Deposit photos

I sure felt like this guy yesterday. Do you have those days?

Dear Reader: this article shares some good reads, ideas and materials I've been scanning lately, all related to better aging. Enjoy!

On one hand, oh, my, such good news. Even though I have to share my handyman with a number of other very impatient homeowners who had first dibs long before I roped him into painting duty at my house, the place is coming along. Spring is here, at least for a few pretty days, before more of my beloved rain and wind sweep through.

I really did move up here for the rain.

Over the last week there have been some very big improvements as the big water mitigation journey is nearing an end. Yesterday I spoke with one of my two clients from this year. I might make a whopping $1500, but I am starting a brand-new career, and every single step in that direction is a big one. More on that later.

Last March I was on the coast, enjoying two weeks in Lincoln City, then a long drive to Crescent City, which turned out to be a life-changer.

There, sitting in Stout Grove, I realized that I already had my dream home in my dream place, and that I had put a For Sale sign on the damned thing. So I called my broker, and while her lock box is still on my front door, we took my home off the market.

During that trip, I took a photo of a 4 am moon setting over the Pacific, in colors that left me breathless. Now that photo is an oil painting about to be put up on the wall of my office so that this exquisite moment lives with me.

Early morning moon, by William Selden

There followed in April 2023 the last of my foot surgeries, some complications, a broken hip, some big water accidents in the house, and a few other exciting events in goes on. Finally in December of 2023, work began on the house. Like most projects, I didn't stop at one room.

Now the walls, ceilings are painted, a new oak floor is installed, I am slowly getting bookshelves and getting ready to put art back on my walls. Out of nowhere, a piece of my long-dead grandfather's will showed up, surprising the hell out of everyone, which paid for a goodly bit of the renovations. That's all used up now, but it was enough to get things well underway.

The surprises life has for us, right? Didn't see that coming.

Also, as the workmen have been here, they have discovered all kinds of plumbing issues I didn't know I had. I am exceedingly fortunate to have a home warranty, which for a relatively small fee has paid for multiple plumber visits. Yesterday one man came out, we remembered each other, and he did me a courtesy he wasn't supposed to do which likely prevented another huge flood.

Time after time I have learned that being kind to workmen, making them welcome, making them laugh ends up with their returning that kindness.

For now, I'm here, settling in, enjoying a slew of new friendships and a business slowly growing, and the feeling that I'm where I am supposed to be.

As my yard explodes, and the fat camellia buds begin to pink as they get ready to unfurl, my house's time in transition is coming to a temporary end. It will transition again someday, either when I leave it toes up or it gets sold so that I can go paint the walls somewhere else.

I recently found an article which did a superb job of poking a very sharp finger into a subterranean belief that I do NOT wish to admit that I carry. I used this in a separate article but here it has a slightly different meaning for me.

Here's the article and the quote:

How to enjoy your problems | Psyche Guides
Accepting your problems is one thing. To enjoy them? Well, that’s pretty much enlightenment. Here’s how to get there

My favorite quote from this piece:

I know it’s tempting to believe some future moment has your happiness. That, someday, you’ll figure out how to solve your problems and finally arrive in that place where you can really enjoy things. But your life has already begun. This is it. We don’t know what happens once we die but, even if we lived forever, all we would ever be able to experience is the moment we’re in. Stop and feel how it feels to be you, in this place, this body, and this moment. And the next time you feel something difficult, ask yourself: what if this is a beautiful problem? What if you came to earth just to experience this?

...what if this is a beautiful problem? What if you came to earth just to experience this?

It's been one damned thing after another. A few years back, someone following me on Medium asked, with sympathy, when on earth it was all going to stop?

One woman wrote me a while back in real anger that she did indeed wish to live forever. Truth, I think she desperately wanted to have a life without problems

Not only have my problems not stopped, things in many ways got a whole lot worse. What's different, perhaps, is my willingness to not rail at them.

Okay, okay, with the exception of dealing with technology, and the stupidity of the American Un-healthy Industrial Complex, that is.

