fork-in-road11It has been a while since either Al or I have been exposed to media. We are taking a sabbatical “of sorts” without it.  Since we are retired, we can more or less choose how to spend our time and we realized one day that out of habit we were exposing ourselves to all sorts of things that did not necessarily lift us up.  In most cases, we would be dragged down with the things we were seeing or reading, and decided this definitely can’t be good for our health!

So, the first thing we quit was television.  We thought we would go through severe withdrawal on that one, but instead found ourselves listening to the radio in the evenings.  This is the internet radio that I bought Al a couple of Christmas’s ago and it pulls in stations from all over the world. To say it is an awesome device is an understatement. Most Wednesday evenings we find ourselves listening to Garrison Keillor on a folksy Minnesota Public radio show which includes old time music and hymns.  We are definitely lifted up with this show.  It conjures up in our minds memories of our youth growing up mid-century in Michigan and Minnesota Other nights, Al will scan hundreds of stations for other old time talk shows and he has also had success in finding wonderful, easy listening music from all genre’s. It is like a concert in our living room every night.

Al was raised on a farm and he has said often “ever since they took off my diaper and put on my big boy pants, I’ve been working”. Funny statement, but very true.  He has been a hardworking, diligent and responsible person his entire life which means there hasn’t been a lot of time to relax, or play, or even read much more than a magazine article. When he retired, I started to buy books for him that I thought would interest him, the first one titled “A salty piece of land” by Jimmy Buffet of all people.  He loved it!  It seemed every where we went, we would see some random man sitting and reading that same book.  Since then, Al has read a number of books and it gives me enormous pleasure to see him sitting somewhere either inside or in our courtyard, completely engrossed in a book.  The pleasure comes to me because I have been a life long lover of books!  The pleasure comes to him because up to now, he has never had the time for this kind of luxury.

As we have switched off the television and stepped away from the internet social media sites, we have been busy rediscovering our youthful side.  Remember the days when you were a child and the world was your oyster?  In the summer months my Mother let us sleep for as long as we wanted and when we would finally get up, she would make us a hearty breakfast and then off we would go to play.  We had no schedule, no calendar and no time clock.  The minute we stepped outside our door, our mind was directing us towards anything that piqued our interest.  The days weren’t planned…..they “unfolded” to adventure and discovery and to our imagination.

This is what Al and I are trying to allow for ourselves in these most recent days.  We putter around our garden, go for walks, read our books, and go to any movie that seems interesting to us.  Yesterday, Al suggested we go see “A walk in the woods” which starred Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.   The movie was interesting and had some very beautiful shots of the Appalachian trail and mountainsides.  That in itself made the movie worth seeing.  What struck me as the movie began was that these two stars are men I grew up seeing.  I remember them in their youth where each, in his own way, was considered a “hunk a hunk” of man.  In other words, they were masculine, virile and drop dead gorgeous.   In this movie, time has been deeply etched on each of their faces and the eating and drinking habits of a lifetime on each of them is also obvious.  (Well, if I remember them when they were young, then Al and I are traveling along in this lifetime right along with them, so guess what?  We are old too! ). After the shock wore off about the way time has diminished their looks, I began to appreciate the idea that while they each have enough money to spend on face lifts or botox or any kind of enhancement, they have allowed themselves to remain authentic to who they have become.  I have to admit, I admire that a LOT!  I admire them a lot as well, that they haven’t succumbed to the pressures of our youth crazed society!  Nick Nolte is almost 75 and Robert Redford is 79.  They making aging look quite o.k.

Their journey was entertaining to watch as they walked along discussing their lives, how their decisions affected their lives, and the feelings they had about now being old. We both enjoyed it a lot.

When it comes down to it, life should be embraced at whatever stage you are in.  If you are old, then one should just say to oneself, “well now, aren’t I lucky I made it this far?”  Too many people do not get to experience this part of life, so I somewhat feel like a lottery winner.  As has been oft quoted, “the only thing to fear, is fear itself!” Don’t let fear get in the way of enjoying your advancing years.  One should unlock the door to our inner child and let that child return to our psyche!  Al and I have done so, and every day is a brand new day.  We don’t know how many of these we have, but we are going to try and celebrate all this time and space minus all the restrictions we had in our young adulthood for as long as we possibly can.

From day to day we don’t know what will be presented to us along our life’s path, but we are sure it will be a rewarding experience or a learning experience  wherever we find ourselves!  And for now, for NOW, we have each other which is a glorious gift all on its own and we choose to embrace that most of all! Thank you God for our many blessings!

Look out world, here we come, ready or not!

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