By Emily Rosen
When you get to a certain age – you have two daily mantras – subliminal words that run through your head like watermarks on stationery: 1) Be Careful 2) Be Grateful.
Regarding the “Be Careful” echo – it repeats in my head with every step I take, every rotation of the four wheels on my car, and every recall of the crazy kinds of accidents having befallen many of my friends and acquaintances.
Always one to have rashly taken risks – be it rock climbing, white water rafting in turbulent waters, traversing rope bridges across deep canyons in the Himalaya Mountains, biking in challenging terrain or any number of other youth oriented adventures, I have happily accepted the “BTDT”* (Been There Done That) motto that has me taking pleasure now in “looking at the pictures.” And since I aspire to becoming the oldest healthy walking-onmy- own-steam with full cognition person — I know that I have to do my part in helping towards that goal, while counting on a major contribution coming from that mysterious source often referred to as God. Thus, “being careful” for starters – is a no-brainer.
Being thankful is even easier. I marvel with gratitude at the elegant stroke of fate that placed my parents in the U.S.A. at the time of my conception. And everything flows from there. My car accident? I wasn’t hurt nor was anyone else. I salvaged my car. My completely turned-around life since becoming a widow last year? I view it as a new challenge, a way to keep good memories alive, to adjust to being alone, to learning how to celebrate mindfulness and to reach into my own cognitive resources to find ways to live a fulfilling life. And what’s a fulfilling life? My friend Barbara once summed it up for me : “Every day, I try to do something for someone else and something for me.”
I’m grateful that every ache and pain I have is liveable. I have learned to view them as friends to greet and dismiss every morning as I distract myself from awareness that they exist and proceed with other thoughts and deeds.
I am grateful that I am not poor – and just as grateful that I am not rich. It is kind of a challenge to figure out how to juggle my spending to keep me afloat and I’ve seen too many rich people pursuing lives that they, themselves, feel to be meaningless – simply because their excess of money allows them to follow a path of ease.
I am grateful to have found my “bliss” – a balance of productivity and wanton nothingness and the tools to minimize stress.
I am grateful for oranges and beaches, and mountains and eggplant – good drinking water and showers, and lowered gas prices and national parks, TV clickers in the “off” position, healthy loving family and respectful political disagreements – for friends and solitude, and PBS and libraries — for the Wright brothers and Richard Branson – Bill Gates and Steve Jobs – the opportunity to vote and to nap in the middle of the day when I feel like it, to hate the movie that everyone raves about and OMG to be able to cook my own turkey for my family on Thanksgiving Day, and to be able to wish you all a way of seeing the glass half full. Happy Thanksgiving.