying “Please, please  give me a chance.” sounds too desperate, and “Who cares?” a bit too aloof.  “Just be yourself.”, is the most frequent advice I get from friends, but which self are they talking about? I’m not a chameleon and have a pretty solid sense of who I am, but different people bring out different parts of my personality and appeal to my different interests. One thing I know for sure is that Roger, were he in my circumstances, would have had people laughing hysterically at his online dating stories. Roger was always good at saying out-loud what people were thinking. He got away with a lot because he was so darn cute. I’m not cute, I’m …what?

I work out a lot of things by writing about it, so that is what I am doing. Unfortunately, this means my readers may be covering their eyes and saying “T.M.I, T.M.I.” This whole experience  is really funny to me because I choose to laugh rather than cry, I hope the same for you dear reader.

It’s My Party

It’s my party because today is my birthday. I am 6-6-6-6-6-9-9-9.  Am I experiencing  diminishing returns with each passing year or am I finding adequate supplies of joy, contentment, enthusiasm and gratitude to meet my demands? I think it’s the later. My body announces, sometimes loudly, that I am aging, but I feel ageless in many ways. Of course, on a micro level, each day presents a wide range of  experiences which affect me physically and emotionally. My emotional well-being can be tied to my physical well-being. It’s hard for me to be joyful when I don’t feel well. I just went thru a brutal prep for a colonoscopy and the best I could do was hang on and keep reminding myself that I would be better soon. And I am better and actually feeling some pride in not falling apart. My body and soul felt great after my morning jog today so sometimes the physical and emotional paths are the same.

A couple of friends have asked me if I am having a hard time with turning 69 and if I am reflecting on getting older. Yes and no. I am 69 and I am getting older and that’s a fact. My husband and sister died years before they reached 69, so I am grateful to just be here and I hope I have made good use of the additional years I have been given. I feel some responsibility to learn and grow because I loved them, and they are part of who I am because they loved me. So it’s not so much that I am 69, but what I’ve  done with those years.  Actually I’d like to think more about who I want to BE, rather than solely about what I have done. I can do the life checklist and check off my accomplishments, or I can stop measuring and keeping track. If I believe that I am enough just as I am, I can take the energy that I would expend on proving myself and use that energy to be of service.  

It’s not all about me anymore, my self-help library is looking pretty sparse. It sounds pretty lofty of me to think I have contributions to make that could help others, but I find I’m directing more of my energy towards that goal. I’m studying and writing about climate change, racism, and social issues. My world is not just my house or back yard, or my next door neighbors, my attention is broader. I just recently retired from leading caregiver support groups and I am looking at some new ways I might contribute. I’m joining the League of Women Voters and offering my research and writing skills. For many years I have had a little sign by my front door or by my desk that reads “I make a difference in this world.” That is my goal: to make a positive difference in this world.

Trying It On

“Does my butt look big in these pants?” You guys out there know this is a loaded question, and your best response is always, “You look great in those pants.” But girlfriends know that this question can be answered by hedging a bit, “I don’t think your butt looks big, but why don’t you try on the blue pants and see how those look.” I’m sure that men do not ask this question because their man-butt is perfect no matter it’s size, but that said, I’m going down a different road today. You may like a dress on the hanger, but you have to try it on to see if it fits and if you really like the dress on your body. As I have aged I have shed several wardrobes that didn’t fit anymore, I grew out of them. I guess you could say my butt got too big!  Or my butt shrank!  What I’m really asking here is “Did my outsides match my insides?”

I’ve dressed to camoflauge my body and dressed to flaunt my body. What’s funny is whether I was hiding or flaunting myself, inside I felt the same. I was defective, unworthy, ugly and ashamed. I wore a long jacket to cover my belly and butt and a midriff blouse to show off my belly and butt, and in both cases I was just a mannequin. No matter how much skin I showed, I never showed my real self to anyone. Mannequins can be positioned in different poses, and I let myself be manipulated by others. Going from fat to normal really messed with my head, it seemed I was a different person whether I was in a fat body or a thin body. My wardrobe changed when I got thin, but my clothes didn’t fit my self concept. I didn’t get to try on skinny clothes until I got skinny and I had to adjust my mental picture of myself at the same time. As a teenager and young woman I battled with my body and used clothes to help me fight my battles, but I never won. Sadly I lost it, but I did feel pretty tough in my wonderful aged jean jacket though!

