Reblog: Conversation with…My Book…resisting physical changes in older age

Hi friends!  Of course, I’m still traveling Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, looking for anything and everything weird enough to converse with me. In the meantime, I thought I’d remind you about my new book because it might make a great Father’s Day gift for your dad, grandfather or even your husband. (Okay, call me crazy, I give my husband a gift on Father’s Day.) The book consists of conversations I have “Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road” that are not currently found on my blog. I turned those conversations into a story. Here’s a reminder of that conversation…

Traveling Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I’ve spoken to people and things while passing through the Neighborhood of the Empty Nesters, the Avenue of Ages and Stages, climbing over Makover Mountain, visiting the Career Change Cafe, and looking back on my life in Reflecting Ridge. I’ve put all those conversations omtp a book!  Here it is! The only problem is, my book is being a hypochondriac.  While I was setting up links to Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, my book screamed at me: 

over_the_hill

BOOK: Ah!!!! Don’t make me travel across the internet!

Why not?

BOOK: Because I’m filled with conversations about growing older. I feel really fragile and responsible. If something happens to me on the way to Amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com, I’ll never forgive myself.

What can happen?

BOOK: If someone clicks on me, it could really hurt. I could end up with internal bruises that will take forever to heal.

I understand what you mean. Whenever I stub my toe, I’m afraid I’ve broken my pinky bone. Or if I reach for something and feel a pain in my back, I worry I’ve torn a muscle.

BOOK: And that’s not the worst of it. What if someone clicks on me, and then, as I’m on my way traveling to Amazon.com I pick up some kind of internet disease?  Something with strange chemicals. I don’t want to get sick.

I know what you mean. I don’t like flying in my older age because I’m afraid I’ll contract a disease. And I don’t like visiting foreign countries because I fear I’ll come down with a virus and I’ll be too old to fight it off.

BOOK: So, if you understand my feelings, why do you want people to click on me? Why are you torturing me by sending me across the internet?

Because, as a book, you carry a lot of wonderful conversations along with a story.  My virtual friends might want to give a copy of you to someone special as a birthday gift, a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift, an anniversary present, a Christmas or Chanukah present, or someone just might want to have a copy for herself or himself. Maybe they’ll even write a nice review. And–

BOOK:  Alright. I can’t argue with you. How much clicking is involved?

Well, if you go to Amazon.com and click on the Kindle edition, you can see the introduction and first few conversations in the book.  And if you click on the paperback version, you can see a book description. And–

BOOK: Stop! That’s too much clicking.

Oh come on.

BOOK: Okay. I’ll do it for you.

I appreciate it! Virtual friends, I hope you’ll take a look at my new book. And if you need to click on the book cover, please do it gently.

BOOK: Thank you for your consideration.

over_the_hill

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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!!!!!”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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…My Book…resisting physical changes in older age

Traveling Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I’ve had conversations with lots of weird people and things while passing through the Neighborhood of the Empty Nesters, the Avenue of Ages and Stages, climbing over Makover Mountain, visiting the Career Change Cafe, and looking back on my life in Reflecting Ridge. So…I put all those conversations together in a book, along with a story that ties everything together. Here it is! The only problem is, my book is being a hypochondriac.  While I was setting up links to Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, my book screamed at me: 

over_the_hill

BOOK: Ah!!!! Don’t make me travel across the internet!

Why not?

BOOK: Because I’m filled with conversations about growing older. I feel really fragile and responsible. If something happens to me on the way to Amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com, I’ll never forgive myself.

What can happen?

BOOK: If someone clicks on me, it could really hurt. I could end up with internal bruises that will take forever to heal.

I understand what you mean. Whenever I stub my toe, I’m afraid I’ve broken my pinky bone. Or if I reach for something and feel a pain in my back, I worry I’ve torn a muscle.

BOOK: And that’s not the worst of it. What if someone clicks on me, and then, as I’m on my way traveling to Amazon.com I pick up some kind of internet disease?  Something with strange chemicals. I don’t want to get sick.

I know what you mean. I don’t like flying in my older age because I’m afraid I’ll contract a disease. And I don’t like visiting foreign countries because I fear I’ll come down with a virus and I’ll be too old to fight it off.

BOOK: So, if you understand my feelings, why do you want people to click on me? Why are you torturing me by sending me across the internet?

