I was coming home today, driving through a residential area when I saw a man walking on the sidewalk just ahead of a little boy who was on a little bike, a two-wheeler with training wheels on the back. The traffic light turned red so as I waited for the light to change I watched this little boy struggle to learn how to ride this thing. His feet wouldn’t stay on the peddles, he tried to peddle while turning the handle bars and struggled to keep the bike straight, but he kept trying. He really wasn’t going anywhere, but he was really making quite an effort to get his bike moving. I wanted to roll down my window and cheer him on, but I thought it would scare him. He wasn’t noticing anyone else anyway. He was busy learning to ride his bike. It’s amazing that once we learn to ride a bike, read, play an instrument, swim, or drive a car we never forget, and we never really have to struggle to learn how to do it again. Isn’t that awesome! In this post I wrote about not being too old to learn new things. I’m trying to think of the last time I learned “how” to do something. I think it’s been too long and I’m going to challenge myself to learn something. Maybe I’ll pick up my guitar that’s been sitting “over there” for….a long time. Maybe I’ll learn how to knit or crochet. What is something you want to learn how to do? You might struggle at first, but don’t give up. I’m sure that little boy finally got to where he was going and I’m sure he’ll do it again.
is a good lesson that I for one tend to forget and need to be reminded often. Today I met a man at Starbuck’s who, when I sat down next to him, I did not intend to meet. I like to meet people and hear their stories, but today I just wanted to sit and do my homework. As I sat down he began asking me about my laptop. He then proceeded to tell me about his life, his travels, and various places around the world where he has lived. When I first glanced at him I noticed an older man, sort of unkempt, hovering over his laptop, looking as if he wanted to be left alone and that he would be annoyed by me sitting next to him. I’m not sure where those, almost, immediate (and stereotypical) ideas came from. I didn’t expect to be talking to him at all. I did, however, enjoy our conversation. As he described living in Brazil for a number of years and how Brazilian Portuguese is different from the language spoken in Portugal; his visits to Australia and New Zealand, China and all over Europe; I was pleasantly surprised and enlightened. He was nothing like the person I had imaged him to be, at first glance. Not judging others by what we see is something we have probably all heard at one time or other and it’s something we instill in our kids. Why is it so easy to forget? I, for one, want to work on not forming immediate judgements about others and get to know people I cross paths with. After all, if I don’t look past a disheveled cover, I may miss out on a really good story.
I’ve been spending my free time swimming. Well, actually doing more of an aerobic workout with foam weights and a noodle. The weather and the water have been awesome, not too hot…and not too cold, respectively. Yesterday I was in the pool with my mother when two “older” men got in. I couldn’t help but notice that one of the gentlemen was teaching the other how to swim. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do for either of them, but how awesome is that? I wonder why he wanted to learn to swim at his (advanced) age. Maybe he’s taking a vacation with a special someone and plans to spend a lot of time in the water? Maybe he’s going on a boat trip and wants to be able to swim so he’s prepared should anything happen? Whatever the reason, I commend him for his efforts. Many people would feel embarrassed to try to learn something new in a public place. In this case, he had a handful of people to cheer him on and a teacher with years of experience. What have you been putting off learning? Remember, you’re never to old to learn.
My dentist is amazing! He is meticulous when it comes to making my new crown fit just right. I really appreciate that. He’s a middle aged, Asian man who stares quietly out the window for a moment when talking about his wife. She has been through cancer treatment and he shares this with me because I have been through it too. I understand his momentary, quiet reflection because I have seen my husband react the same way to the memory of a very dark time. While I probably have more in common with his wife than with him, it helps to know that there are others who can understand what you’ve been through, especially for so many who are diagnosed with cancer or any other disease and initially feeling all alone. There is definitely strength in numbers and we need to help each other, right? Well, today he helped me get a new, perfectly fitting, tooth and I offered him a dose of encouragement.
A picture was published online yesterday of an ordinary man at a Starbuck’s counter buying a coffee. He happened to be wearing a backpack on his back at the time. This picture of something that many of us see everyday, folks with backpacks and people buying coffee, made quite a stir half way around the world. It made news here as well. The man at the counter is former Governor Gary Locke who is now the US Ambassador to China. Ok, so maybe he’s not exactly ordinary, but people were sure encouraged by his normal actions. More than 40,000 people re-posted the picture. Apparently, this kind of normal isn’t something you see in China. Chinese bloggers have nick-named him “the backpacker”. He was on his way to China to take his new position when the photo was snapped. I think he’s made a good first impression.
I’ve been noticing the elderly people around me and what stands out is the activity levels of those in their 60’s and 70s compared to their quality of life (as I see it , of course). I’m certain this is probably not news to many, but it is worth noting. Those who are movers, meaning they have daily activity that keeps them busy and they have regular activities that keep their bodies (muscles) in use, are living longer and seemingly happier lives. They are able to do things that they want to do and don’t have the difficulties that out-of-shape folks have. Older people who are not as active seem to have many more aches and pains, complaints, and difficulties doing simple things like standing from a seated position. Recently, I was laid up for a week following an outpatient surgery. I ordered the Here’s Lucy dvd’s, season 1-3 and watched almost all of them during that week. I noticed that Lucy (who was in her 60s when she made that show) was still quite active. She did all of her own zany stunts, she could run, jump up and down, crawl around, climb, and did most of these things in every episode. Lucy was a mover and she was in her late 70s when she passed away. Pete Egoscue who established e-cises and wrote books about them to help people live pain free lives, says that we were created to move. Everything we’re made of, muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, organs, all benefit from daily movement. If you don’t believe me watch a toddler…try to get a young child to sit still once they learn how to walk and run. We all need to be more like them.
I love to hear the woman in our office tell stories about her pet bearded dragon, Spike. She’s so enamored with him. She describes his laid back personality and makes gestures and facial expressions that mimic him to a tee. She shows us pictures of him on her iPhone. She, her husband, and her son thoroughly enjoy this addition to their family and after hearing her talk about him I almost want to go out and get one for myself. Part of what makes her stories so fun to listen to is that she speaks with an eastern european accent. If you ever have the privilege of talking with someone from another country you’ll notice that they often say things in English much different than you do. Sure makes life more interesting! I’m glad God didn’t make us all the same because we would sure be missing out on a lot.I can’t see myself falling in love with a bearded dragon though!