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Thursday, 02 December 2010

Golden Days

By Lyn Burnstine of The Lynamber Times

Autumn Leavves

I’m working on a new attitude. I’m also working on a new response to the question, “How are you?” They are not unrelated. There is a thread that binds them together – maybe several.

I’m realizing more than ever that with five, active, chronic illnesses, several concomitant syndromes, and over a dozen prescription drugs, I am probably not ever again going to be truly well, as in “I’m fine.”

That is realism, not pessimism. On bad days I’ve been saying, “I’m hangin’ in!” On relatively good days I say, “I’m having a good day,” or “I’m still here!”

My recent favorite has been, “All things considered, I’m doin’ pretty well.” I figure if that person knows me, she will know what I mean by “all things considered” and for the rest, I don’t really care if they do or not. But it’s not as apt to start the dialogue that I call the elevator talk, i.e.:

HER: How are you?

ME: Fine, how are you?”

Ten minutes later, you manage to get away knowing more about her body than you ever wanted to. I like my answer, because it’s honest but not cavalier. Now with a new attitude, I need a new response that reflects it.

My new attitude – awareness is probably a better word – is that I’m willing to do almost everything I can to be healthier and prolong my life as long as the ecstasy outweighs the agony. That, by the way, at this age – nearly 78 – takes about 60 percent of my time and energy.

What I’m not willing to do is sacrifice any of my joys or passions for even one more day on this earth. I know I overdo and overstress on the “golden days” – the days of following my bliss by going on photographic jaunts, especially with friends, walking our fabulous Walkway over the Hudson and driving to see my family. I’m willing to set aside the next day to recover, as I often must these days.

But I am not going to give up anything I love that’s still physically possible for me to do. If it kills me, so be it! I will have had the golden day – complete with chocolate.


Lyn and Great Grandson

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I really loved this. I am new to TIME GOES BY, and am enjoying the reads, as they give me much to think about and understand.

The 90 year old lady that I lived in with and supervised 5 caregivers (she needed 24 hour care) were instructed to ask her how is your day, and not how are you doing. This allowed her to tell us if things were good, or vise versa. This then allowed us to communicate with her on this and deal with how her day was going via pain, sadness, emotions, or plan things she was up to.

Thank you for sharing this story.

Hi Lyn,

First, I loved the picture of you with that beautiful baby..

I also agree with you about trying to do all the things you want to do (Or CAN do).

Today is my 82nd birthday and we are on our way to Connecticut to spend it with our youngest son and family. I know it will take me a few days to recover from the trip and the activities but,like you,I don't want to miss a minute of it..

Thank you,Katie and Nancy. That's my 5th great-grandchild--the first boy in 31 years in our family! You inspired me, Nancy. I have been re-reading journals from 3-5 years ago and being appalled at how much less I can do now, but if you can do what you want to do and deal with pacing yourself at 82, maybe I can, too, in 4 years. Actually I have many friends in 80's and even 90's who do.

Lovely, thoughtful post and great pics! Loved the one with the baby! I'm only 64 but starting to feel some aches and pains...a cancer survivor though,for over 11 years now. I take a Gentle Yoga class (OK, it's basically yoga for grandmas and great-grandmas!) and it helps me feel so much better! I use it while standing in line at the bank, etc. and on airplanes.

Lyn, you are offering an important lesson for all of us.
Thank you.

I agree with Nancy that the picture of you holding the baby is wonderful. He is adorable. And I agree with you that we must not pass up a moment of enjoyable things to extend our life.

Living life to the fullest is not always easy, but I will never stop trying to take every opportunity to enjoy each moment with pleasurable activities.

Lyn - Wonderful piece of writing, spectacular pictures, terrific attitude - Sandy

My husband's response to that question is "I'm breathing". Can be funny, can be a twinge that grabs my heart to hear that. He is 91.

Hi Lyn,
I saw a T-shirt the other day that said "I'd give up chocolate but I'm no quitter." Your story reminded me of how we MUST value the little things, even when they require recovery time.

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