Because, as a book, you carry a lot of wonderful conversations along with a story.  My virtual friends might want to give a copy of you to someone special as a birthday gift, a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift, an anniversary present, a Christmas or Chanukah present, or someone just might want to have a copy for herself or himself. Maybe they’ll even write a nice review. And–

BOOK:  Alright. I can’t argue with you. How much clicking is involved?

Well, if you go to Amazon.com and click on the Kindle edition, you can see the introduction and first few conversations in the book.  And if you click on the paperback version, you can see a book description. And–

BOOK: Stop! That’s too much clicking.

Oh come on.

BOOK: Okay. I’ll do it for you.

I appreciate it! Virtual friends, I hope you’ll take a look at my new book. And if you need to click on the book cover, please do it gently.

BOOK: Thank you for your consideration.

over_the_hill

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Conversation with…A Lilac…about being young and old at the same time

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, in early May, I saw a lilac growing beside a tree. Lilacs are my favorite flower ever! I cherish the time they’re here! So I rushed over to it. But I noticed the lilac looked confused and distraught. I asked:

lilac

Hey lilac, what’s the matter?

LILAC: I can’t tell you.

Oh. Okay.

LILAC: It’s too upsetting.

Alright. I won’t ask.

LILAC: It has to do with my age.

Believe it or not, I’ll understand. What’s bothering you?

LILAC: I can’t tell you.

But you just started to.

LILAC: Forget I said it.

Okay. Fine.

LILAC: The tree next to me just told me I’ll only be in the world for about two weeks. But I just got here. I’m young and getting old at the same time. I’m a freak.

Well, for what it’s worth, I’m young and getting old at the same time, too.

LILAC: Really? I think you just look older.

Oh thank you.

LILAC: I didn’t mean to insult you. I was just being honest.

What I was trying to say was, I’m older on the outside but young on the inside. Young at heart.

LILAC: Well then, you must be confused too.

Baffled. 

LILAC: How do you deal with it? How do you stop yourself from obsessing with being older and young at the same time?

Well…I think every living creature is born with a gift. You know, some kind of outstanding talent that makes the world a better place. So, no matter how old I get, I focus on my gift and try to find new ways to use it.

LILAC: What’s your gift?

I believe it’s writing. The way I communicate. And I hope somehow, in my writing, just for a moment, I transform others. I hope I can suggest that others see the world a little bit differently through my words.

LILAC: That’s cool.

And people have all kinds of gifts. They make the world a better place through their art, music, photography, dance, recipes, families–

LILAC: I see where you’re going with this. But I’m just a flower. What’s my gift?

Your scent.

LILAC: Really? You mean, all I have to do is sit here and let people smell me?

Yes. And…you can carry on the lilac legacy—for all those lilacs who have been here before and those who will be here after you’re gone.  When you’re no longer here, others will remember your graceful, elegant petals, stunning color and most remarkable scent. You will become part of them.

I’m so neurotic. What about people who aren’t near me now? They won’t be able to smell me.

Just the sight of you will inspire them. Like this amazing illustration of a lilac created by Lisa: https://lismorepaper.com/2018/05/06/lilac-botanical-print/

I never looked better.

And! People can close their eyes and remember a time they experienced a lilac’s scent. 

How?

I’ll show you. Friends who are reading this post, when I count to three, close your eyes and imagine the scent of a lilac. One…two…three…

____________________________________________________

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What is your gift?

CONVERSATION WITH…The Cheshire Cat from Wonderland…about virtual friendships in older age

Over the Hill on the Yelllow Brick Road, I saw a grinning cat sitting in a tree. A moment later, the cat disappeared. The next moment, he appeared on the top of a bush. Then strangely, his body faded. All that remained was his smile and his eyes. Was it possible he was the Cheshire Cat from the story of Alice in Wonderland? I had to ask!

cheshire cat

Hey—are you—

CHESIRE CAT: Yes I am. The Cheshire Cat.

But, you live in Wonderland. What are you doing here? How did you get Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road?

CHESHIRE CAT: How does anyone ever get anywhere? With great difficulty.

I suppose.

CHESHIRE CAT: But I just had to come. Like the rest of you here, I’m growing older and trying to figure out where I belong in the world. I’m having trouble relating to the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and the others the way I used to. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I’m changing. I’m obsessing with my age.

