Aging Gracefully: A Query, A Quandary, A Questionable Answer

“Explain the phenomenon of aging gracefully.”

  • You just never know, do you?

Looking at recent search queries that brought readers to this blog, the one written above caught my eye.  It amazed me.

Usually people find The Spectacled Bean when they’re looking for answers to garden problems [deer eating pansies], self-awareness [Quaker questions], or vanity [V-beam procedure].

I know it’s odd, but it’s true;  those are the three most popular posts on this blog.  Not exactly what I’d consider to be my focus or my best-written stuff, but Google’s algorithm does what Google’s algorithm does.

All Hail Google!

  • My first thought upon seeing this query was to feel a little insulted.  

Aging? Moi?! Pish posh, I say!

But then I remembered that one of my blog tags is Aging Gracefully so I had to lighten up on being insulted, and I shifted my thinking to “isn’t this wonderful?”

I was being asked to impart the wisdom of my many years so that others could learn from my depth of experience, keen observations about human nature, and buoyant spirit. 

So I sat down at my computer ready to compose a post in which I’d answer that query in such a way as to goose Google’s algorithm.  I’d write something so profound and pithy that anyone who asked a similar query, for years to come, would be directed here.

The dream, so close.

  • But here’s the thing, and it’s significant, I have no real answer to this query.

I mean, I dunno.  Maybe the answer is to never stop exercising?  Or maybe it’s to commit to being a lifelong learner?  Or to attempt to let go of any person, idea, or thing that no longer serves you?

None of these? Some of these? All of these?

Or maybe, just maybe, the real essence of the phenomenon of aging gracefully can be summarized in one crotchety remark: “DON’T BOTHER YOUR ELDERS WITH SILLY QUESTIONS!”

You got that, you nosy little whippersnapper?

6 Small Thoughts Upon The 6th Anniversary Of This Blog

A glimpse into my personal blogging evolution…

1)  I like my writing better now than when I started The Spectacled Bean.  I’ve learned how to write in a smooth flowing chatty style that is genuine, not dry & academic.  I express myself with more attitude, more gratitude, less awkwardness, and a propensity to use goofy big words that I love.

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2)  I write more in-depth now on one event or topic or person, instead of glossing over and combining many things into one post like I used to do.  I’m more focused, definitely less ditzy.

3)  I think of my blog as a newspaper lifestyle column now in which I share my observations, experiences + research, making sense of these things, so that I can start conversations which, I hope, add a bit of love +  learning + laughter into the world.  I no longer think of this blog as a diary or a variety show or a scrapbook.

4)  My posts look prettier now thanks to the instant availability of font sizes, styles, and colors.  Plus it’s so much easier to add images and videos now.  I sometimes wonder why any of us read any blog considering how text-based and bland they all looked.

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5)  I find myself more engaged with my followers now than ever before.  Lots of  fascinating articulate people have found The Spectacled Bean, and I have found their blogs.  I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my posts, and thank you for making me part of your lives as well.

6)  I’m much mellower now about this whole blogging thing.  No more angst over what to write about, little worry about how to write it, still some concern that I’ll make a spelling or grammatical error.  But overall, I’m chill– and comfortable in my role as a suburban blogger.

Image sources: |1| |2|

I Am Clumsy But With My Priorities In The Right Place

I fell on my face at Goodwill. Literally.

On a beautiful sunny afternoon, I parked in front of the donation door at our local Goodwill.  I started pulling items out of the trunk of my car, and was carrying two folding chairs, one in each hand, when I tripped over a 3″ high little curb painted a jazzy shade of yellow.

And with that I face-planted myself on the cement sidewalk.

Save for a small scratch on the little finger side of my left hand & a scrape on the top of my right ankle, I didn’t hurt myself.  I went down too quickly to even tense up, plus I’m somewhat plump in my older years which helped keep me safe.

I kind of bounced more than I splatted.

I’ll admit that it was a fascinating experience to calmly realize that I was falling face down onto the sidewalk with no way to stop myself.  No one near me to catch me.

Just me on my own, falling down. Unceremoniously.

