Jesus Follower | Word Stringer | Avocado Eater

Category Archives: Attitude

Dear Gray Hairs: Stop Yer Moanin’

Nothin’ like receiving a personalized letter from my healthcare provider to make me feel cared for. 

And geriatric. 

Dear Carrie,

The recent x-ray of your neck shows degenerative disease. Arthritis, also called osteoarthritis, is a breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your joints. 

How can you care for yourself at home? Use a cane, crutch, walker, or another device if you need help to get around. These can help rest your joints. 

You also can use other things to make life easier, such as a higher toilet seat and padded handles on kitchen utensils.

Fantastic. As soon as I slide down from my higher toilet seat I’ll pad all my kitchen utensils. I’m sure that will help my neck get back to normal.

My intentions are not to whine my way to 97, but my alarm might as well be playing “Happy Birthday” every morning for how decrepit my back feels. 

*

Happy Birthday to Us!

I have an older acquaintance who is in full denial about her age. Pretty sure she’s sliced, raised and plumped her way to be higher and tighter in all the right places.

No judgment here—I’ll probably have to get my saggy eyelids done if I want to keep seeing past the age of 70. 

But after all the knives and bandages, the irony is that this acquaintance keeps getting older… keeps losing against gravity… keeps cursing her age. She knows she can’t stop time, but she comes out with her dukes up anyway. 

One day my natural optimism broke through and I accidentally encouraged her before her birthday. “Age is just a number!”

To which she immediately shot back, “If that isn’t the biggest load of crap.”

On the contrary, I had a friend who only made it to 23. He was in stud-ly shape, but I’m guessing he would have loved to deal with sagging anything. 

My closest school friend didn’t live to see 40. I bet she would have gladly dealt with gray hair in order to watch her baby grow.

And one of my closest adult friends lost her cancer battle after only 42 birthdays. In seven years of walking through it with her, she never griped about wrinkles, dark spots or droopiness. Ever. 

Perspective

Thanking God for another year doesn’t seem to be the norm in the U.S., but when we lived in Baja that’s exactly what we observed.

The majority of my friends up here dread the next decade… the next face crease… the next gray hair. 

On the contrary, Mexican culture tends to not only embrace the inevitable but celebrate the gift of another year. We witnessed prayers at birthday parties, thanking God for His grace in their lives and the blessing of being older. 

Check out Proverbs 16:31 in two different translations:

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.” (NLT)

“Gray hair is a mark of distinction, the award for a God-loyal life.” (MSG)

To be granted old age is supposed to be a blessing, not a curse. 

*

Older

On the heels of planning this post, a bright green flyer arrived on our doorstep. Such a clever, eye-catching title they chose:

“Personal Training for Folks Over 40”

As if that didn’t hit me in the right kidney hard enough, their sweet list hit me in the left.

  • Special group classes for our over 40 clients
  • Reduce slip and fall injury potential
  • Conditioning for golf

Uno, I kinda feel like the world “folks” should be reserved for those over 80. As in, “Are your folks playing bridge tonight?”

Second of all, do you have 40 clients or are your clients over 40? #grammar

And C, since when do 40-year-olds fall into the category of needing conditioning before they play golf?

I talk big and defend my stance until I get out of bed again and my ailments mock me like a bully on the other side of a fence. 

“Buenos dias, vieja!” 

I lack the desire to jump the chainlink and slap the bully with my Spanish stick, so I roll my eyes, hobble to the kitchen and microwave my heat pack instead. 

Yes, I physically feel like an old woman, but not mentally. A clenched neck, aching back and tense shoulders all begging for some kind of reset button throw me in with the senior citizens and holds me there like a goodie-two-shoes in detention.

“I shouldn’t be here, ya know. I’m too young for this. You definitely got the wrong girl.”

My husband and I have worked with elementary kids, middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students and now young adults for 34 years.

And straight out of the mouths of youth, my husband I have heard it all.

“You’re not that old.”

“Why is he bald?”

“Aren’t you too old to be able to do that?”

“You have gray hair? Oooo, bummer.”

The White Flag 

I tend to think I don’t care, but if I’m being honest, this age thing still challenges me. Especially when I’m working with high schoolers. I’m eager to permanently shift my perspective though, and of course, I’d love for you to join me, so I guess I’ll go first.

Hola. Me llamo Carrie y tengo 46 1/4 años. I walk around in pain and I don’t necessarily love getting older, but I’m grateful for the gift of another day. 

Ready to ease into a new way of looking at age? Your turn.

Has aging felt hard or easy for you?

Wanna share your age? Loud and proud, baby! 

*

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Dumbing Down Our Niños

If an adult called all teens young, dumb and broke, there would most likely be a hormonal backlash with a protest march and a side of attitude. But for some reason when a teen writes a song with the same title, his young followers blare it like their mantra and dance like someone’s watching. When… Continue Reading

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Young Bride, Thick Pride: Choosing to Stay

I never excelled in math.  So the first time someone told me having small kids was when the days dragged and the years flew, it didn’t make sense.  But I loved it. Exactly! Someone finally understands the weird time warp. I occasionally feel the same in my marriage. Since working and writing and constantly feeding… Continue Reading

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The Hungry Games

(Shared with permission) Age: nineChild: mineAttitude: fine Until it wasn’t.  When one of our kids got in trouble for a garden-variety no-no, I figured the next steps would resemble the rest. Too tall to spank and not naughty enough to ground, I sent him to the back room where his timeout minutes matched his age.… Continue Reading

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What the What? Didn’t See THAT Comin’

I cooked in my kitchen when the house phone rang. “Sharri has cancer.”I sat in his Jeep when he told me we were done. “I’m loving you more than I’m loving Jesus.”I stood on my college campus when I read, “You have not been selected for the position.” I walked through a Costco parking lot when… Continue Reading

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Trading Sorry for Thank You

“Sorry I’m late.”“Sorry I didn’t call.”“Sorry about the mess.”“Oh, sorry!”“Oops–sorry.” Enough already. Of course, sometimes a genuine sorry is exactly what’s needed. But I’m referring to all the times when sorry becomes excessive… unwarranted… over the top.  What in the world would a public bus be sorry for? That it’s winter? That’s you have to… Continue Reading

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Working Moms: Killin’ It?

Almost a month into my new job and I’ve collected just enough data to tell you what I’ve learned about being a working mom in the States. It’s complicated.  Being a working mom in Baja looked super different for many reasons, most of which revolved around flexible hours and not having to tell anyone when… Continue Reading

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Praying for Closed Doors

“I don’t know which college to pick. I got into these two schools and I like them equally, but I’m afraid to pick the wrong one.” When we ran a GAP-year program in Baja, MX, each class of students lived with us from August to June. They were all recent high school graduates and no… Continue Reading

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Back to Work, Back to Reality

  His calm voice sounded kind, but his words surprised me.  “We’re spending too much and not bringing in enough. I think we need you to start working.” My husband was right, mostly, but the hardest part of his comment was that I already feel like I work. I wish my writing provided a full-time, regular income,… Continue Reading

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Lord of the Flaws

  Though some exasperated parents might joke about dropping their sassy Tweens on an island, I’m fairly certain no parent would want the experience to resemble William Golding’s version.  My son brought home his 7th grade required reading list last month. I scanned it, unfazed until I reached the one title that zipped me right… Continue Reading

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