Tag Archives: seniority

An autumn love story

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On a warm autumn day, in a town on the Mediterranean, I let my kid choose where she wanted to have lunch. Her choice led us to a place were locals go. Tables next to each other. Waiters saluting clients with a non-chalance of old friends. This kind of place.

We were given a table in the middle of the room and soon enough a couple was sat next to us.

She was beaming with elegance, her hair just out of a hairdresser. White blouse, dark skirt. Let’s call her Mathilde. He was dressed as if in a hurry. A hurry to see her, I thought. Let’s call him Henry. They both seemed to have been born in the middle of last century.

They ordered the plat du jour and wine. Henry immediately became chatty with the lady at the table next to him and told her the story of his life in 5 minutes: he is retired, daughter lives in another country, he and the lady having lunch with him is not his wife and they just “see each other”. He would be good on Twitter, I thought, with such a talent for conciseness.

The lady at the next table offered them her unfinished bottle of wine. I also wanted to offer something, in exchange for more stories. I offered them our untouched basket of bread. They accepted it with the joy of 5 year olds on Christmas eve.

As we switched our attention to our plates, their dialogue unfolded:

– Oh, darling, your back hurts you again?, Henry asked with a compassion level 100, as she tried to find a comfortable posture in her chair.

– Oh, it’s fine, Mathilde tried to reassure him.

– Well, you know the remedy. You come to my place. You undress. I give you a massage on your back, his hands demonstrating circular movements, as if around her delicate shoulders.

Mathilde blushed and directed his eyes with her green eyes to my daughter, as if saying: « Shsh, there are kids around ». Henry’s blue eyes responded: “Well, sooner or later, she will find out. What’s there to hide?!”

– Well, you felt good after our last time…, his sweet smile enveloping her.

We left the place with the feeling of having watched a good movie from the 50s. Their illuminated faces – a lovely memory of an autumn love story. Ageless. Priceless.

P.S. I remembered this story in the times of this pandemic… I truly hope they are well and their love continues to brighten their days.

Teleworking week 4: view from home – online safety

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The above is a humorous perspective. Yet, joke aside, we massively moved on-line, we must surf it ever more cautiously. Europol and law enforcement agencies warn us of cybersecurity threats and ill-intended minds.

Ever more, children’s exposure is to be watch with constant care for their well-being. Take a cybersecurity basic course and be equipped. Check permissions on your PC. Close the camera with a sticker. Talk gently to kids about it.

Teleworking week 2: view from home, part 1

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The closest pharmacy to my place is on the ground floor of my apartments bloc. The other day, as I was waiting outside for my turn to enter, a seniour citizen in his late 70s “approached” me:

– You are not wearing a mask…. Why?, he asked, a bandana in his hand.

– I do not need to. It serves those who are sneezing, coughing…, I answered summoning all my empathy.

– You know, he replied, I am terrified. I watch the TV and see all that….

– I have no TV for ten years now.

– You may be right, he said,…about the TV.

– Would you like to go inside the pharmacy? I can wait, I offered.

He gladly took my offer. I could hear their conversation. The pharmacist assumed he had hearing problems so he was yelling his answers. The gentleman was clearly scared. He did not buy anything. He needed human interaction and hypeless communication.

There is no right or wrong way to react to all around in these new circumstances. It’s one thing to watch a SF movie and another to be here and now. This is one of the reasons I never liked SF movies and apocalyptic views.

Back to the story of this gentleman. He is one of the millions, indoors, with a TV only as a company, probably, his loneliness brought at another level… . Psychologists already noticed it. Too many bad news and little information on recovery is dangerous for the human psyche. Psychologists around the world keep encouraging to try to look for positives and share them when you talk to others. It is demonstrated by research that a stressed mind diminishes the immune response.

Some countries and regions have installed services for people to call and talk to someone. Some of us are doing it at personal level – through baskets of solidarity or food ordered and delivered to those who need it. I see it in my country, enabled by charities joining forces with the business, like Diaconia and Kaufland.

Again, on a personal level one can read a book by skype/phone or start a virtual book club. Or put together a list of online entertainment: free opera streaming, concerts, movies, virtual museums visits etc. Little gestures which bring a human voice and touch to a lonely human heart … .

