Making Way For Change

Send to Kindle

Lilli is famous for going out and then coming right back in.

It’s been said that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. I’ll not deal with the death and taxes part here, though there are many CPAs out there trying to figure out the new tax laws. Taxes may not go away, but they do change!

Change is always happening and I’m especially feeling it as I continue on my path to where ever I’m going. I can’t say where that is but for the first time ever and without regret, I’m just letting it happen.

I’ve done enough worrying, whining, and it adds to that pile of anxiety that seems to follow me around.

If I just go with the flow sometimes astonishing things happen that take me in new directions that fill me with happiness.  I’ve alway been good at ”what might happen?” and have spent too much time stressed and working out plans, B, C, and D, while the world keeps spinning and I miss out on exciting opportunities.  So when I begin imaging the worst possible scenarios I tell myself to just focus on now, and deal with what’s on my plate right this minute. If it’s a piece of dark chocolate, I simply hold it on my tongue and let it melt slowly, enjoying the rush of sweet and bitter flavor that most often tells me to have another piece. If it’s a bowl of something I’m not fond of, like lima beans, I simply chew, have a sip of water to help wash them down and think about the vitamins they are providing for me.

We just discovered that Bill’s diagnosed bursitis is not bursitis at all. His “good” knee started bothering him a week or so before Christmas and when he woke up one morning and discovered he couldn’t put any weight on it, we went to the ER, where the knee was xrayed. After reading the image the ER doctor came back in and said,  “it’s good news. It’s only bursitis and nothing to worry about once you rest it for a while.”

But once home, it continued to be painful and got worse. Last week he saw an orthopedist who xrayed it again, taking pictures from several different angles. What he found was arthritis and though it is not as bad as it was in his other knee that resulted in a knee replacement several years ago, it could get worse over time. For now, Bill had a cortisone shot, will be getting a knee brace ordered especially for him, and will start doing some physical therapy next week.

Yesterday I went to the same orthopedist about my very painful shoulders and a wrist problem that is also making me extremely uncomfortable. I’ve alway had shoulder problems but usually a visit to the chiropractor or a good massage helped it go away.  But now those things don’t help any more. It turns out I have bursitis and tendonitis in both shoulders and carpal tunnel and tendonitis in my wrist.  Whoa!  Is this what is called aging?

Hellebores, a sure sign that spring is on its way.

We don’t know what will happen in the days to come. Will Bill need another knee replacement which can make for a long recovery or will he be fine? Will he be able to travel during this new year without pain?

Will my problems go away after going to physical therapy twice a week for eight weeks?  Will I be able to continue to make art and write?

We’ve decided not to worry about it. We plan on relishing the good days, the return of the light, and the approaching spring. And we are gratefull for our new cozy home with its sturdy roof over our heads, good books to read, and nourishing food to fill our bellies. I hear about those folks in Southern California now experiencing mud slides after those terrible fires………………………………..

And I think it could always be much worse!


  1. When he was in medical school my brother-in-law played basketball in a team named the Aches and the Pains, which describes so well what we are experiencing now. Dealing with my own ailments I try to stay mobile with fitness classes at the gym.

    Yay for hellebores: yours are lovely!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Aches and Pains says it all, Marian. Staying mobile is the answer. Although overdoing is not good either.

      I LOVE hellebores. They are one of my favorites because on dark winter days, they bring beauty and a taste for what’s ahead.

  2. Joan — It’s a mighty impressive list of blessings you’ve got there:

    “And we are grateful for our new cozy home with its sturdy roof over our heads, good books to read, and nourishing food to fill our bellies.”

    And as you mentioned, the icing on the cake is that there aren’t in natural disasters in your neck of the woods.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Laurie, thanks for for your kind words. We are very fortunate in this area that natural disasters haven’t been a part of our lives. But like else where anything can happen at any time especially with global climate change. We are in a moderate drought situation here at the moment. What bothers me is that no one is talking about it. Water is a life necessity and we need to be conserving it.

  3. I sense much grace and serenity in your words, Joan. I think focusing on our blessings , as you have done, helps to counteract all the losses that aging brings. Going with the flow is an apt mantra. I’m happy you have found peace in your new “nest”.

  4. Joan Rough says:

    Thank you, Kathy. It is amazing how this move has changed out lives for the better. I feel as though we’ve reduced out footprint on our beautiful earth. Yes, there are losses as we age, but it’s also a time for reflection and seeing the beauty we’ve not always seen.

  5. I get it, Joan. I often think, “This aging doesn’t look a thing like the AARP covers.” Since aging, like death, has been something no one wanted to speak about at all, much less with honesty, how were we to know? So we learn through living it, watching our friends and family, and in my case, being caregiver to my mother-in-law who will be 102 next week.

    This weekend, my NC son and his wife visited despite the predicted snow storm. They arrived before the storm and will leave tomorrow when roads are clear. It warmed my heart to have them shovel, sweep, and plow with the tractor. I usually shovel and sweep, but made lunch instead. I don’t plow with the tractor, but hire a man for that. Within a few years, I’ll need an alternative to winters here, but my son says, “You say that every winter, Mom. You change your mind every spring.”

    • Thanks Elaine, for your comments. When my mother was still alive and I was her caretaker, I used to envision myself in her shoes. She was a good teacher of how NOT to go about aging. So far my own aches and pains are far less than hers were, but who knows what will happen in the coming years. I hope I can stick to what I have learned.

      The place we have moved into takes care of our snow storms for us. They plow our street, shovel the very short driveways, and shovel the sidewalks right up to our front doors. It may take a bit of time, but I have no more worries about how will I be able to do it myself, or find a neighbor kid to do it for me.

      So far we’ve only had a few dustings of snow, but we are in a moderate drought situation and need a few good snowfalls here to fill our underground aquifers.