Friday, July 30, 2010

Patience with a capital 'P'

Do things seem awfully slow these days? They do to me and it's no wonder. Slowing down is a huge part of ageing. What's the worst part about it: getting used to it. Is it a problem: depends on how you handle it.

When Grampa George goes for a walk, whoever walks with him must slow down to a crawl because that's as fast as he can go. It might take some adjustment since many of us are used to rushing from place to place as fast as we can go, often multitasking along the way. How to handle it: walk at his pace and enjoy the scenery. We've seen eagles sliding through the sky on the breath of a mere breeze that we might have missed otherwise. We've watched squirrels chase each other like kids on a playground then suddenly stop, face each other and chatter like celebrities on Twitter before resuming the chase. We've seen dragonflies dance through the humidity hanging over a pond, their cellophane wings sparkling like precious diamonds. It was worth the slower pace to see what we saw. After all, it means Grampa George is out and about, actually walking. And somehow conversation comes easier when you're not going a hundred miles an hour and gasping for breath.

At mealtimes it's normal for everyone to enjoy their food. Most meals take a good ten minutes to inhale, add ten seconds to put down your utensils and another five for Grampa George to slurp up a stray noodle from his placemat. And then there's Nana. A Nana-sized mini-meal takes her about an hour or so to consume. It took some time but I've learned to let the world go by and wait patiently to let her finish at her own pace. If that's all she needs to manage a meal, then sitting nearby in quiet solitude is fine by me. Miraculously, here's Nana taking pleasure in her food, still eating unassisted, and I'm able to watch her do so.

Attitude is a wonderful thing if you take the right one. The slower you count your blessings the more you'll think of how many you actually have.

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