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    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 11th 2018
    I've had a few more difficult days. Sometimes can't even breathe. So I decided to come on down to our cottage on the lake for a spell. I'm sitting at the end of the dock twirling my feet in the water and having a glass.of wine. In a little while I am going to have actual wine with two girlfriends. I need to get calm.and centered first. Look the orange dragon fly just landed on my knee. And here are some hummingbirds just hovering to say hello. I filled their feeder a few minutes ago. Just breathe.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeSep 11th 2018
    May I join you, Bonnie. Yesterday and today is the one year anniversary of my love's passing. If it is okay I will sit beside you and twirl my feet in the water, and have some wine also. I'm listening to the crickets and the cicadas.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 11th 2018
    Been thinking of you and your partner yesterday and today and hoping you might stop by. Hugs my dear friend
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2018
    Happiness. It's not just in memories of good times and great moments like being at a cottage on a lake. Or being in Paris. Or being in love. Happiness is happening all around us which a day spent on the beach around bunches of children makes very clear. Their giggles and screams of delight and splashing around are happiness forming new memories happening right before your eyes.

    There's a wonderfully real proof that it doesn't matter that it's not 1948 and that some of the littler ones are the children of millennials. It's the same thing now as it was then. It's just as much fun to go for a boat ride or go and pick blueberries or lay down on the towel in the sun, as it was at any other time.

    People are falling in love all the time. Not in our perspective where their world is so strange from ours but in their perspective that, just as we envision, they see no other time as relevant because this is their time and they're in love and once again it doesn't matter whether swing music is playing or it's Elvis shaking like a hound dog or it's Stairway To Heaven - it's great music playing now and that music forms their bonds and ideas to the best of times - now. The current foundations of their own memories down the road.

    It's not just innocence, although there's nothing like going through something the first time - people who've been hurt or divorced are making new friends and falling in love too. It is age though, where I believe once we arrive in our own golden years, there's an elephant in the room that wasn't there before. It's real too. For a long time humans see those golden years as something 'over there'. It's not that it doesn't apply to them - it's that they're not concerned about it yet.

    I believe that it's a fundamental reality that creeps into our outlook where the physical evidence of lifting heavy things, bending over easily, watching the body change, and falling asleep earlier, are just a few of the hundreds of things being a child of the golden years brings. An example is the game of pass the worrying ailment and potential threat from the thing that left to the thing here now. Ok, the stomach ache wasn't cancer but what's this rash?

    I've talked a fair bit about how this life experience packs a very serious psychological wallop and that my own experience is that it took time before I was in a state that had a fair chance at engaging in things without handicap. I've also talked about the fact that we are the sum of our parts and however valid or earned our personality and outlook are, they're also unlikely primed and ready or remotely suited to reinventing ourselves in the golden years.

    I don't know any of the artists these days and haven't for over a decade. I don't know what music is being listened to. I haven't seen a film for just as long and don't know the people on the talk shows or in the news. I'm completely comfortable with that. I don't relate to this time in that way and frankly, I'm entitled and even encouraged to make my bed in the way I sleep best.

    Instead, I'm learning to pick and choose things, and even more challenging, learning how to look at things more genuinely - for what might be something I'd like to try or watch or do or eat. I learned that shovelling coal when nobody was running the train. It can be one big thing or some single thing, but it's far more likely to be an accumulation of smaller things that determine your destination. The train stays on the tracks because you ain't dying just because life is a mess, so tomorrow comes and somewhere you start finding yourself not shoveling coal but up on the seat looking around wondering where your train is going.

    Wherever you want is the true answer once you're up in that seat looking around. If you don't believe that move to Des Moines. Stop reading this, get up, sell your house, and move to Des Moines. Watch. Wherever you want. And MAN! is that ever hard to do.

    The problem is that our life experiences tend not to prepare us for anything like this where a ten year old might say "Ok, I'll go" and just go with the open mind of a ten year old. When you're 70ish, not so much - even if you're not trying to come out of a world of hurts. Yet, if we're to have moments and move towards better places, that kind of willingness is exactly what we need.

    I'm setting a goal to go to South Bend next summer. It's a white, sandy beach on Lake Huron full of hot dog stands and shops and things like a ferris wheel. I may need to buy a hat, but I want to spend some hours sitting amongst the laughing children and the svelt young bodies and have a hot dog or two and soak up the sounds of life into my soul. Or maybe just go and hunt blueberries in the summer sun. You never know and it actually doesn't matter.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2018
    Long long ago, I made a decision. It is the first conscious decision I remember making. It is that I was going to “have fun” and I was also going to help people along the way, with intent. I found, through experience, I was happiest being a “big frog in a small pond” as the expression goes.

    This decision impacted other decisions: I married, I had a child, I worked in “helping professions, I joined groups and stayed long enough to establish meaningful friendships and relationships.

    I chose not to be afraid of “changing my mind” in the smaller decisions. When I was convinced that being happy was impossible to achieve, in spite of much effort, in my first marriage I chose to leave it.

    I was not chasing happiness like some illusive dream, or something that could be achieved by eating in the most fancy restaurant or by having the most toys, or money for that matter. I worked on what worked for me.

    Travel - a canoe trip by myself down the Lower Wisconsin River for a week - taking my son climbing for a week at a time through the Appalachian Huts in New Hampshire.

