Lucy Jensen

“It’s OK for the young people,” she said. “They have all the time in the world. Us oldies don’t have a year to waste sitting around the house and waiting to start up life again…” Initially I felt sad for this older lady and then I felt sorry for her attitude. There are so many things you can do within the sanctuary of your own home. You can FaceTime loved ones the world over and bring their smiling faces and lives into your own. You can paint, write, read, put together years of photo albums, or finally start writing the memoir you promised your grandchildren.

If you look at all those wonderful pursuits as a waste of time, then you need an attitude adjustment, a shift in your point of view; I don’t care how old you are. The year 2020 taught some of us a patience we hoped we would never need. For gypsies like myself, it taught me that the freedom to travel is not promised, plans are not guaranteed. With all the best intent in the world, cancellations can and will occur in life and we should be grateful when they do not. Let’s none of us sit around waiting for life to restart. Restart it yourself in whatever way you can.

A friend of mine told me how much she has enjoyed lockdown and the simple pleasures of life — planting a garden, doing a jigsaw puzzle, reading, playing with her dogs. These are all simple and lovely pleasures we don’t pursue enough when we are embroiled in “normal” life, going to work, coming home tired. I speak for others not myself, since I have worked all the way through the pandemic as a Notary and Realtor; so apart from Covid testing and masks, my daily life has been much the same.

At the recent memorial for our Aunt Marvel, a delightful lady who passed peacefully in her sleep at the youthful age of 73, there was a reoccurring theme of joy. Marvel found the joy throughout her life. Whether it was with her family, or at work, she always enjoyed herself and made the best out of every situation, bringing others along for the ride with her. You never heard her complain about the hand she was dealt. When some one is joyful, so is everyone else.

I always remember being glad when she was coming along to gatherings, because her happiness would seep through the crowd and permeate the group. It would then be a joyous gathering. “Be someone that makes you happy.” It’s a concept we should all work on. The last time I saw her she presented me with a huge red Target jacket. She used to work there years ago.

“You need this for the ranch when it rains,” she told me, and that made me laugh, because since she stood about 4 feet tall and this huge red jacket must have gone down to her ankles. I told her I would wear it and I have. I looked at it fondly before her memorial service and nearly wore it there — that would have given the small congregation a real rise in the hilarious spirit of that lovely lady.

Five years ago was the “Weekend of Love” in Istanbul — gosh, that seems like a long time ago. My sister Rosie had invited her old friends from the U.K. and her sisters to meet up with her and husband Ali, also daughter Dilgesu in Istanbul for a long weekend. She had it all so perfectly planned she couldn’t stand herself. She had rented luxy apartments for the weekend, reserved a lush, several course dinner at a five-star restaurant and planned a boat trip on which we would all sing and dance, among other special events, such as a visit to the Blue Mosque. It certainly was the weekend of love in so many ways.

Rosie was feeling good and was up for all the eating, drinking and dancing. Despite my howling 13-hour direct flight from San Francisco to Istanbul, it was so good to see everyone; so worth the trip. I had kicked myself that I missed their wedding a couple of years before and I wasn’t going to miss out again. A weekend in Istanbul? Well, heck yes, I can do that!

It’s my experience in life that you only truly regret the things you don’t do. As I looked back on all the photos from that time — some of my very favorite ever — and I re-lived all the amazing memories frozen in time by the blessings of digital photos; the joyous happiness of my sister and all around her emanated during those few short days.

Years ago, Rosie told me she wasn’t going to buy me any more stuff — we all had too much of it. Going forward, she was only going to gift an experience — concert tickets, waxing (ha ha), a nice hotel, that type of thing. She started a beautiful trend that I carry forward to this day. The waxing was interesting, to say the least, the eyebrow threading an adventure; but oh, the concerts I attended with my daughter, the great adventures we had in nice hotels along the way — these are the things that precious memories are made of.

Right now, we are not on lockdown; but most of us can’t travel very far or do anything too fun, because it’s not safe yet and we must wait for vaccines. However, in the spirit of Marvel, Rosie and all who are lucky enough to have that optimistic point of view, I have decided that, while I am not yet able to travel beyond the parameters of my own country, I must take “stay-cations” to keep my spirits up and attitude in check.

So, I have booked a trip down to the beach at Pismo, a place where I can walk on the sands, eat a little seafood and quietly work on my next book. It’s a place where the sea air and the tranquility can give quite the attitude adjustment you need sometimes in life.

If you are currently sitting at home, saying back to me that you can’t take a risk like that, I always mask up and stay away from people. There is little difference between my “stay-cation” and a trip to the grocery store. Life is short; make it count.

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