That’s how I ended up Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road. I was looking for friends who understood what I was going through. I wasn’t sure where or how I’d find them, but I felt compelled to look.

CHESHIRE CAT: I’m looking for others, like me, who can appear and disappear in older age.

 Oh. Well, I’m sorry I can’t help you. I don’t do that.

CHESHIRE CAT: Of course you do.

What? How?

CHESHIRE CAT: You’re a blogger. And so are most of the others who are reading my words right now. Your relationships with each other appear and disappear with a tap of an electronic device. As soon as your phones or computers are turned off, you’re gone. And as soon as you return to the internet, you appear.

You know, you’re right—

CHESHIRE CAT: The question is, if your blogger friends are virtual, are they real?

Well, you appear and disappear, and you’re real.

CHESHIRE CAT: Fair point. But how can you be sure?

Because though I can only see your grin and your eyes at the moment, I feel your spirit as you speak. The same is true with my virtual blogging community.

CHESHIRE CAT: Hmmm…Anything else?

Well, when I don’t have access to the internet, I’m sad. I miss my virtual friends.

CHESHIRE CAT: Hmm. Do say more.

Since virtual bloggers and I communicate through posts and comment sections, we say exactly what we want to say, very concisely. No small talk. And we speak from our hearts.

CHESHIRE CAT: Intriguing.

Also- I never worry about the way I look when I communicate with virtual friends. I don’t have to clean my house before I speak to them. I don’t have to make special appointments to get together and then change my schedule around. We appear to each other, and disappear, whenever we’re ready.

CHESHIRE CAT: Increasingly interesting…

And, if I can’t leave home due to health issues or other problems, my virtual community is still there. We communicate the way we always do. So, though I have never met these amazing people in the flesh, they MUST BE REAL.

CHESHIRE CAT: It’s a distinct possibility. In that case…when I return to Wonderland, might I join your virtual community? May I follow your blog?

I would love that.

CHESHIRE CAT: Thank you.

So…I guess you’re saying…you don’t think it’s insane that I call a virtual community of people, who appear and disappear, my friends?

CHESHIRE CAT: Do I think it’s insane? Well…you know what they say in Wonderland. We’re all mad.

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Are you real?

CONVERSATION WITH…The Soil…Feeling left behind by a flower…

I just returned from a week’s vacation, visiting my daughter who lives thousands of miles away. Now, since I’m back “Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road,” I’m feeling angry, hurt, and as if I’ve been left behind. Walking along the Yellow Brick Road, I was glad to hear a pile of soil on the ground calling out to me. The soil said:

soil

SOIL: Hey you, I know how it is.

What? What do you mean?

SOIL: You have the “I wish I could adjust to being left behind” look on your face. I’d know it anywhere. I’m in the same place.

How so?

SOIL: Well, about a year ago, a seed came into my life. I hugged her under the ground so tightly I almost squashed her to death. I was just trying to keep her safe and warm.

I did the same with my daughter when she was a baby.

SOIL: Yeah. Whenever it rained, I did everything I could to be sure my seed was nourished with water. And miraculously, she grew roots.

I gave my daughter roots, too.

SOIL: But, my seed’s roots grew bigger and wider. Sometimes it drove me crazy, trying to figure out how to keep her nourished, and continuing to hold her in place, even when she made it difficult.

I’ve been there.

SOIL: And then…things started to fall apart. When I least expected it, my seed shoved herself above the ground. She grew a stem and kept growing higher and higher. She kept growing further and further away from me.

Welcome to my world.

SOIL: Then she grew thorns on her stem! Who told her to do that? Not me!

Sounds like my daughter’s tattoos.  Not my personal favorite.

SOIL: I guess those are just parts of who they are.  Anyway, at this point, my seed is a fully grown rose.

rose

She’s beautiful.

SOIL: Thank you. But her stem is so tall and far from the ground, if I want to talk to her, I have to scream my guts out.

Most of the time, I talk to my daughter through some kind of a screen. It’s not the same as speaking to her face to face. I hate it.

SOIL: What’s up with this???? Why is this happening?

I don’t know! But leaving my daughter was so hard this time.  Accepting I won’t see her in person very often makes me want to give up. I want to somehow separate myself from the pain. And move on!

