What would have been normal five years ago was an enormously positive event last week. Five years ago, while living in Chicago, my friend Barbara and I took weekly classes at the University of Chicago and met up afterwards for lunches that lasted most of the afternoon. Then we moved away and shortly after so did Barbara. I promised her then I’d come to see her soon as she’d be only four hours from me.

In the interim my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer and died three years ago. Then my life was in a bit of a tailspin for a while, and I could not see my way clear to make the trip. My daughter and her family were in Barbara’s city during this time and she stopped in to see her and extend my greetings, but while that helped, it, of course, wasn’t the same. Even texting or Zooms didn’t match up with the heart-to-hearts we used to have.

But last week I took my first solo driving trip and went to see Barbara. She was waiting for me in her new home looking as sharp as ever, dressed in rust and white, rust matching the color of her hair, and sporting a fresh manicure and pedicure. We visited an hour in her home and then went to a restaurant she’d picked out in her new city–on the shore of a man-made lake with a gracious bubbling fountain in the center.

We sat outside in the sunny warmth under a canopy by this lake. Over margaritas, lamb popsicle appetizers, and crab cake entrees, we talked from eleven in the morning until five in the afternoon. Our lives had completely changed since our last in-person visit. Now, partly due to our aging, we’d both moved to be nearer children and had given up our Chicago jaunts down Michigan Avenue, the concerts in Millennium Park, the classes at U of C, the lunches at Corner Bakery, and so much more.

But, at the end of our long heartfelt chat, I at 79 and Barbara a bit older, agreed we were in the best places we could be–near our daughters. So not only was our visit a huge positive, but being able to come to terms with the idea that it is best, at our ages, to be near our daughters, concluded our visit on a happy, positive note. 

And we are very grateful that our daughters even want us around! We can be rabble rousers, but are trying to behave!

Great ideas. Thanks to your daughters. 

I am struggling with positivity these days as I hear about the rising numbers of Delta variant patients because of failure to be vaccinated. I see videos of such anger from parents who want to restrict mask mandates. I shake my head, wondering when we as a society got so angry and selfish. And then I realize, it is at the society level that we see this. I still see neighbor to neighbor helping each other, sharing smiles, taking the time to say hello. 

I remind myself to thank the grocery store workers who are still wearing masks, the health care workers, completely exhausted, and still coming to work each day. This is where the beauty of our society shines through. It may be more difficult to find, because the news does not point it out. Too bad. 

Anais Nin said, “we see the world as we are, not as it is.” The news shows us one view. We can choose to see the world from the love and care in our hearts, and that will be the way the world is, for us.

Finding Joy by Ann

Thank you for sharing. I am overwhelmed by the news these days…and then my asthma is starting to bother me. I’m caught between the hope that resting more and taking my inhaler will make it go away, or giving up hope and getting on prednisone. UGH…neither are great choices, and it seems to make me lethargic physically and mentally.
Kudos for getting some cleaning out done! Today I’m going to try and get ONE THING done…and take some joy from the accomplishment.

I have never commented here before although I love reading all of those left by the special women on this site, however, this is a topic very near to my heart and one I’ve been concerned about for many years. It began shortly after I learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. I was reading the paper one morning, glanced to my side and noticed the plastic newspaper sleeves in which the paper had been delivered. We had two papers delivered to our home at that time and since it was a rainy day there were not two sleeves but four as the delivery person had double bagged both papers. That morning began my quest to reduce plastic in my life. I started by creating bracelets from the newspaper bags and that is a whole other story but now I also have the paper delivered electronically, use biodegradable trash bags, laundry detergent that comes in a paper container and which dissolves in the wash, cake shampoo and conditioner, etc., etc. Small steps for such a big problem. I worry for my grandchildren. I remember the years that my friends and I met to organize and plan what we might do to help change the world for women. Could we do it again for the earth’s climate and leave yet another legacy, this one of climate activism, behind?