A Wrinkle for Your Thoughts


When someone hurts you, when you lose a job, when you’re disappointed in any way, probably someone has said, “Don’t worry. They can’t take away that from you.” They can take your things, but not your pride, not your memory of what was once. It’s just like the song:

“The way you hold your knife
The way we danced ’til three
The way you changed my life
No no they can’t take that away from me”

The sad thing is that there is something that can steal away a loving memory in the night. It can rob you of the person you love and the places you’ve been.

Imagine waking up one day and not knowing who you are. Imagine not recognizing the wrinkles on your face, your partner, your childhood friend.

It’s a secret fear that I have to wide up with Alzheimer’s disease just like my grandmother and her siblings.

When I can’t remember a childhood memory or what I ate for dinner last week, I’m concerned. Are these early symptoms? Will I one day look at my husband and not recognize who he is? Will my child who I know by smell, sight and sound seem like a stranger to me?

It’s terrifying.

I had the opportunity to watch the new animated movie *Wrinkles several days ago. Starring Martin Sheen and Matthew Modine, it followed a group of elderly characters in a nursing home and showed their lives, their fears and what matters most when your kids are grown, you’re retired and your new home is filled with aging strangers. For an animated film, it touched upon issues that were shockingly real.

It was a chilling lesson on how we treat seniors and also how we want to be treated in return. I couldn’t help ponder my own life as an elderly woman. While my life is going 100 miles a moment right now juggling writing, taking care of my baby, checking off my to-do list, I too could end up in a home, forgetful, confused, and helpless.

Will we all end up watching the clock when we finally have the time to enjoy our lives?

What can we do now to live more consciously to change things for the older adults in our lives and for our own future? Although we don’t talk about it. Although we may try to deny it, if we’re lucky enough to grow old, we will all be faced with the same challenges of loss and change experience by those ahead of us.

{*I was given a chance to preview Wrinkles in exchange of an honest review of the film. I’m happy to share that a portion of the digital proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. If you would like to help, please spread news about this hopeful and heartwarming film.}

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You Have Permission to Just Be

{flickr photo}

Like reptiles we shed our soft baby skins and soft, playful spirits when we leave childhood. We embrace a tougher skin and more brittle insides that we think come with adulthood.

“We’re grown-ups now,” we say to ourselves. That means no more lounging around, letting our souls dream, and watching the day roll on by the way we used to as kids.

We allow ourselves to harden the way flowers do when they’re on the their way to die. And we forget that life is about growing, not sinking into ourselves.

And why shouldn’t we?

Life gives us more than enough reason to. It takes away our loved ones, our dreams, our hope. And it does so in such an insidious, unexpected way, how can we not relinquish the playfulness and whimsy that characterized our youth, and grab onto what’s left: fear, discouragement, disappointment?

It is, but a choice.

{The rest of my post can be read on my Beliefnet Health column, “Happy Haven.”}


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