    Work - designing and raising funds for accessible gardens and outdoor areas for the elderly - making small positive differences in the lives of the old people with which I worked - running a family daycare when my son was little and would be so for such a short time.

    Happy places -I put myself in places that make me smile with my eyes crinkled up. That can be a beach with the shrill screams of delight coming from small children. That can be a sunrise over the Grand Canyon. It can be a small campfire in the back yard, or watching wild turkeys coming from seemingly nowhere to take a walk down my street. Or having friends come by for dinner.

    And when my smiles don’t automatically appear, I find telling myself to smile, then telling myself to crinkle my eyes up, (this second step is extremely important), makes all the difference - it is even possible for the onerous (cleaning out the garage, say, or caring for someone who can no longer do so herself) to become more than bearable. Maybe not always, certainly not always, but a lot of the time.

    I placed myself in the virtual reality shared with those of you who have gone to the “Christmas Lodge” and “Cottage by the Lake”, when that was what was available to me - remembering past delights, and creating new ones. (I will never forget the ice hockey game one Christmas at the Lodge).

    This summer, like Wolf, I have set myself a goal. I am going on a road trip before I am too old. Across country, camping, making many side trips to see outdoor sculpture gardens and waterfalls, and to visit friends along the way. I am doing it because “I can”. And if I do move (and I may) it will be to Greenbelt MD, not Des Moines) both because I can and because I choose to want to. Because I can choose to want to, if I want to. But I don’t have to.

    Meanwhile I am setting up a little campfire here at the Cottage because it is a little too chilly to have one in the back yard today. Smiling. Eyes crinkled up.
    Lindylou, an absolutely priceless post. One for the archives! I am sitting here smiling, and making sure my eyes crinkle up--yes, yes, yes, it makes all the difference!
    Lindylou and Wolf

    I love reading your posts. I think both of you have stumbled upon what HAPPINESS really is. And Happiness is so important.

    Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence ........Aristotle
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2018
    Hi. If you dont mind I'd like to sit by the fire for a bit.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2018
    Welcome, Bonnie. Isn't it wonderful to smell the scent of the fallen leaves? I've been listening to the geese flying by. Some just landed on the lake a few minutes ago. They are talkative souls. Was looking for company. Glad you stopped by.
    I figured it was time to spend some time here at the Cottage on the lake before we get into the holidays. I think a nice row out onto the water to see some leaves turning color is the thing to do before relaxing on the porch to watch the sunset. I brought along a nice big platter of cheeses, crackers and grapes. Anyone want to join me?
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeOct 30th 2018
    Sounds good Mary. My favorite snacks. I really like how the frogs chirp out here. We have sopranos, altos and bass voices like a choir. And, this time of year just after the sun dips below the horizon there are generally little bitty bats skimming bugs off the surface of the water. I'm always fascinated at how fast they fly.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2018
    Lindylou — I found a new treat. “Enlightened “ The good for you ice cream. I got Cold Brew Coffee Chip. New favorite.

    But might try Birthday Cake and Frozen Hot Cocoa next. Ooh and they have Sea Salt Caramel. Only 90 calories. I got ice cream bars, but it comes in pints too.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2018
    How are you doing Bonnie? I'm thinking of firing the BBQ up and sitting on the dock for a while since I'm in the snowiest November I've ever seen.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2018
    I’m ok. I’m on Long Island with my brothers. It’s winter. I’m not sure I want to live where there’s winter but looking at real estate ads. Really might just rent here for a month n the summer. For the first time I didn’t plan every minute. And, for some reason not stressed out about that. Sisters-in-law is letting me help with Thanksgiving preparations and we are relaxed with each other. I have his St Christopher’s medal in my pocket like a touch stone and it is comforting rather than making me sob. No sobbing since I left the house. So I’m doing better than expected.

    I could handle a bit of BBQ. Let’s sit on the dock with a hotdog for lunch. Dangle our feet in the water. Nice to see you here.
    Ok, It's after Memorial Day, and I think it's time to get the Cottage on the Lake open. Just checked it out and I can't even see that any dust has accumulated over the winter. I'll be there this weekend and stock it with some essentials. Certainly hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as the usual things that go with them. I will also bring some "Happy Hour" supplies for those who would like a libation. See you all there!
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2019
    Hi MaryinPA*. I continue to come here frequently. The calmness and quiet with the sounds of crickets and peepers, bullfrogs and whip-poor-wills. crackling campfires and wind in the trees, bring peacefulness in even the most trying of times. Until the Christmas Lodge and this Cottage on the Lake. I did not understand the power of virtual reality spent with friends I had never met except on-line. I'll share a libation with you and any others who stop in.
    The weather here is wonderful at this time of year. I just love sitting outside on the porch and looking at the little ripples on the water. I'm going to take a little drive up to southeastern NH next weekend. Do you think that is anywhere the cottage is? Sure seems like the right kind of area. I grew up there and my sister in law still lives there. I'll keep my eyes open to see if I can see it.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2019
    Have a good time in NH. I'm sure you will see the lake!
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2020
    Hi JanK. Never too early to come to the cottage. I’ve got a glass of wine poured for you here at the end of the dock. We can dangle our feet off the edge and just feel the warmth of the water. I think I see a loon slowly gliding along the shore not far from here. It’s quiet.