Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Transitions


This "summer" is over half gone and the busyness of it has made time pass very quickly.

My childhood summers seemed to last forever...

When our children were school aged, I was able to take a leave of absence from work every summer. We spent many lazy days at the park, biking on city trails and playing in the yard. Time went a little faster.

Now I wonder if a visit from adult children is considered having "company"? They stay in our newly created guest room but this is still their home in many ways. One daughter just bought her first house in July, a big milestone in life. This week she is the nurse at a summer camp and is spending her days caring for children with scrapes, splinters, tummy aches and homesickness.

Her sister returned yesterday to her life in Mexico where she will be preparing to teach English at the university in a few weeks.

Time hurtles by and transitions happen quickly as if the slide show of my life is now being shown at warp speed. My children give me advice, sometimes unsolicited, and make big decisions on their own. The tables are turning.

A few years ago I met a very interesting man who had returned to university after his retirement in 1986. He completed his bachelor and masters degrees while caring for his wife who later died. He also volunteered at our hospital. This fall, at the age of 88, he will be receiving his doctorate in geography and environmental studies. I used to visit his home after his hip surgery and loved to hear him share his research about our local geological history and environment. I think about him often as I explore areas of our region and look at the hills and streams with his eyes. In a recent newspaper article he is quoted as saying,

"Doing nothing is like practicing for death."

His research involved a lot of physical exertion. Pain and fatigue were inevitable but he said,

"You take your time and when you get tired, you sit on a rock and listen to the birds."

Transitions are part of life, but we have a lot of control over how they affect our attitudes and subsequent actions.


Photo: Crows on Manitoulin Island

13 comments:

  1. Another beautifully written, thought-provoking post Ruth.

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  2. I think that adult children always feel a certain sense of ownership of their parents' home, even if it isn't the one they grew up in. I put the emphasis on certain and don't imply that nit's a bad thing but a natural thing.

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  3. Wherever my parents are I think I would consider their home as part of mine. Especially my mother and grandmother home simple because I think I would recognize so many trinkets from my childhood there.

    I think the man you talks about sounds like someone who knows how to live life to the fullest and I admire that so much.

    (I absolutely love the first photo in your post by the way!)

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  4. Interesting and thought-provoking post. I love the story of the old gentleman getting his doctorate. Doing nothing IS practicing for death.
    My grown kids, too, love to give unsolicited advice. I don't mind. At least they've grown up confident in themselves, even if they do believe they know best!

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  5. I don't like the feeling of time passing so quickly--especially when I think about all those really great years when the kids kept me so very busy--there was no time to reflect on those as they were happening. I suppose now that the busyness in my life is self-inflicted I can make the time for more reflection on the past and on the present.

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  6. That last sentence is oh so important.It's all in the attitude,we can choose to fret or to enjoy.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  7. We start back to school today. Indeed, the summer used to seemingly last forever. I am "at home" in my parent's house, though it's been decades since I spent the night there. Transitions seem to happen quietly, don't they? How wonderful that the gentleman got his degrees later in life.

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  8. Amen, Ruth. Transitions are inevitable. How we respond is not--that's what we can control. But it is hard sometimes--hard to fight the inertia one can feel after having the wind knocked out of you.

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  9. Great post, Ruth. Our children do not feel or act like company when they visit. However, we feel like company when we visit them although I'm not sure why.

    My favorite retirement phrase is, "Live as if you will die tomorrow. Learn like you will live forever."

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  10. You have a wonderful way of writing. I always feel as if I am sitting with you and you are talking directly to me.

    Whenever I visit my parents I always think of it as my home to. Lots of my childhood gifts to them, school writings, etc are there. Much cherished by them.

    To find peace and solace when life has many troubles cannot be bought....it is something that just comes to some. The man, of whom you speak, seems to have found just that......

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  11. I can relate to this post. How does time speed up as we grow older??? This summer is flying by.

    I like your elderly gentleman. His attitude towards life is like gold!

    I also can feel the tables turning as my children take up their place in society and become "guests" in my home. Especially since this home is not their childhood home.

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  12. Thanks for the comments. Life is a transition from it inception. I just find them more significant as I get older. Jaspenelle...I was intrigued by the behaviour of these crows. They would line up to be groomed by a parent-type bird.

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  13. Beautifull written..I agree with Lynne!
    Transitions are all part of life as u say..and its how we handle them that is important.
    thanks for the reminders! Think I will sit and look at some birds!

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