I am looking around my family room downstairs at pictures I have collected and framed. Loved one’s who have passed- grandparents mostly. Old wedding photo’s of them happily living life in their younger years. Pictures of them with their siblings. Pictures of our grandparents in the prime of their lives. Then a picture of my grandpa catches my eye with him holding his banjo. At all family gatherings my grandpa played his banjo. Him and his brothers actually had a band. They all were self taught. My mom told me stories that grandpa told her about their “practices” when they were younger. They would keep their parents up all night long “playing”- self teaching, really. Great grandma would never harp on them to quit she just let them go and let them “play.”What an amazing women- letting them make all that racket at night.That was his thing, Grandpa. His thing he loved – the banjo. It is what kept him really going….especially in his later years in life. He used to play for the nursing homes with his brothers- probably thinking he would never end up in one of those places. He had this – this thing that bettered him. This music thing that kept his mind going-…….until it didn’t.
I come from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease on both sides of my family. Both of my grandfathers had these horrific mind erasers at what I think was far too young of ages. I think about it a lot. I am pretty much given the golden ticket that I will end up with one of these. After all, these are two of the most hereditary diseases out there. So I try. I try to find ways to prevent. Try to find ways to keep my mind sharp- hoping that it will not be taken from me someday. My profession as a stylist isn’t the most mind consuming profession….yes it is artistic- which is great….but it doesn’t require a whole lot of reading/writing…things that really make you USE the mind. My grandfather was a barber….a good one too…great people person, loved his family and outdoor sports—he developed Alzheimer’s in his late 60’s, I believe. It was so aweful watching someone you love go through this feeling of just lost—being totally lost one minute than the next you are fine. Until finally the times of being totally fine are gone and you are just lost completely. They say that when your mind has been taken from you your soul leaves too- I hope this is true. I hope and just believe that this is true. That you are not just suffering in the body- that the soul has left and gone where it remains for eternity- with our Heavenly Father.
I try to find ways to really make me think—things “they” say will be useful and helpful to me in preventing these diseases. Things like- crossword puzzles…reading…writing…playing cards/games….i have taken guitar lessons and try to stay with that….teaching choreographed classes helps and a lot of other things that I hope keep my mind on point.
Will this all really help though. I don’t know.
Do you have a thing? A thing that keeps ya going? Something that your kids can learn from you?
Something that will make them nostalgic for you when you are long gone? Something that will keep your mind sharp as you age? Farming, reading, writing, gardening, music….something that keeps you ALIVE?. It doesn’t matter what it is- just something that makes YOU happy and makes YOU be YOU…..pass it down to your kids or nieces and nephews, the younger generation. Show them that there are so many hobbies and activities out there that you can really get into and can make you, you. Maybe you don’t have time for all that right now- ok – but know this……My Grandfather’s thing….his banjo thing….it makes me think of him all the time- it makes me sit back and just …..like, I can just hear him playing sometimes and I just sit there and MISS him so so much. What I would not give to have him play for me again….I was just a kid- I thought it was the norm to have your family gatherings involve singing and dancing. Now I look back and think, how lucky I was to have grown up with these different talents in my life that I could watch as I grew and want to become.
We mold the future of this earth and these kids with everything we do— yes we have to work and teach our kids good work ethics— but lets also teach them things that will keep our mind and bodies healthy too. Extra activities and hobbies that make us feel good- will make them feel good too.
Does anyone really know if they will develop one of these mind altering diseases? Does anyone know if me doing all of these things too prevent them will help? Does anyone know the future? Do we? No, I guess we don’t- but I am going to try. I am going to keep trying to do everything I can to keep my mind and my body sharp as a pin- so at least on my last days I can say to my kids that I did everything I could and hopefully they will do the same. I think when we all have a “thing” that makes us feel good it makes the world a better place to be in… we all have more confidence and we feel less anxious—so go—find your “thing” that keeps ya ticken…after all- we don’t know how much more ticken we have left to do. Don’t be afraid of your future—just know that when you were here on this earth you did the best you could and that is really enough. It really is.