Is what I said to my friend when I arrived back in the United States after 3 weeks of European travel.
His response: That’s it! That’s the t-shirt!
My response to his response: What are you talking about?
You say the same thing every time you return from a big trip. Maybe if you wear a t-shirt with those words on it, just maybe, you will plan your trip differently.
But my friends, will I?
Last year from France to London to Ireland, I was able to do my version of travel hop from country to county. The fatigue didn’t hit until after I arrived back in the States. To be expected, right? Hopping can take a lot out of you.
This year, I added Barcelona to the mix. This year I hit both France and London during their heat wave. This year I am a year older.
I really do not want to admit that last sentence has any bearing on my life. A song immediately comes to mind, WHAT KIND OF FOOL AM I?
After hitting my mid-80’s, everything has a bearing on my life. I wrote about it before. I preached to friends and relatives. I anointed myself the High Priestess of Accepting Limitations. I announced I wasn’t able to dance the night away, or do my one woman shows as I used to. Oh, I was the paragon of accepting ones limitations. Really??? Who was I kidding?
When I look in the mirror, I still see me as I was 20 years ago. I do not recognize the face staring back at me.
No, my eyes are not failing me. This is how powerful my need is for me to slow the clock; to not acknowledge the ongoing diminution of my energies. Also, I would be less than honest with myself if I didn’t share with you my Angel of Death obsession.And this is where I give you a little peek into Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner’s Two Thousand Year Old Man creation. Carl Reiner is interviewing Mel Brooks who is the Two Thousand Year Old Man.
Carl: “So tell us what is your secret. How did you live for two thousand years?”
Two Thousand Year Old Man: “Vell, I’ll tell you. Every night I go to sleep I wear a lot of garlic.”
Two Thousand Year Old Man: “For sure a lot of garlic. So when the Angel from Death flies into my room he flies over my bed, smells the garlic…”phew, it stinks”, and he flies right out of the window. That’s my secret. Never go to sleep without a lot of garlic. Woiks every time.”
Well, my friends, that’s my secret… a lot of garlic. Just kidding!
However, I now recognize that my travel arrangements this year were planned in one of my favorite states, the state of DENIAL.
What was I thinking? I’ll tell you what. I thought I had enough days in each country to recover my energy. I forgot about packing and unpacking and all the travel in between from one place to another; by air, train, car. Each place, going through security and every country in the world, except maybe deep in the desert or the jungle or maybe an ice floe in the Arctic, is difficult. I thank goodness for the wheelchair except when they forget you. By the time I arrived at my last stop, London, I was done, fried, finito! Not to forget that London was in the middle of its own heat wave. And make no mistake, one’s age is very telling in the heat.
I gave up the Underground (their subway) years ago…too many stairs. Taxiing was my choice. However, London has the same traffic problem that all major cities have, and the heavy toll that cars have to pay to come into the city makes no difference. They pay the toll. I sat in enough taxis that didn’t move before I was forced to walk.
I had to limit my excursions to places I could walk to and also to walking with people who didn’t mind walking slowly. And I mean slowly. I discovered if I started out the day before I had to be somewhere, I could walk to my destinations of the theatre, the restaurants, the galleries.
And that is when I had my epiphany. STOP COMPLAINING! Getting older is definitely better than the alternative (ask the Two Thousand Year Old Man… I love garlic)
If I could I would get down on my knees in gratitude that I was able to see my family (in Barcelona), my family in Ireland, and my friends in France and London. As in the song of the same name, I’M STILL HERE!
Adapt! Isn’t that what the species is supposed to do.
I remember looking at the Tar Pits in Los Angeles and thinking, oh, those poor dinosaurs. If only they could have adapted to the changes that were happening around them, we wouldn’t need a Jurassic Park movie. We would have our very own zoo of prehistorics.
I do feel like the neanderthal of my clan, but that is all right. I may be shrinking, but I am adapting as I go.
Right? Of course, right!!!