Conversation With…Fading Tinker Bell…About believing in older fairies

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I noticed a fading, flickering light in the distance. As a fan of fairy tales, I knew who it was right away. Tinker Bell! From the story of Peter Pan! I remembered her light faded the same way during her story, when Captain Hook poisoned Peter Pan’s medicine and Tinker Bell drank it to save Peter’s life.  After that, children everywhere clapped their hands to voice their belief in fairies…and Tinker Bell came alive So, why was she fading again? I rushed over and cried, “Excuse me, Tinker Bell. I’m not the paparazzi. I’m a loyal fan. Why are you flickering?  What’s wrong?!” She answered in a weak, faint voice:

Tinker Bell

TINKER BELL: I flew Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road to rekindle my spirit, but it isn’t working. I’m dying.

You can’t die! How did this happen? Did you drink Peter’s poisoned medicine again?

TINKER BELL: No. The situation is quite different this time. You see, after all these years, Peter has stayed young as he was meant to. But I have aged. I’m ever so much more than 110.

But you’re a fairy! Maybe you can live longer! Why is your spirit dying?

TINKER BELL: Because I’m not useful to Peter anymore. Do you remember our story? We appear outside children’s bedroom windows at bedtime and fly them to Neverland.

Of course I remember your story! I was always waiting for you!

TINKER BELL: Well, my eyesight isn’t what it used to be. I can’t fly in the dark as well anymore.

So? You’re not alone. I can’t drive at night as well as I used to.

TNKER BELL: I appreciate your kind words. But that isn’t the only problem. You see, I always carry fairy dust to help children fly. But these days, I can no longer carry it. The weight of all that fairy dust throws my back out.

I have back issues too. But that’s no reason to give up on everything in older age. Can’t you try to adjust? That’s what everyone else does.

TINKER BELL: How?

Well, as long as we’re on the subject, I’ll blurt out something that has bothered  me about the story of Peter Pan for decades. It might help.

TINKER BELL: Go ahead. I fear I’m almost dead anyway.

Stop saying that!  Listen to me! Every time I read the story of Peter Pan, I feel it’s unfair that only children get to fly to Neverland. What about adults, like me, who will always be young at heart?  Why can’t we go too?

TINKER BELL: That is an excellent question. I’d like to fly you to Neverland myself, but as I told, you, I don’t see as well at night anymore. I muddle through it with Peter, but I don’t think I can add extra excursions.

You’re missing the point. I can’t see as well at night either, so I’d be happier flying to Neverland during the day! I bet others who are young at heart would say the same thing.

TINKER BELL: Hmmm…perhaps I could manage that. But what about the fairy dust? I can’t carry it.

I’ve got that figured out too. When you decide which bedroom window you’d like to visit, go ahead and order fairy dust from amazon.com a few days in advance. Use their two-day delivery service with free shipping.

TINKER BELL: Hmmm….Tempting thought.

Yes! And that way, the fairy dust will be waiting for you on any  bedroom windowsill as soon as you arrive there.

TINKER BELL: You know, I think this could work.

Yaaay!

TINKER BELL: But there’s one other thing I’ll need before I begin taking others on daytime trips to Neverland.

What’s that?

TINKER BELL: Heartfelt support to keep me alive.

What do you mean?

TINKER BELL: I’ll explain. As you recall, in my story, when I drank Peter’s poisoned medicine and almost died, Peter asked children everywhere to clap their hands to prove they believed in fairies.

I remember I clapped so loudly, my hands almost fell off.

TINKER BELL: That was you? Oh thank you. Anyway, now I must ask all those who will always be young at heart to clap for me again, and chant: “I believe in older fairies. I believe in older fairies.”

I’m in. And…everyone reading this post who feels the way I do, please, please clap your hands and chant along with me: “I believe in older fairies! I believe in older fairies! I believe in older fairies! I believe in older fairies!!!!!”

