An Acquired Taste

Jan Morgan-Swegle

I never thought I was going to live to an old age.  The thought was always in the back of my mind that I would not be married for very long, would never see grandchildren and, of course, never collect Social Security.  And yet, in 2022, I will turn 70. I will have been married for 33 years, I have 9 grandchildren and, yes, I’m on Social Security.  I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t pursue a career in fortune telling.

Since I have retired, I feel like I have been asleep.  I seem to go through the day on auto pilot.   I get up when our dog barks at people walking by, I stumble into the kitchen, I make a cup of coffee and head into the office where the television is and where the chair and I become one for the next few hours.  I have a routine—a ritual, if you will.  I have acquired a taste for the quote on my coffee cup, “nothing to do, nothing to do, oh happy day, nothing to do.”  Looking back, I see that 2020 melted into 2021 and my routine became more rigid.

Now that I have reached this milestone, I’m going to try and do different things this year.  First, I’m going to enjoy the life that my husband and I have built more than I have.  I tend to focus on wanting bigger, newer and better instead of looking at what we have and saying, “this is good.”

I’m going to meet more people.  I find solace in writing and exploring things on the computer for hours.  I often miss opportunities to interact with others, preferring instead to hang around one or two people I know.  Over the years I have said, “everyone loves Tony, but I am an acquired taste.”  But that’s because Tony is outgoing and looks for common interests among people he doesn’t know very well.  I need to be more open to new friendships.

This year, I’m going to do a better job of reaching out to my grandchildren who live in the Northeast Ohio area.  I can’t let after school activities or sports get in the way of connecting with them.  They have a grandmother who lives in the area and I want them to know me like they know her.  I can send cards and letters; I can ask for one-on-one time when we visit Ohio and I can make a difference in their lives.