SOIL: It breaks my heart when I realize no matter how hard I cry or how loudly I whine, my rose is never coming back down here.

Although…you know…you can never really separate from your rose.  And I can never really separate from my daughter.

SOIL: Why not?

Because we carry their roots. And deep down, I think they appreciate knowing we support them.

SOIL: I guess in that way…we’ll never really be left behind.

__________________________________________________________________

How do you handle being left behind?

Note: A special, heartfelt thank you to baffledmum at:  https://baffledmum.com/2018/04/25/giving-up/  Her post about “giving up” really inspired me. Check it out!

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CONVERSATION WITH…A Withering Balloon…Anxious about sudden endings

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, a withering balloon floated by. It had a clueless expression on its face, so I figured it was new in the area, as I was. I started a conversation.

balloon

Hey balloon, what brings you “Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road?”

WITHERING BALLOON: I drifted here. I’m not sure how I got here, and I’m not sure where I’ll be going next.

You’re not alone. In a very broad sense, the same is true of my existence.

WITHERING BALLOON: Really?

Yes. How did you end up here?

WITHERING BALLOON: Well, I used to work in a Real Estate office. I had a string tied on me, and I was attached to an “Open House” sign. The house was finally sold, so my old, worn, tattered string unraveled and I floated off on my own. Now I’m here trying to figure out where I belong in the world.

Me too.

WITHERING BALLOON: I have to say, I passed a lot of enchanting things on my way to this place. The world is absolutely incredible.

It is.

WITHERING BALLOON: I’ve had a great ride so far.

Me too.

WITHERING BALLOON: I’d like to see more.

Same here.

WITHERING BALLOON: I’d like to keep going and going and going.

So would I.

WITHERING BALLOON: But at any moment, I could pop. And that would be the end.

Well–

WITHERING BALLOON: I mean, I’ve made it this far in life, but how much longer can I possibly go on? At any moment, I could float into a sharp tree branch and burst. Or I could drift into a street lamp and I’d be gone in a flash. Or I could–

I see you’ve given this some thought.

WITHERING BALLOON: I can give you more examples.

No need. I think about it, too.

WITHERING BALLOON: So, what are we supposed to do about it?

Well, the way I see it is…there are two choices. We can continue to enjoy the beautiful ride and take in as much as we can. Or…we can obsess with when it will all be over.

WITHERING BALLOON: I wish I could just enjoy it. But anxiety runs in my family.

Mine too.

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How do you find a balance?

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CONVERSATION WITH…An Antique Tea Kettle…Leaving Her High Pressure Career

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I wandered past a house and heard the front door slam. An antique tea kettle stomped away from the door furiously. She was coming toward me and shouted:IMG_2479 (1)

TEA KETTLE: Screw this!  I’ve had it! I’m outa here!

If you don’t mind that I’m asking…uh…what’s the matter?

TEA KETTLE: You’ve never been a tea kettle, have you?

Not that I can recall.

TEA KETTLE Then you won’t understand. I can’t handle this job anymore! Can’t take the stress! Day after day! Week after week!  Year after year!

Why is it so horrible?

TEA KETTLE: It’s like this. Every morning, I sit peacefully on the stove top, minding my own business. Then suddenly, someone shoves water down my spout. Then my bottom warms up. It gets hotter…AND HOTTER…AND HOTTER!!!!

I never thought about it that way.

TEA KETTLE: You haven’t heard the worst of it. Then! The water inside me starts to get warm…and HOT…and HOTTER! It’s so hot it bubbles and churns like crazy! The stress is unbearable! I can feel my blood pressure going up!

Wow. Believe it or not, it sounds like a lot of jobs I’ve had as a writer working in an office.

TEA KETTLE: You’re kidding.

Nope. There are times I’ll sit quietly at my desk, and then someone comes over and gives me a writing assignment. I say, “Okay. When do I need to submit this?” And the answer is always, “Yesterday!!!!!”

TEA KETTLE: So what happens?

So, I rush around like a lunatic to get the writing assignment done! I feel my heart beating faster! I feel my blood pressure going up! I raid the candy machine and eat all the Kit Kats!

TEA KETTLE: Let me guess what happens next. You finish…and everything calms down, right?

