“Al, your truck is too big for you.”
“No it’s not. I drive just fine. I know how wide my truck is.”
“You ran over the last two curbs?”
“I didn’t see them.”
“Of course you couldn’t see it, the truck is too big.”
“I’m a good driver.”
“Honey, I know you are, but you can’t handle big vehicles like you use to. Give yourself permission to say, ‘It’s okay.’”
I was gnawing on a bone and I wasn’t letting it go. So the conversation went from the truck and landed on the dinner table with friends.
“I told Al his truck was too big for him.”
“No it’s not.” Al defended himself in front of our friends.
My friend echoed my cry.
“I know what you are saying. Our children bought us a brand new truck, it sits so high I can’t see over it; they wanted to do something nice for us. They didn’t ask us what we wanted or needed, they thought they were doing us a favor. It is too big for us too. It’s so big, we take our old car on vacation.”
“Al doesn’t want to admit we are getting older.” I continued, I wasn’t letting it go. Saved by the bell, Al’s phone rang. Al had traded his simple phone for an iPhone. He played around with it trying to figure out how to turn it on.”
I said, “Not only your truck, but your phone is too big for you. You’ve had it for three months and you still don’t know how to answer it.”
“No it isn’t, and I know how to answer the phone. Thank you very much.” He said.
My friend intervened. “Every season has its limitations.”
“It’s so true,” I said. “It’s like giving a sixteen year old a new Porsche. They do not know how to respect it. Or these kids are brilliant on the computer but they can’t count back change. So it isn’t about getting old, but about knowing the season and its limitations.”
I was relaying this conversation to another friend who is our daughter’s age. She said, “I know what you mean. I spent yesterday with my folks helping them buy a new truck. My father didn’t want me to go and I said, ‘Yes, I am going. Look at me, you can’t hear and I can.’ My father wanted a three quarter ton truck with dual wheels and a big engine for pulling things. I said, ‘No, Mother can not get into a big truck like that.’ He ended up with a half ton pickup which is still to big for him. He thinks he is young enough to pull horse trailers and move things.”
When do we finally move in to the next season in our minds, let go of our expectations and how we use to do things? Maybe it is when we get an accurate understanding of where we are. I don’t think it is about getting old, digressing, or being less than we use to be. It is understanding where we are.
Well, let me tell you the end of the story. Al’s brother called, who is four years older than Al but is still dating thirty year olds.
He was irritated. “Al, what the h___ were you doing? I called you and all I could hear was a bunch of old people in the background talking about getting old. You never turned off your phone.”
In the process of fiddling with the phone at the table, Al left it on and his brother listened to the whole conversation. I said to Al, “I rest my case. I told you that phone is too big for you.”
At seventy-seven, Al’s brother doesn’t think he is too old to date thirty-year-olds. He thinks he navigates very well and the young girls think so too.
Just because you think you navigate well and have the ability to buy a big truck or an iPhone, or a Porsche for a teenager, or date thirty-year-olds at seventy-seven, it doesn’t always suit the season. Maybe Al’s brother needs a wife like me to remind him how old he really is.
Final brushstroke: Oh, to have the understanding to seize the season we are in and let go of fanciful notions. Every season has its purpose. Don’t miss it.
“If you’re still hanging onto a dead dream of yesterday, laying flowers on its grave by the hour, you cannot be planting the seeds for a new dream to grow today.” — Joyce Chapman.
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