Aging while living a life on the move…Check out these final Green Island photos…

There were many seagulls in the area surrounding Green Island especially when the fish were fed by the staff.

Providing we take care to avoid injuries and happen to be fortunate enough to avoid natural disasters and risks in public or at our home at the time, our biggest enemy is aging. Of course, we’re all aging from the moment we’re born and in reality, aging appears to progress at a regular and consistent pace once we become adults. 

The green cast from the coral below created the water’s pretty color.

Recalling our own differences between ages 30 and 40, 50 and 60 and now that we’re both in the ’60s to ’70s decade, it all seems to have progressed similarly, unfortunately, all downhill.

All the exercise, healthy diets, and lifestyle changes can’t stop the progression, although it may slow it to a degree. Although, if one is lucky, the progression may not be as evident on them as on others for the sake of appearances. However, what’s going inside the body is another matter.

Although there were a number of boats conducting tourist activities around the island, it wasn’t as crowded as we’d expected.

For most of us, as we age, our appearance becomes less and less important. Being alive and well becomes of the ultimate significance. We do our best to show the world a pleasant appearance, through whatever means suits us whether its’ a mustache, haircut, or close shave for men or makeup (or not) and certain hairstyles for women.

To a degree, most of us make some sort of effort whether it’s wearing a clean tee-shirt and pair of jeans or an entire put-together outfit that makes one appear to have stepped out of a magazine advertisement. 

The seagulls went wild when the fish were fed by the staff in order to give the visitors a show.  They explained they monitored the amounts they fed the fish to avoid them becoming complacent in their search for food. However, with these multiple daily feedings, complacency may have been unavoidable.

It’s all a matter of personal choice and who has a right to comment or complain about the decisions of others in this area? As we live in a world desperately attempting to love and accept each person, regardless of their appearance, we find we still have a long way to go.

Will the future bring “designer babies” with perfect features or will we all meld into a level of total acceptance finding beauty in all of our differences? When we lived amid wildlife in Africa, we observed even the most peculiar of animals with admiration regardless of their snarly looking faces, unwieldy tusks, and unkempt sprouts of coarse and wild hair. 

Few tourists spent time at the beaches at Green Island from what we observed during our half-day visit.

I speak of the ungainly warthog, which some may consider as one of the ugliest creatures in the wild.  And yet, when we saw those unruly faces, we felt admiration and warmth in our hearts, not over their looks but over their playful demeanor. Would that we could feel such admiration and attraction for one another regardless of our appearance.

As it relates to aging, the inevitability of it all becomes more evident to me as I approach 70 years old.  It was only yesterday I was in my 30’s and yet, here I am, happier than I’ve ever been wondering how long this amazing life will be able to continue with aging knocking at my door, the same aging knocking at your door.

A few of the beaches had lifeguards on duty and yet few visitors hung out at the beach.

This all came to my mind on Thursday as I completed three loads of laundry, spent hours in the kitchen making various foods for our way of eating, cleaning and dusting the house, never asking Tom for help while he sat outside on the veranda. 

He was happily content researching his family tree, never aware as to what was going on inside, other than when I asked him to put the freshly washed tight bottom sheet back on the mattress and walk the garbage down the steep hill to the bins. He’d have easily helped me with anything else on the agenda, had I asked.

Tom walking on the pier checking the sea for signs of life, carrying our huge unnecessary bag loaded with towels, ice tea, extra camera batteries, etc. We could easily have gotten by without the bag and its contents, putting everything we needed in our pockets. Since I no longer own a handbag, Tom usually carries my few items in his roomy pockets.

But, like him, I was happily content busying myself inside doing household tasks I’ve always seemed to find rewarding for some odd reason. 

As I did the work, periodically I checked my Fitbit device hooked to my shorts, wondering how many steps I was taking in my frenzy of activity. It was less than I’d anticipated in this relatively small house at a total of 5800 steps for the day, a far cry from my goal of 10,000 steps hardly reached most days in this life unless we’re out for a long walk.

There were hundreds of these birds in the visitor’s shopping area where there are scraps of food offered by tourists, not a good idea when “people food” can be harmful to birds.

For the first time, as I whizzed through my day, I began to wonder if I will be able to keep up this pace in 10 years. Will I still have the energy and ability to move relatively freely from one task after another? Will the bit of exercise I get and walks we take be enough to see me through these upcoming years to allow me to continue to perform these tasks.

Seagull amid flight in the breeze.

One could say since I’m five years older than Tom, that eventually he can do it all. As much as I’d like to think he could and would, it’s not likely he’ll be motivated to make the low carb, grain, starch, and sugar-free muffins or the delicious mushroom casserole we’ve been enjoying as a side dish recently.

Yesterday, with the house clean and laundry done (except for the daily one load of bath and kitchen towels), I found myself on a new reign of activity while I prepared two free-range chickens with vegetables (great leftovers for tonight) to begin to roast at 4:00 pm, baked a batch of our favorite macaroons, made a salad, cleaned fresh green beans and folded the one load of wash.

As we waited for the Rocket Reef (boat) to arrive at the pier to return us to Cairns, the seagulls gathered around us.

(We can’t purchase “take away” meals when none of the options are suitable for my way of eating. Dining out is challenging at best. Instead, we cook all of our meals, many simple meals prepared in short periods and others requiring more time and effort).

