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Snow days, old age have benefits

Snow days, old age have benefits Snow days, old age have benefits

Usually there is nothing whoopee about growing old. But, today is different. Today, I am snowbound at our farm. I have an excuse to just BE. Not to be anything spectacular but just to look around and observe and appreciate life.
Today, I can wear my old baggy slacks with the elastic waist, the ones that don’t pull on my body anywhere but just keep me warm with a waistband that hold up my pants. I may not even wash my face until after lunch or whenever I decide to raid the icebox.
It is a day with a lot of excuses for an old person just to hang out and soak up the wonders of the world.
I started out the morning with the usual perusal of my iPhone messages. There was a phone message from my daughter in Phoenix. Not a problem; just call her back in three hours when she is up. Oh, to be connected on a snowy day when the talking is free and easy.
Next, I checked in with the news of the day; AP for me usually. I found nothing new there, thank goodness, and the old stuff I can worry about later.
My emails were the regular appeals this morning, and most of them were ‘blasts’ from political groups or notices of products to buy that are of no interest to me. I was free to go to Facebook and play around with goofy stuff, baby pictures of grandkids and crazy stunts on YouTube.
But on Facebook, I found a marvelous experience of the powers of technology for an old lady on a snowy day. From somewhere in Italy, a feed went out featuring the performance of a love song from the opera Tosca written by the composer Puccini. It got to me via a friend in Seymour who sent it to her daughter Katy, my past work associate in Indianapolis who now lives in New York City. Katie is married to Aaron Renn who grew up in Harrison County. Small world; long but fast route.
Don and I sat in our big window that overlooks the frozen white fields of our farm and listened to an amazing opera. We propped up my smartphone in a little plastic holder, shared my hearing aids and sat in our warm house as we watched and listened to a world-class performance of a musical classic. How could I be so lucky?
There were years that my schedule was established by a big staff weeks ahead of executing it. Every minute of each day was carefully planned so that not a second would be wasted.
Many of you can relate to the demands of work, family and personal tasks. No snow days for you who form the economic engine for our society. No days off for parents or civil servants or medical personnel. I felt for you as you dressed for the cold and uncertain outside world this day. I thank you for keeping the world moving while we ‘over the hill’ gang prop up our feet and meditate.
I notice a lot of things that skipped my attention in those days when I hurried around all the time. I use my eyes to see deeper than I had time to do before. I hear such a complex mix of sounds and voices as I concentrate on hearing these days. I think of abstract meanings and concepts as I gaze over the white fields and listen to the music from amazing artists. When I was younger, I had a sign that hung in my laundry room that read, ‘Take time to smell the roses.’ I thought I knew what that meant at the time.
I have been reading two interesting books during the holidays: ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl and ‘The Shift’ by Dwayne Dyer.
Frankl was a psychiatrist who lived through imprisonment in a German concentration camp during the second World War, and Dryer is a contemporary writer and teacher. I hear a combination message from them both. It is ‘Stop; look at your work and look at yourself. Figure out what is important to you and why. Analyze what will keep you going in life according to your values and priorities.’ Both writers emphasize the need to live beyond yourself for a greater purpose. There is no permanent value in being ‘snow bound’ in mind or action. But, don’t gear up your life without stopping to contemplate the big questions of life: What are life’s mysteries? What is life’s meaning? What is my meaning? What do I do to fulfill my purpose?
P.S. Don’t fear old age. It has its benefits. I just looked up and spotted a deer running through the woods against the white background of snow. What a wonder. The demands of a more active life and a warmer day would have caused me to miss this show in my younger years.

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