Right. And usually the person who asked me to do the assignment doesn’t look at it for three weeks.

TEA KETTLE: The same thing happens to me after I boil. My whistle blows. Someone rushes in and turns off the heat underneath me and pours out the hot water. I’m at peace again. Until another person wants tea! It could be anywhere!  Any time! Then the heat shoots up under me again! I get hotter, and HOTTLER AND HOTTER! Every time I hear someone say, “Would anyone like tea?” My heart sinks.

I hear ya. And you know, I used to think these high pressure jobs were exhilarating. I used to feel excited when I had to exert super high energy to get a job done right in that moment.

TEA KETTLE: Me too! I felt so alive! Like I was part of a team! In the kitchen!

But these days, I don’t see it that way. All that pressure is ridiculous and meaningless. Who needs it? Let someone else run around like a chicken without a head.

TEA KETTLE: You said it. That’s why I just quit working for the family I’ve been with for years. I don’t want to be under that kind of pressure at any given moment, all the time, anymore.

I get it.

TEA KETTLE: On the other hand, what else am I gonna do with my ridiculous life?

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The tea kettle and I continued walking together and chatting until we passed a little girl in a park. She was having a picnic with her teddy bears. Each bear had a paper plate and tea cup in front of it. The little girl was feeding the bears make believe food. That gave the tea kettle an idea. If the bears were eating make believe food, why not wash it down with make believe tea? The tea kettle mustered up enough courage to pitch the idea to the little girl, and she loved it.

These days, the tea kettle pours make believe tea for the bears on all occasions. So…Maybe as we grow older, our bodies age. But the ideas that spring from inside us can always be new.

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CONVERSATION WITH…Swiss Cheese…A Spiritual Leader in Older Age

Traveling Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I arrived at a place where all residents gathered for an uplifting, spiritual experience. The building didn’t resemble a church, synagogue, mosque or any other house of prayer. It was just a giant hunk of Swiss cheese. A slender, aging, slightly moldy slice of Swiss cheese approached. I said:

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I might be wrong, but, are you the spiritual leader here?

SWISS CHEESE: I am. How can I be of assistance?

Well, I’m here, Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, trying to figure out where I belong in the world as I grow older. I’m searching for my spark.

SWISS CHEESE: Welcome, my friend. I hope you will find it here.

Thank you, but how might that be possible? You’re a piece of Swiss cheese.

SWISS CHEESE: My dear, as I age, it is not my physical form or what I look like that matters. It is what I stand for that counts. That is all.

I’m not sure I’m understanding you.

SWISS CHEESE:  Let me explain. As a spiritual leader in this land, I encompass all religions, races, ages, ethnic backgrounds, cultures and traditions. My holes remind us all of the holes we’ve had in our lives that we have yet to fill.

Ah. Okay. I think I’m beginning to see where you’re coming from. You mean, your holes represent regrets from our pasts. Relationships we’d like to change. Adventures we’d still like to have. Parts of our emotional selves we’d like to nurture so we can continue to grow.

SWISS CHEESE: That is right. Sometimes in our busy lives, we don’t take the time to think of these things. My Swiss Cheese House of Spirituality gives us a moment to stop, breathe, look back on where we’ve been, determine what’s missing, and look forward to what might be ahead.

I appreciate what you’re saying. My only problem is I don’t live Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road permanently. There isn’t a Swiss Cheese House of Spirituality in my neighborhood. How can I translate what you’re saying to my everyday life?

SWISS CHEESE: Others have asked the same question. Here is my answer. Each time you order a sandwich in a Deli, you’ll be reminded of me. Remember what I stand for.

You know, for a slice of Swiss cheese, you’re exceptionally wise.

SWISS CHEESE: Many have told me that. You know, I would love to spend more time exchanging thoughts, but it is time for our weekly service. I hope you will join us.

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With that, the slice of Swiss cheese entered the Swiss Cheese House of Spirituality. Many others I’d met Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road followed. Entering the giant hunk of Swiss cheese, I noticed an older tree, a shower cap, a sponge, the Wicked Witch of the West Coast, a dandelion, a vampire, a bird, the Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe, a wrinkled water bottle…and so many others. It didn’t matter where they all came from. It only mattered where they hoped to go.

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Is there a hole you’d still like to fill in your life?