Can We Talk?

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The more time I spend with older people the more I realize that their greatest fear is being alone. Not just physically alone but having to fill up to 12 hours a day with something other than silence. 

Many elders are widows/widowers and some are just not very good at socializing. It’s amazing how happy a simple conversation can make someone when there’s not much else going on in their life.

So, next time you see someone sitting alone on a bench or staring off into space, try interacting with that person and you might both feel better!

Wise Life Lessons

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  • Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.
  • Life always offers you a second chance… It’s called tomorrow.
  • Life is not about how you survive the storm – it’s about how you dance in the rain.
  • The hardest thing to find in life is happiness. Money is only hard to find because it gets wasted trying to find happiness.
  • The best things in life are free. The rest are too expensive.
  • Math is fun – it teaches you life and death information like, when you’re cold, go to a corner because it’s 90 degrees there.

 

Over And Out

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The very first thing I often hear (after returning home from work at night) is my Dad talking back to the TV. This is something a lot of people do – not only the elderly. Whether it’s a televised sports game (“what are you, blind?”) or a game show (“buy a vowel, you moron”) or a myriad of other brain-numbing, soul-sucking, waste-of-time forms of entertainment, it amazes me the number of sane human beings who are glued to this never-ending cycle of visual stimulation. And my parents aren’t even aware of the modern concept of ‘streaming.’

It’s no wonder the television set has oftentimes been referred to as an ‘idiot box.’

I stopped reading the newspaper years ago because all I ever saw was murder, celebrity gossip and sports. Add to that the local weather and traffic report and that’s basically all that’s on the TV news as well. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there are tons of additional stations that keep replaying accidents and general mayhem 24/7. Such fun.*

So here’s some free advice:

STOP WATCHING. Like they used to say on walkie-talkies and CB radios: “over and out.” There. Problem solved, right? You’d think it would be that simple but, as bored as my Dad is these days because there’s only so much he can do with limited sight, he constantly sits down in front of the TV – knowing that, between watching every televised political debate, all my Mom’s game shows and soaps and his round-the-clock CNN, his blood pressure will no doubt be raised at some point. Maybe TVs should come with a warning from the surgeon general!

*Anyone who watches ‘Miranda’ on public television will get that reference.

It’s My Turn

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At the end of a hard day, all I want to do is put up my feet, have a hot cup of tea and listen to blissful silence. I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to think, I just want to do… nothing. For a few moments, I just want to be me.

Maybe that’s a little profound for those of you who choose to make every second count. Some people have no idea how to just ‘chill.’ They don’t feel accomplished unless they’re doing something at all times. That’s sad, really, because there is so much more to life – and many people miss out on that.

I’m not knocking a great work ethic but I’ve known people who have slaved at jobs their whole lives – only to die way too young. I truly believe that all work and no play makes a person old before his/her time. And, as my Dad always says about the rich, “you can’t take it with you.”

So, after all my work is done and I’m sure that Mom and Dad have everything they need for the moment, it’s my turn to sit back and just relax!

Read My Lips

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Have you ever yelled at the driver in front of you (when they stopped short for no reason) from the safety of your locked vehicle? Did you ever curse out the person in line in front of you (under your breath, of course) when they asked the cashier to check the price on several items or to ring up a few items separately for another purchase?

If either of these scenarios happened to you, did you really think the intended victim could ‘read your lips?’ And what would you have done if they could…?

I’ve thought, on more than one occasion, that another human being was:

1) Stupid
2) Illiterate
3) Entitled
4) All of the above

It’s amazing to me that people consider themselves above the law or think that somehow rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve seen people smoke in front of NO SMOKING signs; use cell phones after NO CELL PHONES announcements are made; talk when NO TALKING has been instructed and play loud music (with or without headphones) when there’s a clearly marked sign telling you that it’s NOT PERMITTED.

So, what makes some individuals decide that rules apply to everyone BUT them? I don’t have an answer to that. But I do know that, next time someone takes it upon themselves to ignore such warnings, I will not hesitate to speak my mind, loudly and clearly, so that there is no misunderstanding MY words!

Hear Me Now?

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For quite some time now I’ve been hoping to convince my Mom to get a hearing aid. She wouldn’t be the only one, by far, as I’ve seen (and heard) those tiny beeping devices in many an ear throughout our community.

It seems like I spend an inordinate amount of time repeating myself because Mom is completely deaf in one ear. So I have to shout out every question and statement in order to be heard.

When I leave, Mom doesn’t hear me say goodbye. When I come in, she doesn’t acknowledge my presence. And when I need an answer (“where is Dad?” “should I get the mail?” “are you ready to go?”), I practically have to stand directly in front of her and let her read my lips.

So, why is she so dead-set against getting a hearing aid and making her life (and that of those around her) easier?

I’ve finally figured it out. Mom likes not being able to hear… some things. It’s not that she has selective hearing and chooses what she hears. No. It’s actually quite brilliant. When Mom is talking to her friends on the phone, she is using her good ear to listen and, therefore, cannot hear all of Dad’s rantings. When she wants to take a nap in the afternoon, she curls up on her ‘good ear’ side and isn’t disturbed by the tv or Dad’s constant questions.That is how I know the ‘real’ answer to the question in the ad: “can you hear me now?” And the answer is: “not unless I want to!”

**** ‘Hear’ (haha) are a few hearing aids I’ve heard about (but not personally used):

  • Miracle-Ear
  • Lyric
  • Esteem
  • Phonak
  • Siemens
  • Rocker

I’m All Ears

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In my quest to have a modicum of peace and quiet, I found myself searching online for a pair of headphones. Not just any headphones but ones that will knock out almost all outside sound. I’m not kidding. 

They make these things for people who blow leaves and who work around airplanes. So I figured they’d be the perfect complement to my living in a house where answers are yelled from room to room or even from person to person within the same room because to wear a hearing aid would insinuate that you were hard of hearing. Heaven forbid.

At first, bearing witness (unintentionally) to these verbal sparrings, I found myself peeking out the front door – making sure no one else could hear. But then the strangest thing happened. As I walked down the hallway, I could hear tvs blasting, people shouting at one another and very loud one-sided phone conversations coming from inside every single door.

So now, when I want a reprieve from the loud ‘talking,’ I simply make myself a cup of tea, get out a good book, put on my headphones and enter my own little echo chamber of quiet. The only problem is… now I can hear the steady pounding of my own heartbeat magnified in my ears!