Last year, I received--or bought--an orchid. (I'm sorry if you gave it to me and I don't remember. One of the things I don't have much of is memory.) It bloomed on the table in the kitchen for months, until, one by one, the delicate petals fell off, leaving only broad, waxy leaves and a creepy looking stem held to a stake by one of those small plastic hair clasps. It had been so pretty and I marveled at the fact that I hadn't killed it sooner than it's apparent natural demise. I didn't want to toss it out in the garbage--that seemed harsh, so I Googled "orchids" to see if I could nurture it back to beauty once more.
I wasn't too hopeful.
As it turns out, there were some easy "bring-back-to-life" instructions on the web site for these particular orchids. I had to cut back the creepy looking stem and add some fertilizer and wait. A couple of months later, one of what looked like exposed roots started to poke upward. It began to turn from brown to green and as it grew, I used the hair clasp to secure it to the stake. I continued to water it and a couple of months ago, a tiny green shoot appeared with a small greenish bulb at the end. Then more appeared. I was getting excited. Then, it bloomed. I came down one morning and saw that pink, delicate blossoms hung impossibly from the tiny stems. Success! It grew back! And there were more blooms and, I think, a stronger looking stem. I pointed it out, more than once, to everyone who walked through the kitchen - "Look! it came back! It came back!" My family was not equally thrilled. But I felt like I had just painted the Sistine Chapel.
My point is (if it has not been clear yet...no one can muddle a point like I can) that there is a lot that I can't do. And once one (okay, me) gets to a certain age, it's not likely that I'm going to acquire many more skills and abilities than those I already possess. Old dog, new tricks...that sort of thing. (I'm not cynical about lifelong learning...I teach in a lifelong learning program...I'm making a point, remember?) Some people can grow acres and acres of flora and fauna. I can't, but I can get an orchid to come back. And that makes me happy. I like what I am able to do, I'm grateful for what I am able to do. And I'm grateful for what others can do that I can't - like my taxes. It's nice to be at this stage of life when I don't feel like I have to do everything. I can just do the stuff that I can do, do my best and let somebody else do theirs. Why take all the fun for myself?