Suck It Up Cupcake.


Recently someone said I was condescending. Was I supposed to insulted? I meant to be condescending and sarcastic, that was the whole reason I said what I said. I have come to the point that I often wonder if I am so callused that I don’t care if people try to insult me, or if I am so senile, I think it is a compliment. Or both, maybe, sort of.

I used to be a doormat, really, I was always worried about how people saw me, afraid of offending someone, and very insecure in my own intellectual abilities. It took being able to make a fool of myself on purpose to break that prison. You see, in Cub Scouts, you don’t get to sit aside and tell boys what to do, you have to show them, or they will find alternative ways of using the items you give them. And those are generally a way that starts a fight, get someone dirty, wet, or both, or end up with someone having hurt feelings.

In the name of control and peace a Den Leader and other leaders have got to be willing to do exactly what they boys are expected to do, only add in silly things like The Bear Goes Over The Mountain, and John Jacob Jinglhimer, Schmidt. Then as a trainer of leaders, I had to teach them how to be goofy. So, after all that, I stopped being a doormat.

I found, after going back to college at the age of 36, that I was a lot more intelligent than I thought I was, resulting in doing a Happy Dance when I graduated in the top ten in my class. All in all, that confidence brought out the strength in me to stand up to just about anyone. And, as I aged, I stopped caring what others thought of me at all. There are so many other things to think about and worry about than something that inane.

Here’s the deal, though, a confident person has to be willing to expect others to be intimidated any time they stand up for their believes, thoughts, ideas, and opinions. By stating, even without undo emphasis, any of those, people tend to automatically bring their defenses to the forefront to hide their own insecurities. If one is factual and can prove his or her point, that tends to make people call names, like condescending, know it all, smart ass, and it degenerates from there into the mediocrity of banal swear words and accusations.

Once, when I was in my mid twenties, I went to a party with a friend. We were waiting to talk to the hostess, who was engaged in conversation with a very loud, demanding female. After seeing us waiting, she turned on us and nearly shouted, “If you want to say something, speak the hell up instead of standing there like a couple of idiots.” My friend nearly fainted from all the hostility thrown at her, but it just annoyed me enough to step out of my comfort zone and say in my most Southern Belle voice, “With all due respect, I was taught never to interrupt my elders when they were talking, but to wait until I was acknowledged before speaking,” I think I insulted her, because she turned as red as a strawberry, gasped like a hooked fish, and stomped off. Just as I was getting ready to apologize to the hostess, she hugged me and thanked me for running the obnoxious female off. I was told that the female had just taken a course in female communication, or some such hippy dippy feminist nonsense, and she was over doing the part about speaking up of oneself.

Now I can see speaking up for oneself, I think we all should be able to do that, regardless of gender etc. Taking ages for people to truly master, Communication is a learned talent, Because as all women know, and a few men, communication is more that words, it has to do with everything from body language to the tone one uses to say something. I think women can speak to each other and communicate clearly, however, communication between a male and a female is not always so smooth. That, not money, in MY opinion is what causes most issues between a couple.

At my age, almost older than dirt, I have the freedom to say exactly what I want, when I want, how I want, where I want. While I can do that, I still have a strong base of common sense and proper behavior in public that keeps me from saying too much that might be out of bounds. (I wouldn’t sing, O What A Beautiful Feeling at a funeral or anything., there are limits.) However, I am that old lady to stares down rude children, insults and laughs at the idiotic teens who think they are so cool and different, when they are just like we were, only in uglier clothes. And I use sarcasm around holier than thou adults who pontificate to the point of inaccurate information and emotional overload to prove they are right and everyone else is wrong.

I have to say I do get a kick out of tweaking (not twerking, people, read the word) someone when they become so far off base as to be part of the lunar landing site. And I love to poke holes in someones favorite theory or particular cause and take things to the farthest level of inaccuracy, just to get a rise out of them. There is nothing more satisfying that bringing down some patently vociferous bellowing intellectual to the level of mediocrity that is his or her true domain. Those that spout the same tired theme of a particular party or group leave themselves open to an incredible amount of sarcasm and gentle educating that is loads of fun for me.

