MYOPIC AND ASTIGMATIC OBSERVATIONS
My recollection of many things past (as well as a few things present) is about as clear as what I can perceive without eyeglasses through extremely myopic and abysmally astigmatic eyes. Optometrists say that without state-of-the-art lenses I am legally blind. I can see everything within my field of vision, but what’s not directly in front of my face has no distinct outline or colour. It’s blurry. That’s about the same as my past. It’s all there but it’s blurry.
Since becoming a senior my peripheral vision about the past has definitely dwindled. I’ve decided that what’s still sticking to the barn walls of my brain is what’s really important. All else is inconsequential. Therefore I have come up with three “rules to live by” which have become reinforced in my mind through many attempts (very often futile) to live up to them.
I’ve always liked Rick Hansen’s slogan “be the best you can be with what you have” although it’s a difficult one to follow even when you don’t have a disability. (My disability is inertia — especially in winter.) What Rick accomplished as a paraplegic in a wheelchair during and after his Man in Motion tour around the world, is in my mind an ultimate in modern-day achievements.
One precept presented itself in about 1986 while I was engaging in a heated debate with my daughter. She’d embraced the vegetarian lifestyle and hadn’t imbibed animal products for months. For me — raised on moose meat in the BC Interior — vegetarianism appeared to be an abomination of traditional values, as well as a health hazard. I argued fervently in favour of roasts, steak and hamburgers while she lauded the attributes of broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes. When we paused for breath I happened to notice her glowing complexion, eyes and hair. I thought to myself, “ Hey, we’re both relatively healthy, so what’s the problem?”
We hung up the gloves after that and I dredged up the slogan: “Just because I am right doesn’t mean that you are wrong.” I think it makes sense.
The third axiom that remains in my mind is from one of the many Shirley Maclaine books, which the author reamed out in the 1980s, about her search for enlightenment. I forget every word on all of the printed pages, except for one conclusion that Shirley had reached: “A problem is only a problem if you perceive it to be.” That simple phrase almost blew my mind. I’d been under a lot of stress at the time because of my son’s illness. It was a relief to realise that at least a few of what I had considered to be insurmountable problems were actually challenges.
Another good thing about being a senior is that younger people are inclined to respect what you have to say — even if you don’t really know a thing.
After having spent a goodly amount of time in hospital corridors and waiting rooms , I noticed conversations often revolved around diseases and the various medical procedures to treat them. Because of TV shows such as The Doctors and Doctor Oz we have become fluent in terminology that was formerly only the domain of medical experts.
One day a few of us were chatting about fluid intakes. My friend Don (not his real name) quoted Dr Oz as having pooh-poohed previous medical opinion in regards to their effect on lung congestion. Milk was no longer considered a determent for those recovering from respiratory problems.
I must have appeared a bit dubious because my friend added. “Dr Oz is right. He MUST
be right… after all his father was a wizard!”
So frightening and depressing to watch the news on TV … (Not referring to what’s happening in Japan but the other ongoing stories about man’s inhumanity to his fellow man)
If only the bad stuff was shown in context with all the good things that are undoubtedly happening in the world. The most memorable newscast series for me were ones that ended happily. Years ago a small child fell into an abandoned well. The entire community pitched in attempting to rescue her and the story was broadcast world wide on TV. The rescue took days and occured in a rural area somewhere in the United States. It was referred to as the “Baby Jessica” story. Think Baby Jessica must be in her twenties by now?
Another story closer to home with images that have stayed with me for years occurred along Hwy 16 – south of Quesnel British Columbia. I believe the young man’s name was “Sweet” and he drove a bright red car. He was from the BC Lower Mainland and had been reported “missing” for days by his distraught parents. How exciting it was to learn that the car had finally spotted amongst the trees along the the roadway and – wonder of wonders – the young man was still alive. Think he was injured but well on the way to recovery by the time local newscasters ceased contrentrating on the story.
And then there was the Chilean miners who were trapped underground for – was it weeks? Such a wonderful story illustrating what amazing things can be achieved when people all over the world work together and we end up viewing a good news story!
Not sure what to write- been busy coordinating photos and journal entries from my Baha’i Pilgrimage to Haifa Israel with my daughter Bee. Perhaps I shall post something from a note on Facebook and see if it shows up here:
Notes on Pilgrimage
Feb 23 – Quality hotel in Richmond BC – It’s 7:30pm – Bee and I just arrived back at the hotel after taking the Canada Line – with Bruce and Fern to Waterfront -where Fern caught up with Kelly (somewhere) We had all met at the airport around noon – I’d spent last night in PG at the Connaught after (finally – over an hr late!) taking bus from the Greyhound stop in Fraser Lake. The couple that run the feed store are the new depot managers and are such lovely people! Made waiting for the bus an interesting and enjoyable experience (even gave me some of their pizza)
Bee and I spent the afternoon with Bruce at Gallery Gachet and at his house – he certainly has a cache of cartoons that are quite funny! Bee and I almost froze this evening after getting back to Richmond – waited forever in the icy air (1 foot of snow on Hornby and it’s heading this way!) for a bus – turns out info Fern got was wrong so we started walking – ate supper at the The One Restaurant and managed to warmed. Think I’ll tubsoak for a while! (more…)
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