Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maxine - A Real Diva

You'll notice I've added a picture of Maxine to my blog. That's cuz Maxine is my heroine of choice. I can't look at a picture of Maxine without laughing, and that's reason enough to like her. The scariest part of Maxine is that I see myself in her.

This aging business brings with it a suitcase of new stuff for us to cope with. Things I truly didn't think could possibly happen to "me." For instance, pain. Lots of pain. In our younger years, we try to stay in shape and exercise. For years I got up at 5 o'clock in the morning, jogged 3 miles, and thought that was helping me. At the time it did keep the pounds off, but nobody said a word about me wearing out the cartilage in my joints.

Did you know that there's a mean (really mean) old fairy who descends upon us during nighttime sleep, and she nastily packs extra pounds on our worn-out bodies. She skillfully plunks them down in the worst possible places, and she's sneaky enough never to be caught at her cruel ways. Then come morning, we're expected to innocently lug this extra weight around like we had something to do with it, and the 'old bat' goes scott free.

By the time we retire, we're tired. If we've given life our "all," then it's only normal that we be content to busy ourselves with tasks that require sitting and drinking coffee. Anyway, those are my two favorite sports now.

Oh, and there's the Red Hat Clubs. We've all seen a long table of elderly ladies wearing red and purple, having a meal together, laughing and having a hi-ho time. God bless them. I hope the younger generation realizes the value of an elderly lady. She has held babies, wiped tears, rocked sick children, silently worried herself almost to death, listened to secrets, loyally kept secrets, comforted the dying, and her list of goodnesses is unending. There is no other group of humans who deserves to be respected more for their contribution to humanity.

Within every 'little old lady' is a young girl still beaming with the same girlish silliness and the same need to be loved. Our outsides change, but our insides don't. This hurts so much. We Americans are way off base when it comes to how we feel about those who have lived many years. One time I asked my mother how old she felt on the inside. At the time she was in her 80's. Her answer to me was, "about 35." That made me sad. I felt like she was a prisoner trapped inside a crumbling body.

What's nice about Maxine, is that she makes our frailties and physical faults okay and she goes so far as to strut her stuff. She frankly doesn't give a darn about much of anything. She laughs in the face of whatever she bumps into. I like that and think it's way cool. Most of us take life too seriously and try to mask ourselves and pretend that we're not suffering the daily crumble-syndrome that is part of being alive. We can lift loads of stress off of ourselves if we simply go with the flow. There's nothing we can do about it anyway.

I salute Maxine and what she stands for. Yesterday I was crabbier than all get out. Just couldn't shake it all day. I went to bed about 11 o'clock last night and just prayed today would be better. And, gull darn, it is. Sun is shining, we're having friends over later, there's a refreshing breeze coming through the windows, and the forecast is for temps in the 80s.

At this stage of life, dear friends are our main arteries. Nothing feels so good as a phone call, an email, or a visit from someone we've grown up with or met along the way. To me, my friends are my family. The main thing is to follow the light-hearted trails and steer away from the ones that cause heartaches. Life simply is too short and not worth putting ourselves through things we can avoid.

I have a long rope of strong women who came before me--mother, grandmothers, aunt, and great-aunts. It's not that they actually ever gave me alot of advice, but from little on, I watched and carefully listened to what they did, how they did it, and what they said, and what they didn't say. Honestly, I gotta admit that there definitely was a bit of Maxine in each of those gals. Yup, I know there was!