Enjoying Being an Elderly Backpacker, Life in the Elderly Years

Realizations about you and your parents, now that they’re, elderly, translated…

The only season I feel leisurely is in the springtime, and so, I’d made a date with my parents over eighty years of age, that we shall, head out to travel every single springtime.  In recent years, we’d selected the self-help trips to Japan, my father who was educated by the Japanese spoke fluently, and said that it’s, as if, he’d found the younger version of himself that’s worked at the Japanese trading companies again, that he’d wanted to be a backpacker, plan out his own trips, enriching his own life.

Last year, we’d gone to Setouchi, and drove around, one day we’d spent the afternoon, underneath the olive trees by the beach, my dad suddenly told me, he’d not felt this leisurely for sixty years.  My father started a business from the ground, and worked hard for the family’s economics; several years ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and my eldest brother who was just over forty had a stroke, and the family spent years in misery afterwards.  Pops told me, from before, he’d thought that having daughters is a cost, and he’d harshly disciplined my eldest sister and I hard, but now, looking at us, he’d felt, that he’d been, too strict toward us back then.

sharing these cherished moments togehter on trips they’d shared, not my photograph…

From when we were younger, my sister had I had, complained of how harshly we were treated by him, that he’d favored our brother more than us.  Although my father didn’t marry down to my mother’s family, but my older brother and youngest brother took my mother’s family last name, and perhaps it’s because of this, my dad demanded more of my older sister and I; in order to show ourselves, we’d both believed, that whether it be in school, or at work, we shouldn’t, lose to the boys, and I’d heard my father’s talking about that that day, and, it’s, as if all those years of misunderstanding, got, resolved instantly.

In my memories, we’d rarely gone out on overnight trips as a family, after all, our household finances are just breaking even, and the fees for the travels aren’t something small; and now, we’d gotten the abilities to take our parents on trips, and, on some levels, it’d, helped us make up for not going out together as a family when we were children.

a family vacation in progress here, not my photograph still…

As we’d gone on the New Japanese Railways from the north to the south, I watched my parents walking slowly on the platforms, it’d made me realized, how fast, they’re, aging; those adults who’d once, helped us walk, who’d held our bicycles still so we can keep our balances, they’re no longer, the adults who can help us out whenever we’re in trouble now; and, while they’re still mobile, I’d wanted to take them all over to travel, to make more memories of us together.

Not only just for my parents, I too, am slowly, marching toward the elderly years as well, and, I’d needed to, make my own adaptations accordingly.  I’d agreed with mom and dad, that every spring, we shall, go out, as elderly backpackers, and continued having these trips without the itineraries.

So, traveling with your aging parents made you realized, how little time you have left with them, which made you cherish each and every single moment all of you shared, and this made you realize, that you’d needed to, spend more time with your elderly parents, because nobody KNOWS how many more years they may have left, so, you’re, taking advantage of every moment you shared with your families.

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An Elderly Demented Dog & a Young Child

The process of growing old, in a pet, the interaction the dog shared with the owner’s grandson, as dementia slowly, set in, translated…

Kai May Have Felt Confused at that Young Child Who Started Living in the House, and So, He’d Followed Him Around, Watched His Every Single Move, But Had, Refused, to Get Closer to the Child………

Kai, the Mean Girl

As my grandson was born, Kai was already eight; she was a stray that my daughter brought home, a female.  She’d told me, that she’d found a litter of puppies that an adult female had given birth to, and all the other puppies were taken away, only a small white puppy was crouched in the corners, shivering and quivering, so malnourished, so tiny, not yet the size of her palms, covered in dirt, with the hair not full, looked like she was, hard to keep, even the mother had, abandoned this young puppy, vanished, without a trace, and if she didn’t take her home, she is probably going to die.

As my daughter took her in to get her shots, the vet guessed that she was a Chihuahua mix, all I know, is that she’s never been easy to get along, a dog that everybody called “mean”.  My husband said, hinting, “This is a house full of mean ladies, naturally, the female dog that came out of this house, would be mean too.”

you can ftell if the dog is elderly by the way it looked…not my photograph…

It isn’t easy, to get close to Kai, but she’s alert and full of responsibility, every day, she’d kept the ground, marching back and forth continuously in the house.  We lived on the second floor, whenever there came unfamiliar footsteps from the entrance of our apartment on the first floor, she’d started growling in a low voice; if strangers were close to our front doors, she’d started barking incessantly, and would use her front paws to scratch at the front door, she could scare the outsiders away, from inside the house.