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I’d like to extend a huge, heartfelt thank you to all those who clapped and chanted. We brought Tinker Bell back to life. From this day forward, please listen for a light tapping on your bedroom window. Yes, it might be a woodpecker. But you never know. It might also be Tinker Bell, waiting to fly you to Neverland.

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Conversation with…An Older Sponge I Met Once Before…No longer trusting her physical capabilities

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I was feeling anxious. It was a hot day and I forgot to drink a lot of water, so my mouth was dry. I couldn’t accept the fact that dry mouth could be a normal reaction to slight dehydration. I thought my tongue was no longer working properly and I was going to die.  I was obsessing with it. That’s what happens to me sometimes as I feel myself growing older. I don’t trust my body to get its act together and move on. So I kept walking in a panic and passed a spa. I decided to stop in and try to calm myself down. I was heading to the spa café, when floating around nervously in a hot tub, I noticed a sponge I’d met once before. I wandered over and asked:

sponge in hot tub

Hey sponge, do you remember me?

SPONGE: Yeah. We met when I was soaking up sadness from other peoples’ lives and wondering if I was crazy.

Right. So what are you doing here in the hot tub?

SPONGE: I’m trying to calm myself down because I’m scared! I’m anxious! Every day I obsess with a different symptom and I can’t pull myself out of it! I don’t trust myself to get well anymore! Because I’m getting older!

Me too! A few days ago, I had a headache and thought something was wrong inside my brain. I got over that, but the next day I ate some broccoli and a small piece got stuck in my throat. I thought it would never go down because my throat was too old to push it and I’d stop breathing. Today I have dry mouth, and yesterday–

SPONGE: Don’t tell me any more of your symptoms. I’m suggestable. I’ll think I have them too and sink deeper into my sponge holes.

Why do you think we’re panicking now?  What clicked in our brains to make us distrust our physical selves??

SPONGE: Maybe we’re looking at situations around us differently, with an older eye. It’s not always pretty.

How do you mean?

SPONGE: Well, I don’t know about you, but I had a terrible Mother’s Day. My adult children were too busy to come and visit me. I feel like I don’t matter anymore. Maybe I shouldn’t even be here. I think that’s why I start thinking all these things are wrong with me physically.

I think you’re on to something. Like, since I’m older, I’ve decided it requires more effort to be sure people take me seriously the way they used to. I feel less useful and my world of possibilities is smaller. It makes me so sad. Maybe I shouldn’t even be here. That brings on the symptoms of doom. They’re based in deep sadness.

SPONGE: Well as I said, that’s why I’m in this hot tub. I comfort myself by floating around in here for weeks. The problem is, it’s not good for me. The more I sit in here, the deeper I sink and the heavier I get. When I’m heavier, it’s harder to get myself back on track. I’m all sogged-out.

I do the same thing with food. I eat because it’s comforting. But when I keep eating and eating and eating, even though I love it because food is so delicious, it makes me heavier and lethargic, and it’s much harder to get back on track. The food sits in my stomach longer and I gain weight much more easily these days.

SPONGE: So what can we do to calm ourselves down in a healthy way when we’re older?

Take medication?

SPONGE: Nope. Hate that stuff.

Me too. I won’t even take Advil.  Meditate? Or go for a walk?

SPONGE: When I’m in a panic mode, I can’t get myself to do that.

Me neither. Try tapping methods?

SPONGE: Nope. When I’m in a panic, I can’t pull it together.

Same here. Get a massage? With oils?

SPONGE: Not happening.

Acupuncture? Physical therapy?? Go to a chiropractor???

SPONGE: Nope, nope and nope.

So… you think there’s no way to make ourselves feel better when we’re anxious in older age?

SPONGE: I don’t know! I guess some conversations just can’t end with comforting answers.

