Friday, December 25, 2015

The Best Gift Of Christmas

Last night I received exactly what I wanted for Christmas:  all my kids (including their spouses/significant others and grandkids) at home.  It has always been important to me to spend Christmas with my family.  The first year my husband and I were married, his parents took us and his siblings on a train trip to visit his grandparents and extended family in North Dakota.  That was the first (and last) Christmas I spent away from my parents during their lifetimes.  Since having a family of our own, we have all always been together with the exception of the year our oldest son moved to Texas.  I didn’t like being in North Dakota for Christmas and I didn’t like having our son in Texas for Christmas (even though he eventually came home with an awesome bride).

This year, our oldest daughter and her husband have spent the year teaching English in South Korea.  Their contract runs through the end of the year, so we were warned they probably would not be home for Christmas.  However, partway through the year, they realized they could save enough vacation days to actually make it home on Christmas Eve.  My husband and I were the only ones who knew their plans, so it was a lovely surprise for all the others when they walked in the room during our Family Christmas Program last night.

Our kids are growing up, getting married, and starting their own families and I know the time will come when it won’t be possible for us all to be together Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Even though I have always treasured our times together, as I get older the desire for family time and the enjoyment I take from it continues to increase.  I looked around the room last night, listening to the banter and laughter, and felt awe at what we have created.  Warm and fuzzy doesn’t even begin to describe my joy.  So, even though in my heart I know this will not last forever, for now, for today, I will relish this joy and enjoy the best gift of Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Senior Discounts and Putting on Your Pants

I am not one to bow down to aging.  While I plan to age gracefully, I also plan to keep aging issues at bay for as long as possible.  I recently listened to the book, Goddesses Never Age by Christiane Northrup.  It is, in my opinion, a life-changing book, but there are a few ideas I disagree with.  One is not acknowledging aging by declining “senior discounts”.  I’m a thrifty person and I take great pleasure in asking for my senior discounts whenever one is available.  Besides, I usually receive a comment about not looking old enough to be a “senior”.  That won’t be the case forever, so I might as well reap the compliments while I can.  It’s like when you were 28 and were carded when ordering a glass of wine.  At first there’s a feeling of irritation about having to pull out your wallet, but then you realize, eventually they’re not going to card you at all.

As I think about aging and what I accept (my senior discount) and what I don’t (societal expectations of someone my age), one area I will acquiesce to is the need to sit down while putting on pants. All my life I’ve stood up while putting on my pants, but recently I’ve had a couple of times when my foot has gotten stuck in the pants and I’ve found myself hopping all over the floor to regain my balance and get my foot out.  That doesn’t sound like such a big thing, but getting one’s foot stuck in the pants while putting them on in a standing position is actually a fairly common cause of in-home injuries.  In 2001 the BBC reported nearly 6,000 people in Britain were hurt after tripping over their trousers.  Yes, seriously, someone actually took a count.  I know a woman who fell down when her foot got stuck in her pants.  She broke her leg, had two surgeries, and months of rehabilitation and physical therapy – all because she didn’t sit down while putting on her pants.

So, be it ever so slight, I will bow down to this potential hazard of aging and I will sit while putting on my pants.  I’m still going to run races, do burpees (even though they’re not pretty), and do whatever else I can to feel and stay young, but I will sit down to put on my pants.