Nine years later, my daughter married, and Kai stayed in our house.

Before she married, I’d complained, on how Kai had shed too hard, and the hair was all over the places, but after she’d married, don’t know if there’s nobody who’d talked back to me while I’d, nagged, or that she’d lived away, my days became, cleared up, and, I’d, complained, less and less.

After my daughter gave birth to her son, she’d wanted to resume working again, and she’d worried about the nannies from outside, and took her son home to me to watch.  I’d worried, that the germs on the dog would be back for the infant, so, before my grandson was a year old, I’d always, locked Kai inside the bedrooms, wouldn’t let her near the baby.  Actually, since she came to live with us, she’d not, made her way out of the house, and lived her life as a pampered pet.  But, loving my grandson dearly, I’d intended, to raise my grandson, my way, nobody else has a say.

 

As he’d started to walk, Kai received her right to walk around the living room again.  She may be a bit confused at this little man who suddenly showed up at my house, and so, she’d followed him around, watched him closely, but chose, to stay away from him.  If my daughter tried getting her closer to my grandson, she’d shown her teeth, refused to share any sort of intimacy with him.  But, it’s, quite odd, whenever the adults weren’t watching, she’d, started, following him around again.  Several times, my grandson had tripped and fallen in an out-of-sight corner of the house, she’d started jumping up and down, barking loudly, to get our attention.

A Beautiful Misunderstanding

As my grandson entered into kindergarten, Kai was already ten years old, no longer was she energetic like she was when she was younger, she’d become, an elderly woman now, just loved sleeping on her specialty dog mattress.  But at this time, my grandson became this, naughty little boy, started exploring the world, and learned to use his pranks, to show us that he’s there.  Other than climbing onto the couch in the living room, the supper table, the stove, leaping downward, he’d started using the drapes as a double bar, especially, he’d loved, picking at Kai, used newspaper, or clothes, waved them in front of her face, or, threw those rubber balls, or fruits toward her.  Kai normally ignored him, and, would get up lazily, and moved elsewhere, but if she really got annoyed with him, she’d barked loudly, then, shown her teeth, and, that little brat would have the shit scared out of him, and cried for grandma.

For this, my grandson didn’t love Kai at all, he’d felt, that she’d never looked at him straight, wouldn’t like hi.

But every time as the adults used a stick, to attempt to discipline my way too naughty grandson, no matter where Kai was sleeping, she’d immediately, rushed to the individual with the stick and started barking so loudly at the person, she’d jumped up and bite the stick held by the person.

The elderly dog, and the young child not being on amicable terms, didn’t get improved, until a few months before Kai’s death.

Kai was older than seventeen when she’d died, the vet said, exchanging it into human years, she’s, an elderly woman at over age eighty.  Back then, she’d become blind because of cataracts, couldn’t tell the directions, lost her hearing too, walked with hardship, constantly bumped into the furniture.  What’s worse was, she’d become, demented too, lost ALL her flairs from before.

圖/倩illustration from the papers…

And yet, the gap between her and my grandson, disappeared completely.

From before, she wouldn’t allow him to hold her, after she’d become demented, Kai would quietly, allowed my grandson to hug on her as he watched television.  During that period of time, the demented dog, and that naughty little brat would, silently, get close to each other on the couch, to watch television together, and, there was, that hard-to-come-by serenity in the house.

The little brat is too happy, he’d held tight to Kai, hollered aloud, “Kai liked me now, she’d allowed me to hold her now, it means she liked me!”, the adults were glad, but also, heart felt, unwilling, and not knowing how, to explain to a third-grader, that Kai was elderly, and demented, so, she’d become, confused; she’d lain in your lap without objections, it’s because she doesn’t really know who you are now.