I guess not…

_____________________________________________

With that, I told the sponge I’d catch up with her later. I wished her well, and just before I left, we embraced. Oddly, the sponge immediately felt better. By wrapping my arms around the sponge, I’d squeezed all the water out of her. All the water that was weighing her down. She felt refreshed. Temporarily. And so…I guess I can say… sometimes, the best cure for anxiety in older age is simply…a hug.

How do you make yourself less crazy?

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CONVERSATION WITH…A Used Shoe…Struggling with her sparkles

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I passed a consignment store. I love looking at classic, off beat clothing so I went in. Off in a corner, I noticed a pair of shoes covered with sparkles shoved in a shoe bag. Why were those gorgeous shoes stuffed in the back of the store?  I started a conversation…

sparkle shoes

Hey sparkly shoes, I totally love you! You’d look amazing with a pair of jeans and a tee shirt. Why are you sitting back here by yourself?

SPARKLY SHOES: Well, since we’re Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, all the customers who come in here are growing older. They’re figuring out where they belong in the world.

Right. I’m one of them. So?

SPARKLY SHOES: So everybody thinks they’re too old to wear sparkles. People who come in the store say sparkles make them look like they’re trying to look younger in a tasteless way, even though they wish they could wear me.

To be honest, I’m struggling with the same thing. I mean, for example, I’d love to wear sparkle eye shadow, but I’m afraid the glitter will get stuck in my wrinkles.

SPARKLY SHOES: Interesting…

And I’d love to wear sparkle nail polish, but I feel on some level I’d be trying to look like a teenager. Or a four year old.

SPARKLY SHOES: Even if you put sparkles on one finger and a solid nail polish color on the other four?

Tried it. There’s still something that doesn’t feel quite right about it.

SPARKLY SHOES: It’s going to be hard for me to hear this, but, what’s your problem with sparkly shoes?

As I grow older, my feet are more particular. It’s much harder to find shoes that are comfortable. So, the thought of trying to find shoes that don’t hurt AND have sparkles seems like an impossible dream.

SPARKLY SHOES: This is depressing me.

Don’t get me wrong. I love sparkles. They tap right into my playful, elegant, side. I just can’t figure out when, where and how to wear them. I’m in the middle of the process.

SPARKLY SHOES: So then let me ask you a question. While you’re trying to find your comfort level with sparkles, what am I supposed to do with my life? I still want to bring joy into the world. I’m not getting any younger either.

How about this? You could sit by a window.

SPARKLY SHOES:  Sit by a window? Why? What would I do there?

Make rainbows. 

SPARKLY SHOES: Are you serious?

Yes. Go ahead. Try. it. 

rainbow shoe 1

rainbow shoe 2

SPARKLY SHOES: Wow!!!!  Omg! Awesome!

I know!

SPARKLY SHOES: I never knew I had it in me! I guess no matter how old we get, we can find inner beauty and bring it into the world.

For a shoe, you’re impressively cerebral.

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How do you wear sparkles?

CONVERSATION WITH…A Sunshine Blogging Award

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, a blogging award started following me. I wondered what it wanted.

blogger_award

Excuse me, Sunshine Blogging Award, can I help you?

BLOG AWARD: Actually, I can help YOU. RudyMariee from the blog: http://www.visionsandgiggles.com/  has nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

Omg! That’s so flattering and such an honor!  Especially coming from RudyMariee. She’s an amazing writer. Every one of her posts is so genuine. She writes from her heart, is funny, and I always relate to the way she looks at life and her family. So, I’ll take the award.

BLOG AWARD: Hold your horses. You haven’t won yet. First you have to do a few things.

Like what?

BLOG AWARD: Start by linking your blog back to http://www.visionsandgiggles.com Actually, I just did that for you.

Thanks. Now I’ll take my award.

BLOG AWARD: Nope. Now you need to answer eleven questions about yourself that RudyMariee created below.

Okay, here I go.  Here are the answers to RudyMariee’s questions:

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I hope to reside permanently Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road.

