Young and foolish, older and wiser

Posted 4/19/23

Now that I am older, I am dealing with some issues that could have been prevented had my life been lived differently when I was younger.  “Live and learn” is an apt saying, but it is …

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Young and foolish, older and wiser


Now that I am older, I am dealing with some issues that could have been prevented had my life been lived differently when I was younger.  “Live and learn” is an apt saying, but it is impossible to go back and make corrections.

I would have followed the directions on the medical flyers about how to lift properly by squatting instead of just bending over and lifting. As a result of improper lifting all those boxes, suitcases, furniture and children, my back is now trashed with several lumbar vertebral disk herniations. I have had disc replacement surgery for two of them, but it has not been very successful, with all the previous pain, and more, coming back. As a result, standing for longer than five minutes is painful, and the only thing I can lift now is my teacup in the morning.

I would have taken better care of my teeth.  Brush them twice a day?  Hah! Once a day was my practice. Using dental floss eluded me because my teeth were so crowded it was difficult to do.  Little did I know that with teeth packed so tightly together, flossing was even more important. As I have aged, cavities have invaded my mouth, resulting in root canals, caps and lots of dental bills. I also should have been drinking my beloved Diet Coke through a straw rather than directly from a glass which has resulted in stained teeth.  Despite several unsuccessful tries to whiten them, they remain dingy and dull, not at all a good match for my smiling personality.

I would have stayed out of the sun, or at least put on strong sunscreen.  Laying in the sun at Scarborough getting scorched was the norm for my generation of beach goers, an activity for which I am paying the price now.  Several patches of skin cancer and the removal of a melanoma has created scars I would have preferred not to have, and I am forever searching through a vast array of sun-caused freckles to see if they have changed shape in some way indicating a metamorphosis into skin cancer.

When I was a kid, we traveled a great deal with my vagabond father. I hated riding in the car, and often became car sick, so sleeping in the back seat of the car became my habit. I enjoyed my sleep and would get annoyed if aroused by my mom to see the sights. I did not appreciate the enormous beauty of this great nation, and literally chose to continue to sleep rather than get out to see the Grand Canyon or the bright lights of Las Vegas, a decision I regret to this day. Now I must admire it in pictures rather than reminisce about the time I was actually there.

My biggest regret in life was not keeping up with friends. I had a best friend in school, from Oakland Beach on up through high school.  She was very easy going and she and I did a lot of things together.  We would spend weekends at each other’s houses, and used to play games of Monopoly that would go on for days, (with one of us “sneaking” money to the other under the table if it was needed.) She was a good sport and would come camping with my family, sleeping clumsily in a too small hammock hung over the front seat of the camper.  We would slip notes to each other in junior high school, detailing our attraction to the unattainable, handsome guys who would not have given us a second look. As we aged, we took many trips together, including to New York City for an empowerment weekend with Oprah Winfrey and one to Busch Gardens for Halloween, where we screeched and shuddered among the chainsaw killers and zombies who rode the rides with us. She was my “bestest” friend, but I let the friendship fall by the wayside. I married, went to college, worked two jobs, raised 5 children with disabilities, volunteered my time for several organizations, put my own needs last, never had any free time, and my relationship with her suffered. Now, I am older, my kids are grown, and I have the time to once again travel and giggle with my friend, but she is no longer in my life. I had not treasured our relationship and given it priority, and that hurt her feelings.

There are so many things I wish I could go back and do things differently…


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