Since Kai allowed my grandson to get near her, after school, he wouldn’t let go of her, not allowing anybody else to get close; he’d placed her on his lap as he worked on his assignments, had her lain on the bench where he’d sat as he practiced piano, and placed her nearby when he ate his meals, and, would have her in his lap when he watched television or played video games, perhaps, only at bath time, would he, let go of Kai, so she’d, lain outside on the placemat of the bathrooms.

They were so close now, it’d made my daughter and I worried, and glad, we’re glad, that my grandson finally learned to get along with the pet of the family, but worried, that as their bond became tighter, Kai’s days grew shorter; for a young child who had yet to comprehend death, how heartbreaking it would be, at the moment when they get separated by life and death.

What eventually will come, had cone.

The day before Kai died, she’d fallen into a comatose, and my grandson still held on to her, told her of the ins and outs of school.  The very next day, as he’d returned home from school, Kai was already cremated by my daughter’s orders.  Toward the adults’ explanation of death and the crematorium, the child became confused, and started crying hard, and, he’d isolated himself for a long while.

The intimacy Kai had shared with my grandson a few months before she passed away, it’s a beautiful misunderstanding, that was made possible by not understanding life of the child, and the dog’s losing her bodily functions.

But it’s, also, a cherished affinity.

So, this dog went from being so fierce toward the owner’s young grandson, to becoming inseparable with him, and this showed the progressions of dementia in any living thing, because toward the final stages, the demented individual no longer recognized anybody, and, became amicable with everybody s/he comes into contact with.

Changing Your Minds, Getting Along Better with Your Partners in Life, on How to Get Along with One Another

How to get along better with each other, now that it’s just, the two of you that’s left?  Translated…

My husband and I became like roommates, we’d, kept at our own separate televisions, and during mealtime, I’d, hollered out, “Tenant from upstairs, food is served!”, after the tenant finished his food, he’d headed upstairs, continued watching his basketball game.  And, mealtime and sleep, are the two times of the day, the two parallels we’d become, intersected.

The rule of thumb I’m living by is, not forcing things onto myself, nor onto others.  When we found ourselves in argument, I’d found a strategy, take action, not get angry, or waste ANY energies.  If my husband angered me, then, I don’t cook, it’s not, as if, I’m up for the employee of the month, and, by so, I’m teaching him, that he’s the one who’d lost, offending me, only then, would he, adjust his own behaviors.  He could easily, act stubbornly, wear a soured face, he’s the one getting laughed at, I wouldn’t start nagging him at all, I will NEVER find troubles for myself.

all you’re, left with, NOT my photo…

He’d said I’d talked too loud, but, that, is how large the volume my voice is, and now, whenever friends come, I’d told him, to “duck out”.  If he was insistent on being around, then, I’d still carried on conversation with my friends, I’d already warned him beforehand, it was his own choice, to not head out if he didn’t want to hear me talk.

We all have our different traits, like someone with irritable bowel syndrome, would you, tell her/him, NOT go to the bathroom so many times?  So, that stuffed up type A man, I’d, done as accordingly, I chose, to respect his “irritable bowel syndromes”.

I can, choose NOT to get angry toward the arguments we can’t escape from.  For instance those old issues we’d never agreed on, no need to discuss them, or get stressed out by them.  If toothpaste is a source of argument, then, get one tube each, so long as it’s not life-or-death matters, just let him be.

When I want to shop, I’d called on my girlfriends, when I want to see a movie, I’d find someone who’s also a movie fanatic like me, being accompanied by someone who makes you happy, that, is what’s most important; as for you, hubby, as long as you’d worked those nightshifts as the security guard, I’d be satisfied, why must you demand he take up other roles?

Try to break the stringent rules of your own cognitions, there are more options in life, as the thoughts changed, the problems find a way to resolve themselves.  You need to tolerate each other’s differences, to not cross over that boundary, to find a comfortable interaction pattern that both of you can live with.  War or peace, it’s up to you to choose!

you do your thing, I do mine!  Not my photo…

So, this woman is sharing her years of experience, of being married to her husband, they are quite different, with various hobbies, and, as they got older, they started living like parallel lines, and, there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as the two of you respected the boundaries set by one another, not pushing each other’s buttons too hard, then, you will get along just fine, even AS the kids leave home!

