Sunday, July 11, 2010

Week 14: The 13th Month of the Year...

With aging comes the need for less sleep. Instead of eight hours, I now grab six. I started thinking about this last week and realized that sleeping less means I am awake 2 hours more a day... or 730 hours extra a year... or a whopping 30.4166666666666 extra DAYS every 12 months. This is tantamount to discovering a 13th month of the year! I feel like I have found the lost city of Atlantis or something.

Wow... what to do with all this extra time? Of course some of it is used up just by virtue of being older now - time used trying to remember things I forgot, retrieving words that are on the 'tip of my tongue' but wandering aimlessly about the brain til I can nab them again, finding the reading glasses, looking for things I have misplaced, getting out of chairs which seem to have sunken to deeper depths and definitely the garden takes longer to weed now. It alone could gobble up 1/2 a month. So, is this why we have been given this new-found time in our lives? Do we need it to get things done in older age or even just to get moving  as each new day dawns?

Still one extra month IS a LOT of extra time and I think it deserves some recognition. For instance maybe there should be a special seniors' calendar - one with 13 months in a year. Where would we position our extra month? Would you prefer spring or summer? And it would have to have a name of course - one with senior intent.  In answer to the month of 'March' we could follow up with the month of 'Meander' or in answer to the month of 'November' we could try 'Yesember' in true senior contrariness. 
No... well names have never been my long suit.

But think of it... There'd be a whole extra month before having to pay income taxes. A whole extra month before the snow would need shoveling. A whole extra month before the next medical check-up and that mammogram could just plain wait an  extra oh-so-grateful 30 days. Since this 13th month doesn’t show up on most anybody’s calendar so far but mine, I am not yet ‘penciled in’ to do a darn thing during those 30 days, be anywhere anytime particular, or pay even one single blessed bill. I could just fill up the (sugarless) lemonade pitcher, grab some books and lay out on the sundeck for 30 glorious days. Wanna join me? You can come IF you are over 50 and live by the elongated seniors' calendar too. I think Hallmark would warm to this idea, don't you? Think of how many more cards they could sell with a 13-month year. It could be a whole new occasion that lasts 30.416  days - longer even than Christmas.

Tongue-in-cheek aside, time definitely grows more precious with age. Focusing on this every day, helps us to recognize each moment for the real gift it is. I don't mean to sound all gushy about this. (Gosh I do so hate gush.) Recently though I have been hit with a lot of new things and they all seem to be about aging and time and what's been used up and in what way and how much time is left and wow every moment really is pretty wonderful after all, isn't it? Hmmmm. The trick is figuring out how to appreciate it all. So though I doubt we can get Hallmark to reform the Julian calendar to recognize our special month, maybe instead what we can do is find 2 hours worth of minutes every day of the year to concentrate on NOW. What we have NOW. What the birds sound like NOW. How the flowers and river and trees smell NOW. How our grandchildren's laughter carries on the wind NOW. How smoothly the beaver swims along the river's current NOW. For 120 minutes a day. Otherwise it is just a whole month every year completely and utterly wasted, unused and under-appreciated. It's like being given a brightly packaged, very generous gift and then refusing to open it. Whoops! I tore the wrapping paper!

Thanks for walking with me on my footpath this week.


TRAILS:  Bracebridge Trails Map Page. 
WEEK 14 :: 12 PHOTOS:  You'll find them HERE.

BBPP Weekly Health Check:
Mind:  As the holiday Christmas-cracker-producing season encroaches, the annual preoccupation with time resurfaces.  I always worry about getting everything done in the short holiday work period availalble.  Orders arrive with a jumble once the end of summer approaches and it seems the 18 hour - 7 day work week takes over. This year I have started the Christmas season a few weeks early with the hope of achieving more balance - time for the extra work load and time for LIFE and LIVING. We'll see...
Body:  After 4 1/2 months of mostly effortless dieting, I have hit a wall.  The past 3 weeks have been sheer challenge. All I can think about is FOOD.  A little physical activity - walking, swimming, whatever helps but last week's incredible heat and humidity made that a little tougher than usual.  Focused creativity also keeps the mind out of the fridge!
The Artist Soul:  Honestly, you'd laugh.  Every other evening I run down to the river about 8pm and start looking for the beavers.  Within minutes one or another of them  surfaces swimming along the river's edge and every night I try to take a better beaver picture. The photos are improving but the really 'good' one I know is going to come some day has still not been snapped.   Meanwhile in all this running up and down the river after them, I have come to really love these adorable and sometimes cranky creatures.  They are hard workers (I know, I know, they ate your young sapplings this spring. I'm sorry, really. I hear that a lot), exquisite swimmers and just generally smart, crafty little guys.  And what's not to love about those nifty tails of theirs? My artist soul has quite fallen for them.