Cheryll's Writing Journal

Musings, rants and ravings, plus gems of insight nobody wants to hear now that I've finally got them. Also neat stuff I found on the 'Net when I should have been updating this blog....

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


A lot of what annoys me about aging is having to deal with losses. I've never been good at separations, and losing even something as simple as the paper shears or my coat or the receipt for that latest ethernet router drives me crazy.

Looks like the longer one lives, the more losses pile up: jobs, pets, loved ones, plants, homes, car keys...the list gets longer and longer. And don't even get me started on decline of physical and mental prowess!

Each new loss reminds me of all the other losses, especially if I haven't dealt with the grief as well as I thought, so some days are pretty down. (Can you tell that today I'm only allowed to sit upright for a few minutes at a time because I damaged some ligament in my back a few days ago and it hurts bad?)

Now, I believe that this earthly life is one big soul learning camp, and that ultimately everything that happens to us is a chance for spiritual development. Dealing with loss is one of the ways that we learn the importance of perspective, attitude and (the ultimate realization) that happiness doesn't just happen, it is a conscious decision.

Epictetus tells us that, "The thing that upsets people is not what happens but what they think it means." We have a choice as to how we interpret our experiences and what meaning we assign to them.

If we have a world view that makes sense of all the stuff that life throws at us (even if it takes some hindsight) we can handle the losses, the surprises, the pain and other events about which most of us are not enthusiastic.

Such a perspective gives us time to look around for the hidden delights, the secrets and gems of insight that are sprinkled generously about the physical world.

Looked at that way, life's just one big treasure island...never mind the seasickness it took to get here. We won't worry about the sunburn and sore muscles, the sleepless nights and sand fleas...when we are concentrated on finding the next clue...or even the whole buried treasure!

I remember denying my five year old a skateboard, then the newest rage and his heart's desire, because I didn't want to deal with the gore. No blood and guts for me and my baby; those things were dangerous!

But, his good friend gave him one for his sixth birthday, and he spent the requisite hours every day learning how to ride it. Now, this was not as smooth a process as it would have been in a more urban area with better paving and maybe even sidewalks... These kids learned on aging and much repaired asphalt streets, most of which were on hillsides. I shudder to this day!

And my son never once came to me hurting from some fall. He must surely have suffered some, and I did notice a few torn and slightly bloody pants legs when doing the wash.

But he obviously felt such pain was worth it, and more: he was expecting it! I have no doubt that similar injuries that he wasn't prepared for, or from an activity that he hadn't expected to cause damage, would have been considered a calamity.

Falling off the slide at preschool was. Falling off the jungle gym in elementary school, too. These produced stitches and broken bones and consternation (and not a little of my grey hair).

The second broken arm came from sailing over the handlebars while learning to do stunts on his bicycle, and the third broken arm from horsing around with his buddy on the lawn, and were not even surprises, as near as I can tell. He behaved as though the pain came with his chosen territory.

I wish I could be as confident in my view of the world! Then I wouldn't need to complain so bitterly about losing my fantastic memory.

Or needing to groan when I get out of a chair (another one of those things old people like my parents used to do that I was NEVER going to do.

Hey! Try it sometime with and without. Groaning really helps!

"There are three things which are real:
God, human folly, and laughter.
The first two are beyond our comprehension,
so we must do what we can with the third."
John F. Kennedy,
quoted in Laffirmations: 1001 ways to add humor to your life and work, by Joel Goodman


Post a Comment

<< Home