Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Aging Games

In the movie, The Hunger Games, the main characters spend a lot of time running for their lives. Its a little like the game of Survivor, except the voting is done with weapons and its not just your torch that gets snuffed. For thousands of years, human kind has loved a good contest. Think gladiators. Think Olympic curling. Different events but for both, an enthusiastic audience.

The competitions we watch entertain us. They also distract us from the biggest reality game on the planet. While we’re busying ourselves with school, work, children, parents and (for Clarence) shopping, we’re all racing along a path toward death. Yep. At some point, we’ll all be D. E. A. D. Drop everything and die. Do everything and die. Don’t even argue… Well. You get the picture. Leaving out the whole life after death thing (which I totally believe in, thank you God!!) it still means that our earthy form will expire. But while there is no way out of the death race, there is still a way of winning.

Welcome to the Aging Games. Each contestant in this race has only one goal, and that is to make it to the finish line in the best shape possible. There are a few things that will help you along. A few obvious ones are:

Don’t smoke (or quit. Quit right now!)

Eat sensibly…overdosing on vegetables is always a good idea. Drop the sugar habit.

Keep moving. Obviously, we’ll all approach this differently. Some will jog, lift weights and engage in iron man triathalons well into their seventies. Others (like me) will skip and do light aerobics while watching television. The point is to keep moving as much as possible.

Enjoy yourself. Be with people that make you laugh. Do what you want with your spare time. And when you meet up with a senior, appreciate them for the warriors that they are. Every single one you know is struggling in some way to keep it together, to live their lives, and to make them count until the very end.

They may be in pain. They might be having memory problems. But they are in the last push of their lives, the hardest part of the race. I salute them all, and I salute you, future warrior. Fight to the finish. And if you believe in life after death, then I’ll see on Redemption Island.

Show Me The Way To Go Home

Now that I’m spending more time in Winnipeg, I’ve been struggling once again with an inability to find the way to and from…anywhere.  It’s like someone has taken a sponge and wiped out parts of my brain.  A number of years ago, I couldn’t find the Sport-ex in the town of Creighton.  I had to go home and admit to my husband that, no, I would not be picking up our daughter from skating.  He thought I’d had a stroke.

I would have loved to have had a good excuse for embarrassing myself that way.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me, that I have such a hard time getting from one place to another.  I also struggle with guessing distances and height, so maybe its a spatial thing.  Whatever the cause, I’ve discovered a few helpful tips.  I try to look around more  when someone else is driving.  And I use map quest a lot while I’m in the city.  Our next vehicle will have a GPS, but for now, map quest does the trick.  Except.

The other day I carefully and successfully navigated my way down Pembina to a second hand book store.  Something that I hadn’t  counted on, though, was finding my way home.  Because (and perhaps you already know this, dear reader) the street names change.  For example, Osborne, depending on where you are, is also called Isabel, Colony, Memorial, Dunkirk and Dakota.  For someone who gets lost a lot, this is a nightmare.  I didn’t know about this little complication or I would have map quested my way home.  Since I didn’t, I ended up someplace downtown during rush hour, where the traffic was basically stopped.  That didn’t prevent me from lurching into another lane. I would have been proud of my move if I hadn’t scared the crap out of a pedestrian.  I was at least eight feet away from him, but he obviously felt threatened.  He shook his fist and yelled so loudly that I banged an elbow in my haste to roll up the window and lock all the doors.

Stalled traffic also presents an opportunity for homeless people to make a little extra cash.  They hold up signs saying things like ‘have no work or food.’  The jury is still out on how to handle this one, but I have a hard time saying no.  So in between trying to get in the right lane, avoid hitting pedestrians and still the panic building inside my chest, I had to roll down the window and hand out loonies.  I had quite a few, since I’d been planning on washing the car.  For some reason, I didn’t feel I could stop until the coins were all gone. 

Once the traffic started moving again, things didn’t get much better.  I kept circling the same block over and over again, until finally I cut through a parking lot and temporarily derailed my driving purgatory.  It started up again, though, when I found myself shooting down Main Street in the wrong direction.  How I finally found my way back to Osborne Village, I’ll never know.  The good news is, I haven’t been lost since.  Scaring the crap out of myself had some valuable side benefits.  Now I always make sure that I know how to get there AND back again. 

A positive side to all the driving mayhem was my realization that every journey, whether physical, spiritual or metaphorical, needs a destination.  Never mind the saying about the journey being the thing.  Yes, we’re supposed to enjoy the ride.  Take in the scenery.  Pull over every once in a while to eat some lunch, or pee in the bush.  But overall, we want to be headed somewhere.  Maybe the most important thing to ask ourselves is this.  Where do we want to go?  Which is another way of saying, what do we want to be when we grow up?  Some of us are still trying to figure it out.  The next time I’m lost, I’ll remember to ask myself the big questions.  Where am I going?  And how do I get there?  Hopefully, I’ll arrive at an answer.