Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Jim and I have 4 parents/ in laws who are 90, 90, 89 and 85 and I think they are very impressive. Everyone deserves a medal when they get to this age! Of these 4 parents two of them have had heart attacks and surgery, two of them have fallen in the last 2 years and broken a hip, 1 has alzheimer’s and 1 has had cancer. 2 of them remarried after loosing their spouse to cancer. 1 of them still works full time as a sales manager for the local Acton paper. They all lived through WW2 and my parents lived outside London and have many stories of the bombings and having people from London come to live with them so they would be safe. My mother in law grew up on a farm where there were 8 children in two bedrooms and no running water. She used an outhouse for many years. All 4 parents have all had some challenges raising their children as they went through difficult times. All 4 now support their kids as they raise their own kids as they go through challenges that they could never even have imagined when they were that age (technology, mental health challenges, the state of the world).
Everyone experiences difficulties in their life. It is just part of the human experience. And so the question becomes how do people develop the resiliency to keep moving forward when challenging times come. And how do people recover from sad, hard, difficult times and then carry on.
Jim and I were working in our garden last fall putting everything away and planting our garlic and we were talking about our parents (a couple of weeks before a 90th celebration) and how our parents didn’t get to these ages without having resiliency, the ability to recover from difficult times and some grit. We talked about how people develop resiliency. I have had yoga teachers who have suggested that one way to build resiliency is through movement. Movement contributes to a person having confidence in their body. None of my parents/in laws do yoga (well 1 did), but they all grew up being very active and being outside a lot. Between them they ran, climbed, swam, biked, gardened, played sports, hunted, fished and more. They all used their bodies every day as children and developed body confidence so that when something breaks down (like a hip or a heart) they believe they will recover and they know how to move to help with the recovery. It’s in their cells. They have all had disappointments and even failed at things and learned that life carries on and you just keep moving forward. Sometimes good things come out of the most challenging times. Jim and I discussed that we find it fascinating that none of our parents complain. They are tough and they just carry on. My parents are British and I often tease them about their “british stiff upper lip”. They have grit. All of that helps when challenges come their way. So, as Jim and I worked in garden last fall we decided to plant 90 daffodils to celebrate our parents. Our thought was that each year when they bloom we will be reminded of their resiliency and grit and that reaching 90 is an incredible accomplishment. I can see the stems just starting to emerge now and I will smile every time I look at those flowers each spring. We all have to have hope and carry on! I wonder if we will eventually have 100 daffodils to watch each year.