Listen to Your Elders…Been There, Done That…

Dear Reader:

Most of us at this stage of the quarantine are slowly making transitions we didn’t think possible… even a couple of weeks ago. It hasn’t been easy, by a long shot, particularly for families with children at home, and adding homeschooling to parents’ days.

My daughter-in-law Mollie said that in addition to the homeschooling…their three little children were eating them out of house and home. At a time when supplies are running low in the stores and budgets are tighter…little “bird mouths” were wide open 24/7. She has had to add another transition rule…the hours when the kitchen is closed during the day…with no exceptions.

I thought this quote I found and wrote down awhile back applies to this strange situation we find ourselves in during the pandemic.

Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all, or by having everything happen all at once.” (Paulo Coelho)

This quote describes the polar opposite lives we are living at the same time. Everything outside in our world (with the coronavirus gaining steam as it keeps attacking our lives) gives us an overwhelming sense of something too big to comprehend, much less control…everything is happening all at once…too quickly.

However… at the same time…with many jobs closed, as well as schools… people, of all ages, are finding themselves with too much time… where nothing happens and days duplicate themselves in strange, repetitive patterns.

National Geographic recently learned of an university study of some of our country’s oldest citizens over an extended period of time…most are now nonagenarians (90’s) and centenarians (100’s). Recently they were asked what advice they would give people quarantined with the pandemic.

What would elders tell you now? The oldest among us have lived through a Depression and a world war. What’s the advice they would give to parents and kids going through family isolation now?

—Be generous.
—Notice small joys.
—Prepare more, worry less.
—Remember that you will get past this.

That’s according to Cornell University gerontologist Karl Pillemer, who began interviewing America’s eldest for a project in 2003.

“A morning cup of coffee, a warm bed on a winter night, a brightly colored bird feeding on the lawn, an unexpected letter from a friend, even a favorite song on the radio—paying special attention to these ‘microlevel’ events forms a fabric of happiness that lifts them up daily,” Pillemer says. “They believe the same can be true for younger people as well.”

In other words…we must all learn that in the big picture it is the little things that truly do bring us the most joy…the list above is just a few of my “favorite things.” (Though I am a baby boomer…and was born long after the Depression and several years after WWII. :)…just saying!)

I would add…a cold, icy diet coke (I know…not good for one…but it is my one unhealthy vice…it is a substitute for coffee… which I don’t drink…my personal caffeine fix.) A good book or a special program/movie coming on television makes me feel warm and contented, taking an extra long shower, climbing into bed with fresh sheets, talking to my children and grandchildren, laughing out loud at a funny memory, a friend at the door even if we have to talk through the clear storm door now,  finding money in a pocket, the smell of spaghetti cooking….you get the idea!

…And my garden is my saving grace…watching life begin amid so much disaster and death in the world…a little plot of land that I can love and control…it does a body good.

This past weekend was beautiful…blue skies and mid-seventies…can’t ask for better weather than that…the plants and flowers sensed the same thing and began popping out all over. I was actually squealing in the garden one day at all the new life in it. Here are a few of my “favorite things” in my beloved garden.

I will show you a few simple Easter decorations tomorrow…as we begin our final days leading to Easter Sunday. (and some more pretties from the garden!) I am a proud garden mother…


So until tomorrow…Remember…When we reduce our greeds, we reduce our needs!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh






About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Listen to Your Elders…Been There, Done That…

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Amen…life is so much simpler in the middle of all this chaos…


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