Sunday, March 22, 2015

We Get Too Soon Old and Too Late Smart

I went to university in an Amish area. In fact, my children's grandma Rose came from a family who was shunned for having a rose painted on their horse and buggy...not on the horse, but on the buggy. Perhaps their fondness for roses explains her moniker.

The community members had a slight accent which actually baffled me since many of their generations had been born in Canada. I always enjoyed the story about an uncle who went to a shop and said "Can I please haff a pound of budder?"

To his bewilderment, the sales clerk proceeded to give him half a pound of butter.

While at school, I picked up a few oft used expressions. Although the wording seemed somehow twisted, the sayings always made sense. For example, when sitting down to dinner, who wouldn't understand "eat yourself full"?

For financial matters, they might have resisted the temptation to spend money impulsively or frivolously with a line heard early in life. "I went to town and bought myself poor."

Rushing to get a task done, or preparing too quickly for an event often can often cause problems which create the opposite effect. The Amish have an expression for that too. "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get."

One of my favourites, which is of more relevance to me now is "vee get too soon oldt und too late schmardt"...easily translatable. This rings more true with each passing day. It's particularly the case when it comes to health but certainly works for money, jobs, relationships, and life in general. I think the Amish have many things sorted out.

Why does it have to take us until it's too late to figure out a healthy lifestyle? Who amongst us hasn't been told to drink plenty of water each day? Are we ever told why? How about don't look at the sun, at an eclipse or any other bright phenomenon?  Or, don't drink alcohol when using certain medicine and don't take too many aspirin, tylenol, or cold remedies and definitely don't combine them with alcohol. Again I ask. "Why?" We were never told.

Moms were always best at trying to give us reasons. An example is the ever popular "don't look at the sun, you'll go blind". In fact, as young boys will attest, the "you'll go blind" line was used for purposes other than staring at eclipses. Nonsense and we knew it.

Mom told me not to sit on the ground, on cement walls and the like. "You'll get hemorrhoids",  she announced for all to hear. I was five. It sounded ominous but nonetheless, as we all now know, abdominal pressure of varying kinds causes these problems. It has nothing to do with cold concrete.

How difficult would it have been for someone, (preferrably a doctor in our early adulthood) to tell us,  "Drink plenty of water. It flushes the salts out of your system and keeps your blood pressure down."  or  "Wear sunglasses and don't look directly into the sun or you'll develop cataracts at an earlier age." or  "All medicines are processed through your kidneys or your liver and adding alcohol to the mix can harm those nearly irreplaceable organs." Why aren't we given these simple explanations?

Yes, it's true. We get too soon old and too late smart about so many things in our lives. We remember all our failures and imagine how we could have done things differently. We think about much and often daydream about what it would be like to have a "do over". Those "what ifs" seem to fly around our heads as we have more and more time to obsess about them in our senior years. All we can do is begin from here and do the best we can with the time that's left. It's not too late to be smart even if we are older.

Now,  I believe I will outen the lights und have a nap.

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