Self Improvement for Seniors: Living Dangerously
I’m getting braver in my old age. This morning I made smoothies from a jar of outdated peaches and a container of outdated yogurt, and I’m still here! So I think I’ll be okay.
Of course, the old man usually reacts to bad food choices a few hours before I do so I fed him one too. He’s kind of like my very own royal food taster. I’ll have plenty of time to get to the emergency room if he gets sick. Thanks Honey! Love you.
Understand this, eating outdated food is not something I do. I’m the lady scrutinizing the dates on everything in the supermarket, clogging up the dairy aisle, rummaging towards the back of the shelf for the freshest milk, sour cream and butter, swearing under her breath trying to find the date stamp on loaves of bread and blocks of cheese. Yeah, I’m THAT lady.
I know. You hate me.
But those peaches, date stamped: Best before September 2016, were badmouthing me from the pantry shelf, telling me how privileged I am and how wasteful and disgusting I was to leave them there rotting on the shelf while millions of people would give their eye teeth to have them to feed to their poor babies. It’s true. It’s unconscionable. So I ate them along with the outdated yogurt I bought and pushed to the back of the fridge and then forgot and bought some more because that’s what your grandmother does and yes, I’m old enough to be a grandmother and nearly old enough to be your great grandmother if you’re a real young ‘un.
But, if I should die as a result of drinking that smoothie, at least I will die with a clear conscience. Unless the old man dies too. Then I’m gonna burn in hell.
But it’s not just fear of death by food borne illness that I’ve stared in the face lately. Two years ago I looked my acrophobia right in the eye, signed the most frightening release form I’ve ever read, paid my eighty nine bucks, and took to the trees for a zip lining adventure. It started out on a deck about ten feet off the ground that zipped over to a tree house type platform about twenty feet up. Piece of cake. Eventually, through a series of ascending decks built around the trunks of giant trees, with each one higher up than the previous one due to the sloping terrain we sailed over, I found myself seventy five feet off the ground on a platform attached to the trunk of a huge Douglas Fir. I remember thinking that this is what birds feel like. I’ve never been that high up before without being inside a building or an aircraft or squiggling through the air in a nightmare trying to escape the bad guys on the opposite side of the Grand Canyon only to realize mid way across that if I can fly, well, chances are…
Ziplining was exhilarating. It was scary. I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I didn’t wet my pants. I didn’t even think to buy a poise pad before embarking on this exciting adventure. Maybe they should consider selling those things at the office where you sign up and pay. Or, for folks over fifty, make it part of the safety gear they issue you–harness; helmet; gloves; and oh, first things first, your pad, My Lady.
The other and most significant fear I thrashed a couple of years ago was the fear of doing something I really want to do, but don’t quite believe I deserve to do. I was presented with the opportunity to travel abroad, to Italy, my dream destination for the last zillion years. And I did it! It was everything ziplining was and more. Exhilarating, scary, interesting, but with way better food, wine and photo ops.
I had never traveled so far away from home and never fulfilled such a big dream before. I had never spent so much money on myself before either. It’s was one of the best damn things I ever did. So much so, I’m probably gonna do it again come September, to another part of Italy and with a little jaunt into Slovenia and possibly Austria. Because life is getting shorter and squandering opportunities to do these things– things I want to do so badly– feels silly at the least and down right ungrateful at the worst. It’s time to take the opportunities life throws my way now and go with them. Maybe it is self indulgent. Maybe I don’t deserve it. I don’t know. But my dear husband thinks I do, is encouraging me to go, and we can afford the bill, so who am I to question these things?
I’ll be sixty in June. I’m so grateful. Life is very good. I’m enjoying these years of living dangerously. So, come September I’ll most likely be in Italy, soaking up the food, the wine, the scenery, the history, art and culture. I really want to do that. But maybe I should throw out that other jar of outdated peaches bad mouthing me from the pantry…just in case.
©2018 by Ilona Elliott