I used to dream about being a skilled musician. In my fantasies, I could play the piano with panache and sing the most difficult songs with ease. It didn’t stop there. I could also dance.
I no longer waste my time dreaming about those things. They simply aren’t in my skill set. If I can carry a tune well enough to soothe my cats, I’m satisfied. It has to be a simple song that allows for some improvisation at the parts out of my three-note range. Those songs are out there, as Walter and Mimi, my kitties, can testify.
Today’s challenges for me focus on what I can do. I can write. I can knit. I can design sweaters and other knitted goods for myself and my family. I still have a vivid imagination, something I didn’t lose when I grew out of childhood.
But the most important thing I can do, something I didn’t fully recognize when I was younger, is to love myself, my family, and my friends. To be there for them when they need me. To help others when they can’t help themselves, or when resources are limited. To lend my support when times are tough.
In the past couple of months I’ve been talking to my dad on a regular basis. His wife Jeanne died in December, something I wrote about earlier. It’s been a powerful thing in my life, these conversations. I hope it has been the same for him. We didn’t used to talk much, and in recent years the phone calls got shorter and shorter.
I realize now that Jeanne had been going downhill for sometime and his energy and focus was on her. I didn’t realize how bad her Alzheimer’s was–or that she even had Alzheimer’s–until after she died. I feel a bit guilty that I was so unaware of something so important, but the reality is, not too many people knew. My brother was a little more clued in, and even he didn’t know the extent of the problem.
As anybody over the age of 30 can testify, you get older, you get wiser. You see things you didn’t see before, and recognize the signs that someone needs you. Sometimes, however, reality catches up with you and you see that you aren’t as wise as you thought or hoped. That’s a sort of wisdom in and of itself.
Older and little bit wiser.
Image Credits: Sapling © Arthon–stock.adobe.com; Singing cat © Elena–stock.adobe.com; Telephone © stock.adobe.com
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