Saturday, May 29, 2021

Words and Adventures and 50 Years by Liz Flaherty

We talked at this week's writers' meeting about our voices and what we write about. I admitted that I write about aging...well, all the time. I feel kind of apologetic about it, but not really. My intent has always been to write about life's adventures from the cornfields and these days that inexorably flying  calendar has much to do with those adventures. 

I love words. No secret there. If I were a writer and I didn't love words, that might be a problem, but that's not an issue with me. My friend Nan Reinhardt collects words and writes them down. I, on the other hand, collect them, forget them, and discover them again another day. I would say that I do this on purpose, but that would be an outright prevarication. Well, yes, a lie, but we're talking words here.

Different words have importance at different times. One of my current favorites is slippery. And no, it's not really a favorite, but it's one that...well...slips into every day in one form or another.

Sometimes, instead of slippery, the word colors outside its lines and becomes trippery, because there you have the biggest single health fear I have. I tend to not watch where I'm going and I tend to not pick up my feet (they're heavy!) which means I fall more often than I'd like.

When this happens, I take a furtive look around to see if anyone has seen me skid across whatever treacherous surface I'm scaling. I wait until dizziness subsides and get to my feet using whatever methods necessary. And I am both grateful and...yeah, I'll admit it...scared, because I'm so worried about damaging a brain that's already being compromised by that damn calendar I mentioned. Becoming the subject matter in a family intervention is something I'd rather avoid. 

Also slippery are the memories of what happened yesterday. Yes, I know we talked about it, but then there was a squirrel or something and it's just gone. I do, however, remember the day my 47-year-old son went to kindergarten orientation. He had on this little denim jacket...

I've loved every age I've been in my adult life, some more than others, and this year when I am 70--which makes this my eighth decade, something I'm not thrilled about putting into print--is no exception to that. Because no matter how scary and frustrating the aging process is, it is also endlessly fascinating. There is no possible chance for boredom, because life changes virtually every day. Even if it really doesn't, there's the memory thing, so...yeah, every day.

As your vision dims and clouds, it also values everything it sees, because you've gained a real appreciation for the word finite. 

Listening becomes not only important but a necessity. Not only because you might miss something, which you most certainly will, but because hearing gets compromised. Even if you hear well, it is often situational. As in, your husband can't hear you if you're on the couch beside him, but will talk to you from two rooms away and be offended because you can't hear him over the sound of water filling the washer right in front of you.

I keep italicizing words know...words. They have so many meanings and places at different times in our lives. There are also some, and combinations of some, that I don't like. 

Like the term "little old lady." It may be accurate, but it's not your place to call me one. 

Like "no filters." I use this one myself, and it, too, is accurate. However, quite often, what it really means is rude. It's occasionally used interchangeably with entitled. This is not who I want to be. Even as a little old lady.

Like "kids today." Kids today are great, just like they were in every decade before this one. Their parents have made mistakes, and the only reason we complain about them is that they're different mistakes than the ones we made.

Like...oh, good grief, I think maybe staying past your welcome should be included here. I've gone on a little longer than I should have. But this has been fun for me to write. That's another word about aging, by the way: fun. It really is. 

Fifty years ago today, Duane and I went to a church in Denver with our friends Mike and Nancy and Rev. George Hapner and promised each other forever. It has been a long adventure. We have learned that sometimes a long marriage is held together by scar tissue and the emotional superglue used when we've broken pieces off each other's hearts, but that together is the operative word. We're going--he says--for another 50. Okay by me. I love you more, Duane. Love, by the way, is another favorite word.

Have a great week. Make life an adventure. Be nice to somebody. 


  1. Happy anniversary, my friends! And yeah, words are wonderful! ;-)

  2. Happy Anniversary to two beautiful people! Beautiful - that's another word with so many meanings! Love you guys - 50 years is one of the most fascinating accomplishments I can even think of...there are no words!

  3. Happy anniversary! And I thank God you love words, because your words have enriched my life and so many more. Here's to the next 50!

    1. Thank you, Beth. And back at you--your words bless us all.

  4. Happy Anniversary! And you put words together beautifully! You are fun to read! Thank you for writing them for us!

    1. Thank you, Regine! I feel the same way about your pictures!