June 6, 2021

One of the writers I admire, in all her formats (books, blog, newsletters, and podcast), writes a quarterly post about the things she has learned in that season of life. It is supposed to be that literal season of the year; but it always seems to me that life’s seasons are often as easy to pinpoint as weather-related seasons. For that matter, the two are linked: I have noticed that my moods, feelings, and decisions, can very easily coincide with shifts in weather patterns.

But that’s a bit tangential to the point. The point being that this writer/podcaster shares her learnings, and invites others to join her in the reflective exercise.

I always find it interesting to think about this topic; yet I also struggle, when life feels full/overwhelming/stressful/complicated (hmmm—am I simply defining the word “life,” here?), to put words to the passing of the days. I hate this. I hate it when I think back to moments of my own life and realize that I had nearly forgotten those parts altogether, due to the rapid transition on to the next thing. It prompts a fear of “wasting” my own life—an angsty feeling I get if I have too many impactful experiences without making them “real” by documenting them. I envy those who can live fully present in the moments of life, rather than obsessively writing them down. 

That said, I hereby commence said obsessive writing-down of a season in which life has whirled and swirled so much that I don’t know where to begin in a list of things learned. Rather than follow Julie Andrew’s lead in this case (though I am shamelessly unabashed when it comes to random belting out of her songs—combined with dance, of course), I will start at the end, as it were . . . start with my most recent “learning.”

  1. I can handle wound care, even in its most gruesome forms. This week I washed a leg that was so far gone it had maggots crawling in the open sores. Yes, I know—too much information. But it was real life. We would like to imagine that such gruesome cases are a thing of the past—or at least not to be found here in the modernized and “progressive” world we are in. So I am here to bear witness to the fact that people all around are warring against physical and emotional horrors. May we remember to watch out for each other, to check in with those close to us and with those who come to mind, for you never know when you might happen upon someone who needs you, no matter how unprepared, ill-equipped, or inadequate you may feel. 
  2. I seem to be better suited to working with people not in my own age bracket. Every once in a while we have a young (i.e. my age) patient in the clinic. More often than not, I find I’m thrown off kilter when this happens. I’m generally a bit uncomfortable around people my age—insecure? self-conscious? But somehow, put me with people a fair bit younger or older than I am, and I end up feeling more comfortable in my own skin, and more confident in whatever it is I’m doing. 
  3. I love Aldi. Today’s triumph was discovering that Aldi has yet another item that we purchase regularly, and that is gradually eliminating our need to shop at any other grocery or large-and-unnamed-chain-store. It is a beautifully streamlined and fluff-free (I don’t know, either—but that’s the term my strange brain came up with) shopping experience. Chit-chatting with the cashier as I checked out, I was thrilled to learn what distinguishes Southern Germany from Northern Germany Aldis. I am Jeopardy-ready at the moment, thanks to my new knowledge. If any reader out there would like to be in on my little learning secret, feel free to ask ;-)
  4. As age creeps in, I have an increasingly narrow window of temperature tolerance. This past Memorial Day, I had a holiday from work. My intent was to enjoy an outdoor swim, with many pools opening on that day. I have historically loved the simultaneous joy of Vitamin D plus lap swimming. I also know I am a cold water wimp. I do not even swim in indoor “lap pools,” opting instead for pools intended for swim lessons or water aerobics classes . . . (hmmm. Is there a parallel here with learning #2?). All that to say, with the extra cold weekend we had, I knew better than to look for anything other than a heated outdoor pool. The heater was broken. I jumped in. I started to swim. And I gave up, waving my white flag of surrender and rushing for a warm shower instead. Later that day, I watched my nieces gleefully splashing around during our family get together. Their lips were blue and their teeth chattering, but they were beyond oblivious to the cold. I sat with a drink in hand, chatting with family members, watching their gleeful faces and not, for one brief moment, being tempted to jump in. On the opposite end of the thermometer spectrum, me + commute + little Camry = match made in H-E-double-hockey-sticks  (see previous, two posts ago, blog post for an explanation of this statement).
  5. I am ridiculously predictable. Take any given Saturday night when hubby and I are home. Me: “Let’s watch a movie tonight!” Husband: “Sure” Me: *looks up all the recent new recommendations from blogs, podcasts, and news sources. Finds something that looks fun, and is available for free. “Ooh—here’s one. Let’s watch this one!” Husband: “Sure” *sets up his computer for us, asks me about volume level, and gets the show going. Me: *sitting with my laptop or book, 5 minutes into the show . . . “I don’t know. Maybe we should just watch another episode of [current favorite cheesy series on cheesy channel that we apparently have an unlimited free trial of] . . . what do you think?” Husband: “Sure”

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