Few things get me more mad that making the dumbass mistake of purchasing a new phone, then getting all my phone stuff transferred over on a MONDAY, and not remembering that I need at least a weekend to work my way through all the junk apps, idiot updates and unnecessary goodies that some fool just knew we had to have.

So after a fine Monday otherwise, I was left to negotiate my "screaming meemies," as my mother (who was nicknamed Mimi), used to say. How I understand that today.

There will always be problems. Once solved, if ever, there will always be more. Often worse, as I have discovered.

LindaR sent me a Washington Post op-essay by the delicious Anne Lamott, which she knew I would like. I am sending it along in the hopes that most of you can access it ( I HATE PAYWALLS):

If you read nothing else from Lamott's piece, read this:

Age is giving me the two best gifts: softness and illumination. It would have been nice if whoever is in charge of such things doled them out in our younger years, but that’s not how it works. Age ferries them across the water, and they will bring us through whatever comes. (author bolded)

As I read Lamott's piece, I was struck by how differently we are aging. That's not a judgment; just an observation. She is two years my junior and appears to be dealing with many more ailments and illnesses.

Not that I haven't had my share, but the varied ways in which we move through life are wonderful reminders that the Magical Cure that works for Aunt Ninny isn't likely to work for you, nor is that tincture that Uncle Fred SWEARS cured his emphysema.

There are plenty of ways to improve how we all age, which is why I write. To that, and please forgive the sometimes glaring ageism in this article, here is a piece on aging well physically from Quartz. Still some good basic points:

The best way to keep fit changes as you age
To ensure that you are doing the right type of exercise for your age, follow this simple guide.

Another critical read for all of us, especially in the face of more sophisticated AI, is the business of scams. They are now hitting more and more Americans with greater effectiveness. I haven't been hit yet, although it got close a few years ago when someone smoothly convinced me they were from Microsoft.

I trusted my gut and slammed the phone down mid-call. The guy called me back, desperate to get me back on the hook. I blocked him. They are getting better, and older folks are hardly the only ones affected. Your grandkids, even more so:

How America Got Scammed
Modern fraudsters are taking advantage of social isolation and insecurities—and Americans of all ages are falling prey.

Please put in guard rails for yourself, and pass this article along to people who are isolated and lonely. Those two things make us terribly vulnerable.

That, and for older folks, if we are addled, we are even more susceptible. Let's keep our brains juicy and healthy. To that I suggest Maria Cross' new book

How to Feed Your Brain: Seven Evolutionary Steps to Transform your Mental Health: Cross, Maria: 9781909771345: Books
How to Feed Your Brain: Seven Evolutionary Steps to Transform your Mental Health [Cross, Maria] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. How to Feed Your Brain: Seven Evolutionary Steps to Transform your Mental Health

The better our brains, the better we age. Part of that is a very healthy heart; heart health is brain health, so walk, run, hike, swim, whatever. But MOVE.

The way you age is unique to you, as it is to me. There is no best way. There is only the way we choose, and with any grace, we will have the courage to appreciate all the moments we are given, and stop hoping for some paradise when problems don't exist.

Life cures all our problems with death. The challenge is loving the problems as they appear. Despite the fact that there are times I'd really like a break, the break I really get is when embrace my shit sandwiches the same way I embrace my best days.

They are all best days, really, so long as I am alive.

Deposit photos

I'm hardly there yet, but I am most assuredly making progress. I've changed what I say when I wake up (Today I GET to do.....) in addition to being genuinely thankful for the day that has rolled out in front of me. I say that I GET to deal with whatever problems I have, and that language changes how I enter that relationship to what is presented.

My father ran full tilt into a bottle from many of his. He didn't leave us physically, he stayed with us, but emotionally he was always in another place. Many of us live that way, which is no way to live. Today's fentanyl overdoses speak eloquently to our inability to embrace life's vicissitudes, which are often pretty awful.

