Tag Archives: life lessons

Autumn Leaves

The older I get the more I harken back to years long past.  The joys and sorrows, lessons learned and questions which always linger, all are behind the view I take of today and my expectations for the days left.  And so I do what I have never done before – present an article written in 2013 for readers to consider once more.   After three and a half years my views remain unchanged.  I can express them no better.

What’s going on?  A yellow leaf floats gently by, guided by a light breeze.  It can’t be . . . fall already?  Summer has been so short.  A gust of air, and I watch another leaf fall.  This one lands on my head.  Lifting it down, I marvel at its fall dress.  A bit of green is still showing, but the rest is streaked with orange, yellow, and brown.  It flaunts its beauty unapologetically, as if to say “Look at me, see what wonders change can bring.”  Continue reading


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Glimpses of Life’s Secrets

A Vignette Encounter With One Such Event

An ordinary start to an ordinary day.  Yawns and sighs as the breakfast seekers drop into their usual places.

“Good morning all.”

“Looks like it’s going to rain all day.”

“The news says the surf is really pounding the sea wall down by the inlet.”

And that does it!  Something triggers in my mind and I am gone, lost in memories – great memories!    Continue reading


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The Lasting Effect of Experience

“In this beloved residence the opportunity to make friends is there for the taking.”

Does that look familiar?  Probably.  Those are the words with which I started my last essay, but contrary opinions were expressed by some of my friends who found their entry to residential living difficult.  Most of us are here of our own accord.  Most of us have gone through the wrenching business of closing down a home, and deciding what to take and what to discard.  Several, like me, have moved from one city to another.  Despite our similarities, our reactions to the move are different.  Why?   Continue reading


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A New Life

In this beloved residence the opportunity to make friends is there for the taking. Together we form not only a place to live, but a community – a special one. The majority of us are old. Instinctively I reach out to others.

As the years lived increase, the years left to me decrease. I cherish my friends, reach out to my acquaintances, and lean on both as I travel the path ahead. To borrow from the old Maxwell House coffee ad that their brew was “Good to the last drop”, I have a different claim. Life is capable of being “Good to the last day.”

Let my New Life thrive!


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“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December,” proclaimed Sir James Matthew Barrie sometime in the early 1900s.  Born in 1860 he lived a full thoughtful life, with his share of sorrow and success.  His saying naturally resonates with me: At 94, I can smell those roses!  With open arms, I welcome home the memories triggered by the scent.

Life has no set formula.  We live our lives differently, and we age differently.  One of the common experiences is realizing that age steals many of the abilities and interests once enjoyed.  The good news is that the problems I encounter as the years pass are manageable.  The joys I experience continue to accumulate.  Now deep into my December, as countless wonderful memories drift in, I pick my roses, contentedly.


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Change: The Only Constant

A year after my husband, Sheldon, died in 2010, I moved to Vancouver and am now happily ensconced in this beautiful city. Warm and loving family members live nearby, helping me adapt to this new stage of life. I live in a pleasant, comfortable seniors’ residence that is more than a place to live. It is home. Surrounded by friendly people, fed excellent food, entertained by more events than I am able to handle, I am content.

The summer of 2015 was beautiful in many ways. Warm weather, only scattered showers, wonderful weather for walking along a beach eating an ice cream cone. I had my share of enjoying these days with friends and family. My idle summer days were special treats, squeezed in as they were between visits to one doctor after another.

My memories of the past summer cover both the joy of perfect days, and learning that I have cancer and a heart which beats with an unusual rhythm, so that treatment of the cancer by surgical methods is unattractive.

Despite the cold reality of my diagnosis, I feel great. My life remains full, busy, and enjoyable. The medical specialists are treating the cancer, which is a slow-growing type, with a non-surgical method. Re-assessment will be done as needed.

So where does this leave me? After all these years, I understand my temperament. I operate best when I understand what I am facing, and what must be done. My life can be adjusted to meet the changing needs, and once done I am content. So it will be this time too.

Will you see a difference in me? Probably – but not in my day-by-day life. My writing may take the brunt of my adjustment to the new reality. Be prepared to be bombarded with my musings about approaching the end of my current stage of life, and my curiosity about what follows.

Don Blanding wrote a poem called “The Rest of the Road.” It has been a favourite of mine for years. Viewing life from where I stand now, the words of the last verse describe my feelings exactly.

How long? How far? How hard? How fine?
How heavy or light the load?
If it’s half as good as the half I’ve known,
Here’s Hail! to the rest of the road.


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Listen, Understand, Act

In a church service recently, we were given a challenge. Each person was instructed to write down a short, individual, life motto on the spur of the moment. The task was simple, but overwhelming. Without warning we were asked to put into words an important guide to living our lives. Our speaker went on to say that the motto should be one that makes each of us a better person, who will be of more use in our own small corner of the world!

There was a simultaneous gasp from the congregation. Someone called out, “I can’t do that. I have no paper or pen.”

“Look around,” came the answer. “See the tables scattered at the front and sides? Go there and you will find all you need.”   Continue reading


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Life Is A Noun: Living Is A Verb!

From the earliest known ancestors, mankind has wondered why they were on Earth, and if there was a purpose for life. My sympathy goes to these forebears. I, too, have tried to understand how best to manage my life: It seemed always to be changing course. Was I missing cues? Despite a full and satisfactory life the thought would sometimes arise, “Is there a purpose I have not yet understood or satisfied?”

I have lived a long life, and one of the lessons learned, one of the insights gained over that life may be of use to others: I don’t ask questions about the purpose of life, or why I’m here, anymore. I think I know.

One of my metaphors for life is that of a pot boiling on the stove. Occasionally I stir the contents. It’s my life, I’m responsible for what is simmering there. Sometimes I add to the contents, sometimes I pick out and discard items, as life and my needs alter.

As the end approaches, I make fewer and fewer changes. The broth is clear, I can see right to the bottom. The simmering of the pot of life has boiled away all but a small amount of what once was there. What remains are little nuggets of clarity—little gems, if you will, that life has saved for my comfort and support in my latter years. Coming vignettes will present more of the gems I treasure; this offers the first one.

“Listen – Understand – Act”

It sounds simple, but is easier said than done. Yet when I do manage to implement this motto, I am more use to those around me, and closer to fulfilling my life purpose.

Especially at my age, often the only actions required of me are to listen and to understand! Sometimes, though, I can do more. Life is good, and my purpose includes appreciating it, savouring it, and giving something to every day that is waiting for me, in the pile of days at the end of my road.


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