I really did have a senior’s moment

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I was working on an itinerary for an upcoming bus tour this fall and flashed back to a bus tour we had last fall.

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Was I guilty of ageism?  Perhaps.  But when the senior’s euchre tournament bus tour arrived at the lodge on that fateful Sunday, I was genuinely dreading the three days that would follow.  I made an egregious error in judgement.

Admittedly, the tour had not begun well for the 42 participants but the fault was not ours.  A slight hiccup in their agenda had caused them to arrive an hour and a half early and we were thoroughly unprepared for the sudden onset of walkers, luggage and upset elders.  We did our best to scramble and be as accommodating as possible.   I made a witty speech welcoming them on behalf of the owners and staff and my words were met with sullen stares and moderate contempt.  It was a bumpy start.

Once we regained control, our momentum increased and we began to get everyone settled into their rooms. I had entered first and once Betty and Rose reached those three stairs Betty took the lead.  Once she was at the top, Rose began to follow.  Betty reached for the door frame and found nothing but a handful of air.  As I turned to look behind me, Betty, doing her best impression of a tree being felled in the forest, fell straight backwards and took Rose out, using her as a cushion for the fall.  The two ladies I had escorted to their room had just fallen and couldn’t get up.   Thankfully we got them into an upright and relatively stable position and, after many unqualified examinations, we deemed they were medically stable.

The group’s first dinner was an interesting event.  Still unsure of their surroundings, many uttered complaints that hung in the air like angry cartoon balloons.  There were threats of husbands being called to retrieve them the following morning and the night was punctuated by another woman being hit in the head by a heartily kicked-open kitchen door.  In the span of six hours, we had potentially concussed three women.

But then something changed.  Over the course of the following 60 hours, attitude and understanding rapidly evolved on both sides.  We understood the nature of their initial frustration and they understood the nature of our good will and hospitality.  By the end of their three night stay, I was calling them all by their first name and I was truly sad to see them climb the stairs to get back on the bus.  There were many hugs and talks of seeing them again next year.  I will admit that I was close to tears saying goodbye to these lovely souls.

Perhaps it was the sideways glances I got from Rose that reminded me so much of my mom.  Maybe it was that bond of parenthood I have been missing since my mom and dad passed.  Whatever the reason, I will be ready and willing to welcome that next bus tour with open arms and use this enlightening experience as a lesson for the future.

Maybe I should have paid more attention in my high school Physics class

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It never ceases to amaze me.  The amount of hours one works in the real world is directly proportionate to the eradication of the creative mind in the artistic world, especially following a long weekend of working in the hospitality business.

I remember my Physics teacher in Grade 11 throwing around words like ‘inertia’ and ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’ but I don’t remember studying the direct correlation of physical exhaustion and prolific brain death.  Sure, the basic functions in my body still happen – I breathe in and out, I walk and talk, but the rest of me seems to be on autopilot – like that object in motion that tends to stay in motion.

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I want to be that object at rest.   I want to remain at rest (for at least 24 hours).  I want to have my brain back – the brain that wakes me up at night, swirling words around in circles until I can grab them all from those cartoon word clouds above my head.  I want the ability to form those words into whimsical, thoughtful or romantic lines and be able to feel that creative flow coursing through my veins.

I wonder what Newton’s theory would be on my chances of winning the lottery and being able to spend my precious moments writing a best-seller?  Time + creativity = true bliss.  Until that moment, I shall struggle through the hours required at my job and hope my brain can keep up the frantic pace.

“Touricide” and a message to the transient population

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It has already begun.  The simple act of easily turning left onto any of our local roads is a shadowed memory of its former self.  They have descended upon us and the seemingly mundane tasks we used to perform with ease now require an expletive filter and a great deal of patience (or high blood pressure pills) (or both).

Almost two years ago, I wrote this post about the tourist season in our small town.  It was that post that sparked some interesting conversation about these wayward travelers and also got me Freshly Pressed.  To those of us on the WordPress blog site, being freshly pressed is a nice pat on the back.  We are recognized for writing something interesting that would encourage a discussion, and that it did on many levels.

I will preface the words that follow by reminding you I work in the hospitality and tourism industry.  My job is to serve people and I truly enjoy it.  Our lodge guests have slowly become like friends and family and it is a pleasure to go to work. But the cottage dwellers are a like a box of chocolates and as Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, “you never know what you’re gonna get”.   I realize that these summer vacationers are the bread to our butter, the wind beneath our small town wings, but, as each year rolls into the next, the level of courtesy and manners shown by some of these visitors leaves much to be desired.

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The act of “Touricide” has crossed my mind at many points throughout our busy seasons.  I’m sure if the facts of my potential case were presented to a jury of my peers the charges against me would be dropped and the crime would be ruled justifiable.  I don’t mind that our population explodes exponentially in the summer months.  I plan accordingly knowing my routine tasks will take much longer because the lines have quadrupled in length.  I leave my house much earlier to deal with the sudden onset of traffic in a town where six cars on the road in the spring is considered gridlock.

What I cannot tolerate is the arrogant attitude of so many of these visitors, thinking we live in this town only to serve them in the summer.  You have entered our home.  We have greeted you with courtesy and respect and all we ask is the same in return.  We will bend over backwards to meet your needs and we ask so little of you.  Smile.  Say thank you, and mean it.  Take a moment to appreciate that you are on vacation and relax.  Things may not get done at city speed, but they will get done and we will make sure they get done properly and that they meet or exceed your expectation.

