One of the hardest things we do is accepting the progression of age. We can’t do what we once could. Or work for long periods without feeling the pain.
Sometimes our memories are sieves and words are hard to come by.
Yesterday afternoon I sat on my little garden cart and started cutting back the dead branches of the gardenia in the big pot. They were at least one quarter inch thick.
I never should have started that job with my hands in the shape they’re in. But I did it and the whole thing is cut back now.
Then I rolled over to other pots that needed some cutting back and clean up in preparation for spring. After about four pots I was exhausted. My hands, necks and shoulders were screaming at me in pain.
So I got up and sat in one of the chairs and looked out over the patio. And just thought about it all.
Every year I’ve gotten out there and lifted those big galvanized containers full of soil and plants. I’ve dragged big containers across the patio. And done all the clean up.
“We are our choices.”
While I sat there I came to a conclusion. I’m either going to have to get help or I’m going to be limited in what my patio garden will look like.
So before I could talk myself out of it, I called Nathan. I told him I would pay him to do the things I normally do and just can’t anymore. So he came over and I sat in my chair and directed him.
There were the irises in two places that had the rhizomes covered in dirt. I learned from one or two of you that that’s why they never bloomed. Some of those were sent to me as far away as California.
I had stuck my spade down in the soil, but the soil was now covered in sedum that spreads like wildfire and acts as a ground cover. I found I couldn’t dig below that. So I had Nathan dig them all up and reposition them.
“The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
I had him put top soil over areas in the blue container bed that needed leveled out. Then I had him move the galvanized containers where I wanted them this year.
Then he got the property’s grass blower and cleaned up before I had him rearrange my pots and other stuff.
He completely cleaned off the potting bench and hauled off ruined pots and such that I had put there for lack of anywhere else to put it. Some he kept for his own patio garden.
I gave him the smaller pot of sedum autumn joy that I’d divided last year and some of the irises and other starts of plants. Some of the many clumps of lemon balm I gave him too. I have an abundance of them.
People mistake their limitations for high standards.– Jean Toomer
Once he had removed all that I wanted hauled out of here, he took the grass blower and cleaned up the patio again.
He took all the black trash bags to the dumpster. It is at the other end of the block, so he brought his truck into the alley and opened my gate so he could take them all at once.
Then I ordered a pizza and had him drive to get it because my ankle was throbbing from getting up and down.
At one point Charlie managed to get through my legs while I was standing at the storm door, and head off running.
For a 12 year old dog that boy can run once he has a big open space. Nathan ran and caught up with him and brought him back.
So I’ve told you all this to let you know what I’ve learned: Acceptance for what I can no longer manage alone.
All my life I’ve had people telling me they wished they had my high level of energy. But it can be a curse. It means I’ve done too much and pushed far past pain levels that were telling me to stop.
In other words, my modus operandi has been to go till I drop.
At 62, all that has caught up to me.
It helps having the new bed. I can sleep in comfort.
But as soon as I start going full tilt at something, my body now has a threshold I cannot seem to exceed. No matter how much I try to push past the weariness and pain. It just isn’t going to work anymore.
I had to sit in that chair on the patio and watch him do all the things I’ve always proudly done myself. And I wanted to get up and keep going.
But I forced myself to tell him what to do instead. It hurt my pride. That I’m to the point in life of paying someone else to take some of the load off of me.
I think of myself at his age. With boundless energy and little sense, I did things that has put my body where it is today.
We have to learn to make choices.
My choice was: If I want to garden and have a beautiful patio, I’m going to need help with the heavy stuff. So I can enjoy doing what I truly love. Which is to plant flowers and vegetables and herbs. Water them; tend to them. And call it a day.
The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. – Nathaniel Branden
Note: This week I’m changing things up. Instead of frugal tips on Friday we’ll be discussing how we’ve recently changed something to make life easier on ourselves.
Practicing self love. In the same vein of this post where I learned I can’t do it all myself.
So the topic is: How have you recently made your own life easier? We will call this Female Empowerment Friday instead of Frugal Tips. We can alternate these themes.