Just Enjoy Bickering with You, the Love Between Siblings

See how close this pair of sibling is to one another, how they related to each other regularly, translated…

Growing up, the way I’d interacted my younger brother by four years was getting into constant arguments with him; but, we’d only, bickered a lot, and not really gotten into any serious fights.  After I married, I’d moved away from my own home, and slowly, my younger brother and I didn’t get enough chances to get together, and, our connections seemed to be held together, by the jokes we’d, exchanged with one another.

we may be like this every now and then…not my photo…

Not long ago, I took mom to Japan, and, we’d gotten the chance to look at Mt. Fuji, and, the two of us couldn’t help, but have a photograph of us together with Mt. Fuji in the background, and naturally, we’d, immediately shared the photo with our groups on LINE, and yet, my younger brother who’d always been insulting said, how mom and I should’ve been outside the frames of the photo, that way, the picture would’ve been perfect, hinted that we had, destroyed the makeup of the photo, and I don’t know whether I should laugh or get angry at him.

Because our hotel is by a lake, so we could have our breakfasts leisurely and watch the scenes, it surely, was one of the best moments in my life.  We couldn’t help, but share it with our families, our good moods, and yet, my younger brother foolishly asked, if Mt. Fuji would erupt?  This was, surely, possibly, because I’d read related reports, that Mt. Fuji was still an active volcano, and it hadn’t erupted in a long, long time, and, if we’re, unfortunate (or blessed) enough to have it erupt, then, we can only, leave everything up to fate.

After he’d read my replies, he’d immediately joked that mom and I go take out some insurances on ourselves, that if the volcano did erupt, he will be coming in with money then.  I’d told him, surely, and that he should, set up the insurances for us, he’d also commented on how I enjoyed looking pretty, that before the volcano took us over, that I’d needed to, pose beautifully before I die, I can’t help but laugh aloud, he’d wanted me to, go from start to finish, going out, beautifully.

but, we’re always going to be like this…not my photo still

The two of us always talked on everything, rashly and calmly too, and we don’t have any taboos over death either, and so, I can always laugh at his jokes, there’s no raining on my parade one bit, instead, it’d, added that extra fun in my ordinary life.

I want to cherish how I’m able to talk so openly to my younger brother about these sorts of things, because we’re, deeply connected, in synch, that was how we’re able to, blurt out what we’re thinking about to one another at the moment.  I guess, I’ll be willing to, have these insults and exchanges with my younger brother for the rest of our lives!

So, this, is how close the two of you are, you two insulted each other, and, nobody feels offended, because you’d gotten, used to this mean of interaction with each other, and this sort of relating to one another must’ve started when you were, very young, that it’d carried into your adulthood years…

 

The Misbehaving Student’s Coming of Age

How a child who’d not done well in his younger schooling careers became a somebody as he grew up, translated…

I have an elementary classmate, nicknamed “Woody”.  Woody didn’t do well in school, and, anything relating to the academics, he’d gotten punished for scoring too low a score.  Once after an exam, the teacher waved a graded test, called out to the class, “XX Woody, who is this?  Is there a student in the class by this name?”

Everybody in the class burst out laughing, Woody’s real name was “Jie”.  The teacher said, “You can’t even write your own name?”, and naturally, Woody got punished, again, and gained himself the nickname of “Woody” and “XX Woody”.

Actually, our homeroom instructor didn’t give up on Woody, instead, she’d done all she could, to help him get his grades up, one of the tactics our homeroom instructor used, was having the girl who’d made the highest scores on the exams sitting next to “Woody”, she’d told the student, “You need to check Woody’s work before he turns it in, and help tutor him on what he couldn’t understand.”, and, combined, with the entire class’s grade competitions, what we’d competed in, was everything, including the students’ grades as small groups too.

The girl worked very diligently, in what the teacher asked her to do, treated her as an alternative version of our instructor.  She’d gotten very mean with Woody, and started disciplining him verbally AND physically too; because she’d felt pressured by the competitions of the small groups the class was divided into, every time as Woody written down the wrong answers and she’d not discovered it, she’d gotten blamed by the students in the same group.