My point, I guess, is that as I get older I flat out do not give a flying flip what others think of me, and when someone starts trying to insult me, all I can do is laugh at them for their silly insecurities. There are, however, a few things that I won’t tolerate. Do not insult my family, my religion, my country, or anyone who has served in the military. The values I cherish are all wrapped up in those particular people and things. I do not find it amusing to see anyone insult a veteran, and heaven help you if you insult my country or dishonor our flag. Not that you would be hurting me, but you do not hurt that which I love and cherish. Ever.

Anyway, to the guy that called me condescending, you really need to reel in your insecurities and learn to use facts to back up your statements rather than emotions. In the vernacular of common mediocrity, get off your hissy fit high horse, and grow some cojones so you can at least pretend to be a man. And yes, that was condescending and sarcastic. Suck it up cupcake, no one likes to listen to a whiner.

Historical Generalities Bother Me.


I was in a debate of Facebook the other day about the current race war being perpetuated by the current political climate. Several of the commentators stated inane things like, ***White people are the cause of war and have been since the earliest times. It is the Western culture that is behind all the race warfare. White people always think they are superior in their culture. And so on. (***paraphrased to avoid charges of plagiarism.) Because I really do not like the all inclusive “always” when discussing culture and warfare, this is my response to the inability of the commentators for using such a broad brush to paint all white people (whatever that means, as genetically diverse we are despite skin color).

1. People in the Middle East, in fact, all over the world, were killing each other long before the “white race” gained any power anywhere other than their own back yard. It is within the make up of humans to fight over the most, best, pretties, strongest, of everything. In the Middle East, the Moors managed to take over a good part of Europe by warfare. The Arabs were one of the first groups to deal with mathematics, astronomy, science, medicine, and literature. Be that as it may, they fought over that part of the world from day one, and are still doing so, and still behaving like Bedouin tribal warriors. And of course, they are still fighting the Jews who brought the one God into their venue.

However, as with all great cultures, with the rise comes a fall brought about, generally, by man’s greed and unwillingness to cooperate, share, learn new things, and let go of the warrior behavior in favor of other ways of working things out. It isn’t going to happen, it didn’t when the Philistines fought with Judea, it didn’t when the Greeks went to war with Troy, it didn’t work when the Romans ran out of places to conquer. Over time the entire culture of Northern Africa and the Middle East became caught in the quagmire of human inability to hang on to knowledge. So much was lost in the name of war, and that was long before “white people” showed up to meddle.

Of course the infighting, inbreeding, and greed of those in any place of power knew their days on earth were always finite once they made their first enemy. Those that tried to protect knowledge and culture were often seen as the biggest obstacle in the way of those who wanted more power. While their early scholars were once revered and respected, it wasn’t long before they became either slaves to the whims of their rules or owners, or they were forced into fleeing the country. Except, of course, for the scholars who gave in to the greed right along with those in power. As usual, those of a lower class, different religious beliefs, enslaved, and disenfranchised as a people suffered the most. Just as they do today. And as always, since about 2000 years ago, it is the Jews that they want to suffer the most. Well, Jews, and Christians, and anyone who is an American.

2. Greeks, Romans, and all the other cultures around the Mediterranean copied the Arabic people in learning, or were taught it as slaves to the Arabs before bringing it back to their countries. The Greek rise to power, and the fall from the top, was pretty fast. The Romans, however, took warfare to the highest technological level of their time. Other than China, and maybe Japan, they developed warfare into a world domination. But they were felled by the savages from the north, the true “white people” that eventually took over the world. So blame it all on the savage Vikings and the Norsemen, it is all their fault! The loss of Alexander was the last hurray for the Greek push to conquer the world. Then comes the loss of all the knowledge collected in the great library of Alexandria, when Rome took over the world. Of course, to do that, they had to destroy that which did not merge with their idea of culture and polytheism. So they killed the Jews, and then they killed Christians to stop the spread of the one God. But, it didn’t work.