  1. If you could change one thing about the current world, what would it be?

Revise gun control laws in the United States.

  1. Why did you start blogging?

Throughout my career, I’ve been a writer. I’ve always compromised with those who have hired me in order to “get the job done.” My blog is just my own writing voice. No revisions. No rewrites. For better or for worse.  🙂

  1. What advice would you give to new bloggers?

Follow your heart. You’ll reach those who will “get you” and they will follow you.

  1. What is the most interesting or most unusual thing about you?

I wrote for Sesame Street for twenty years, so I spent a lot of time with the Cookie Monster and the Snuffleupagus.

  1. What would be your idea of a perfect day?

Being left alone. I’m really a cat disguised as human.

  1. What are you most passionate about?

My family, writing, eating.

  1. What are you planning to do differently in 2018 in regards to your blog?

In April, I have a book coming out which is based on my blog. It’s called, “Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road.” It has a story that I might incorporate into my posts.

  1. Have you found anything particularly difficult about your blogging journey?

Making enough time to read all the amazing blogs I follow.

  1. What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

Biographies and autobiographies about artists.

  1. If you could be anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?

        Albert Brooks. He makes me laugh the hardest.

BLOG AWARD: Nice job.

Fine. I’ll take my award now.

BLOG AWARD:  Nope. Now you have to nominate eleven new bloggers.

Are you kidding me? That’s almost impossible. I read so many different kinds of blogs written by so many different, talented people. I cherish the exchanges I have with each and every one of them. How can I possibly choose eleven?

BLOG AWARD:  Just do it, or you won’t get your award.

Okay, how about this? I read blogs written by people who express themselves through words, art, photographs, humor, food, poetry, fashion, spirituality, health and pets. I’ll nominate one or two bloggers from each category, and they’ll represent all the awesome blogs I read on all those topics.

BLOG AWARD:  Works for me.

So, to represent all the blogs I follow, I nominate these eleven talented bloggers for the Sunshine Blogging Award. They help look at the world differently every day:

https://www.shallowreflections.com/

https://3cstyle.com/2018/01/21/the-nature-of-change-and-the-nature-of-fashion/

https://deepasthoughts.wordpress.com/

https://grapegravy.com/2018/02/01/spicy-green-salsa/

https://sevencatsandcounting.wordpress.com/author/sevencatsandcounting/

https://claudiamcgillart.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/scrutinized-people/

https://roseelaineblog.com/2018/02/15/five-little-angels-10/

https://rabbitpatchdiary.com/

https://muddlingthroughmymiddleage.com/

https://mainepaperpusher.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/guest-in-jest-30-over-the-hill-on-the-yellow-brick-road/

https://soulgifts.com.au/author/soulgifts2012/

Now can I have my award?

BLOG AWARD:   Nope.  One more thing.  Write eleven new questions your blogger nominees must answer.  HERE ARE THE RULES: To be winners, your nominees will:

Thank you and link back to your blog.

Answer eleven new questions you will ask them below.

Nominate eleven new bloggers and write them eleven new questions.

List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Logo.

Okay. Here are the eleven new questions for my blogger nominees:

  1. From where do you draw inspiration for your blog?
  2. What’s the title of your favorite post and why do you like it best?
  3. If you could have a second home anywhere in the world or universe, where would it be?
  4. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
  5. Who is your favorite fairy tale character?
  6. What’s your favorite food?
  7. If you could be a flower or a tree, what kind would you be?
  8. Where do you go if you want to have a quiet, spiritual moment?
  9. If you could live one part of your life over again, what part would it be?
  10. Who is your favorite artist?
  11. What’s an adventure in your life you’d still like to have?

NOW? Now can I please have my award?

BLOG AWARD:  It’s yours.

