Falling Leaves

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There’s a lot going on in the world these days both politically and environmentally.  Most everyone I talk to is struggling with their personal lives, as well as how to live in a country that is being led by a madman who isn’t making life easier for anyone, including himself.

Change is a constant feature of life, leaving many unable to find their way back to where they were, whether it’s because their homes have been swept away by vicious storms, they have lost life-long jobs, or they’re living in fear of the raging fires that  sweep through parts of our country on a regular basis. 

Both my primary care physician and my therapist have said that since the election in 2016, they are working more and more with people trying to come to grips with the politics of our time. I have several acquaintances who are so traumatized that they find it difficult to go out.  It doesn’t help that Charlottesville is frequently mentioned in the evening news.  There are many who are still trying to heal from the damage that was done here in August of 2017.  

I’m feeling particularly grateful that I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, a lovely place to call my own, and that for the moment at least, my mental health is good. But aging has moved into my home. Both Bill and I are trying to stay on track as aches, pains, and increasing forgetfulness become more and more a part of our lives. 

Bill is scheduled to have his left  knee replaced on November 5th,  just days away.  He had his right knee replaced along with a shoulder several years ago and we’re hoping this surgery will be the last.  

I’ll be having my right rotator cuff sewn back together on December 14th.  I’m praying the procedure will cancel out the chronic pain I’ve been living with for over a year. The cuff is apparently torn in a number of places.  Though I’m looking forward to being able to have the pain gone, my arm will be in a sling for 6 weeks and I will not be able to drive for 3 months. YIKES!

I’ve been preparing for a month now. I  practice using my left hand to type, stir pots of delicious chicken soup I’m freezing for later when I can’t cook, and to perform certain sanitary tasks.  I’m gathering clothing that will help me to get dressed and undressed more easily. Getting painful arms into tight sleeves does not feel good.  I’m also gathering a pile of books to read, looking forward to having more reading time than I’ve had in ages. So let it snow, or do whatever it’s going to do. I’ll be fine!

This is where I lead up to tell you about my new writing project.  The working title is, Elder Lessons, and will be a collection of personal essays on aging and about my sometimes fumbled attempts to get through the final chapter(s) of  my own life with grace and humor.  

I’ll be giving you all a taste of what I’m doing, reading, and thinking as I move through the process. I am counting on the writing to keep me moving forward through my own struggles and the slower pace I’ve embraced. 

I’m also hoping to add the voices of others who are dealing with the same issues and how they handle the ups and downs of later life. 

Until next time,
I’ll take time to rest and walk
through the great outdoors,
watching how nature does it.
As autumn leaves fall,
they change from green into the most magnificent colors,
leaving a canopy of cold, dark branches.
But I know they’ll  be back again soon.  



  1. I’m sorry you’re facing surgery again, Joan, and I hope you and Bill both have successful procedures and speedy recoveries.

    I’m extremely excited about your new writing project. I definitely feel there is a need for people writing about this time of life, and a need to connect over shared experiences. I look forward hearing more about this as you work, and to reading the finished product!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thanks so much, Becca. I’m sure we’ll get through the surgeries with flying colors.

      I agree that there is a need for those of us who are aging to share our experiences and wisdom. I’m quite excited about it. Stay tuned!

  2. Joan — I love the title ELDER LESSONS and the theme. Woohoo! I’m excited for you and your new project.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Laurie, Thanks for your kind words. I’m excited, too, and our next surgical adventures will be a good place to start the learning and the sharing.

  3. Amid all the tumult in the world, you are able to count your blessings. And bless you for planning ahead when you will be less mobile. When you mentioned having your right rotator cuff sewn back together, I thought of The Velveteen Rabbit on my blog today. I pray your and Bill’s surgery will go well.

    I look forward to Elder Lessons and can probably compare some similarities. I’ve developed numbness in two fingers on my left hand which I think may be related to carpal tunnel syndrome. One day I’ll get a rest, but not any time soon.

    Cheers to good books, better health, and a cozy close to fall. 🙂

  4. Joan Rough says:

    Thanks for your visit, Marian. Counting our blessings every day is so important, especially in the world we live in.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Those of us who write and work with our hands often have such issues from the repetitive movements of our hands. There is surgery for it but most people I know wear a brace.