The Romans also spent a lot of time killing each other. Especially the ruling class of people. Again, greed, power, corruption, and a determination to end the life of anyone who was different infected the great armies of Rome. And, like all dictatorships, the most corrupt rose to the top of the scum and killed all that was great about Roman culture, knowledge, and political growth. The were slowly drowned by the quicksand of mediocrity, leaving only the Roman Catholic Church with the opportunity to grab power and then began the Dark Ages and the rule of power through killing knowledge and education.

3. African tribal groups are some of the most warlike groups in the world, (along with many aboriginal groups including American Indian tribes.) We see them as victims today, and some of them are, but back along they were vicious enemies who captured each other to enslave or sell as slaves. Women were treated worse than most cows (sounds kinda like Muslims today, hummm?). Northern Africa is mostly Arabic and Muslim from the beginning of the religion. And in Egypt they were polytheists, and still are within certain factions . Christianity, and Islamic religions and off shoots were equal for a while, but now it is the backward thinking Islamic terrorists who run things. And they are, without a doubt, very warlike. As Islam spread into middle Africa, it became a horror of starvation and warfare. It won’t end any time soon, and it sure didn’t start with “white people” turning up. No more that the Incas and other South American cultures were the victims of the “white people” over the centuries. They murdered each other, long before they were discovered by the outside world.

Today central Africa is filled with third world countries and slipping fast. No matter how much help the gullible “white people” give, or how much we educate the people of Africa, they still behave like tribal warriors. As such, it is clear that the influence “white people” have had on the development of Africa is minimal. They will take the technology, bastardize the religions and political ideas we share, but they still fight like the tribal warriors that they are. Adding the violence of the Jihad Islamic Terrorists to their inclination to kill everyone who isn’t like them, they have become even more fractured as a people. Leaving their young to bear the burden of losing their culture, traditions, and values as they are taught how to be prejudiced, racists, and fanatical killers. The hope for some sort of common compassion and decency is no longer viable in many places in middle Africa.

My point, gentlemen and ladies, is that mankind, humankind, will ALWAYS be at war over something. It is genetic, in our nature, to compete, especially the males, for dominance. It started when we were chest beating cave dwellers. It hasn’t changed much. Our weapons are deadlier, and our reasons are often no reason at all – such as the genocide of young black males via other young black males in places like Chicago and Washington D. C. But the same reason for most war between people still come down to a few simple things. Politics (Ruling Power). Religion (My god is better than your god, even if they are both the one God). Greed (I deserve everything you earned and I am taking it). Land (I need more dirt and your’s looks good). Riches (I want more, more, more and I will do anything to get it, anything). Entitlement (Because I am the greatest and I deserve it). So, all the twaddle about one race being the instigator and perpetual cause of all war is simply unsustainable in the light of history of mankind. I suggest studying history before throwing about the whole issue of race and skin color being the driving factor of any sort of warfare. It is much more than that. To that end, I offer a bibliography for your pursuance at leisure.

The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome  Susan Wise Bauer

1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Turning Points in Ancient History) Eric H. Cline

The Science of the Dogon: Decoding the African Mystery Tradition  Laird Scranton (Author), John Anthony West (Foreword)

Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization  Paul Kriwaczek (Author)

Ancient African Civilizations: Kush and Axum Hardcover – by Stanley Mayer Burstein (Author, Editor)

Europe Between the Oceans: 9000 BC-AD 1000 Paperback – April 26, 2011 by Barry Cunliffe

Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization Hardcover by Lars Brownworth  (Author)

The Last Days of the Incas  Kim MacQuarrie (Author)

Egypt, Greece, and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean Paperback  by Charles Freeman  (Author)

Perspectives from the Past: Primary Sources in Western Civilizations: From the Ancient Near East through the Age of Absolutism (Third Edition) (Vol. 1)

Norse Warfare: The Unconventional Battle Strategies of the Ancient Vikings Hardcover –  by Martina Sprague 

Vikings Hardcover – February 9, 2001  by Hazel Mary Martell 

Viking: The Norse Warrior’s [Unofficial] Manual Hardcover  by John Haywood 

They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America (Journal of African Civilizations) Paperback – September 23, 2003  by Ivan Van Sertima 

I Am Cursed


I am beginning to think I am cursed. It seems I am destined to constantly deal with clueless, manner-less, obnoxious people. As the saying goes, I am surrounded by idiots. I am also cursed, literally, by those same obnoxious, caustic people when I ask/tell/demand that they cease and desist doing whatever ignorant, rude, lewd, or behavioral inept thing they are doing.