I wish everyone celebrating the long weekend a safe and happy holiday.  Take the time to smile and say hello to a stranger.  Perhaps all they need is a little small town warmth to melt that cold city shell.

 

Making sure the next step is the right step

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I have had a small epiphany today.  I call it small because to most it would be a normal occurrence but to me it was evidence of the changing of a tide within myself.

When it comes to life-changing events I have always faced them head on.  I react without much thought, relying only on intuition.  I don’t allow myself to wallow in the horrible circumstance, instead I am always looking for the next logical step.  I give myself pause to reflect after the dust has settled but, during the crisis, I am continually thinking ahead and moving forward, never giving a second thought to the cause but always striving for the solution.

But when it comes to the finer, more minute details of life I tend to fester and over-think the little things.   I replay the scene in my head over and over and, after a multitude of scenarios have been beaten into submission in my over-active imagination, I am eventually able to put the proverbial pencil to paper and draw the logical conclusion.

Until that moment of clarity, my mind is a churning mess.  I analyse, over-analyse, recreate the scene in a way it never happened.  I create dialogues in my head that never occurred and have myself convinced that this miniscule event has become epic in proportion to actual reality.

Personal growth is a journey taken one step at a time and today I took another step.  It was a small thing in the grand scheme of my life but one that I normally would have allowed to gnaw on my subconscious until my brain hurt.  Instead of allowing the situation to spiral out of control in my alternate reality, I diffused the ticking time bomb before the digital clock even began counting down the seconds. The drama was over before it began and I understood what it meant to take the high road.

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Perhaps wisdom does really come with age.  Or perhaps I am just tired of spending so much time creating scenarios in my head that never existed in the first place.  Regardless of the reason, I am glad I was able to teeter on the precipice of discomfort and take a step forward that was foreign to me.  That one small step in my day was a giant step on the path of my life.

Shrinking bladder, hidden youth

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Gracefully getting older has its down side.  I used to enjoy interruption-free nights of unadulterated sleep but all of that has changed.  I have tried to reset my internal alarm clock but I still find myself waking, usually around 3:30 each morning, and playing the familiar game of find the bathroom in the dark.  If I have to be awake at that insane hour, I’m not going to assault my senses by turning the lights on.

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And it doesn’t matter if I have made the preemptive strike and visited the loo just before I crawl into bed for the night, the gentle reminder that I am no longer in my 20’s drags me from my slumber.  I generally lie in bed hoping the call of  nature will stop but there is no answering machine and that call just keeps ringing incessantly until I answer it.  When I finally return to bed I become a victim of my brain while my bladder falls back into its own deep sleep.

I have yet to find the switch that activates every functioning neuron in my head as soon as I wake up.  Those neurons jump into hyper-drive and begin to organize my thoughts into categories.  The first is usually work.  I go through what I expect to accomplish the next day at my job.  Those thoughts become more creative and morph into ideas for blog posts.  Thankfully I have a voice recorder on my phone so I can trap those ideas before they dissipate into the still air that I should be inhaling gently as I sleep!

I’m not sure when it happened.  I didn’t get the memo that my body was ready to start playing tricks on me.  I wasn’t prepared and had no way to defend myself from the attack.

I am going to construct a heart-felt letter to my bladder in the hope that it will rethink its nightly call and read it out loud tomorrow morning at 3:30 when I am lying in bed, wide awake, with nothing better to do!

 

 

Screw it, Ray Bradbury….something GOOD this way comes

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For the first time in my life, I feel like I am in the right place at the right time.  Something good is about to happen.  It may not be news-worthy to the world but it will affect me immensely.  I feel it.  I feel it like the Earth feels the tidal pull.  I feel it like the horizon feels the sun rise being birthed from its shores.  I feel it like the night sky feels the first star burning its light into the blackness.  It’s there…..and I can almost reach out and touch it.  I just don’t know what it is.

Many things have happened to me throughout my lifetime.  Some of those things have been wonderful and some have been stored in the vault of memories titled ‘lessons’.  The culmination of all of those events has brought me to where I am now.  Because of those situations, I have gained confidence where I used to wallow in self-doubt.  I have achieved a level of comfort in who I am as a person.  And I have grasped the definition of what I want in my life.  It took me 46 years to get here but the journey was worth it.  I have finally allowed myself to be the person who was hiding in my own shadow.

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Sure, there are moments I fall back into the secluded darkness of that shadow but those moments are fleeting.  Those junctures of time only serve to remind me of who I once was and who I have since become.  I feed on the strength I have gained.  I thrive on being the person I was meant to be and I hold fast to the lessons that each of those bumps has etched into the road that is my life.

There will always be moments that I shall forget the tenacity that has brought me to my now.   There will forever be junctures in my life that I may lose sight of the higher roads that I have taken.  But I can only take comfort in the fact that the skin I am cloaked in now fits me as it should.  I can take solace in the conviction that I have learned from each lesson I was taught.  And I can count on the feeling that I am where I need to be and that something good IS going to happen…..and it’s going to happen to me.