A friend of mine came back from a trip to her hometown. Clearly distraught, she confided in me: “My favorite diner is gone. It’s now turned into a Mexican restaurant. And its roof is a giant sombrero.
I’m not going to lie: I found the sombrero roof hysterical.
But then I kept pondering her frustration. As we age, places change: “They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.” Joni Mitchel sang it well.
How can we find any joy in such things?
Maybe we can’t always find joy – but I did find something that helped change my perspective to something more positive. I can be thankful that though gone, a favorite restaurant left me with good memories. Because my beloved eating spot didn’t stay open, there is no fear of the memory being tainted. Like a TV show that didn’t run past it’s prime, I only think happy and thankful thoughts when I think of a certain place.
Yes, unfortunately it’s the end of an era. But it’s the end of a good era.
Being a Texan, I have eaten pinto beans my whole life. When a little girl, I remember mixing up dirt and water to make my own pretend “refried beans” in my play kitchen in the backyard fort. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen anymore, because I instead make my own scrumptious recipe that is the real deal, and more importantly, edible.
I love that as we grow up, we replace the “pretend” with the real.
A stuffed animal can one day be a furry friend that greets us every morning.
A baby doll can one day be a precious infant that snuggles up to us in our arms.
A battery operated car can one day be our daily drive to work.
I think it’s easy to take for granted the fact that I finally have what I so often longed for when I was younger. Now I can appreciate that the play acting was just shadows of something greater. And now I’ve stepped into it.
While waiting for my luggage in the Istanbul airport, I watched a little toddler run up and down a ramp. He was so delighted, and the rush he felt as he slapped his sandals against the incline was almost tangible. His excitement built with each step. Then once at the top, he’d turn around, and as fast as his little legs could carry him, blast down the incline with glee.
He was actively experiencing life and the simple pleasures it can bring. His happiness reached out to me and made me smile.
I’ve spent so many years of my life focused on my own “growing up”. I haven’t spent nearly as much time watching and enjoying others do the same. And now I will.
I was sharing with a gal pal of mine what I recently spotted at an antique mall. I saw Pound Puppies: the irresistible stuffed animals created by Mike Bowling in 1984. I collected and played with them when I was a little girl. And of course, the subsequent Pound Kitties that soon appeared on store shelves.
But back to the puppies. Now they are selling them in antique stores?
I’m used to seeing my Mom’s toys on antique store shelves. Not my own. I found myself giggling in disbelief as I confided this to my friend. She had also shared my love of Pound Puppies, and she joined in with my laughter. For a moment, our minds went back in time, as we fondly remembered them and the fun they brought into our lives.
And that’s when a simple, obvious truth dawned on me: I’m aging along with everyone else, and the sheer number of us helps make it fun. We can reminisce together and understand each other’s memories. It bonds us, making aging just that much easier and that much more fulfilling.
I’m so grateful for others.
I overthink. A lot. And I often contemplate the fact that I’m in my late 30s, heading toward 40. Because I still don’t quite believe my age. It’s not denial; it’s more amazement.
A friend of mine in her fifties confided that she, too, asks herself obvious questions. “Am I really in my 50s? Because I don’t feel it.” Another friend shared with me a perceptive quote she heard: The days are long, but the years are quick.
I know there are days I will physically “feel my age.” But I love the irony of it, because at the same time, (no matter how much I overthink), I’m still shrugging my shoulders in disbelief because in my mind, I don’t “feel my age.”
Creator of Love, Auntie.