Yaaay! Finally!  And, thanks again to RudyMariee  at:  http://www.visionsandgiggles.com/

I’m exhausted!  🙂

 

 

 

 

CONVERSATION WITH…An older door

As I travel Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I have to remind myself to look upward every once in a while.  I never know if a house will fall from the sky and crash on top of me. Today, an actual school building fell from the heavens. Thankfully, it landed along the side of the road.  Believe it or not, it was the building where my two children went to preschool!  I rushed inside and found their old classroom!  Though the room had been turned into a library, the old door was still there.  We chatted…

IMG_2159

Hey door?  Do you remember when I used to drop my kids off in your room a million years ago?

OLD DOOR:  Of course. I remember everyone who comes in and out of this place. I don’t have a lot else to do. I remember your son cried a lot when you dropped him off here at preschool.

Yeah. I remember leaving the room and then peeking through the window at the top of you to see how he was doing.

DOOR:  If memory serves, he was so upset he actually had to drop out and come back the next year.  He missed you terribly.

I know. Back then, I thought he would have fun in the classroom with the other kids as soon as I left. I also needed a little space for myself to live my own life.  So, I played with my son in the classroom for a while…and when I thought he’d be fine without me, I’d whisper, “I have to go now.”

DOOR:  And he’d wail.

Looking back, I guess he didn’t understand. It probably made no sense to him.  He was probably very hurt. But eventually he dried his tears and moved on.

DOOR: On the other hand…I remember your daughter didn’t mind being dropped off here at preschool.

I know!  Before I could finish saying, “I have to go now,” she was bopping over to the other kids. 

DOOR:  So you left, closed me behind you, and scrunched your nose up against my little window to see how your daughter was doing.

She was always having a good time. That made me very happy because I needed a little space for myself.  I needed to live my own life.

DOOR:  But! Your daughter always insisted on coming home for lunch.  She only wanted to stay in preschool for a few hours. That was her limit.

I remember sometimes she had to stay longer because I had to work. She cried.  She probably didn’t understand.  I probably hurt her feelings.

DOOR: But eventually she dried her tears and moved on.

And now the tables have turned.  My kids are young adults. When my daughter travels from the other side of the country for a visit, I always want her to stay longer and spend more time with me.  But, at a certain point, she says, “I have to go now.” 

DOOR: And your son?

He lives about an hour away. When he comes home for a visit, I soooo enjoy his company!  But at a certain point, he gets up and says, “I have to go now.” 

DOOR: That must be hard.

 I don’t always understand.  Sometimes it hurts my feelings. I miss my children terribly.

DOOR: But you dry your tears and move on.

Copyrightoverthehillontheyellowbrickroad2018

 

CONVERSATION WITH…An Elderly Shark…Reflecting on the shark inside her

On a hot day Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I decided to go for a swim in the ocean.  Suddenly, a shark swam over!   Aaaah!!!!!

shark

Shark! Don’t eat me!  I’m older!  But I’m too young to die!

SHARK:  Calm down. I have no intention of eating you.

I thought sharks ate people.

SHARK: If you confuse us, we’ll take a nibble.  Otherwise, we prefer other delicacies.  Just don’t confuse me.

 I won’t confuse you.

SHARK: But I should tell you, I do have one other eating related issue. Many years ago, I ate another shark.  I mean, some sharks do eat other sharks, but that doesn’t make it right.  I feel bad knowing I have a shark inside me.  I still have nightmares about it.

If it makes you feel better, I have a shark inside me, too.

SHARK:  Should I be swimming away from you?

No. Not that kind of shark.  It’s a metaphor for a really aggressive side of myself. But it’s strange.  I’ve noticed as I grow older, I don’t feel the shark inside me as much as I used to.  I don’t know what’s happening to me.  Am I settling for less?  Am I depressed?

SHARK:  I’m not sure I understand what you mean.

Well, when I was younger, if there was a job opportunity I was passionate about, or I had a creative goal that meant the world to me, I felt a “shark” inside me that drove me toward what I wanted with incredible force. 

SHARK: Ooooh.