And what was going through my addled brain as this was happening?  Well, to be honest, and you wouldn’t want me to be anything but that, I was thinking: “Hmmm… well at least this will make for a good story.”

Yep, no need to worry about me, my gentle readers, I have my priorities in order.

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{ via Giphy}

 

Hobbling, But Happy: An Early October Walk In The Park

We’ve yet to see any fall color here, but on Sunday the sky was clear blue.

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Zen-Den and I decided to go to a city park for a mosey.

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It seemed like a sensible thing to do.

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You see, Zen-Den, who sprained his ankle a few weekends ago, was just getting back to walking without a crutch.

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And I had twisted my knee while mowing the yard on Saturday morning, meaning I was moving slowly, too.

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So, not wanting to let a glorious day go to waste, we hit upon the idea of going to a nice flat park.

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Where we hobbled ourselves around, park bench to park bench, taking photos and laughing about how we’ve somehow morphed into old people.

In Which I Politely Turn The Tables On The Holy Rollers

THE SETTING:

Late summer in a midwest suburb. Saturday afternoon. Beautiful clear blue sky with white clouds. Green lawn, well-tended. Leafy trees aplenty. Pink roses blooming along sidewalk up to front door. Daisies giving it their last hurrah near front door.

THE CAST:

Me, free spirit & lapsed Presbyterian

Holy Roller #1, Amy Winehouse wannabe, brandishing iPad

Holy Roller #2, Olivia Walton doppelgänger, carrying Bible

THE STORY:

When the doorbell rang I was sitting in our home study, which is on the first floor of the house, with the window open.  The women who had walked up the sidewalk could see me in the study, so I couldn’t hide from them.

I answered the door.  Reluctantly.

Amy said “hello.”  She introduced herself and her sidekick, Olivia.  They were from Jehovah’s Witnesses, dressed in black: Amy opting for the H&M cool vibe, Olivia going with the tried & true Salvation Army look.

Amy explained that they were bringing the word of God to the heathens people on my street, and could she ask me a question?

“Sure,” says I.

To which she said: “what gives you comfort?”

Without a moment’s hesitation I answered: “nature.”  Then I pointed out toward our front yard with flowers + trees– and the sky above.

My answer, immediate and honest as it was, stopped Amy.  She didn’t know what to say.

But Olivia, consummate holy roller professional, jumped right in and agreed with me: “Yes, God surrounds us all with His majesty.”

I nodded my head to show that we were on the same page here and smiled.

Nothing happened.  Neither one said a word to me.  They just stood there staring at me.

So I asked them: “Is this a poll?  Are there more questions?”

They chuckled and quickly assured me that: “Oh no.  This isn’t a poll.  There are no more questions.”

Thus giving me the opportunity to bring this unwanted conversation to a conclusion: “Well then, we’re finished here, aren’t we?  Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your mission.”

At which point I slowly shut the front door, leaving them confused by what had happened.

I mean, from their perspective they’d brought the word of God to a presumed heathen who had just got rid of them by turning the conversation around to where they admitted they had nothing more to say.

From my perspective, it was a conversation that would make Jesus and Emily Post proud.

Can I get a hallelujah?

~ ~ • ~ ~

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~ ~ • ~ ~

What Ally Forgot: A Different Kind Of Book Review

• Introduction •

A few weeks ago Akilah at The Englishist wrote a post titled, Top Ten Books I Have No Recollection of Reading.”  Her point, which is excellent, is that we all read lots of books, but not all the books stick with us.

We forget about some books entirely– and only remember odd tidbits in other ones.

Inspired by Akilah I decided to figure out what books I’ve read, enjoyed enough to keep a copy around here, but now can’t tell you much of anything about the characters, the plot, the setting.

• My Top Five Books That I Have [Almost] No Recollection Of Reading •

1.  And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander  

I know that I read this book when it was cold outside because I remember looking at the cover and thinking how much warmer I’d be if I had on that red dress.  As for the story, couldn’t tell you a thing about it, but that dress…

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 2.  Dangled Carat by Hilary Grossman

Someone on Twitter suggested this book so I got a copy of it and read it.  My impression is that I thought the story was cute.  The only specific I remember is that there was something about grilling steaks [?] in it.  Must have been hungry when I read it.  

