Golden Lucy's Spiral Journal

Going on 87...Savoring and Surviving the Senior Years

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

You'll Kill Yourself!

I've always operated on the "dead in the street" principle. This means I automatically imagine the worst-scene scenario when it comes to physical safety and the likelihood of danger and disaster. I can't help it.

When I was a child I was taught (not to contradict Mr. Rogers--whom my grandchildren quoted when I expressed concern) that I could actually go down the bathtub drain. I guess I've always considered water pretty dangerous stuff because I religiously taught my son Jack that anything over his knees was "certain drowning depth." He's still resentful.

In reaction, it seemed to me, he was almost downright irresponsible when it came my grandchildren's safety. They were allowed to touch hot ovens, crawl up steep stairs, climb towering trees and just generally decide what they felt safe and confident doing.

Whenever I visited I tried to bring some sanity to what I considered a dangerous situation for the children. "Make sure your shoelaces are tied," I'd remind my granddaughter as we stepped on the escalator. "Your leg will get cut off if your shoelace gets caught." Although she giggled hysterically it made a lot of sense to me at the time. However, I think I've learned to relax a bit.

I'll always be vigilant but I was pretty proud of myself this weekend. Our family spent 3 days at a nearby ski resort. Everyone was there---children, grandchildren and great-grandkids. The only folks who didn't ski or snowboard were Darling Lily Ana-age 1, Jack, who only skiis uphill and Granny Lucy who knows snow is just frozen water! Anyway, the things I saw and heard about my family doing on that mountain should have sent me into cardiac arrest.

But I even surprised myself. Mostly I just said, "Don't talk about it!" But of course they did---embellishing things, I'm sure for my benefit. The thing is, that for the first time in my life I'm choosing to share pleasure, fun and happiness instead of anxiety, fear and pessimism. I certainly don't mean to say it's an easy choice---it feels so familiar and comfy to react to things negatively---(and deep down I still believe my fears are well-founded.)

I guess getting older has made me willing to embrace the philosophy of, "I'd rather be happy than right." At least I'm trying to do that every day. And I think I'm finally getting it.


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