As she entered into college, she’d started getting into the marches, and reviewed over the realms of education in Taiwan, started seeing her own faults as a gifted-and-talented student, who proud she was in her younger years as a student, and that she may have, hurt someone in the process without ever realizing it.  And, Woody came to her mind a lot.

That girl was, me.

Because I’d lost contact with all of my elementary school classmates, I’d not found the meals, or the courage, to find out, where this “misbehaving child” that’s gotten scolded by the adults since he was growing up went.

At the start of this year, my elementary school classmates had found an assortment of ways online, to find almost everybody in the class back, on the first of the Chinese New Year, we’d had a class reunion at my hometown in Nantou, although I live in Hualien, I’d still, made the long drive there.

I’d arrived late with Mimi Chou, and, as we got there, everybody was already, celebrating the occasion, Woody was so happy to see me, he’d greeted me as I entered, he’d told my daughter, “Your mom was the best friend I’d ever had.”  But, as the drinks were passed, being a bit intoxicated, Woody started, telling the truth about me to my daughter, “Your mom was very mean, kept nagging me.”  Although the atmosphere was great, and, everybody was joking, I couldn’t help, but feel that I’d, done him wrong when I was younger.  I’d waited until an opening, and asked Woody, “So, how are you faring?”

Woody started looking serious, and told me, “Reporting to Ya-Chun, I’d still not done well enough in the academia, after I graduated from my skills school, I’d worked at a bank in the sales department, and due to an opportunity, a client introduced me into the construction industries; now, I won’t brag, but, I’m now, in charge of a couple hundred of workers.”

I kept laughing, told him, “You’re, already, a grown adult, and here I am, pretending to still be that child.”  I’d swallowed down the words “I’m sorry”, I knew, that Woody had, already, forgiven me.

Woody after he’s grown, is passionate, kind to people, mature in handling all his affairs, with an established career, acted as the entertainer in the classmates.  Later on, I’d talked about this with a fellow classmate, she’d sighed, sharing my thoughts, “Yeah, who could’ve guessed, that Woody was going to turn out to be this well-adapted as an adult?”

Grades are NEVER everything!  I hope that our education systems, the parents, the kids, as well as the school teachers, can treat all these children who don’t “perform well in the academia” better.

So here, this still proves, that GRADES don’t make the man, the man, is what makes the M-A-N, like how this misbehaving boy grew up, to become a leader in his industry, treating his employees, as well as others kindly, and, the girl who’d tutored him felt bad over how hard she was on him, but, without her grilling him, he probably couldn’t have, become as disciplined as he’d become…

A Great Bottom-Half of Life

Changes in pace, after the retirement, starting to enjoy the daily goings on of life now, translated…

After I’d learned to make vinegar, the drinks I served in the summertime became the homemade varieties, sanitary and healthy, completely fitting to the Do-it-Yourself spirits.

The days without having to watch the clocks, I’d given my small compact car which I drove for no more than five times a month to my younger sister, and become a commuter, and, relied on the busses, my two sturdy legs, as well as the bicycles, still managed to go all around, helping to reduce the carbon output.

so many options out there, which to pick???  Not my picture…

Waking up early in the morn for my morning run, I’d loved running in the rice paddies, and, as the farmers set up their stands to sell the homegrown produce, I’d bought from the farmers directly, guaranteed fresh, and, as I took the produces home, the morning dews are still on them.

For breakfast, I have a glass of homemade blended soymilk with nuts, the multi-vegetable/fruit juices, or the multi-grain drinks, and the energy for the rest of my day relied on this, I hadn’t frequented the breakfast shops in a long, long while now.

And, as the rice paddies close to my house stopped growing the grains, they would switch to planting the vegetables, the radishes, the potatoes, and at this time, the ladies would start pickling the radishes, making the sauerkraut, hanging an assortment of different dried vegetables out, other than salt and the sunlight, there’s NO other additives.