And when that “shark” inside me took over, I didn’t hurt anyone physically, but I might have hurt others emotionally along the way without realizing it.  I was so focused on what I was going for, I’m not sure I was completely aware of my behavior.

SHARK: Ugh. What about now?

Now I feel more like a tuna fish. When I’m passionate about something I want to do, I meander steadily toward it, but I look from side to side and take in what’s around me.  If something doesn’t feel quite right or off balance, I stop, think about it, and make changes till I’m in sync with the universe.

SHARK:  If you don’t mind that I’m adding my two cents, it sounds like what you’re doing now might make you feel more grounded. And when you get where you’re going, you’ll arrive with perspective and wisdom.

Is it possible this is actually a good thing about growing older?

SHARK: Who knew?

Oh wow!  Thank you so much for your help!

SHARK: Hold it! What about me?  I still feel bad about eating that shark years ago. Any words of wisdom to help me through it?

Well…on one hand, I guess you shouldn’t have done that. On the other hand, lots of sharks have eaten other sharks, so it probably felt like a natural thing to do.  On the other hand, at that time, there were probably other things to eat in the ocean, so choosing that shark was a bad idea. On the other hand, sometimes we have to learn from our mistakes.  On the other hand–

SHARK:  Aaaah!  You’re confusing me!  I told you not to confuse me!

 I’m outa here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Copyrightoverthehillontheyellowbrickroad2018

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Do you have a shark?  How’s it doing?

CONVERSATION WITH…A TARNISHED EMMY AWARD…WONDERING IF TWO DREAMS CAN COME TRUE IN A LIFETIME

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I passed an abandoned house.  In the attic window, I noticed a tarnished Emmy Award.  Since the house was empty, I wandered upstairs and had a conversation with that poor, neglected award.

Emmy

Emmy Award, what are you doing up here all alone?

EMMY AWARD:  I’m tarnished.

Yeah. I’m surprised you’re not made of real gold.

EMMY AWARD: That’s my million dollar secret.  And since I’ve been sitting here in the window for years, the sun has faded me to silver.

Wow. On a positive note, your upper arms look amazing! I mean, holding up that ball for years has given you great upper body strength.

EMMY AWARD: Thanks.

Your arms are so sleek and toned.  Mine are so flabby I bet if I moved them up and down fast enough I’d fly away.

EMMY AWARD: That’s enough about my arms. Here’s the bottom line. There was a time when I stood for someone’s dream come true.  I stood for that happy time. It was amazing, but that ship has sailed.  I represented a dream, but I don’t think it’s possible for two dreams to come true in a lifetime.

I don’t agree. I think no matter how old we get, our creativity can carry us to new places if we let it.  More than one dream can come true.

EMMY AWARD: Not for me. I’m pretty much forgotten forever.  I’m not seeing myself standing for anything important anymore.

 Actually, I have an idea. I write a blog. Other bloggers read it, make comments, or let me know they “liked” a post. At this time of year, I’d love to let them know how much I appreciate them. They add so much to my life.  I’m most grateful.

EMMY AWARD: So what does that have to do with me?

Everyone who reads my blog is most deserving of an award.  So I’d like you to become the official Blogger Emmy Award.  I’ll call you the “Blemmy.”

EMMY AWARD: The Blemmy.  I like that.  Has a nice rhythm to it.  I’m in.

Great!  Okay…so……dearest Blogger friends who are followers, commenters, or who have tapped the “like” button on “Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road,” I am presenting this Blemmy Award to YOU.   IF YOU ARE READING THIS POST, YOU ARE A BLEMMY WINNER. Your category?  Best Blogger in a Supporting Role. Thank you thank you thank you for supporting my creativity.

And! Since you’re on the Red Carpet, if you’re up for writing your acceptance speech, I’d LOVE to see it in the Comment Box!

Your acceptance speech can include thanks to other bloggers who have helped you become the blogger you are today (please include their links). LOL.

