Tag Archives: Joy

The Word “No”

photo (32)Reading Anne Lamott this morning, one of my favorite writers, I came across something that connected deeply with me: ‘“. . . the word “No” is a complete sentence.”’ (AARP Dec/Jan)

I was going to glance through the magazine and then file it away in the trash can, but as I flipped through its pages I kept tearing some out, to keep, to read later, which I sometimes end up never doing or doing it months later. But her words immediately drew me in.

The gist of what she was saying is that with age comes the power to say “No.” You learn to value yourself and more importantly, your time as well as your capabilities.

When I was younger and torn in different directions, I found myself unable to say no to the extra shift, to the extra committee, to the management position, to driving a gaggle of kids to the mall, to the theater, or to having my house become grand central. There was always some new kid hanging around.

I longed for the days of an empty nest, of retiring, of spending my time reading, writing, or doing nothing at all. Back then it seemed those longed-for days would never arrive, but now those days are here and thanks to RA, I have learned how to say no.

No to the request for a quilt for the Christmas Tai Chi raffle. If there’s anything I love more than quilting it’s giving them away. But I was recovering from an illness and dealing with the stress of the holidays. It had to be no.

No to the short-notice invite from my son to take me to brunch. It was Sunday morning; my husband was out on his road bike. I was cozy in bed reading and tired from a night out. As much as I love spending time with my children, I knew I needed to recoup. It had to be no.

No to housework duties when I feel a flare coming on. This one I especially feel no guilt for. What is that saying, a woman’s work is never done? It sure feels like it and I’ve done enough of it. Now I have to take care of me and enjoy life. So when that feeling hails, I answer by battening down the hatches. I stop. And say no.

Conversely, I have learned how to say yes. Yes to my family taking over some duties for a bit. Yes to my daughter making dinner not quite my way. Yes to my husband vacuuming not quite the way I’d like. Yes to the coffee and bagel that pops up at my bedside the mornings I don’t feel so hot.

And yes to the things I really want to do. Like agreeing to accompany my husband on a business trip and extending it so that we can visit St. Augustine, Florida. I’ve wanted to go there for years, to experience the history of it. He tells me he’s made it his goal to fulfill my bucket list regarding travel, and so we leave in a few hours. It should be crisp and cool and beautiful.

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Is Age Just a Number?

I came across this tidbit about aging in my reading travels:

Alice Roosevelt Longworth, for example, the only daughter of President Teddy Roosevelt, summed it up this way: “First you’re young. Then you’re middle aged. Then you’re wonderful.”

After doing a little research as to what actually constitutes middle age, it appears I am approaching that kind of “wonderful.”

But how can that be when I feel pretty wonderful already?

Reading this month’s Arthritis Today magazine, I am reminded that there are those who suffer so much more with RA than I’ve had to. Even at my worst, I wasn’t as bad as some. I feel for those who have had to deal with joint replacement(s) because of this scourge of a disease.

For one thing, all that it involves, the medical intrusions and interventions. Though I spent the better part of my life in Nursing, I’m still a weenie when it comes to needles, and I’m even more of a coward when it comes to scalpels. I cannot for the life of me understand how all these movie star people submit themselves to voluntary reconstruction, sometimes for the worst.

There’s pain, people!

I guess I don’t have that vanity gene in sufficient abundance. I prefer to age naturally, staying as far away from sharp, pointy objects as possible. At my last rheumy visit I had to have a talk with the insurance person. They were charging me incredible co-pays with my new insurance. “We have to submit the largest fee to the insurance,” she said. “In case the doctor has to do certain procedures.”

I wanted to say, “But all we do is talk, and then we fiddle with my meds. There’s no needles!” But I didn’t because I’m a little superstitious. I left it there. And wouldn’t you know it, a few weeks later I received a refund check.

But anyhow, just because I want to age gracefully doesn’t mean I want to look gracefully old. I still want to look good. And more importantly, I want to feel good.

The way I feel now, physically and mentally, does not jibe with my chronological age. I regressed some time ago. I woke up and said, hey, I’ve missed too many years spending time with my uninvited, unwanted, unbidden companion (RA). I decided I wanted those years back and I went after them with a vengeance.

I guess you could say I was Alice’s kind of “wonderful” ten years ago. Was, past tense.

In writing, the use of “was” is considered passive voice, which is sluggish and uses too many words. Make your writing crisp and tight, they say, write in active voice. I say: Better yet, live in active voice.

 

The Adventures of Carmen

My firstborn gave me a gift last October. Well, he and his wonderful wife. A most precious gift. Carmen joined our family and took up permanent residence in my heart. There is no greater joy, no medicine more effective than my two precious granddaughters. Their pictures surround me as I work. Thoughts of them buoy me throughout the day.  Here’s the other love of my life.

Baby granddaughter

Hello, World. My name is Carmen. My arrival beat Abuela’s by four days! (She’s Na to my cousin Alyssa)

Going home!

Going home!

Here I am at seven days old.

Here I am at seven days old. I was such a good girl on my first professional photo shoot.

Baby pictures

You know I like to float in my own universe.

Baby picture

Who put this huge bow on my head? This is carrying the gift metaphor a little too far!

Christmas

OK, who’s this red-suited guy and what does he want with me?

baby picture

My abuela made this cozy blanket for my daddy, but I think I’m keeping it.

baby picture

You said dinner was going to take how long?

Curious George

Who is this guy now, and how did he get into my room?

baby picture

Hey, World, I think I like it here!

I love you, Carmen!