Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A lesson from the crazy old lady down the street

When I get old and my mind starts to fail, I PRAY that I am one of those jubilant crazy people, as opposed to the angry, paranoid type. Here's a conversation I overheard recently between a semi-crazy older lady (we'll call her Mildred) and a middle-aged woman with moderate health problems (lets call her Lois):

Mildred: "So honey, how've you been doing lately?"
Lois: "Oh, you know... I have another exam tomorrow and I've been pretty tired lately. I started getting this pain in my knee when I wake up in the morning and I'm really worried it's more than just early-onset arthritis. Then of course there's the nagging earache I've had for the last few weeks... So between all that and my chiropractor telling me I need a new ergonomically correct chair if I want my back to stop hurting, it's been tough lately."
Mildred: (Without missing a beat) "Well you look good honey!" (She chuckles as she walks away, muttering something about the hilarity of the hummingbirds on her patio)

Now Mildred, at the ripe age of 89, probably has a list of medications that makes even her pharmacist blush. She gets around with a walker, has beaten cancer and is as diabetic as they come. But she sure as hell has one thing going for her - a slight case of dementia. Not the dementia that makes her think the nurses are stealing from her, oh no. Whatever form of dementia is afflicting her has made her the sweetest, happiest person anyone could ever come in contact with. Maybe it was a different upbringing; maybe it's one of the medications; but whatever it is, she is just a peach.

I understand that mentally debilitating conditions like dementia are not a good thing (we all saw "The Notebook"), but I so wish I could have that same mentality even today - to look at each day as a gift, not a drag. I wouldn't dream of being preachy with you, the lovely reader/commenter (hehe), but imagine the added joy we could get out of life if we just took the time to appreciate it.

So take a lesson from Mildred: enjoy the little things. And for God's sake smile already.

Let's Ride together at 4 p.m. See you then, friends

- TS

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