I wore a cream colored  linen like skirt and top when I married my first husband. I remember looking in the mirror thinking about how many wrinkles I had, I was 30. And then, about a year later, I had to leave my pants un-snapped and transitioned to looser tops…I was pregnant!  Soon my waistline disappeared and my wardrobe was maternity clothes. I never really showed off my growing belly and I wish I would have, it was the best “wardrobe” I ever had. This was the first time in my life I loved my body. I wore my plaid, flannel, maternity top and my black maternity pants to the hospital, and wore the same outfit home. Of course I came home with my son,Tyler, whom I love with my whole heart. My baby weight came off slowly, but then the  divorce stress diet took care of that and more. For quite a few years the clothes I worried about most were the clothes I dressed Tyler in. 

When  I married Roger, I wore kind-of a crushed velvet, blue pant suit, which was a  little too formal for all the very early morning walks we took for years. I rolled out of bed and rifled through the pile of T-shirts on the dryer, and depending on the time of year, I found some shorts or sweatpants. I had tons of sweatshirts and tons of socks, and eventually I got some long-johns to prevent the hives I got on my skin from the very cold air. In the early morning, I felt at ease in my casual clothes and didn’t worry about what I looked like. When I wore a hat I never worried about hat-head, a very freeing experience for me.  Being with Roger and experiencing the morning was the point. I was not the clothes I wore, I simply wore the clothes.

Here I am in 2021. Roger is now gone, but walking is a way of life for me. My walking shoes are the most important part of my wardrobe, and there are many more shoes because I am a shoe addict! I plan walk&talks for socializing.  I’m retired and pretty casual, but I am more willing to take fashion risks. I don’t think much about dressing my age, but I do try to focus on my excellent parts and minimize my not so excellent parts. Spider veins are interesting but they are not tattoos.  I’m not dressing to hide myself or to impress anyone. I’m finally dressing for me.

Lies, Superstitions, and Old Wives’ Tales

How can Donald Trump run for President in 2024 if the “Big Lie”, which is that he is still president because the election was stolen from him, is true? Isn’t he admitting he lost the 2020 election? We hear lots about this “Big Lie” but there are many others. The theory seems to be that which is repeated often enough must be true. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, which I am sure is a fun place to work, says that every Friday the 13th is hard on business, with estimates of losses to the tune of $800 million to $900 million. Some people are too superstitious to go out to take care of business or to go shopping. And yet, there is no real evidence that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day, but this old wives’ tale has proven to be very prolific.

An old wives’ tale is a “supposed truth which is actually spurious or a superstition.”  Spurious means that the “truth” is based on bad reasoning or false ideas. “Follow the science” is a current refrain, but old wives’ tales are not based on logical thinking or science. They are superstitions that help us feel safer, healthier or happier, which we all want. After all, I’m not going to pull out that single gray hair because 2 more will grow in its place! Now almost all pregnant women find out the sex of their baby before they are too far along, but prior to ultrasound how did women deal with the question? They tied their wedding ring on a string and hung it over their pregnant belly, if it swung in a circle it’s a girl and if it swung back and forth it’s a boy. If the ultrasound showed your baby was a girl but the “swing” test showed your baby was a boy, which would you believe? If Facebook says the Covid vaccine will implant a microchip in you, but medical professionals say this is not true, who will you believe?  Conspiracy theories are based on false ideas, and we know how prolific conspiracy theories are.  If your family, friends, culture, and your news sources all agree on what is true, you are likely to accept their truths as your own, even if their “truth” is a lie.

I know I heard, and I’m sure many of you did too, “Don’t sit too close to the T.V. you’ll go blind.” Not true!   But sitting too close to the T.V. in the 1960’s ,when G.E. produced a color T.V. that emitted 100,000 times the amount of radiation than was considered safe, was not a good idea. The t.v.s were immediately recalled. So a kernel of truth for a very brief period of time, and the old wives tale lives on. What used to be true, might no longer be true. There may be new information which supersedes old beliefs. Keep an open mind we’re told, but certainity is much more comfortable than anxious uncertainty. When doing “A” always leads to “B” we know what to expect so our anxiety is lessened.