Yesterday, we were trying to get all our shopping done before our two-year old granddaughter got to the meltdown stage that signals she has had too much day. We were stuck in a line of cars in front of a big box store, because a couple had decided they were too precious to take a chance on getting wet in the drizzling rain. They weren’t just taking up one lane, but were parked right smack dab in the middle of both lanes. Folks were squeezing around them going in both directions. Hence the tail back of vehicles.

After fighting past them and getting into a parking place, I walked up to the woman sitting in one of the handicapped scooters and asked her if she knew that her truck was blocking traffic and causing no end of headaches for the other drivers trying to get around it. Her response was less than stellar. It began with F and ended with you. (Why does everyone use that word when trying to be insulting. Do they really know what it means? Probably not. Stupid is as stupid does.)

So, I said my usual, “No thanks, I don’t swing that way, but it is nice to know you fancy me.” Again, with the F and you thing. But, this time she upped the ante and called me a whore. I was walking away. But she used that word right in front of kids, and, as I was walking away, she shouted it at me. I did an abrupt about-face and walked back toward her. “Are you sure about that? Do you have undeniable proof? What makes you think I would be that kind of woman?” By then I was just a few feet from her, and that cow tried to run me down with the scooter! I stopped her from hitting me, and looked her right in the eye. “Look, all you have to do is get your fat ass out of this scooter, get in your ugly truck and move it so people can get past. Until you do, you can be held responsible for blocking traffic if anything goes wrong and you cause someone to wreck. Learn some manners while you’re at it.” I didn’t raise my voice, I didn’t lose my temper – but it was close.

“You called me a fat ass!” “Well, you ARE fat!” (she was really obese. A sloppy, careless, kind of obese– morbidly so.) Seeing that I wasn’t going to lose my temper, she tried the pity card. “I will have you know that I have had cancer….” I stopped her right there by laughing. “Big whoop, you are still here and alive.” (You know, everyone I know with cancer lost weight. She certainly didn’t look like she missed any meals.) I had cancer too, that ended in a hysterectomy. That isn’t any excuse to sit on my duff and expect everyone to cater to my whims.



Then her husband, as skinny as she is fat, said, “I bet you never block anyone do you?” It was said in a very snotty voice. “No sir, I do not ever intentionally block anyone. It is rude, inconsiderate, and selfish. If I have accidentally done so, I move my vehicle, apologize and get on with what I need to do.” “Yeah, I bet,” he said. “Well then, you would win that bet. Besides, I was raised with manners, and it is clear your mother didn’t raise you right, or you would know better. Your wife, or whatever she is to you, is obviously uneducated and low-class, or she wouldn’t be reduced to using swear words and calling people filthy names when she is caught out doing something wrong.”

The woman said, “Get the F out of my way, I am going to put this cart up so someone else can use it.” I know it was bad of me, but it sort of slipped out, “I sure wouldn’t want to sit where you’ve been, I might catch something, like stupidity. I’m surprised you can get it to move with your fat ass sitting on it.” No, I don’t feel bad about it at all.

Calling any woman a whore is beyond demeaning, it is foul, ugly, and designed to hurt. It didn’t hurt me so much as piss me off. And it pissed me off because there were little kids standing right there, including my two-year old granddaughter, who heard her use that sort of language. Now, I imagine some of them hear the F word every day since so many people us it as everything from a noun to a dangling participle in day-to-day language. However, it is still wrong to talk like that in front of kids, because some of them may have actually been raised by parents who are doing their best to teach them right from wrong.

