Spring is always a time of transition, but it seems like this spring has required more changing than usual. It’s raining/snowing/sleeting a little today, but there will be sun tomorrow. In the meantime, I retrieved a couple of winter jackets and brought in the cushions from the lawn chairs.
Sure, I was reminded that it was too early to haul up the porch furniture and the yard ornaments (mostly frogs), but I’ve always believed that if it’s time to change, just do it. Why take weeks to sort, mend and pack winter clothes or take everything to the dry cleaners? My motto is be decisive, especially now that our leaders can’t seem to make up their minds or act upon anything.
That reminds me: if we want to reduce the stress of constant change, we should stop watching the news. It is hard for those of us who thrive on every detail of every policy designed for our well-being. Trouble is, nothing seems to be designed for our long-term survival or for our appliances to last longer than their short-term warranties.
A month or two ago, my washing machine died. Buying new furniture or appliances of any kind seems as ridiculous as selling someone 90 years old life insurance. One has few options: get a washboard and scrub clothes by hand or take them to the laundromat. There are other choices if one also has a disposable income like paying a housekeeper. We could ask relatives or neighbors to pick up dirty clothes and return clean ones if we wanted to air our dirty laundry in public. We could open charge accounts and buy new duds, but hardly any dress shop stocks the 1950s look.
If anyone expected us old folks to look fashionable, we wouldn’t be wearing bobby socks and tennis shoes with polyester pants that are too short. So we purchase a new washing machine, and hope that easy payments are available. In the meantime, something goes wrong with the hot water heater and water softener. They are probably connected in some way, but were never worth $4,000, so we’ll wait it out. It’s hard to tell the difference between the soft and hard water anyway. They’re both heavy in a sprinkling can.
Some people in their senior years are accused of resisting change. This is not true. We want our grown children to move out and other changes. We want to tear out walls in our old houses. We want to have lunch at a restaurant every day. We want to go to the movies at least once a week, and to every stage play that is offered. We want to not only keep driving our car but want a Corvette so people can see the wind can blow through our new blond hair. We want to keep accumulating books, Hummels and paintings and we don’t mind downsizing to make more room for new acquisitions.
We welcome exercise classes and having a glass or two of wine. We enjoy telling stories about the “old” days or making up new ones that never happened. We love making people laugh, especially with us rather than at us.
While it is true that we are inclined to wear clothes until they wear out, or at least keep them in the closet until Goodwill won’t take them, we also have enough sense to know it is better to wear an old skirt and blazer to church than cut-offs and sandals.
Sometimes we do give the impression of hating transitions to new values, including immodesty, lying, bragging, vindictiveness, sloth and covetousness. If we talk when someone else is talking, it is not because we are rude, but because we can’t hear, unlike some of our broadcasters who interrupt and talk over each other. If we don’t keep a promise, it isn’t because we are irresponsible, but because we forgot. If we don’t give children everything they want when they want it, it is because we know they will have miserable lives if they don’t understand the relationship between behavior and reward, act and consequence.
Last week I asked a few people how they were transitioning to summer. Most of them said they were visiting friends and family, gardening, barbecuing, traveling. Some said that they faced painful decisions like whether to move into smaller houses or with children or nursing homes.
I asked myself: Is it spring yet? And nature answered: maybe, but remember that even when winter turns to spring, and spring turns to winter, and winter turns to spring, like every other transition, sooner or later, it will bring joy in the morning.