“I do what I please.”

Sometimes others remind us of someone from our past, maybe a family member, friend, or someone who we barely knew.  This woman reminds me of my grandma (Granny Smith). She is 97 years old. My grandma was 94 when she died, and I have to say this woman not only looks amazing, but she is determined and has a spark that I think is lost in our elders. Especially her line: “I do what I please.” Often we are the ones that take that spark away.

I can remember when my brother, sister, and I had to have the conversation with my grandma that we no longer felt comfortable with her driving anymore. She was probably mostly fine, but what scared us the most was her defense mechanisms, they just were not as responsive as they were in her younger age. We feared for others on the road. Either it was because of her slower speeds, or that her car basically drove on its own. You barely had to tap the accelerator. It was a 1977 Chevy Caprice Classic, with less than 60,000 miles, which basically means she drove it about 2500 miles a year, or 48 miles a week. This was in the early 2000’s and her car was over 20 years old – and basically my age. We knew we had to have her stop driving and sell her car. A tough conversation with a woman who was extremely independent and had lived alone for the past 40 years after her husband had died.

This video reminds me how much more we can do to help those that are aging feel like they matter, that they can help others, and that as long as it is not dangerous to themselves or to others, we need to make sure they can continue to live and do the things they are capable of doing. Just remember we are all going to be old someday too, so maybe the Golden Rule needs to be applied in these cases. The video is part of a movement called: “I Like Giving.” Enjoy and be grateful for the elders in your life, the ones that can still boss you around, and those that may not be here, but have left you with memories.

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She flies with her own wings

I have lived in Oregon for almost 11 years and I have a confession to make. I did not know our state motto until last week while reading: “Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them” by Issac Fitzgerald. I know shocking. I love my state. I love Oregon, Portland, and my little neighborhood. Our state motto though is downright badass. It is: Alis volat propriis in Latin, which translates to: she flies with her own wings. It means she is free, independent, strong. What is not to love about that state motto?

It does not say “he” it says “she” – after a quick Internet search I could not find a single other state that has a motto with “she.” Many had “he” or “we,” but no other “she.” An Internet search for Alis volat propriis also returns a zillion tattoos with the Latin version displayed on a plethora of body parts. While I do not like to be a follower, it is an intriguing option that might just get added to my short “I’d get that tattoo list.” Why does this saying tick for me? Why does it resonate so strongly? Many reasons.

I grew up fast. At the age of twelve, my mom was sick, and my dad was mostly out of the picture. I had to figure out a lot of things in my own way and fast. What does that do to a kid’s development? There could be a lot of differing answers. For me it meant I learned early to do my own thing. I did not like to do what everyone else was doing. I charted my own journey. No one was looking out for me, and I had to make sure that I looked out for myself. I flew with my own wings and I still do.

That is with Chris flying beside me.

Whether you are a man or a woman, fly with your own wings. Speak out with your voice. Be strong, independent and free. It might be my state motto, but it has also been my unwritten motto all these years.

Alis volat propriis.