Archive for: March 2011

Topic: On Vacation…

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

We’re on vacation together, which means we’re probably coming up with some great material for future posts!

Have a great Spring Break!

We’re probably drinking in the middle of the day

right

now…

Topic: Kidney A-Go-Go: Six Months Later

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

I feel great.

Brian feels great.

What could be better?

It’s been six glorious months since I was lucky enough to give Brian (my ex-husband…for those who are new to She Thinks) one of my kidneys.

Following the surgery, it took me about 2 weeks before I felt good enough to move around on my own, and at 7 weeks (to the day) Matthew and I were standing on the top of Machu Picchu in Peru marveling at the beauty and the grandeur of the surroundings, and I couldn’t help thinking about how incredibly good my life was at that very moment.

At that same time, Brian was traveling in Spain with friends, having far more fun than he’d had for some time before.  He was able to walk for hours, eat anything they had to offer, and drink to his hearts’ content (although I think he probably pushed that one a bit too hard for so early in his recovery).  He was a bit worn out when he returned…but so were the others in his traveling party, so all in all…he did great!

It probably took him 3-4 months before his energy level started to come back in earnest, but today, he’s feeling stronger and healthier than ever.

What could be better?

I can eat whatever I want.  I can drink as I always have.  And I don’t have to take any drugs at all to keep my remaining kidney working or healthy.  It’s doing everything it’s supposed to do all on its own…and doing it beautifully at that!

Brian has to take a handful of anti-rejection drugs on a daily basis…but he’s got them figured out so that they don’t give him any trouble.  It’s just a part of his daily routine, and he accepts it as a fact of life with all of the dignity and grace you would expect from the great, laid back kinda guy he is.

My health hasn’t changed at all (which is a good thing)…but as we all hoped…Brian feels a lot better.

It’s that new feeling of health that allows him to look ahead in a way that he wasn’t able to do for a really long time.  He knows now that he’ll be around for awhile.  He can engage in life again.  He can be a part of his kids’ lives for a long time to come.  He has a future.

What could be better?

But the really incredible part of this whole thing for me is that we have something new…between us…that’s totally unique and special (even for our crazy relationship).

We’ve always been close.  The best of friends.  Even through, and in spite of, our divorce.  But this is different.

Now we share something that’s more than just a bond.  It’s a connection that is so true, so honest and so real, that we don’t have to try to explain our kind of odd and unusual relationship anymore.  Not to each other…and not to anyone else.  It’s just understood.

And it’s made me appreciate what I have in my life.  My health.  My kids.  My family.  My man.  My friends.  My time to participate as fully as I can in the life I’m so grateful to have.

Honestly, what can be better than that?

(Don’t know the Kidney A-Go-Go story? May I suggest you go here first?)

It’s funny. I’ve been sitting here staring at the screen for about thirty minutes, and I don’t know what to say.

Not because there’s nothing to say… just that I don’t know how to describe the past six months.

I wasn’t the one who had major surgery.  I wasn’t the one who had to recover.

But I was there, every step of the way.  And I’m here, six months later, thrilled about how awesome it’s all been.

Part of me says, “Wow, six months?  Is that it?”, while another part of me says, “THE CALENDAR IS LYING AND HAS IT REALLY BEEN SIX MONTHS?”

But I guess that’s just what time (and life) tends to do…

We’ve done better than I could have ever imagined or hoped for.

(!)

My dad looks great.  His new kidney is happy and healthy and seems to love it’s new home.

My mom looks great.  Her other organs are enjoying the extra space.  (I assume.)

I’ve been able to move forward, because I feel like I can. There’s not this big

WHAT’S NEXT

WHAT’S HAPPENING

WHATWHEREWHENHOWHUH hanging over us all.

We’re all good.

And beyond that, I don’t really think about it anymore.

In fact, I believe that Mom and Dad have stopped thinking about it, too.

This is mostly because time passes and you move on.  (That’s life.)

And also because it’s so much a part of our family’s history and who we are.  It’s just not a big deal.

But it’s also because our lives revolved around this event for so long… it’s nice not to be obsessed and worried about it. So much of our future was unknown, and now it feels much… clearer.

And easier.

And oh so much more peaceful.

I often forget how “odd” our situation is.  How weird people think my parents are.  I’m only reminded when I see the shock flit across someone’s face when I tell them our story.

Because it’s part of our “normal”.  It’s not weird anymore.  It was what was supposed to happen.

And you don’t question or raise your eyebrows at something like that.

You smile, stay thankful, stay happy, and live.

Topic: What does “aging gracefully” mean to you?

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

My initial thought for this topic was to try to think of any old people I’ve know, whom I consider to have aged gracefully…because the concept of aging gracefully is way too out there for me yet.

I’m just 54 ya know.  Waaaaaay too young to have to think about aging gracefully…yet.

And then it hit me.

There are people out there who are probably looking at me right now and judging whether or not they think I’m aging gracefully, or not.  OY.

But I’ve known for awhile now that the older we get…the older our definition of “old” becomes.  So logically, to a teenager, I’m old.  And for me, an older person is at least 100!

Typically, I think we define “aging gracefully” in terms of physical attractiveness as the primary benchmark. We look at people (mostly celebrities) and judge them as “holding up nicely” or still looking beautiful or handsome as they age, especially when they reach that turning point age of 60 or so.

Case in point… I was watching Helen Mirren at this year’s Academy Awards and was struck by how absolutely stunning I thought she was “for a woman of her age.”  Truly someone who was aging gracefully.  And then we googled her and found out that she was only 65!

I’m sorry Helen Mirren…you’re waaaaaay too young for me to be talking about how you’re aging gracefully!!!  I promise to wait at least another 10-15 years before commenting on it again for you.

And who didn’t start talking about Jane Fonda or Barbra Streisand at the Golden Globes or Academy Awards this year and do the same thing!?!

We appreciate people who still look good as they’re getting old(er).  And we’re terribly disappointed when they don’t.

As a society, we do it more for women than we do for men.  But men don’t get off the hook entirely.  We still like them to retain a certain ruggedness or sophistication as they age.   But there just isn’t as much pressure on them to retain their youthful appearance as there tends to be for women.

But it can’t just be about physical appearance.  It has to include our behavior.  Our style.  Our actions in the world.  The totality of who we are.

And so, I believe that aging gracefully must take practice.  It must take years to perfect.  You don’t begin to live gracefully once you reach a certain age.  No, it has to be a natural continuation of a life lived with grace.

As Fred Astaire once said, “Old age is like everything else.  To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.”

I’ve been wracking my brain about this one for the past week.

How am I supposed to know about aging gracefully?

I’m 25.

And even though my knees hurt when it’s damp out, I’m aware that I’m still fairly young.

(Though I recently learned that I’m too old to try out for The Real World.)

(It was mildly depressing.)

(Not that I WANT to audition for The Real World, but the fact that it’s now not even an OPTION?  That’s just sad…)

So… I don’t know much about aging, let alone what makes it graceful.

Especially since “graceful” brings to mind royalty and dancers and actors and actresses who have been knighted by super fancy British people.

But, when I think about what it means to “age gracefully”, I think of the following:

Confidence – in who you are, in what you’ve done, in where you’re going, in how you’ll look getting there.

Pride – in yourself, the life that you’ve lead, and the life that you’re leading.

Acceptance – nothing is sadder than someone who thinks they’re 35 years younger than they are.  I’m not saying “act your age”, but at some point, you have to add jeggings to the “Murtaugh List“.

Unbitterness – it’s (technically) not a word, but it needs to be on this list.  Nothing kills “grace” faster than bitterness.

Then again, what do I know?

I’m just a kid.