So, I am cursed, literally, by idiots. I am also cursed because I am not going to let something like that go, and if people are being inconsiderate and causing problems, I will call them on it. Which only reminds me that I am, indeed, surrounded by idiots. And that just pisses me off even more.

It Isn’t A Tragedy


I over heard a conversation this morning between two women. It left me a bit gobsmacked and annoyed. It seems these two women have a mutual friend who had a kidney transplant via a relative. One woman said it was such a tragedy that their friend had to have a transplant. They went on to talk about how everyone needed to make allowances for her erratic behavior, and that she should be treated carefully as she recovered. After all, with someone else’s kidney in her she would never be normal.

I thought, “Tragedy?’ Not to me, it isn’t. That woman will live a long healthy life, she is not an invalid, she is not helpless, she is the product of the miracle of medicine and blessings. How can that be a tragedy? They acted as if having any transplant was something no one would ever want. What?

Tragedy is something that cannot be controlled, stopped, or overcome resulting in either an end of a life or constituting a complete change in circumstances for a survivor. Tragedy is losing a new mom to childbirth. Tragedy is a child with incurable cancer. Tragedy is a wounded warrior who has lost limbs, sight, ability to walk, or suffers brain damage or mental illness from serving in the war. Tragedy is a teenager committing suicide. Tragedy is a plane crash that kills 300 people. Tragedy is an old person freezing to death. Tragedy is the mentally ill on the streets of the country when they belong in a safe institution where they can be cared for, instead of suffering the effects of cold and heat, and the lack of food. Tragedy is losing someone to addiction to drugs or alcohol. Tragedy is having a funeral for a twenty year old girl whose death was sudden and unexpected. Surviving a kidney transplant is not a tragedy! It is, instead, an opportunity to celebrate a new and continued life!

What those well meaning women are doing is placing their friend in a box labeled perpetual victim. In pandering to her, giving her excuses for bad behavior, and creating a tragic attitude around her, they are making her weak, mentally, physically, and emotionally. In refusing to celebrate the miracle that her life is, they want to demean it. That isn’t friendship, that is an attitude of superiority. “Poor little thing, she will never reach her full potential,” one of them stated. The other agreeing and doing the Southern thing when faced with perceived tragedy, shaking her head, and murmuring, “Bless her heart.”

I don’t get it. I really don’t understand their attitude, especially treating her as if she is fragile and unable to cope with surviving. She isn’t one bit more special than anyone who has survived a horrific illness. Instead of encouraging her to be helpless, they need to stand behind and beside her as she moves forward into a strong, healthy life. Instead of lowering their expectations for her life, they should be the best of cheerleaders, celebrating each and every milestone in her recovery. And, the last thing they need to be doing is enabling helplessness. I repeat, she is not an invalid. The only tragedy in her life is that her friends see her as a victim who will never be normal instead of a survivor.

House Cat


Sleeping_Cats

Back legs on tip toe, anticipating the next stroke,

The tip of her tail flicking contempt at the dog,

Eyes half closed in contemplation,

As she lies in the letter box on my desk.

Impatient yowls for attention,

Boneless and relaxed in the terrace sunshine,

Purr of content and persuasion,

Curled in a ball on my bed.

She is cat of the house,

Owner of canine and humans,

Queen of her domain and hall,

Graciously gracing our lives.

KJ Combs 14/01/06

The Fat Lady Needs To Exit Stage Right, Now!


 

Over the past four years, I have lost 168 pounds and change. Yes, I feel better, have more energy, look better, and enjoy my grandchildren more. However there are a few drawbacks that never occurred to me before hand.

Skin. Losing weight, even as slowly as I have, leaves a lot of saggy, ugly, rumply skin. Bat wings for upper arms, skin that sags down from thighs to knees, and it just keeps on going long after I stop moving. Totally gross, totally embarrassing. And wrinkles are much more prominent too. I always had a smooth face, now I have wrinkles that I never had before. The upside is I look a lot thinner, the down side is learning a whole new way to apply makeup – when I bother that is.