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3.  Then Again by Diane Keaton

I’ve enjoyed Diane Keaton’s work as an actress, so I bought this book hoping to learn about what makes her tick.  Apparently that didn’t happen because all I can tell you is that Diane’s mother was seriously ill.  There might have been more insight, but I’ll be darned if I know what it was.

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4.  The Buddha Walks Into A Bar: A Guide To Life by Lodro Rinzler

I bought this book at Anthropologie thinking that I could use some self-improvement, and with a title like this one, I’d find the meaning of life within the pages of this book.  No idea what this book was about, but the cover is cute.  So there’s that.

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5.  Four Souls by Louise Erdich

A few friends recommended this book to me.  There was a character with a French first name, and I remember thinking that there was a lot of history going on in this story.  Guess I forgot all the facts, just like I used to do immediately after taking any history test.

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• Some Fun Bookish Things To Do •

Want to laugh about books you don’t want to read? Go to Awful Library Books.

Want to learn about books you will want to read? Go to What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel.

Want to read like an incoming freshman at Harvard? Go to Malia Obama’s Essential College Reading List.

Want to get a book reading list customized for you? Go to whichbook.

Want to keep up with books that aren’t popular? Go to The Neglected Books Page.

• Question of the Day •

What are you reading now?

Is it something that you think you’ll always remember reading?  Or is it a filler book, good in the moment, but destined to be on your very own Books I Have No Recollection of Reading List?

In Which A Doofus Makes Himself Known In The Colonoscopy Waiting Area

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 7.11.17 AMAS IF MY LIFE is not exciting enough, I had the pleasure of escorting Zen-Den, at 6:00 a.m., to the hospital for a routine colonoscopy.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been the Colonoscopy Escort, but your duties are simple:

  1. Get the [snarly and grouchy] patient to hospital at assigned time.
  2. Wait by yourself in the Colonoscopy Waiting Area while patient is checked-in.
  3. When receptionist tells you it’s okay, go sit with the patient in Pre-Op Area until patient is rolled away for procedure.
  4. Go back out to Colonoscopy Waiting Area and wait.
  5. After procedure go sit with patient in Post-Op Area until he or she is released back into the wild.
  6. Take [ravenously hungry] patient home and feed + water him or her.

# # #

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AS PER DUTY #4 I was sitting in the Colonoscopy Waiting Area, playing games on my iPad, waiting, when the receptionist called out the name of someone’s Colonoscopy Escort.

No one in the waiting area responded.

She said the name again.

*crickets*

The receptionist got up from her desk and walked around the Colonoscopy Waiting Area, quietly asking each of us if we were this someone’s Colonoscopy Escort, until she eventually got to a 40-something man with his face buried in his laptop computer.

Standing directly in front of him she said his name again, loudly, and he finally looked up at her.

By now everyone in the Colonoscopy Waiting Area was staring at him, because human beings are nosy, and because waiting is boring so anything out of the ordinary is entertainment.

She told him he could go back and wait with the patient, DUTY #3, to which he said: “WHY THE HELL WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT?”

And immediately went back to looking at his laptop.

# # #

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 5.06.03 PMTHE RECEPTIONIST WAS IRRITATED, but shrugged and went back to her desk.

However, the rest of us, the cooperative Colonoscopy Escorts, started sending hate glances toward this guy.  While an adorable 80-something lady with silver white hair went a step further by looking over the top of her bejeweled reading glasses, and loudly *tsking-tsking* in his general direction.

Somehow that particular sound got this guy’s attention and he looked up to see all of us glaring at him, shaking our heads at his obvious Colonoscopy Escort faux pas.

So with a noisy *sigh* he snapped his laptop shut and trudged over to the receptionist’s desk, ready to be taken to sit with someone who had the misfortune of knowing this man well enough to ask him to be his or her Colonoscopy Escort.

Can you even imagine?  0.o

{ Images |1| |2| |3| from Pixabay }