I loved Daniel Kaufmann’s article of this week “Caremongering – random acts of kindness” https://www-brookings-edu.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/03/19/caremongering-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-random-acts-of-kindness-and-online-enrichment/amp/

Here is to caremongering – random acts of kindness today and everyday.

The sweetness of grandmother-granddaughter talk

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In a doctor’s waiting room, a very talkative grandmother tries to get her granddaughter’s attention. The 15 year old tries to read. The dialogue goes like this:

– You can read your book at home.

– I can read and listen to you at the sane time, grandmother. I finally learned how to do it.

– You can keep your book. In my younger days, I was reading books all night long. I was 18.

– I am 15, grandmother.

– You can still read your book at home. What’s in you backpack?

– School things.

– Look at this! The grandmother seems surprised by the way the girl’s colorful backpack is made.

She then goes on about the lost value of Christmas, her neighbor crazy driving, religious tolerance … .

The appointment was for the young lady. I thought “How sweet! The grandmother accompanied her grandchild!” I almost wished she would never stop talking. I wished she would turn to me to get me to listen while waiting for her granddaughter to come out of the doctor’s office.

Then I got it. It’s their special thing: a 85 year old grandmother – 15 year old granddaughter dialogue, tune, reverberation.

Here is to all sweet grandmothers-granddaughters joy of sharing!

Pledges

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I have a black dress with a beautiful flower print, three quarters sleeves, midi length. I call it my 90s dress. As in “a dress to wear in my 90s”.image

I picture myself in my mid ninetees wearing it with an orange scarf, a flirtish small purse, mid heels, by my partner’s arm, heading to my daughter’s house for an afternoon picnic.

This is my pledge. A pledge to a long, healthy, happy life, surrounded by people with whom I share a commitment to nurturing. I love the feeling this pledge gives. It makes me grateful and wise about how I use my life resources.

I once met a psychiatrist who cautioned me about the way I use my resources, in a period I worked for five big clients simultaneously, under tough tight deadlines. A did not know the word No at that time. From an Yes person, I turned into a robot. The psychiatrist asked me to pay a visit to her hospital. Seeing Mentally alienated people was an wake up call. It showed the bottom which brought in the salvaging perspective. The mind is a servant. Put it to good use and it will serve you. Make it run endless, meaningless errands and it will rebel. Payback time will get tough. The bottom will be quick to hit. Regaining balance will be challenging.

Back to my dress. It was on my “to donate” list. Until its orange flower print gave me that sense of perpetuation. Was it its stand-out orange pattern, with its energising sunny colour? Was it the contrast between black and orange as in a competition for a bet on the bright side of the life? It can be both. It regained now a prominent place in my wardrobe. This pledge is printed out, folded and kept in my diary, as a claim made with an open heart and humility to a long, healthy, prosperious, loving, fulfilling life for the good of all.

My Not To do List in Seniority

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People are my inspiration. For To Do as well as for Not to Do.

Just back from people’s observatory, my mind made a mental and spiritual commitment to avoid doing a number of things when I’ll embrace seniority. My guess is that my mind will keep adding or deleting items from the list. But there always room for a good start. So, I decree that my senior years shall be free of:

  1. Lipstick. Leaving traces of lipstick on my grandchildren foreheads? No way!
  2. Dyed hair. White is beautiful! Kind of cloudish!
  3. Gossiping: being caught up in the poisonous net of word of mouth is taking away precious time to enjoy the calm years preceding the entry into another stage. Occasional gossips about what a neighbor was wearing at the Sunday Mass or Yoga class (depending on my preferences in the years to come) are allowed :).
  4. Envy: especially targeted at younger people. We all have our plates full of what we order life to bring us.
  5. Excessive fashionism: occasional Armani bags allowed :).
  6. Commitments to a job to hate. I’ve witnessed too many seniors being torn between a self-imposed commitment to other family members and the need to go to a job that takes away too much energy. Baking with joy, working with kids, gardening are allowed and fully encouraged.
  7. Financial worries for descendants. My dear descendants, I know you are bright, smart, entrepreneurial and able to multiply everything I have put together for your and other’s good.
  8. Arrogance. Who would want to listen to or talk to an arrogant octogenarian?!
  9. Solitude.
  10. Being stuck in unhealthy relationships of any kinds.
  11. Regrets, of any kind.
  12. A grandiose sense of self-importance.

I have still to think about scuba diving, ice scatting and bungee jumping 🙂