Recently I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with a good friend of mine.  Our chats always lead from one question to another.  Sometimes probing questions . . . sometimes just “what ifs” – but always interesting.  My friend told me that when she came across pictures of her mother – now passed – she saw her mom as a whole other person.  She saw her as an interesting, beautiful, fun girl and woman as opposed to “just her mother.”  I thought it might be fun to share some questions and my answers to them.

When if ever did you start to look at your parents as people versus parents? I look at a picture of mine as young people, both gorgeous, who were smiling, in love, in their late teens early 20’s and full of hope.  Then I see a couple in their 30’s with four small children, emigrating to a country where they didn’t understand a word of English and who had to feed a family despite unemployment and away from family. And this was before cheap long distance calls, easy flights or email and Skype. I think, “My God . . . how did they do it? “ All of a sudden the personal stuff is removed and I see two struggling human beings who did the best they could.  They had a life before I came along. Go figure!

When if ever did your conversation turn from interesting patter about life and experiences to endless talk about health issues? Dang! Since I’ve passed the age of 60 I’m becoming more grateful that my friends span from their 20’s well into their 80’s. People in my age group seem to speak endlessly about doctor’s appointments, drugs, ailments and treatments. If not theirs – then someone they know.  Interesting, traveled, educated people have reduced themselves to whiners on the verge of hypochondria.  Your incontinence is not my top priority.  I care about anyone with a health challenge – that’s not who I’m talking about.  I’m referring to acquaintances whose every conversation is fraught with aches, pains, prescriptions and all they can’t do because of their age . . . whether 45 or 80.  My mother-in-law is almost 90 and she talks more about what she can do.  I prefer her attitude.

If you had the chance – what in your life would you change? I just helped someone move out of her 40-year marriage.  She’s thriving and happy . . . the time was right for her. There are others in unhappy jobs, homes, etc. Life has an expiration date. Take the chance!  I’ll just leave that one open for you to ponder.

Are you holding grudges? Who are they hurting?  I can honestly answer no to that question.  My doors always swing both ways – although I’m not sainted.  Sometimes when the door hits someone in the rear it does make me grin a little.  And then I’m over it.

Do you have a Bucket List? Are you working on it  --- or waiting?  I’m definitely working on it.  I plan to live until I’m 92 or so and move on with a smile on my face. No regrets about the things I’ve done and hopefully none about the things I haven’t done. Going to India is one – but I have a couple which take precedence.  I’d love to hear/read some of your questions!

Enjoy your questions and more importantly . . . your answers!

Antje Wortman

A Jury of Her Peers

And I Would Dance