Have you ever noticed that there are people who simply have a talent for life? They are the ones who gather other people, plan the parties, go to the cool places, see the latest movies and read the latest books, and always seem to have a smile on their faces. The ones who come up with great ideas for fun. The ones we wish we could be. We all know them. They are people for whom the glass is more than half full, and the sun is always shining whether it is or not.

Children have that capacity. Watch the creativity of small children playing alone. They can build a sand castle on the beach and it with all manner of imaginary creatures, only to laugh when the waves roll in and knock it down.

When did we lose that capacity? When did the struggles of education, the worries of love affairs. and the trials of a working life take over? We should be able to see that life, while not the same for everyone, is there to be enjoyed.

I remember asking my mother on her 70th birthday if she felt any older. She answered that she still saw things the same way as always, but having lived a couple of decades longer myself, I don’t believe that our perceptions remain the same as they were in our youth. We need to have grown with the years, to understand things we overlooked at an earlier age. Probably most of all, we need to have learned to understand the world around us. Or at least make a stab at it.

I have noticed that I no longer find joy or amusement in many things which caused a giggle in the past. Am I growing old? Possibly, but I do use more of my common sense when striking out into unknown territory. I can’t be critical about teenagers putting themselves at risk in an effort to have fun, because I did it too.

Is that what growing older does? Let you remember the odd and perhaps dangerous things you got into and out of in your youth? It’s fun to laugh about it with others of your own vintage, because they did it too.

Another thing I have noticed lately with some people in their later years; the need to have photos of parents and long passed relatives. The years of their lives have gone by without the visual reminder of their forebears, but suddenly it seems important to relive the years of their youth by recalling family time before their hair became grey. Perhaps it relates to the sudden interest in the church some people get as the days grow shorter.

I do find I am reading the obituary pages more often these days since I occasionally see a familiar name. They are always written in such glowing terms of the departed, that I hope they had imparted those good thoughts to them while they were still here. A friend who used to do the obit pages in a local newspaper said some of them cost as much as $600. That’s pretty good pay for a few last words.

All of which puts me in mind of a late friend in the mortuary business. He came from Ireland in the early part of the 1900s, with no money and no noticeable talent. While sitting on a bench in Boston eating a cantaloupe, he was approached by a group of local hoodlums who let him know in no uncertain terms that the Irish were not welcomed there. A few years later they couldn’t keep them out. Anyway, he hopped on a train, played his accordion across country and ended up in California, still without a job or prospects. Seeing an ambulance going by, he thought he could get a job driving one. When he saw the destination was a mortuary, he got a job there, and eventually owned it.

Eventually he found some notoriety when the Oakland A’s baseball field was named for him, since it was built on land he owned. Some might say that’s a talent for living.

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

11 thoughts on “A TALENTFOR LIFE”

  1. My grandmother never wanted to watch home movies or look at pictures. When I asked her why not, she’d say, “Why do I want to be reminded of how old I’m getting or see the things I’ll never get back?” At the time I didn’t get it, but now, as my oldest is in college and my youngest is on his way there in the fall, I’m starting to understand it. I love having the memories of their baby and toddler days, but it also kind of makes me sad, as do the pictures.


    1. I change the children’s pictures from time to time and I firmly believe that one’s own pictures should be edited every ten years. I’m not big on shelves of photos. Funny but I can barely remember the baby and toddler years of my children. Even the grand and great grand are fuzzy. I have a friend who doesn’t keep any photos which I think is a bit extreme.


  2. We do keep a few photos but most of them are going yellow in albums and on the rare occasion of opening an album, one is greeted by a strange odour of times gone by.
    I remember having to kiss an old aunt who had a hairy chin. I have now reached that age but never thought it would.
    Along the train track to Sydney, an enterprising undertaker has a huge sign bolted on his roof with his phone number and business, greeting the traveller. In the back yard there are coffins in different stages of construction.
    There are times when I think; am I on my last bottle of shampoo, or worse, the last tube of tooth paste!
    A great story and post, Kayti. You give me laughter.


    1. I had a good laugh about the undertakers sign and all the coffins ready for their occupants. That seems to be the trick; find an occupation or a product which never runs out of customers. The food industry is good, but the food has to be good. Undertaking isn’t so particular. Stay away from galleries or gift shops unless you’re using someone else’s money.


  3. I definitely see things differently as I age, and I think that’s a good thing—especially if it adds to our capacity for wisdom. I love to look back over the long road I have traveled, and marvel at all that has happened! Thanks, Kayti—I enjoyed this!


  4. Your post prompted me to think a bit about activities and preferences that I’ve left behind over the years. There was a time when going out for drinks — with or without music to listen to — was almost routine. I’m sure it still is for some, but I’ve given that up, for a variety of reasons. The primary reason? It bores me to death to sit in a loud place, trying to have a conversation while forking out entirely too much money for a drink!

    I no longer feel compelled to finish boring books, either. And the long hours of applying makeup are gone, along with the pain of high heels. I finally confessed to myself that I hate shopping for shopping’s sake. If I need something, I find a way to get it, but going to a mall just to look around? Perish the thought!

    As for photos — that’s an interesting subject. We weren’t much of a photo-taking family, and I don’t have nearly the number of photos that some of my friends and relatives do. But I’ve found that a few photos are enough to help maintain memory. I have just one photo of my paternal grandparents together, but when I look at it, every sort of memory comes to mind.

    I do display a few, including one of my mother at six months. It’s one of those large, curved photos in an oval wooden frame with curved glass. I have a few very old photos of the great-greats displayed, and a couple of myself that make me grin every time I see them, since they marked quite special occasions. And of course I have a couple of Dixie Rose moved to where I can see them. They may not stay there, but it’s good to have them now, as a weird kind of coping mechanism.

    I hope your weather is lovely, and that you have some nice plans for the weekend. Happy Easter!


  5. Sorry my reply took so long. We had my 90th birthday and the day after the celebration, which was family lovely, we had a memorial for Sam’s sister, who passed recently. Lots to think about.

    Reading your words about the things willingly given up, I definitely agree. So many things were fun in the past and I’m happy to have done them, but this world is different now and we have to adapt in every way. Given the nature of my work, I naturally dressed appropriately for paint and clay and general messiness. Though I did love to dress it up when necessary, high heels, makeup, all the rest. I was amaze to realize nobody cared what kind of shoes you were wearing. It was like finding out that nobody was really listening when you were speaking.
    I wanted a picture of my whole family for years, and finally on my 80th they took a photo. Of course we have grown since then so they did it again this year. Every 10 years seems to be about right. I always said you need to edit your photo every 10 years and only keep the good ones. As you deteriorate with time, there really isn’t much use anyway, because you can’t see them anyway.


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