Clothes. For years, like most fat women, I tried to hide my weight in baggy clothes, ugly dresses, and lots of jeans and t-shirts. Underwear was pretty much limited to grannie panties, and because I am rather well endowed up top, very boring super strong support white bras. Now, I nearly have a panic attack when I go into a store to buy clothes. I have gone from a size 28-30 in Women’s (that means fat lady clothes in girl code) to a size 14-16. But because I still have the well endowed parts to contend with, I get a larger size top. I don’t like tight clothing, it generally shows every lump and bump, cellulite, and muffin top on a fat lady. But, I find if I get looser clothes, they fall off me, which can be horribly humiliating if it happens in public. Oh, and shoes. Did you know that when you lose a lot of weight your shoe size gets smaller? Neither did I, but I have had to replace a large portion of my shoes lately. I’ve gone from a 8.5 Wide to a size 7 average. How freaky is that?

Temperature. I have long passed menopause, but temperature change really causes me issues. If it is cold, I freeze when the same temperature in my fat lady stage didn’t bother me at all, because I was always too warm. I forget about that and pay for it by shivering constantly. Wind also has an effect on me. I used to relish the cool wind, not so much now. Besides, I actually got pushed hard enough to almost fall the other day. I am so used to being sturdy enough to stand up to anything up to about 40 miles an hour winds. Now I just feel cold and like a wimp. Heat still makes me miserable. I hate hot and humid climates, but I don’t get miserable as fast as I used to, and can actually stand hotter weather than before.

Hair. I have always had rather thin hair. Now, because I am healthier, stronger, and I actually take my meds and vitamins every day, my hair is thicker. So I have had to learn to change my whole regime while washing my hair. It is hard to break a habit of over 30 years. I keep heading for my old shampoo and conditioner when I simply do not need that brand any longer. It is, well, annoying to have a routine totally changed.

Food. I didn’t have surgery to lose weight. I became very, very ill. Even the doctors didn’t think I would pull through. Fooled them. Wasn’t my time yet. Anyway, I used to crave sweets, sodas, carbohydrates, and fatty foods. I could eat a full meal at any restaurant in America. I was always hungry, and I used food as my drug of choice to cope with life. Now, food – eh – whatever. I don’t often eat every day, and I rarely have more than one meal a day. I make it a policy to eat only half of what is on my plate when we go out to dinner. Because half of a serving is a bit more than a serving for one person should be. The standard meal is FAR too much. At least it is using American sized servings.

Attitude and Mood Swings. I have never been so easily angered as I am now. Part of that is hormonal because everything is still out of whack. But a lot of it has to do with my attitude. While I have never been one to be a door mat, I would often allow my feelings about being fat make me want to stay in the background and unnoticed. Today, I am pretty much one of those old ladies who says what she thinks and devil take the hindmost. Whereas, I used to stay quiet, I am now more than willing to debate and do verbal battle with those who oppose my stance on everything from politics to dealing with bratty kids. So, on one hand, I am dealing with moodiness, and on the other I am dealing with trying to shut the hell up and stay out of trouble. Not doing too well on either issue.

The up side to weight loss is better health, the downside is that my entire lifestyle had to change and catch up with my body changes. I sometimes don’t recognize myself in the mirror. I sometimes think that I am fooling no one, and the fat lady still resides in my mirror and every one knows it but me. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the way everything changed and continues to change as I keep losing weight.

I guess, because I can spot a phony a mile away, and because I don’t suffer fools gladly, that I tend to step back from every compliment. Like most fat ladies, people would compliment me on my eyes, color of my clothes, hair, but never say I was pretty. Now, folks do say I am pretty, but the fat lady hasn’t sung and exited stage right just yet. I really wish she would shut the hell up so I can get on with who I am becoming. Hateful cow.

“Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive.”


“Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive.”

I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people my age tend to simply stop. They stop doing fun things, they stop being involved, they stop thinking and growing intellectually. They just stop. Then they sit about and complain about how boring life is, how hard it is to do things they used to do, how much they wish they had done such and such before they got too old. They are failing to thrive in the late years of their lives. And there is no excuse for that- period.