Happy Holidays to you all, and may all your dreams and wishes come true. 

Copyrightoverthehillontheyellowbrickroad2017

CONVERSATION WITH…An Aging Ambulance…About What’s Exciting  vs. What’s Frenetic

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I passed an aging ambulance in front of a deli.  It was lunchtime, so the driver was inside getting a hot pastrami sandwich.  I started a conversation with the ambulance.

ambulance

You know, I’ve always wanted to talk to an ambulance. This is an honor.

AGING AMBULANCE: Thank you. But…why?

Well…I have a dream I don’t share with many people.  I’ve always wished I could have an ambulance of my very own.

AGING AMBULANCE: You’re kidding.

Nope.  I started dreaming about it when my children were in elementary school and had playdates in my house.  I worried what would happen if someone got hurt.  It would have been so calming if I knew an ambulance was parked in my driveway at all times.

AGING AMBULANCE: I’m touched.

And now that my kids are young adults and my husband and I are older, having our own ambulance would totally calm our nerves.

AGING AMBULANCE: Hmmm…

I mean, for example, last week my husband had bad stomach cramps and chest pains late at night.  It turned out to be a stomach virus. But since he’s a bit older, when he was in pain, we were concerned it might have been something more serious.  Having an ambulance in our driveway would have been a dream come true.

AGING AMBULANCE: Hmmm…

Plus I’m a hypochondriac.

AGING AMBULANCE: Well then, I’ll let you in on something that embarrasses me. As I get older, my exciting, dramatic life as an ambulance doesn’t feel exciting anymore.  It feels frenetic. The sound of my siren is just overwhelming noise and gives me a headache.

I can relate.  It’s embarrassing to admit, but large cities feel that way to me these days.  I used to find all the sounds and crowds of people stimulating.  Now I’d rather be in a quiet place.  I’m changing.

AGING AMBULANCE: Me too. When I have to speed down a highway to get to a fire, I just want to go home.  Or when I have to weave through traffic to get to an emergency, it’s not exhilarating anymore.  I’m changing.

I understand.

AGING AMBULANCE: But…I still want to be helpful.  Somehow. Somewhere.

Well then, dare I ask? Would you consider a permanent job sitting at the end of my driveway?

AGING AMBULANCE: What would your neighbors say?

Nothing. They know me.

AGING AMBULANCE: Okay then!  I’m in!

This is wonderful! I guess you just never know when a dream will come true.

Copyrightoverthehillontheyellowbrickroad2017

CONVERSATION WITH…An Older Vampire Overwhelmed By Too Many Choices

In a mall Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I heard a strange moaning sound.  I realized the sound was coming from an older vampire bat flying beside me.  I figured I’d try to help.

revised older vampire

Uh–Vampire?  Got a problem?

OLDER VAMPIRE:  Obviously yes!  I’m in pain! I’m too old to rest in my coffin box!  It’s killing my back!  I need a mattress!

I can understand that. I used to be able to sleep on anything.  But now, my back hurts in the morning if I sleep on a mattress that’s too hard or too flimsy—

OLDER VAMPIRE: Well that’s the whole ridiculous problem. I came here to the mall to buy a mattress to put in my coffin. But there are too many kinds!  I don’t know which one to get!  Why can’t there just be one mattress?

I went through the same thing last year.  I wanted to buy a mattress.  It used to be there were soft, medium and hard mattresses. That was all.

OLDER VAMPIRE. Yes, like with The Three Bears.

Right. Those were the only choices. But now we have—

OLDER VAMPIRE: Mattresses with memory foam! A little foam!  Or a lot of foam!  Or they lift your back up and down with a remote!  Or they have extra coils!  Or no coils!  Or they’re thick!  Or they’re thin!  Or they’re attached to a sofa bed! Aaaaah!  I can’t take it anymore!

I admire you for getting angry about it. 

