On days when I’m not sure what to write, I sometimes go back to all the words I’ve written (here or on the blog) and see what life was like a year, two years, or even more, ago. I checked to see what was happening around June 8/9 last year; thankfully, I can say, “Not much.”
But in 2015? I remember exactly what I was doing that June: helping Dad recover from a fall and dragging my mother to the doctor because she had memory issues. In fact, on June 9, 2015, I sat with my mother and watched her fail a neurological exam. I remember thinking it was a tough day to bear, but since that time, it’s become very apparent that even tougher days are ahead.
I’m not here to belabor that point. My mom has Alzheimer’s, which pretty much stinks (for lack of a more eloquent word), but she still lives with my dad and has three girls who are willing to help. And truthfully, she’s in a better spot than many people the world over. She has money in the bank and food on the table. When the time comes to get more medical help, chances are she’ll be able to afford it. Don’t get me wrong, a limit exists there, of course. But her diagnosis isn’t going to let her live forever, and most likely—thanks to their frugality and investments—both of my parents will pass on before the money runs out.
I think about that fact all the time because all of us have crosses to bear, per se, but many of the folks I know who whine the most about their lack of money actually have plenty of it. “We’re on a strict budget,” they might say. And that might be true. That budget might have allowed them to accrue the dollars they have in the bank in the first place. But by the mere fact they have money in the bank for that rainy day, that they can sit in a house that’s been paid off, that each month, they have income from investments. Well, that’s more than most people have. People like that should feel lucky and blessed, and most of all, thankful.
This summer, I’m trying to focus on that word, thankful. I’m going to try to keep it in the back of my mind when it comes to everyday life and to my writing. I’m curious to see what paths I follow just by being more mindful of the term. As always, I’ll keep you posted.