27 November 2012

Nothing stays the same

Nothing ever stays the same. Today is the 15th anniversary of the day we moved into our home. While we have made changes almost everyday we've been here, those changes were slow and small and most of them only noticeable when I look back. I didn't realise the importance of many of our changes until they had been completed and then, with the benefit of hindsight, I could see them in context and knew how profound they had been.


The one constant of all those changes has been growing older - ageing. I was 49 when we arrived here, 15 years later, I'm about to turn 65. That seems like a really big change to me although 33 to 48 doesn't. My guess is that this change has slowed me down, brought me into a different season and made me a grandma, and that is important to me. I felt that change as it was happening. When I looked into Jamie and Alex's eyes for the first time, I changed. I knew it straight away. I love being a grandma, I even love the name grandma and granny. It's sweet and tender and sounds like what it is. Being a grandma was a familiar change. It's similar to being a parent again, but you don't have the same input and direct, immediate influence you have with your own children. This time around my influence is in being who I am, revealing my character, living to my values and just being there with the love; always with the love.

Fiona and Mary sharing a room.

One of the changes that comes with age is that your body starts wearing out and things happen that you have no control over. It's nothing drastic yet but when I was younger I used to believe I had control over myself (and a whole lot of other things). Now I know that I just had a body that didn't let me down and get sick. Yesterday I had a bleed into my eye. It happened out of the blue filling half my eye with bright red blood. Hanno noticed it when we were having morning tea and sitting opposite each other at the back verandah table. It's nothing to be alarmed about apparently and it will just disappear in a couple of weeks time. I'm pretty healthy, my blood pressure and cholesterol are always normal, I don't take medication for anything but I feel weak when things like that happen to me. I don't like feeling weak.

Christmas eye! I've added red to my green eyes.

Another change I've noticed, and if you're been reading here for a long time, you may have noticed it too. In the early years here, many readers used to tell me they didn't dare give handmade gifts because they'd be laughed at or insulted. Many said they'd go into debt at Christmas time to pay for gifts that were expected rather than given freely. That has started changing, if the comments on yesterday's post are any gauge. I'm absolutely sure there are many who still do stretch their credit cards over Christmas, but there are fewer, it seems. That is a good thing - another change that happens gradually and that you only really notice when looking back.

Small steps.


I was outside gathering herbs yesterday and noticed that our strawberries are still producing small fruit. We'll won't eat them, but the birds will. Over the months, those strawberries have changed. They're not the same as those we grew in winter - sweet, succulent and delicious. I ate many of them straight from the plant then, gobbled down while the birds looked on in horror. Now, the strawberries are small and mean and hold no interest for me. They've changed too much.

And that's the lesson for today, for me at least, that every season has its highs and lows. It might be sweet, juicy, organic strawberries or a bleed into the eye. It's all there, the good and the bad, as we travel through the years. The trick is to accept it all with grace and to live like there are fewer tomorrows.

40 comments:

  1. I am about 6 months older than you. One thing I have is friends much older than I.. like 20 years older. From them I realize that although say arthritis that is bothering my hand at this time rather badly might subside down the road. I have seen it happen to them. Having older friends gives you perspective and helps. We can try to stay as active and healthy as we can but life is life. I have learned to limit the amount of time say that I trim hedges to lessen the chance of pain in that hand. I still do the work only in spurts. I actually feel better moving and doing than sitting. Sitting and only resting is torture to me. Moving is better and keeps our bodies limber. I am so grateful that I have a little plot that I can get out and grow things in. Life is forever changing. That makes it a wonder. Our grand babies are into college now!! Life is sweet. Treat it with respect and care. Sarah

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  2. Rhonda-what a lovely, honest post! YOu are the same age as my mother and it is because of the grac of the women who have gone before me that I find myself at age 44 comfortable and content with who I am.

    We age-it is part of life. I don't understand people who rail against the natural order and try to stave off the inevitable!

    Of course-that's not to say that we have to like it at times...we just have to accept it.

    Thankyou so very much for posts like these.

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  3. Ah, yes, the only constant is change, right!? Having just purchased my first home this very year this post of yours fills me with excitement. Little by little I wonder of the changes that will be undertaken here in the next 15 years.

    I hope the eye heals up quick!

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  4. So sorry about your eye, hope it heals up quickly, Rhonda.

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  5. Hi Rhonda,
    I am 54 and feel my body starting to slow me down (I thought I must have had a virus for a while, with my aching joints and not being as flexible as I once was, but have now accepted that perhaps I am ageing! LOL!) I still need to do more now than I ever did when younger but now I have learnt to delegate. I am one of those grandparents, along with a fast growing number of grandparents who have care of their grandchildren although mine is only 50% of the time, so apart from being their grandparent you are also like their parent which throw a different perspective to your relationship with them.
    I have toned down Christmas here over the past 5 or so years. I think it's important that children are not over indulged and and that they develop a sense of what the season is truly about instead of what the commercial sector would want them to think it's all about. We will spend time together preparing for this special season and try to avoid the commercial hype.

