As I walked this morning, I noticed an orange peel on the sidewalk. The poem our first-grade class memorized immediately popped into my head.
‘Orange peel, banana peel,
Be careful where you throw it,
For folks slip into hospitals,
Before you even know it.’
Why, oh why do I still remember that silly thing when I couldn’t even remember to take my coffee mug with me to breakfast????
Wouldn’t it be better if my brain were filled with current issues instead of stacked with outdated files that could easily be deleted and not missed?
I don’t like it when I can’t recall names I know I know, or search for elusive words that used to be there. Yes, this happens to others too, but I don’t like it happening to me. Humor helps, and friends oblige by sharing items they’ve received by email on the subject. I don’t know who thought this one up but although I don’t want to ever become senile, it’s worth a chuckle: The Senility Prayer: ‘God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.’
Getting older can be a nuisance. Everything takes longer. Tasks become more difficult and we require more patience. Well, after all what did you expect? Things change. Life is an adventure and a learning process, and old age, if we are lucky enough to achieve it, is part of the journey.
It would be great to become wiser as we age, but I doubt it actually happens. In the same way that education can’t change a stupid person into a smart one, aging can’t perform miracles either. Still, some of us are silly enough to believe we are wiser and have worthwhile advice for those who are younger, so here goes…
If I knew earlier what I know now, I wouldn’t have worried about so many things which, in the end, didn’t really matter. I assure you that years from now it won’t matter if you hate your haircut; ruined the big dinner; were late for work, your boss was cranky; your thighs are too fat or your waist too thick; or that your partner is fed up. In time, it really won’t matter.
‘Work on your strengths, not your weaknesses.’ Years ago when my son Rafi played baseball, his coach taught me something I haven’t forgotten. Rafi, a strong, talented hitter, didn’t have speed. I thought I should get him to run faster. His coach suggested I forget speed and have Rafi practice hitting, which he already did well. Speed, he said, didn’t matter because when Rafi hit that ball way across the park, he had plenty of time to make his home run. So, focus on the skills and talents you already have and make them better.
I also had to learn I’m not the center of the universe. No one is watching me. As a teenager, I thought I was too fat to even own a bathing suit. I was sure everyone would stare if I dared appear in such a garment. Finally, as a young mother, I worked up the courage to wear one so I could take my child to the beach. The world didn’t stop turning. Nobody cared. They were busy doing their own thing.
And if you don’t believe me, it won’t really matter either.