Loving When Older

I have been invited to speak at the Mastick Senior Center in Alameda.  This facility offers a multitude of social and intellectual opportunities for people over 50.  I was asked to speak on Valentine’s Day and to address the experience of love when we are older.

There are a few ways to look at this experience.  There are couples who have been together for many years.  They have a long history and families that have grown from this relationship.  The love remains a commitment to support and to share a history.  There are memories to share.  A sense of warmth and appreciation remain.

Others have moved on alone for a period of time.  Partners have died or divorce has occurred.  The experience of love often enters after a time of loneliness.  When two people share this background, the mutual awareness can lead to an appreciation of being understood and valued.

Others have spent longer times alone comfortably and then meet someone also independent.  There is a sense of enhancing each other’s lives.

I look forward to learning more from my audience.  They will educate me about love when older.

The event is at 1 pm if you would like to attend.

We Marched Again

I went with the same group to the women’s march in Oakland.  This time there were more men and children than I remember seeing last year.  The number was said to be 50,000 participants.

It is often hard to know how to express one’s feelings.  So many people are troubled by what is going on in this country and the world.  There is a sense of powerlessness.  Studies show it is definitely affecting people’s moods.

The hope is to do something to be heard and contribute to change.  Behavior is a way of asserting ourselves.  Marching, working to get voters out for the next election, and listening to what people’s issues are who are different than us can be valuable.

It felt wonderful to participate with so many like-minded people.

We Acclimate

I moved to California six years ago.  We drove from Maine.  Prior to Maine, I lived in Michigan most of my life.  Clearly, I knew the four seasons.

On the last day of our drive, we began in Bakersfield.  It was October 31.  When I checked, I saw that the temperature in Alameda was 56.  To me, that was the entry into spring.  I wore a blouse.  And I was comfortable.

The next year, I found myself feeling a bit cold when the temps were 56.  As each year has passed, I get colder and colder.  Each year, to the regret of my budget, I turn on the heat in the “winter.”  Don’t worry, I only put it on for a couple of hours.  Instead, I layer more.  And I wear socks.  And this year, I often have a jacket on when I leave the house.

If we choose, we can adapt to almost everything.

Martin Luther King Day

When we moved to California six years ago, we had Isaac and Ari on Martin Luther King Day.  They were eight and five at the time.  We decided to go to Martin Luther King park.  We took trash bags with us and picked up trash.  We took about an hour.  The act of contributing to the care of our community felt like a meaningful public service.

Last year we did it again.  For reasons we did not understand, the primary trash we found were shoes.  We filled our bags. Since the boys were older, they went closer to the Estuary to retrieve trash.  We found the appropriate trash containers and filled them before we left.

Public service is something the boys are learning at home too.  I wish more of us participated in it.

I missed you today, Ari and Isaac.

It’s In The Genes

My nine-year old grandson Ari was in a school performance. I was not able to attend. My daughter told me that his dancing ability was great.

I did see the video.  He danced with a large group of students to a Michael Jackson piece.  They were dressed in appropriate attire for the decade.  It was well choreographed and the kids clearly had learned and rehearsed the number.

I watched Ari.  He had the moves.  I imagined he and Julie and I doing a routine together, just as I did with her many years earlier.

The talent seems to be passing on.

The Game Changes

I took my grandsons to the Pinball Museum the other day.  We were there a month earlier.  We began in the first room where the machines are older, the type I played on when I was younger.  We were in that room for a long time.  Isaac is 12 and Ari is 9, and they enjoyed trying all of the games.

Eventually we moved to another room.  Here the machines are more technology enhanced.  There is more black background, balls are hidden (which is worth more points if one hits this location), and then the balls spontaneously surface and must be dealt with.  Again, we played for a while.

When we were in the car on the way home, I said that I liked the first room best.  I was always able to see the ball which made it easier to be prepared.  In the other rooms, the darkness of the games made it difficult for me to see the ball and sometimes two surfaced simultaneously and were hard to find for a bit.  I assumed it was my age, not being acclimated to the technological beat.

Isaac said he agreed.  Ari said, “I like the later rooms better.  Remember, I want to design games.”

I was thrilled Isaac agreed with me.  It suggests age is not the only issue.

Meaningful Gestures

A friend told me that she and her sister went out to breakfast the day after Thanksgiving.  There were three people at the next table, parents and a child.  My friend was able to hear everything they talked about.  They reflected on how hard they had worked for the whole week, including Thanksgiving Day.  This breakfast was their first time away from work.

My friend told them she had heard what they were talking about.  She said that she credited them for working so hard and was happy they had a time to go out to eat.

The family paid their bill and left.  When my friend was ready to leave, she asked for the bill and was told their bill had been paid by the other family.

My friend said, “I am able to afford things easily.  It was lovely that they did that, and there is some irony there.  How kind of them.”

Pay it forward.

Meaningful Ritual

Since we moved to California, our whole family comes to my home for Thanksgiving.  There are 13 of us.  It is always an enjoyable, warm event.

Another event occurs on the same weekend.  My three children and I go out for lunch together.  They drive over from San Francisco and we go to a restaurant in Alameda.

This year I was notified that they were arriving at 11 am, and, in all likelihood, would want to watch the remainder of the Michigan-Ohio State football game.  The competition between these two universities has been intense for decades.  It is the basis for lots of stories that emerge when people from Ohio and Michigan meet.

And so, being the sacrificial mother that I am, (who cherishes her time with her offspring), I actually watched the game with them.

It was worth it.  Lunch did follow.

Handling Consequences

This is not the first time this has happened.  In fact, it may be the hundredth time I have heard a story like this.

An 11-year-old client told me that she was very distressed that her mother yelled at her a lot for having failed to turn in a homework assignment at school.  I asked her what the consequence was at school.  She said that she turned in the assignment the next day, which she had left in a folder in another classroom.  She was given a 0 the first day, but after turning it in, she was given a grade.  Having done this three times, she had a detention which is the result of three 0s.  She is not allowed to go to the other classroom the day the work is due.  As a result of the detention, she was delayed in going to her after-school choir group.  This has gotten her attention.  Finally.

Her mother prepares meals this girl does not like.  She avoids eating them, and the mother gets angry.  I asked her if her mother calls the school and asks that there be a consequence.  She laughed and said she had not.

I advocate schools provide consequences for less than ideal behavior.  I advocate that parents provide consequences at home for less than ideal behavior.  To have consequences in both locations is too much.

Hopefully, the mother will discuss her daughter’s failure to take assignments with her to the appropriate class.  Screaming achieves nothing of value.

Sexual Harassment

The topic began recently with events in the entertainment world. Then it extended to the political realms.

In the former environment, the men who were accused acknowledged to a degree what they had done and most offered comments of regret.  It was apparent they did not need to be educated on what sexual harassment is.

In the political world, there was denial, and the women were accused of waiting years to tell their tales just to manipulate the election.  Yep, once again, the other party made them do it.

I wanted to ask the senatorial candidate what had motivated the people who made accusations again the actors and producers to wait for years?.  And why had none of those accused blamed the accusers of manipulation?

Just a curiosity.