    Hope all goes well with your eye and then you continue with good health.

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  6. It is a rum thing ageing, isn't it. Most of the time, the changes can't be seen or felt then one day you notice it and realise you thought you had noticed it a lot earlier! My hubby had a bleed into his eye last year, I noticed it at breakfast too (must happen overnight?) but he couldn't feel it and he felt fine.

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  7. Rhonda, don't let the bleed in your eye make you feel aged. I'm half your age and I get it occasionally. And I can guarantee that you are fitter and healthier than this 34 year old!

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  8. I, too, love being a grandmother and age has definitely played a role in my relationship with my children and grandchildren. I am able to slow down and enjoy my time with my grandchildren in a way that I was never able to do with my children when they were young. It is a good time in my life but as you point out, the soul is willing but sometimes the body is not.

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  9. I'm 48 and have also had the alarming-looking but painless bleed into the eye. Hope your's disappears soon. My knees crack every time I get up from a sitting position and I don't sleep as well as I used to, but I'm sure your lifestyle will keep both of you well for decades to come :-)

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  10. Hi Rhonda,i'm 63,and i have really noticed myself slowing down in the last 12 month's,i just can't move as fast as i used to,and i am suffering with arthritis in my arm's and hand's now,which i have never had before!i don't like getting older!i do hope your eye is better,thank you for sharing with us,your gorgeous!x Carol.

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  11. We are all ageless and beautiful! *grin*
    While everyone appreciates the 'store bought' gifts, my kids (and even myself) BRAG about the handmade ones! Making things by hand is kind of rare (it seems). Our friends and co-workers are always amazed when told that a gift was hand made. *smiles smuggly*

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  12. I know what you mean about being a grandmother. When I looked into the eyes of my new born grandchildren, my first thought was always "I know you". It is a special role, no doubt about that, and one I also love.

    I have friends exactly 10 years younger than me and 10 years older than me and I learn from them both. My knees are slightly arthritic and I now have difficulty getting up off the floor. I use a small stool to sit on instead. Aging has its drawbacks, but it certainly has its advantages too - primarily the permission to slow down!

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  13. I love change and always have. I completely embrace it and when nothing much has changed around me for a while, I have to do something big to shake things up! I think from here on out I'll be looking at trying to make regular small changes to my world rather than big life ones.

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  14. Hello Rhonda, I have been reading your blog for a while but don't think I have commented yet. I loved today's post and can so relate to it being around your age. I adore being a Nana to my three Grand children. Love the handmade gifts so much. To think that someone has made something 'just for you' and from the heart is special. I am making handmade gifts for my grand daughters for Christmas at present. Hope your eye improves soon. Love your blog.
    Chrissie

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  15. Sage words for anybody, at any stage of their life.

    I'm in my late 20s and feel that I take my life too much for granted. Getting up every morning, going to work, coming home, then repeating it all over again. It sounds wasteful. I am making decisions now which will hopefully see this all change within the next year or so. Sure, I'd love it to happen overnight but that's simply not achievable for me.

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  16. What a lovely post Rhonda. I too remember 15 years ago. We hopped on a plane to visit my Auntie, Uncle & cousins & their families in Australia. Perth actually. I turn 58 tomorrow (27th) UK time.
    The biggest change so far for me is the need to wear glasses all the time. Of course the hair is greyer too. I well remeber my 46th, & now I realise that time again I'll be 70!
    I hope your eye settles down soon. Also hope Hanno is well on the mend.
    best wishes,
    Angela (south England) UK

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  17. I really do love it when you post on growing older - those of us that have no role model for growing old without fear need to hear the things you say. Very well put, as always, and a good thing to hear. Thank you.

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  18. accept it all with grace, I like that.
    Take care of your self, you certainly have a wonderful attitude, I would feel a bit fragile with that too! I snapped my collar bone two weeks ago and it has left me feeling very fragile, we don't like change as we age, at 56 I don't like fragile at all!

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  19. Hi Rhonda
    Im 48 and noticeing the changes too. I LOVE being a grandmother and it has made a profound change to my identity and my life style which is one reason I joined the forum here. There are parts to getting old that arent much fun and while I try to lean into them gracefully I dont really like having aches and pains, a weaker body for lifting and carrying etc. But as my doctor once said it beats the alternative (as apparently we didnt live as long not that many years ago)! I hope your eye clear up soon xx

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  20. Really great post today Rhonda!
    Hope your eye mends quickly.
    Julie D
    Karratha WA

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  21. Rhonda, I gather you've had your eye seen to as my Mum had a bleed in her eye that turned out to be a detached retina about 30 years ago. The Sydney Eye Hospital cauterized it for her but she looked like a pirate for a week with her eye patch!
    I'm stuck with what to give my grandchildren for Christmas as their other relatives think nothing of $50 gift cards (even for the 6 yr old!) or plastic junk toys. They aren't much interested in books or puzzles and I'm sure they've never played a card game, let alone a board game, in their lives. Their mother's (DIL) attitude to homemade handmade isn't good either.
    Cheers,
    Robyn

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    Replies
    1. What a pity Robyn. Maybe if you got them a board game they would play it with you and see how fun it is.