All of this type of activity is commenced after typically spending my entire morning preparing the daily post, often not finishing until close to noon. Don’t get me wrong…I love doing posts. 

This scene reminded us of the many ports we’ve visited over these past years.

To date, our daily post never feels as if it’s a chore. Then again, neither do the household tasks as long as good health continues and I’m able to continue to perform these daily tasks. Is it inevitable that one slows down in their 80s or even 90s?

We left friends behind 10 years older than I, still able to keep a pace comparable to mine. They remain an inspiration. Aging is not an illness or condition. It is a fact of life that faces every single one of us. How we choose to live through that process whether we have limitations or not, is truly our choice.

We couldn’t imagine what an eskie is when we read this sign.  Once home, we looked online to discover it’s a cooler or “chill box.”

Putting negative thoughts behind me after allowing them to fester for two days, today I awoke with a fresh perspective. No more worrying about my ability to be as active in 10 years as I am today. Instead, I choose to embrace the moment and the imminent future. 

Good grief, we’re on our way to Fiji in nine days! 

                                            Photo from one year ago today, August 29, 2014:

It was one year ago today that we posted this taxidermy kangaroo photo from our visit to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, UK. Now, we can drive down the road to see live kangaroos. How ironic. For more museum photos as we wound down the time in the UK, please click here.

 

Coincidence!…Yesterday’s haircut for Tom in Ribeira Brava, Madeira, Portugal…One year ago to the date, haircut for Tom in Pescia, Italy!…

 

Tom waits in the salon chair for his haircut. 

Yesterday, we took off for two reasons;  one, Tom was curious to find a road we could see from our veranda, but couldn’t seem to get to; two, for him to get a haircut.

After driving up and down hills for over an hour, he finally found the road, he was seeking proving to be not unlike many of the other roads here in the island. The maze-like roads on the many mountain levels consist of one hairpin turn after another making it harder to find a specific road than one would think.

The second task of the day was a quick trip to the Farmacia (pharmacy) for another container of my new favorite roll-on insect repellent and contact lens solution for our upcoming travels. 

The stylist began the cut using the typical electric haircutter.

Purchasing these few items now would prevent us from thinking about finding a pharmacy in Paris or London or paying outrageous prices on the cruise from London on August 31, 2014. There aren’t mosquitoes or many sand flies on cruises, at least not any that we’ve seen but, at least I’m well-armed for the future.

Back to the haircut. Once we arrived in Ribeira Brava we found a free place to park on the street, taking off on foot to find obscure location of a salon that Tom had seen on google maps. We knew we were in the general area deciding we’d wander around until we found it.

Of course, it was tucked away inside a building in a tiny mall. Of course, we entered that tiny mall within the first two minutes of our walk and there was the salon. We laughed. We could easily have walked past that not-so-obvious doorway.

Surely, this style is easy care.

For years, I’ve known that Tom wanted a “buzz” cut. For years, I whined a little when he’d mention it, never having cared for that particular style.  No offense intended for all buzz cut fans out there.  We all have our preferences.

As soon as we walked into the tiny salon, I knew I could no longer resist. It was his hair and the time had come. Speaking no English, the stylist got the drift when he pointed to his head and said, “Buuuuuuuuzzzzzzz.” She understood. I cringed.

As she was buzzing away, she often looked at me for approval. I nodded that she was doing fine, regardless of the look on my face. As more and more clumps of his white hair fell to the floor, I sat back in resignation that this was his, and my, fate for the next six weeks until it grows back.

His locks accumulated on the salon floor.

Let’s face it, as we age, our parts start falling, the wrinkly skin seems to get worse each day and our level of attractiveness seems to waft away, present company included. But, the magic of love somehow makes us remember the true beauty of the person we fell in love with and none of this matters.

When we met 23 years ago, Tom was 38, I was 43. Neither of us had falling parts. We never gave gravity much of a thought. Now, all these years later, gravity is not our friend. Years ago, I told myself that plastic surgery and Botox were not for me and I stayed away. Can you imagine trying to find a place for a Botox touch-up while living in Belize, Kenya or Marloth Park, South Africa?

Even going to a salon is something I prefer not to do. I do my own hair, nails, and pedicures which I’ve done for years. Imagine how much I’d spend and the inconvenience of going to a salon once a month when we’ve had a hard enough time finding a place for Tom’s haircuts in various countries. 

He still has that cute smile.  He said his hair hasn’t been this short since the summer of 1963.

In many countries, no one speaks English and calling to make an appointment would be ridiculous. For Tom’s haircuts in various countries we always show up without an appointment prepared to wait if necessary.

So here’s his buzz cut. Not my cup of tea. As much as I try to like it, I simply can’t. I grasp for the fact that it will grow back and in no time, I’ll have my familiar grey mop-haired guy back. 

For the sake of love and kindness I don’t say much about it or scowl when I look at him. But, who am I kidding? He proofreads these daily posts for typos and I don’t believe he does so mindlessly with no attention to content.  Today, he will see how I feel, if he didn’t already suspect.

The haircut completed, he paid the EU $8 with a EU $2 tip for a total US $13.51 and we were on our way.

He knows that I love him no matter his haircut or visible signs of aging, as he does me, totally oblivious of my hanging parts often complimenting me when they’re most obvious. That’s love for ya!

Photo from one year ago today, July 12, 2013:

Tom was having a much needed haircut in Pescia, Italy that we shared one year ago today. For details of that day, please click here.