Last night, I had dinner at a Georgian restaurant with my 9th grade English teacher, who I’ve kept in touch with since I graduated from high school. When I look back at my childhood, I realize that I am very fortunate to have developed positive, lasting relationships with a couple of my teachers, who were always positive role models for me. They were people who always genuinely cared and showed interest in me, not just as a student, but as a person. My former teacher and now friend was in town visiting from San Francisco, and so we got together for dinner to catch up, as I hadn’t seen her since the last time I was back home last August.
Every time I see her, I am reminded of all the “what could be” situations with my parents. She and my dad are the same age — they are both 75. Yet somehow, my dad leaves this drab, mundane life where he literally does the same boring things every day that do not give him any joy. He eats the same foods, spends time on YouTube and the internet, and grumbles about prices going up, inflation, politics, and the works. He has no friends to socialize with, nor does he seem to care. He has zero curiosity about the world. He’s not really learning anything new or doing anything new. He has no desire to go anywhere or see anything different. He doesn’t even have the desire to come to New York to visit me, his only living child. And my mom, though she would want to travel, is held back because of my dad. She feels like she has to take care of him, as though he’s another child under her wing.
My former teacher and friend, on the other hand, lives the most fruitful, fun, and colorful life: she takes dance classes two days a week. She regularly does arts and crafts (scrapbooking, textiles, and painting), takes a watercoloring class, and has lots of friends who she is constantly meeting up with and traveling to visit. She is always “busy” in a positive way; she aims to be happy and fill her life with people and things and activities that bring her joy and spark her passion. She makes the most of her life, and she doesn’t let the fact that she’s 75 years old stop her. For her, age is a number, not an excuse to do or not do certain activities.
I always think that my parents could benefit to be around someone like this friend. If they were just a fraction of her, they’d be so much happier and more fulfilled. You’d never guess seeing or listening to her that she’s in the same age range as my parents. She is vibrant, full of life and zeal. It’s unfortunate that I can’t get my parents to see life in a more positive way like she does.