      Lisley

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  22. the best thing about aging is that you realize how precious each minute is... We had the grandkids at the beach yesterday and it was marvelous seeing their imaginations get to work, building sandcastles.. I am not sure I really took the time to appreciate that when I was a young mum.

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  23. Congratulations on 15 years we have been on this old farm for 34 yrs this month. Life changes and our bodies change but would we want to have it any other way? The journey is the part that will go on and on in our memories and our children and grandchildren. Everyday is another lesson to learn and move on. I look forward to every day like a child wondering what it will bring. I do hope my body can keep up with me.
    I do hope your eye heals fast and keep hugging those precious Grandchildren they are better than any medicine. B

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  24. Rhonda my girlfriend Carol has been getting those bleeds in her eye since we were teenagers, you're not getting old old, you're just ripening like a good red wine.

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  25. What you seem to have is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Quite harmless if that is indeed what you have. The blood will be reabsorbed into your body. Have you rubbed your eye recently?


    Lilsey

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  26. Rhonda, it is amazing that your eye isn't sore and it is also amazing seeing our bodies change at our age. You mentioned once about paper thin skin and I thought to myself that I didn't have that and in the last week I have scratched my arm twice and it has started bleeding when at work and your words came back to me straight away. LOL! I enjoy your daily posts so much and can relate to so much of what you say. I don't always add a comment as I read your blog on my Smartphone before going to work and my fingers are too big to add a comment on that little screen.Goodness knows what I would end up typing.

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  27. Hi Rhonda, I like this post a lot. I don't think aging is discussed enough in a positive light. I am about to turn 40 and I sometimes find myself having a tough time with the wrinkles and grey hair, etc. I'm trying to learn to take it all in stride and handle it with grace. My girls are young still and I know they're always watching and learning. Glad to hear your eye condition is nothing serious and I hope it goes away soon! XOXO

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  28. Hello Rhonda
    Thanks for your posts i read each day. The one of today especially moved me. I too became grand mother two years ago of a pretty little grand son and i too see each year my body slowing down ... since over seven year due to a disease in my head. Yet i try to enjoy life and make the best out of everything that happens in daily life. But i'm 37 and i do hope i'll have your energy of life when i turn your age.
    Christelle

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  29. I always keep rhubarb root tincture on hand for any bleeding problems. It works wonders.

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  30. You're made of strong stuff Rhonda. Those little bleeds can happen at any age, so don't take it to heart. You have many years of good health and strength ahead of you xx

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  31. Hi Rhonda,
    Besides all your daily chores that keep you physically active, do you do any other form of exercising? I turned 62 and retired this month and want to stay active but don't have the amount of chores you do. Any suggestions for someone in their sixties who doesn't want to join a health club? Thanks ~
    Nancy in Fair Oaks, CA

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  32. Hi Rhonda,

    i really liked this post, in todays youth obsessed society it's rare for people to talk about aging in a positive way. I hope your eye gets better; it's horrible when your body lets you down and scary when it's unexpected. I've got osteoarthritis in my ankles and feet and sometimes it feels like a daily battle to do the things I want and to except what I can't do; damn frustrating at 48.

    Thanks for speaking about change in such a positive way. xx

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  33. I understand the feeling weak part of ageing. Due to a back injury 10 years ago at 46 my body started to feel like it was betraying me faster and and younger that I had anticipated or planned. It takes some getting used to...going flat out into the wind to being almost housebound, but it has given me an unexpected gift of learning to live slowly and simply as well as living on much less that I did. And it is ok. I am finding it is all a matter of perspective and keeping a grateful heart.

    ps...I love your litte white ceramic bunny!

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  34. As I sit reading your words, my four year old grand daughter sits on the floor reading and singing from a book that was her mother's. Today we are going to the library and then to the council nursery to choose free trees.... these days are so very precious as I remember similar days with my Nana ...... I am content, now that I am in my sixties, with growing older .

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  35. You are such a wonderful example of a woman in your stage of life, Rhonda. I'm not sure whether I've said this before, but you remind me of my beloved private tutor in math, who sadly passed away some years ago. If I can be like you, or like her, when I'm 60, I will consider my life well lived.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Anna. I'm sure you'll be a wonderful role model when you're 60.

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  36. Great post, Rhonda. I follow your blog regularly. We have tried to live a simple life for over 36 years and have been here at our farm for 27 years.
    As we have aged we find ourselves letting go of some things and moving on to others. The changes have been made to accommodate our aging bodies. I have been in denial about the toll time takes on my body until recently when I was stopped in my tracks with chest pain and shortness of breath. I have always lived a healthy lifestyle but it is pointing to pulmonary hypertension and I am devastated. To that end husband and I talked it through and agree to continue to live the simple live we've always lived and to take each day as it comes.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anon, I'm sorry to read about your illness. Take care of yourself, love.

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