Clare County Review & Marion Press

Pat’s Bits and Pieces: Things I’ve learned – Sometimes the hard way

In a couple of weeks, I will reach the ripe old age of 76…
Yup, I’m one of those dreaded ‘baby boomers!’ Now I am also one of the more “senior” seniors, another little fact I’m not overly fond of as the aches and pains of everyday life accumulate.
That birthday rolling around again got me to thinking about my life and few accomplishments so far.
I’ve certainly had a lot of unrealized goals, but have been lucky enough to have a profession that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed (and still am enjoying, most of the time anyway).
Despite selling the paper nearly thirteen years ago, I’m still managing to keep pretty busy, so it goes without saying that I haven’t “semi-retired” like I told everyone I was going to do. And even thought it has been more than a decade now, people still remember, and I am still answering that question everywhere I go…
I’ve learned over the past dozen years that I don’t really want to retire – at least not completely. I’m still having too much fun – most of the time anyway and working at home certainly has its perks when the winter winds blow and the temperature dips down into single digits.
January isn’t really a good time to be doing this introspection though. Frigid, snowy weather doesn’t seem to increase my enthusiasm or outlook on life much.
Dreary weather makes for dreary thoughts, and beating yourself up over the things you haven’t done, so I decided to forget that and try and list a few of the “truths” I’ve learned over the years.

  1. Can the advice. You think you can help your family not make the same mistakes you did. Unfortunately, after they reach the ripe old age of 20 or so, you can advise all you want, but in spite of anything you say, your kids – and grandkids — are going to go their own way – and make their own mistakes. It only upsets them when you offer suggestions. I try, but I still haven’t learned to always keep my mouth shut and just listen when I should and at my (now) ripe old age, I guess I’m not going to.
  2. “Things” just aren’t as important as they used to be. Now that we have “downsized” our living space, I’ve found that I can get along pretty well without most of the “stuff” I thought I couldn’t live without. But then we still have plenty in our own storage facility (a garage that even a little car like mine won’t fit into). And I am still weeding things out and giving things away. It’s pretty incredible the amount of things I collected over my lifetime.
  3. “Family” is more important that just about anything else, with friends a really close second. Enjoy them while you can. They are the only important “things” you really need to have in this life and you never know how long they are going to be around. Kids are great. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren are a unique and special blessing and your chance to be “young again” just by spending time with them.
  4. Pass out a few complements. It doesn’t cost a thing and is guaranteed to make someone else feel good. It could make their whole day better, so if you like the job they did, their hairdo, or what they’re wearing, be sure and say so! It will make you feel pretty good too.
  5. Make cookies. There’s nothing else that makes “Grandma’s house” as inviting as that.
  6. Hang the sheets out on the line whenever the weather is nice enough to let you do it. I know, the dryer is easier, but there just isn’t anything that feels, or smells as good as sheets dried in the sunshine and fresh breezes when you crawl into bed.
  7. Warm cookies are great, but homemade soup is the absolute best “comfort food” in the winter time. It also makes the house smell great while it’s cooking! In the summer always try and cook outside as much as possible.
  8. Make your spouse your best friend and treat him, or her like they are that special to you always. After 55 years, Jack and I have discovered that is the most important thing in our marriage.
    By the way, even good friends do occasionally disagree, sometimes loudly…

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