Going to the libraries to check out books became routine for me, I’d loved reading literatures on animals, and would immerse myself in the world of lions, elephants, jackals, wolves, tigers, leopards.  In the animal kingdom, only elephants and dolphins cry because of their feelings, the new alpha male lion would kill the other baby lions, that way, all the females would be in heat and he would be able to mate with them again, and, the eagles would wait until their fowls leave the nest, then, clean out the nests, and the human mamas’ boys who can’t leave home ought to take the examples from the birds, the animals’ shows of emotions, is comparable to the emotional expressions of humans

As I was younger, I’d loved dressing up to the nines, eating gourmet foods, and I had worn the colors of the seasons on the makeup on my face, and, as I marched through half a century, I’d let go of these worldly baggage one by one, started living differently.  Those books I didn’t have the time for, I’d started, reading them now, and found my long-lost interests back again, and I’d, gotten into cooking, retrained my able hands too.

pickign up on the hobbies here, not my photograph…

With the silver strands in my hair, reflected upon the sweat from my exercise, the daily life from the fifties, are ordinary, fulfilling.

So, this woman is, finally settled, at the age of fifty, she’d started, living a brand new way, more relaxed, started picking up on the hobbies she used to have but never had the time for when she worked, and that is a fully packed retirement for her.

The Sign on My Back, Ways to Tackle Becoming Forgetful

Scared of forgetting things, could it be, an early sign of dementia?  Or, could it be, that there’s, just too many things we’re, keeping in mind, that one or two had, “slipped”???  Translated…

“Honey, looks like I’m going to have to post something on your back as a reminder today.”  As I woke up in the morn, my wife hollered out at me.  I’d asked her what’s up, she’d smiled and told me, “While I was making breakfast, I’d suddenly, forgotten what I was about to do next, and no matter how hard I’d tried, I can’t remember it, could it be, that I’m already, demented?”

“Dementia?  Don’t exaggerate.”  I’d laughed, “Last night you were just telling me, that there’s a CD due today, that you’re going to, withdraw it from the banks………”, after she’d heard, she’d realized, that she’d told me this, and tapped her head with her fingers, “Yes, yes, that’s it!  Oh, I’d still needed to………”, she looked troubled in thought, like she can’t remember something else.

okay, mayne NOT that overboard!!!  Photo from online…

“Let’s do it this way,” I’d recommended to her, “Why don’t you do like I do, have a notebook handy, and write everything you need to do down, or, just use the Post-It notes and stick it on the fridge, that way, you will NEVER need to worry about forgetting anything!”

“We’re together every single day, or, I should, post that stick-it note on your back, like those cue boards for the actors and actresses, that way, I’d known what I’m going to do.”  My wife still wanted me to do as she said, posting the notes on my back, she’d’ continued, “You know what, there was a famous media personnel after her mother was diagnosed with dementia, she’d stated, ‘what made me the saddest was how my mother forgot our shared memories, it’s, the worst kind of punishment.’”

The worst kind of punishment?  This was, shocking to me, and I’d recalled my eldest cousin who’d worked as a school teacher for thirty-nine years.  Only a few short years after his retirement, one morning, after he walked out of the house, and in a few short steps, had forgotten how to get back home, clearly, that, was the signs of Alzheimer’s; not long thereafter, his condition worsened, it’s small matter that he’d forgotten things, what’s worse was he’d wanted to ram out of the house, rushed to school.  Although the families tried stopping him, he’d still found his way, to “sneak” out.  And yet, after he got out, he’d become, disoriented, the family worried he might be in an accident, and started the cycles of “finding the lost” daily.

like this???  Not my picture…

“Posting a note on my back is only temporary,” I’d smiled and told my wife, “Why don’t you give your brain exercises, like through reading, practicing calligraphy, or, get involved with line dancing, that, would be the best way to prevent yourself from forgetting!”

She’d nodded, and told me that she will, otherwise, it would be, regrettable for her in the future, if she’d, forgotten, this past we’d, once shared.

So, it is, normal that we start to forget things as we get older, and, because dementia IS the common cold of old age, everybody is scared, and, there’s no need to feel alarmed if you can’t remember things, after all, we’re still, processing a TON of information from a day-to-day basis, and, not being able to recall the slightest details, is only normal, we’re NOT computers or machines here!!!