Another shift I've made lately is to start squatting- assuming I'm in the right clothing- far more often. I squat when I have to wait for an appointment, which is often. This article speaks to why this is frowned on in some ways, but also why such a practice is so damned good for our bodies to say nothing of our leg strength, which sitting has stolen:

The Forgotten Art of Squatting Is a Revelation for Bodies Ruined by Sitting
In much of the world, squatting is as normal a part of life as sitting in a chair.

In reading the book At Home by Bill Bryson, I learned about how sewage was such an issue that certain inventors came up with the idea of plumbing and the seated throne. Said throne ultimately robbed us of this healthy habit. Back problems and worse ensued. So I squat more. And yes, I can feel the difference, and I don't give a crap if people look at me oddly in the waiting room.

It is just LOVELY to be able to smoothly dip into a deep squat (including on the BOSU ball) and get up smoothly- my rise on the BOSU ball is NOT smooth but I get there- and trust my legs. It's horrifying to me how many of us in the West cannot do this unless we are very, very young.

When I did those squats at the request of my knee doctor, he was astounded. At this juncture I absolutely expect my body to work this way, and I intend to keep at it as long as I possibly can. When will we exist in a world where leg strength at all ages is a standard, not a source of astonishment?

Speaking of healthy legs, my busted hip from last July is SO much better with all the sand dunes and stair hiking. Those have resulted in some barky knee issues, well of course, so I've had to make some adaptations.

However, at the YMCA, where BOSU balls have become part of my everyday routine for strength and balance, I am also integrating these hip exercises, which we all need if we sit too much:

10 Hip Stretches You Need In Your Life If You Sit A Lot
Sweet, sweet release.

My basement, once the gym and now the dumping place for everything that was in the downstairs bathroom and bedrooms, is getting painted. Once that's done I can re-establish the gym, a safe place to do yoga and my beloved kick boxing tapes. If not that, then the YMCA has umpteen classes.

Then, there's this article about how the Finns, famous for being among the happiest people in the world, manage to deal with life as it is handed to them:

I’m a psychologist in Finland, the No. 1 happiest country in the world: 4 phrases we use every day
For 6 years now, Finland has been ranked the world’s happiest country. Psychologist and happiness researcher Frank Martela shares phrases residents always use.

I loved this quote:

Sometimes life gives, sometimes it takes. Tomorrow someone else might be the one having a rough time, while something delightful comes your way.

We Finns know that, no matter the situation, you can always count on one thing: sooner or later, summer will come to us all.

Summer isn't my favorite part of the year. Spring and fall are, because they are unsettled, transitory, and full of the achingly gorgeous proof that life is always and forever in transition. I wake up very happy to be alive and increasingly grateful for what is given me to experience.

My cherry tree just getting started

The cotton-candy pink cherry blossoms in my yard, so brief and so breathtaking, are evidence enough, as are the millions of nodding daffodils which announce spring to anyone who missed the memo.

Finally, another quote from Garner's article about loving our problems:

I feel fortunate to be able to use my hard lessons for good. In these moments, the particular triumphs and tragedies of my life seem small but not insignificant, like my part in a song we’re all singing together. My days are gentler now than they’ve ever been, but I know I’m not immune to problems. On my best days, pain mingles with pleasure and becomes a secret third thing. The whole of my life forms the lens I see the world through, a perspective I’m proud to bring. Each part of it matters. Your experience is also offering you this, a kaleidoscope of sensations that both set you apart and join you with the universal strangeness of being human. Enjoy it while you can.


With that, today I head to the coast to do the dunes, visit my friend Bob and his service dog Lola, sit on the rocky coast in Yachats with coffee and a box lunch and a book. There, my friend with her two enthusiastic Boston Terriers will stop by my car. I'll collect more doggy kisses and we will laugh at the changing weather, aging, and life, like Anne Lamott and her friend.

Life is exquisite. We are so very fortunate to have it.

a large wave is coming towards the shore
Photo by Catia Dombaxe / Unsplash

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