And while you are reading this, stop cracking your knuckles or you’ll get arthritis. Seems to make sense, almost sounds like medical advice, but scientists and doctors have not been able to link cracking your knuckles to arthritis. Nor is there medical evidence to suggest that if you cross your eyes too long they will stay that way. And speaking of eyesight, eating a ton of carrots will not guarantee good eyesight. As a child some of these old wives’ tales kept me in line and also eating lots of carrots. I have worn glasses since my late 30’s anyway. What about vaccines for Covid and all sorts of diseases? Do they cause sterility or autism?

We all want to know how to ward off evil spirits or the devil, don’t we? Throw some salt over your left shoulder where the devil is and you will blind him and be safe. I suppose angels must be on your right side, so should you throw sugar over your right shoulder? I am convinced that bad things come in threes, but of course if you look for it you can make anything look like one of the three. I still find myself thinking and saying this, but of course it’s just a silly superstition. Meanwhile I walk with my head down hoping to spot that lucky penny.

The Information Age with internet, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Google means we are bombarded everyday with information that may or may not be true. Old wives’ tales and superstitions are unlikely to be dangerous misinformation, but what about the “Big Lie” and the January 6 picnic at the capital?


I’m kind of old, but not really. You could say I’m “oldish”.  Around the edges, a hint of old. I’m young-old. People might refer to me as an older lady, but not as an old lady. Since we humans are living longer, we can be located on an age continuum that is growing longer each decade. So how old is 68? I think 68 is “oldish.”  So lets call it “50 Shades of Age” for fun!

Why does it matter how “oldish” I am?  I doubt it matters much at all to most people because they see what they have learned to see. Our mind wants to label things, to categorize things and understand the rules, because then we have the world out there figured out. It is likely that what I see and hear from others about “old” is the way I will see “old”. Unless I think critically  about what old means to me, I’ll just go along with the status quo. I will not be a pioneer or a catalyst for changing the stereotypes of aging. That’s a whole other subject, but for now I’m curious about how I am changing to meet the challenges of being “oldish”.

Is my head in the sand or am I looking directly at the wrinkles on my face and the wrinkles in my life? I have lived in my body for almost 69 years and I know I’m not nearly as flexible as I once was. If I have to squat to reach something, I will not spring back up. At the same time I know I am more flexible in my approach, decisions and planning. Experience has taught me that few things are actually an emergency, and being inflexible means I may break into pieces. Square pegs do not fit in round holes no matter how much we may force it. I’m not likely to try and swim upstream and insist the world do my bidding. By electing to respond to challenging situations with changed attitudes and a willingness to look at different responses, I’m more flexible.

My reflexes and reaction time are slower. I may not be able to grab something in a millisecond to stop it from falling. My reaction time when I am driving is slower. Though I am older and slower I have found ways to respond in a timely matter, just in time, to what life sends my way. My car GPS helps me to keep on track and to think ahead, just as my inner navigator keeps me going in the direction I have decided is best for me. I practice my emotional skills and think ahead about where I want to be. Certainly things have happened and will continue to happen that catch me by surprise, but I am confident that I will be resilient and respond rather than react.  I may be slower, but I’m smarter. 

I hate to admit it, but I do have more aches and pains now. Just ask me and I will tell you!  I’m not a well-oiled machine, some parts of me are pretty rusty and they do hurt at times. Sometimes I can compensate for this by using supports like braces, splints and walking boots, and sometimes rest is the only way to heal myself. Not so good on “rest” yet, but gaining more patience and acceptance that  self-care sometimes requires that I stop and rest. Rather than focus on those things that I can no longer do, I choose to focus on what I can do. Maximizing my strengths can compensate for some of my weaknesses . Parts of me are still excellent!

So yes, I think I am “oldish”. Don’t worry I’m not going to write a trilogy of “50 Shades of Age”!

I’m too tired.