Keeping Up with Aunt Lucille

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.  I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.

~G.B. Shaw~

I usually tend to think of older people as relatively immobile, not too interesting in gallivanting, as they call it. But then I am not getting any younger myself. I remember my father retiring and not doing much besides sitting in his lounge chair. Several years ago when I started dating with Carol, I met her Aunt Lucille on one of the few occasions she could be found at home.

My first visit to her house was shortly before Christmas. Carol insisted I see Aunt Lucille’s basement. There, amid her husband Jake’s clock collection, were more presents that I imagined Santa Claus having in his workshop. She had been chasing around Western New York collecting them for months. I wondered why there was any concern about the economy. During our visit, she was the consummate hostess, seeing to our every need.

Some years later, she was ready to buy a new car and I expressed an interest in her old one. How many miles could an older person put on a car? I was surprised that it had traveled eighty- four thousand miles. I bought the car and named it Lucille in her honor.

Lately she has had medical difficulties which have required her to be tethered to an oxygen tank. I thought this might slow her down some. She has found it inconvenient, but has returned to as much mobility as she can manage within its limitations.

“So what?” you ask. A few years ago when I was struggling with rheumatoid arthritis I had visions of my travels coming to an end or at least being highly curtailed. Aunt Lucille’s example reminded me that with determination, quite a bit was possible regardless of circumstances.

Over the years, I have seen many people younger than her, or me for that matter, decide their active lives were over and that it was time to start living on the couch. I grew up in Rochester and have lived in Batavia for many years. During that time I have met quite a few people who were growing older. I have not seen obituaries for most of them, so I assume they are still alive. I wonder what their lives are like.

None of us know how many years we have ahead of us. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit still and wait for the end. There is always something we can do today. Aunt Lucille has plans every day, and seems restless if she is not able to get out for at least one adventure.

I have met older people who don’t express any opinions and seem not to care much about life. Aunt Lucille knows exactly what she likes and doesn’t like with very definite opinions on just about any topic. She has not let life pass her by. Why should we?

Action Steps

  • How well do you use your time each day?
  • Do you know someone who makes the most of every day like Aunt Lucille?
  • Visit that person and help him or her celebrate life.
  • Love the ones you’re with.
  • Make the best of all your life opportunities.

Excerpt from my book, Navigating Life available at Amazon.