My finger poised over the send button, I paused, took a deep breath, and waited. Though Flyboy was urging me to press it, I wasn’t sure I could do it. Pressing it meant we were locked in with no turning back.
Like you, our family has endured many struggles and trips to the ER and virtual learning challenges, and it’s just been a tough year, including the latest: an “ax-ident”, the self-perpetrator to remain unnamed. In dire need of a break from life, Flyboy and I talked about using some of our economic stimulus package money for a trip to, you know, stimulate the economy. There were plenty of reasons to stay home. Who travels during a pandemic? Flyboy has had a complicated and less than complete recovery from back surgery in September and even now is in a pretty tough spot.
Throwing caution to the wind, I succumbed and pressed send. We committed, and here we are. Greetings from Florida! It’s 81°, sunny, and there’s a light breeze. We are staying at a lovely little Airbnb house on a golf course (it’s been fun to watch folks whiff the ball 10 feet at the tee and pull a new ball out of their pocket for a second try. That’s my kind of golf). It’s in an RV/tiny house community (we didn’t know that was a thing) and our little abode is absolutely perfect in every way. We went into town this morning for breakfast (Cracker Barrel along with all the other old people), a stop at the welcome center, and a grocery run. This afternoon, it’s naptime and Flyboy passed right out while my mind is turning, wondering which excursions to take, which beaches to visit, and I’ll save my sleeping for tonight, thanks.
We’ve had to look at this whole trip, with its hopes and expectations and our limitations, through different eyes. Flyboy can currently walk about 30 yards before his back and leg start to spasm. It’s a big step for my active, type A guy to consent to bringing a wheelchair along so we can see the sights. I am proud of him for all his hard work and his admirable attitude, and while these last few months have been extra challenging, he remains hopeful that he will get better. He will schedule another MRI when we get home and we’ll see what will happen then. God will see us through, whatever it is.
And yes, as we witness ourselves getting older, we realize that aging is a process. I maintain that the 40s are the decade of self-awareness. We have pretty much figured out who we are and what we want to do and be in life by the time we’re in our 40s. But it’s in our 40s that things start to change just a wee bit – like holding the book farther away, struggling to lose the weight that fell off before, and wondering if we should go down the hair coloring road or just let it go naturally. We are then catapulted into our 50s where we are in sudden denial that aging can be really happening. Physical problems start to pop up and we start believing the adage “if you make it through your 50s you’re good for the long haul.” We fight it, struggling to find the happy medium between dressing too young and looking too frumpy. And that hair coloring conundrum continues.
And then, there are the 60s. Here we are. These are the years of reckoning. Truly, I should never wear a pair of shorts or a sleeveless top in public again. I’ve colored my hair for over 20 years, but now I’m not fooling anyone. Instead of “no – you can’t really have grandchildren!”, it’s “I’ve given you the AARP discount on that room.” I often take a nap in the afternoon. It’s happening, man, and it’s real. I am getting old.
So, it’s quite appropriate that we unknowingly wound up in a senior community this week, and we are surrounded by people just like us. No matter the obstacles, we plan to enjoy every second. Signing off from the Sunshine State! (And thank you, Uncle Sam!)
Put your hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. — I Timothy 6:17b (NIV)