There’s a satisfaction to growing older that I did not expect.
Letting go of youth and all its ambitions has given me a freedom I also did not expect. Stuff means so much less to me than it used to. I don’t feel the need to “keep up” with anyone like I used to. It gets easier and easier to march to my own drumbeat. What difference does it make what kind of car I drive or how much “stuff” I have. And as long is my home is warm and comfortable, that should be, and is, enough.
If people don’t like me, I am OK with that too. I am me, and that’s just the way it is. I don’t have anything to prove.
I’m also twice the person used to be — not only in pounds, but I hope in wisdom. I wouldn’t trade the things I’ve learned and the experiences I’ve had — good or bad — to go back to 20 or 30 or even 40. I wouldn’t trade quality for quantity any day.
I’m finding as my days grow less on this earth my appreciation of them grows more. I literally don’t have time to waste.
More and more, the things I don’t like to do, I don’t do. The things I love I work harder to make time for.
This time of year is always a struggle for me; the short days, the cold (though we haven’t had so much of that this year) and the general dreariness of the days are hard for me and make me long for longer days and green leaves. I know it’s a common problem for a lot of us.
This year seems to have been especially stressful to me and so my usual diversions — my pets — have been even more special to me. We added to our small menagerie last year when we got a baby goat that we named Henry.
Now those of you who know anything about goats know that there is not anything much sweeter, or funnier, than a little goat. Henry and my other goat, Sampson, quickly became fast friends and the two of them have provided me with a lot of amusement during these winter days. Henry, though he is about six months old now, thinks there’s nothing better than making a running leap to land in my lap. If he gets much bigger that may be a problem, but we’ll deal with that when/if he grows a lot more.
Sampson is a coffee drinker. Sometimes I sit out on our back deck and enjoy a cup of coffee with him. He’s about six years old and it’s obvious to me that his former owner introduced him to the taste of coffee. (And don’t tell anyone, but he also enjoys an occasional sip or two of wine.)
Sampson is as docile and gentle as any dog. He’s pretty large for his breed (he’s a Nigerian Dwarf) and he reminds me of a deer when I see him standing out in the yard. He loves to have his back scratched and to be brushed.
It’s so nice to see how both of them get along quite well with our dogs and cats. Their interactions and playfulness provide a lot of joy during these winter days.
Henry recently learned that if he stands on a stump near the fence, he can jump it and get out in the front yard. I couldn’t help but laugh when I picked him up and put him back inside the fence only to watch him quickly climb the stump, balance himself and then take a flying leap over the fence to land at my feet, so proud of his new trick. Needless to say, Charles had to get get busy and remove the stump. Even though we knew Henry wouldn’t go too far, leaving him outside the fence was too dangerous, since he’d be an easy target for a wondering dog or coyote.
I love animals. I have had so many pets over the years and it never ceases to amaze me at how each one has their own personality, just like we do. I couldn’t imagine my home without them. It just wouldn’t be home.
After all, it really is the little joys in life that matter in the long run.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.