I know, things are a bit harder to do when knees hurt,backs don’t want to bend, and the body gets tired much easier than it did at the age of forty. We all have to slow down,but that doesn’t mean we have to stop. It may take longer, but there is no reason not to at least try.

Years ago there was a movie entitled Cocoon followed by another, Cocoon Returns. If you haven’t seen them, I suggest watching them at least once. It starred a lot of “stars” who were getting quite elderly. All stuck in a nursing home, waiting to die, fussing at one another, etc. Until things change due to a visit from the aliens. Look, I know it is really a sappy story, but what I loved about it was the willingness of almost all of the elderly folks to embrace that which was different. If their youth didn’t return, their joy for life certainly did. And, at the end of the day, their inaction became action, and their lives infinitely better.

Another movie I loved was Driving Miss Daisy, a stellar performance by one and all. Again, another character that defies the tendency to just sit down and stop. Fried Green Tomatoes is a fantastic film. Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy were great together and the flashback between Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson is equally dynamic. At the end of the day, we are still not sure which woman Jessica Tandy was as the elderly friend of Kathy Bates. Ambiguity saturates the film, while turning Katy Bates’ character from a meek doormat into a woman filled with confidence. And, of course, the character played by Shirley Mclaine in Steel Magnolias is just like I want to be when I get old.

I see many older folks off and doing things all over the world. They travel, explore, serve missions of compassion – regardless of sore knees and aching backs. They move, act, and they live every minute of every day. That is what I want to do too.

When our youngest son went off to college, my husband and I decided to work our way around the world. Eight years later, we finally returned to the US. As we were raising our granddaughter, she went right along with us. We lived in London, Hong Kong, and New Zealand, and only came back to the US due to health issues and the awful Socialized Medical care in NZ. We traveled all over each region and were enriched many times over by our experiences.

But I was in my forty’s when we did that. Now I am sixty, and it is going to become more difficult to do some of the things we did. So, we chose other things to do so we could travel. A cruise or four, a road trip across the US, and our big adventure this year is to travel across country by train. I don’t hike for miles any longer, but I sure can sit and enjoy the view from the train.

So there is no excuse not to thrive, people. Just get up, take a few steps, find a hobby that fulfills you, volunteer as a surrogate grandmother to rock babies at the hospital. Volunteer at the schools or libraries to help kids with their reading skills. Go help out a nursing home if you have a talent like playing the piano. There are a multitude of things you can do to overcome the lack of inertia and sedentary inaction. For me, being with my grandchildren is one of my greatest motivators. I write, I hang out on social media sites, I keep up with friends and work on my family history, and I am planning on taking art lessons. I have always wanted to learn how to paint. That will be so much fun!

So, you are old, so what? Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive. Just because your body is starting to creak and moan, it doesn’t mean your brain isn’t functioning. (Unless you have a serious condition, of course.) With all the medical miracles out today, most of us will live well into our eighties or nineties.

I have a friend who is ninety-eight. For the several decades, she has traveled the world following the performances of the operas of Wagner. All on her own, she would jump on a plane and off she would go to Italy, France, Germany, or any place in the world that the operas were being performed. What an amazing lady

who just kept on going like an Eveready Battery. She is running down now, but she is still in control of her life and decided to go home until the end of her days. It is heartbreaking, but at the same time, what a life she has had! Even now, she keeps busy with doing her family history and chatting with her friends and family.

Even if you are homebound, unable to walk, unable to drive, so what? There are a million things you can do to keep your brain healthy and busy. Never just stop and wait to die. We all have a finite amount of time here in this life. I could spend it worrying about death, or I can just get on with living while I am still here.

The more we let inaction rule our lives, the less likely we are to live a long life. Not just because our bodies need to move to function well, but because our brains atrophy at an alarming rate. Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive. But it is only you that can take that first step. I can’t wait to become a feisty old woman who says exactly what she wants to say about everything.

Come on people, get up, find a cause, reason, purpose, or passion to fill your life. Go on!