OLDER VAMPIRE:  The truth is…my anger actually covers up my fear.  What’s happening to me? Is there more to understand in the world?  Or am I just not able to understand as well as I used to?

Maybe it’s a combination.  Sometimes the whole thing embarrasses me.  I’m self conscious about it.  So to cope,  I focus on exactly what I want and reject the other choices, even if a different choice might save me money. That’s one way to deal with it. At least I don’t go insane.

OLDER VAMPIRE: I don’t get out a lot during the day. Is this sort of problem just happening with mattresses?

No, it’s everywhere. Like, I had a new window put in my house recently.  But you can’t just buy a window.  There are types that have extra panes, or picture windows that don’t open, or there are windows that open if you tilt them at a certain angle, there’s another kind of window that opens if you pull it up and down and–

OLDER VAMPIRE: No wonder I’ve been having so much trouble flying into bedrooms.

It doesn’t end there! When I go to the supermarket, there’s low fat yogurt, no fat, 2%, 4%, no sugar, less sugar, Greek, regular–

OLDER VAMPIRE: Alright already! Shut up!  You’re giving me a headache!

Sorry.

OLDER VAMPIRE: So, what should I do about the mattress?  How did you resolve your problem with it?

Well, instead of asking a million questions and trying to understand how every mattress works…I went to a store that offered a special deal.  You can buy a mattress that seems comfortable, but after a month if you don’t like it, you can exchange it for a different mattress in the store.

OLDER VAMPIRE: I like that! I’d like to go with your mattress deal if you don’t mind directing me to that store.

I’d be happy to. Just keep in mind, if you’re thinking of returning the mattress, don’t drip blood on it. They won’t take it back with stains.

OLDER VAMPIRE:  I don’t know if I can pull that off.

Well then, just buy a mattress protector. They sell lots of them in Bed Bath and Beyond.

OLDER VAMPIRE: What do you mean by “lots of them?”

You can buy a simple plastic type—

OLDER VAMPIRE: That’s for me!

But… in your case, you might want to pay extra for one that protects against stains and odors, and you might want the kind that zips all the way around the mattress so it won’t fall off easily, and you might want the kind that…

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CONVERSATION WITH… AN OLDER SPONGE…Wondering If Gratitude Includes Feeling Everyone Else’s Pain

Walking Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I noticed an older sponge crawling in front of me.  He was having a lot of trouble moving, so I offered to lend a hand.

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Sponge?  Need some help?

SPONGE: Yes, thank you. I’m older and I’m on overload.

What do you mean?

SPONGE: Well, I’m on my way back from a high school reunion. Everyone I knew from way back was there.  The dish detergent…the Brillo…the bar of soap… We’re all aging. But some of us are feeling better than others.

It works that way with people, too.  It’s very hard to be part of whatever this phase of life is supposed to be.

SPONGE: It IS very hard!  And my problem is, as a sponge, I absorb it all. I take in everybody’s pain, plus my own, and now it’s weighing me down.  In my older age, I can’t hold in all these feelings without having symptoms.  I can hardly move.  Sometimes it paralyzes me.

I know what you mean.  I’m most grateful to be here.  But when I meet up with someone who has very serious health issues, I take in their feelings. I experience their feelings as mine, too.

SPONGE: Today I saw the plastic bottle of dish soap I grew up with.  She’s almost out of liquid soap. She’s scared.  What will her life be like without the soap? They’ve been together forever. My heart hurts for her.

I know someone who’s so sick he has no fight left in him. He doesn’t want to be here anymore.  I feel his pain even though I can’t quite understand it.

SPONGE: I know a bar of soap like that, too. She’s so thin she’s wasting away. She says being like that isn’t living anymore.  When she speaks that way, I absorb her pain.

But…are we supposed to be experiencing gratitude this way?  Or are we supposed to separate our lives from theirs and live the best way we can at this moment?

SPONGE: Maybe both.

Copyrightoverthehillontheyellowbrickroad2017