BRENDA COFFEE, Early 20's. Photo by Philip Ray. ©1010ParkPlace
Today is my birthday. I’m 25,550 days old, although many days I don’t feel a day over 9,125. This week I received a sweet birthday note from Lee Moczygemba. You may remember I interviewed her last year, “Here’s What 94 Looks Like.” Lee is my role model for aging. What an amazing woman! In her note Lee said, “I want to congratulate you for achieving the babyhood of the second part of your wonderful life.
When you speak of this upcoming birthday, and thereafter, always insert the word “JUST” before you say 70.”
Lots of us have, and regularly use, some version of the Serenity Prayer. This is mine, short and sweet:
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys.
It’s an old Polish proverb that reminds me to let go of the things in my life (or that are beginning to spill-over into my life) which are frustrating, beyond my control, and infringements on my inner-peace.
I’ve been sitting in the gastrointestinal day surgery waiting room since 6:30 this morning. A male nurse with a carpet of fur peering out from the neck of green surgical scrubs has already taken my friend through a pair of double doors marked ‘Oxygen in Use.’
Even though I brought a book and have my cellphone, it’s difficult to blockout the conversations around me.
When I was in middle school I wore coke bottle glasses, braces on my teeth and my hair looked like someone had placed a bowl over my head and traced its shape with a pair of scissors. If that wasn’t bad enough my mother insisted I wear matronly dresses that hung midway between my knees and my calves. Halfway through an unairconditioned, Texas school day, those dreaded dresses were wet under the arms and the edges were ringed with a white circle of sweat and deodorant. I looked like I’d been hit with an ugly stick. I never told anyone, but secretly, I wanted to look like Elizabeth Taylor.
Since then a part of me has wanted to be like Elizabeth Taylor: a brave, badass woman.
All the wine I cannot drink. And the cocktails. That’s what I’m thinking about these days.
Some of the Mayan artifacts Philip and I found in the Yucatan. Can you tell which ones are real and which ones I bought?
I have a friend who changed jobs, moved to a new city on the other side of the country and put almost everything she owns in storage. I understand she doesn’t know whether her new job will work out, but I couldn’t leave my things behind. Almost, without exception, everything in my home is linked to family, friends and events in my life. Some remind me of tragedies while others represent happy times and great blessings.
They’re as much a part of who I am as my smile and my blue eyes.
Not long ago I suggested to a friend, who is divorced and over 50, that she might try changing the conversation in her head from empty nest to my nest. Like many women who’ve lived a big part of their life for their family, now that she’s single and her children have left home, she’s feeling alone. Well girlfriend… I think you’re well on your way to figuring this alone thing out.
Would you believe my friend went to Morocco for a month by herself?
A few days ago as I stood looking out my front door, I watched our neighbor wielding a large spray-bottle and zealously squirting something on every stalk of his thriving red yucca plants. Continue Reading
When I was a kid we seldom went to church unless my grandmother came to visit. I never went to vacation bible school, or understood the difference between the Old and the New Testament, or why I should have a relationship with God, and for much of my young life I thought it was significant that God spelled backwards was dog. Of course it didn’t occur to me that God spelled backwards in other languages like French or Spanish meant nothing.
But as I got older the concept of believing in God frightened me.
“Do not do squats!” It’s almost a mantra for me, and I don’t know why. After all, squats, deep knee bends and lunges have probably paid for both of my kids’ college and grad school educations. I should love the squat, but for years I’ve been telling my patients don’t do squats, wondering if I was alone in this opinion, and then I saw this on the internet. Orthopedic surgeon invents Crossfit to fund his children’s education! Who’da thunk it? Continue Reading