Aging gracefully: contentment is not easy.
It’s easy to get a little cranky these days. Sudden irritability creeps in at any point and takes over before you realize what’s going on.
For a moment, I thought the world was conspiring to annoy me. It was the costly disposal that broke the deadlock in the middle of canned pickles. It was the proliferation of weeds EVERYWHERE from the rain, which I knew we needed, but not so much. Oh yes, and the printer. When he stopped printing and said, “You may or may not be out of ink,” it was the last straw. I unplugged it, out of my sight I went to the local stationery store where I bought another one that, due to its obsolescence, made me buy the talker in the first place. If anyone wants to have a long, pointless conversation with a printer, there’s one in my garbage room just waiting.
With irritability comes worry… deadlines, those I love, health, time and absences; know if I’m right when I feel so strong about things that others don’t have, am I doing all I can to remedy the situation, to achieve my goals and responsibilities… J ‘wish I could have that, I wish I could go, could I ever….
Marigolds grow even faster than weeds. How are we going to get rid of the stump on the patio that houses a yellow vest mansion that stung us all, including the dog, when we tried to move him last week. I’m a leading worry that can take the fun out of my life in two seconds flat, even when it comes to how to stop idiots from killing elephants and what if forest fires in California never stop.
My terrace is my haven of peace (hence the need to get rid of the yellow vests). This is the first place I go in the morning and the last in the evening. I do this often, even in winter, bundled up in thick clothes and blankets, seeking the peace I know is there. In the early hours, I sip my cup of decaffeinated tea, which by the way does nothing at all to wake you up, but tastes like it would, and I watch the sun come up. Two does and four fawns are the first to come out of the small woods, walking through the neighborhood gardens, then the buzzards start flapping their wings until they are all awake and in a big cloud can make their way out of the trees and in the strong currents of the day. The birds come to life with the buzzing bumblebees and visit the feeder. Right now, the Cardinals and Crows line their babies up on the fence and teach them to fly, keeping a close eye on the resident cat. They are all called, their distinctive cries. The world looks bright and shiny before reality creeps in.
In the evening, everything goes the other way. Fireflies start to rise, deer bring babies back to the woods, buzzards come in to roost, songbirds go from tweeting to twittering, and everything seems sweet.
This week I experienced something that I hardly recognize. Watching the primroses bloom and hearing the gentle evening sounds, I realized that I had gone to a meeting where I expected to be treated like a stranger, but I was welcomed, I saw dear friends that I hadn’t seen in a year, at a surprise party, had taken care of a good deal of the weeds, had a new layout that could crush rock if needed, and from a printer that didn’t engage me in dialogue, and best of all, if all goes well, my blue merle collie puppy could be born this week. I felt comfort, ease and happiness. I loved where I was, I was grateful for what I had and felt the peace I was looking for. It was contentment.
Contentment does not come easily, but it does come if you allow it. It’s a wonderful feeling not to want, worry, or wish, just to accept. I think I will try it more often.
(Editor’s Note: If you know of a senior who is unique and deserves a story, please email Lee Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include their contact details so they can share their story with our readers.)