I have decided that for the remainder of the year, each day, I am going to answer a random question reflecting on the past year. I want to learn more about what I have done and learned from, and possibly shed some light on why I do the things that I do the way that I do them. Maybe I can grow and be better for the next year or more, Lord willing.
I have been completely overwhelmed by the tasks that have seemingly sprang up over the last two weeks that, even though my intentions were good, my execution of those intentions ended up flat. That is just how it goes in life, right? One writes their “to-do” list thinking, “I can do this. I am a productive and strong person. I can do anything I put my mind to.” Then, when boots hit the pavement, we realize that we were not really prepared for the realness of the tasks.
I had this completely “perfect” plan for the entire month of December. I wanted to make this month especially special for my guys. There were plans for cookies, decorating, organization for the new year, out with the old and in with the new… There were many ideas written down and I was mentally prepared. Physically was a whole other story.
My body does its own thing sometimes. I have a blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma. I have had a stem cell transplant (sometimes called a bone marrow transplant), and currently I have chemotherapy once every four weeks. This leaves my body weak, and I am not one to be “weak”. So my mind and body are constantly at odds. I know that all sounds strange, but it really is a thing. The side effects of the chemo, for me, get me really down for about four to five days after the infusion. Then I am back to my “new normal” self. I get back up, dust myself off, and get back to work making this house run as smoothly as I can.
Today, my question is: What is the best and worst thing about getting older?
I will choose to go with the worst first and get that out of the way since I look forward to getting older. In my case, I would think that getting older comes with the breaking down of the body, but since my body has been broken down to near death, I can say that I can handle it. I have been through the bouts of incontinence and weakness. I have been through the mental fogginess attached with the neurons not firing on all cylinders. I have been in that place where I could not stand due to the weakness, and I was afraid to leave the house in case I caught a cold that would lead to pneumonia that would lead to a ventilator that would ultimately lead to death. I have already been in that position, and thankfully, God brought me up out of that with the knowledge and support of others FOR A PURPOSE. I am NOT saying that “if you pray hard enough God will do things your way.” I am saying that I have experienced a lot of the physical maladies that go along with getting older. I have recently experienced lots of loved ones dying all around me while I remain living, and I don’t understand why I am still living and they are not. It doesn’t make sense that my loved one passed away the way that they did, and yet I was spared for a time.
I say “for a time” because, as we all know, we all die sometime. We don’t just keep living. The end game is death. Death is not the end, but for now, before we can “level up” we have to physically die. And now on to the best parts about getting older.
The expectation of getting older is that we break down and all of the things mentioned before. But there are many, many good things about getting older. The kids growing and becoming mature adults making decisions that you find acceptable. Now of course, they are going to make dumb mistakes, but that is what we did when we were that age, right? Made mistakes that our parents would not have approved of?
Also, if we are fortunate enough to have a significant other still living with us, we can experience a fulfilling togetherness that can only be had by trial and error choices made with each other and learning to grow into each other. We can become safer and safer with each other having those intimate conversations that we would not have with others. We can be completely vulnerable with each other because time and time again we have relied on that safety net and been that safety net. That kind of love only comes by growing older with experience with each other and allowing the other to see our scars and we seeing their scars. Growing older is a rewarding experience.
I see things in a duality kind of way. Whether it be right or wrong makes no difference because it is my experience. This duality way of thinking and experiencing things has been limiting. The only way I can seem to explain this way of thinking is that however great one event seems to be to me, an equally trying or difficult an event is coming. In the same respect, however difficult and trying an event seems to be at this time, an equally wonderful and great an event is coming. This is the way I look at the events in my life.
I am sure there are going to be a lot of people who disagree with this mentality, even going to far as to say it is “morbid” or “tragic”. However, it is my experience of life. It has been what I have learned so far. In the great moments, I am not caught up in it and left to fall apart if and when something not so great happens. In the same respect, I am not left feeling tragically hopeless when something like cancer comes around because I know that it will get better. And all of this mentality comes from experience. It comes from looking at my past and learning the pattern, if there is one.
There is an overwhelming urge in me to look for patterns. I don’t know if it is because I gravitate toward math and numbers, but I look for patterns in everything including life events. These patterns help to guide me and give me hope. And what is better than hope? Maybe another cup of coffee?
Gotta go fill up my cup…..