A Blog by Gail Cushman
I was watching Cody, the wonder dog, today, and noticed something about him that is different from us. He has a bad memory, or maybe no memory at all. He possibly remembers the really awful things like his electronic shock collar that keeps him from becoming dinner of the mountain lions that roam in the neighborhood. I said “possibly” because he busts through the pet fence regularly, wanting to ward off danger, like intruding birds and deer, giving no thought to the mountain lion lurking somewhere in striking distance. He always remembers breakfast, but dinner is hit or miss. He nudges the cowboy at 9:00 every night to remind him it’s bedtime and Cody toddles off to his crate. Everything else seems to be random with him. And, while Cody isn’t the brightest battery in the package, he likes me, so that’s something.
We people, on the other hand, have a lot to remember. We have covered a lot of ground in our lives and try to remember everything. Jobs, moves, kids, spouses, in-laws, out-laws, travel, deaths, births, each of which has a story, fun to tell, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but more often a mixture. We look back at what we have done as a tribute to our energy, upbringing, training, and good fortune, and are either pleased with our lives or not.
Most of us can say, “Life is good,” and mean it. I know that I have some regrets, along with some “should’ves,” you know, those opportunities that passed me by or I ignored. I should’ve done this or should’ve done that but didn’t. Why didn’t I? We are still thinking about bikini skydiving in Bora Bora and riding the white rhinoceros in Africa, but we are already booked for this year. Oh, well. 2024 is just around the corner!
Now, at the back end of our lives, even though all those things we’ve done have been left behind us, as well as the “should’ves,” we tend to dwell on them, talking of things in our history, but I’m here to tell you (smart person that I am) that they are done and done, too late to change, they are history and we can’t change history. So why not do what the younger generations do? Look at today and dream of tomorrow.
These young people, whom I consider beneath the half-century mark, tend to look ahead, at what can be, what options lie before them, how they can make a difference in their own lives, their kids’ lives, or their communities. They haven’t realized the “should’ves” out there and will probably miss some, too. They have things to look forward to, retirement, travel, and a whole barrel of things they haven’t thought of yet. The cowboy and I travel a lot, which is one of our passions, and agree that the best part of going on a trip is planning for the trip, anticipating what we will see, hear, do, and how we will excite others about the trip upon our return.
I’ve done a lot in my life, but my bucket list keeps getting larger, not smaller. I am busier now than I have ever been and have more energy than Cody (although I don’t try to bust out or the yard, searching for mountain lions). I have the same number of hours in a day or week that I always have had, but somehow, they have shrunk. It seems that Monday is always immediately followed by Friday, omitting Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. And Saturday and Sunday, who knows where they went? This year will have only eleven months, as February disappeared, too, maybe eaten by the mountain lion.
I don’t plan on buying a rocking chair just yet, but if I do, it will have a motor on it, and send me someplace I have never been. Maybe I’ll take Cowboy and Cody, just cuz they like me, but for today, I’m headed to Billings, hoping that they have a pink and purple polka-dot bikini.
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Gail Cushman, Author
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