July 29, 2010

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, something new comes along.

I always say, as I’m sure many do, that the day we stop learning things, is the day we die. Learning is a life-long process. Even at my tender age, there are still things that I learn everyday – albeit a new Chinese word, or a better way of completing a task, or finding something new on the internet.

I also believe that the day we start saying something like, “I’m too old to do that!” we may as well kiss our lives goodbye. I was kind of surprised a few days back, to hear that my parents had gone to a farmers market to pick up some fresh veggies (okay, so that’s not the surprise thing), but that dad had dug up some potatoes that they grew in their yard and had them for dinner as well.

You know, actually, my father surprises me. I found out this year that my father had had a heart operation. The exact details I can’t recall, but just the fact that he had to have heart surgery is sort of an eye-opener. However, thanks to the internet and Facebook, I have been able to watch some of the things my ‘pushing 70’ parents are doing with their lives!

Dad had erected a flagpole. Okay, again, not that surprising, but knowing what went into this piece of engineering, is enough to make one stop and wonder what the hell the old guy is up to!! He dug a hole, which was probably at least a meter deep (knowing my dad), the pole would have been shoved into the ground as far as he could push it in, and then the remainder of the hole was filled with cement.

All this for a flag! A great Canadian flag, mind you, but nonetheless, the work, time, and effort involved in this feat is not for the faint of heart! By the way, he’s 69 years old!!

Now this thing with the potatoes. Just knowing that at this age, my parents are still puttering around in a garden is amazing. To dig up potatoes is no small feat either. To go out into the garden, tend it, and then reap your harvest is a wonderful feeling. Just knowing that you are in a small way putting your love and energy into sustaining your life, well, you get my point.

Then they go off on a trip to the east coast. I am actually contemplating, rather seriously, about taking a short trip to the east coast to visit a good friend of mine in September. As I’ve mentioned before, I am beginning to realize just how damn big this country of Canada really is. I guess after 9 years in Taiwan, my ‘distance perspective’ has been thrown off a bit. In Taiwan, you could, if you wanted, travel from the most extreme northern point to the south in less than 8 hours. Of course, if you follow the posted speed limits, it may be a little longer.

Nonetheless, while checking with bus, train, and airline schedules, I am realizing that a trip to the east coast is not just a jaunt down the road! Taking a bus would require almost 24 hours (more or less) of travel! 24 hours! I look at a map, and I just don’t ‘get it’. The airplane, from Toronto, ON to Sydney, NS as direct as possible and with the least amount of wait time, is still a 4 hour trip! When I moved from Windsor, ON to New Westminster, BC, it was a 4 day trip!

So, to hear that my parents had driven to Quebec, and then onwards to New Brunswick, was enough to make me realize that there is still some life left in my parents. Sure, they, like me, get a bit frustrated when there’s hassles along the way, such as road construction. You’d think that the workers would at least stop long enough to let you get out of their way!

Then there’s the four or five blogs that they constantly write. Then the games they play. Yes, computer games. Even mom has gotten on the bandwagon for that! Not so long ago, I remember them getting their first computer. They could barely turn the thing on! Now, they’re just as up to speed as the rest of us. I’m still trying to convince them to get a webcam! That’ll happen… no doubt.

My friend, Gary, talks about his parents. They are well into their 80’s (82, I believe). When I say that they are well into their 80’s, isn’t meant as an insult. It’s just that they really can’t say they are 79 anymore. AGAIN, 70, 80, whatever! When he talks about them and what they are doing, I must admit, it makes ME tired! If I’m not mistaken, they will have completed a 4 week holiday to Newfoundland.

I may joke around my age and getting older. I remember many years ago my mother telling me that I was born premature. Every once in a while, I will use this excuse as such: “Bill, you look tired.” “I’ve been tired since I was born.” Guess you have be there…

However, over and above any joking, I still maintain that as long as you stay active (at least as much as your body will let you), you will remain in mind. Perhaps that’s the key to a long life. Age is simply a number – a state of mind. It also helps if people think you are younger than you are.

I get that more often than not. I think dealing with kids all day long, being active that way, helps keep me young. The only time I really know that I’m getting older, is when I have to sit on the floor with the little kindergarteners. Then I need their help to get me up OFF the floor!

I just hope that when I reach my 70’s and 80’s, that I am either just as active as I am now, or at the very least, half as active as some of these ‘young’ seniors! Keep it up mom, dad, and Gary’s parents. Your an inspiration to everyone that getting older doesn’t mean, GETTING OLDER!


1 Comment

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One response to “July 29, 2010

  1. Bill Jacklin

    You’re right, Bill, we have to keep active or we would vegitate. Thanks for all the compliments. Just remember that when you get here in Sept., you might be called upon to get lunch once in a while. Only kidding.

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