Coming To Our Senses

I recently read a great post about losing our sense of smell as we age….and how to keep things alive. It made me stop and think……

I have a bit of an unusual circumstance, having lost my sense of smell (which also then effects my ability to taste) in my early 40’s after some sinus surgery. I miss the scent of roses, the intoxication of the scent of a gardenia, the enticing aromas of favorite foods cooking, the taste of delicious foods – even garlic (can you imagine an Italian not being able to taste garlic?? Garlic has been in my blood since the womb…!) We really don’t truly appreciate things until we lose them. And I also now label foods in the fridge, and tell people around me that if they decide to start running out of whatever room we are in because of a toxic smell, to please knock on my door and let me know……We can take the simplest things for granted, yes? It’s also come in useful, in my career as a social worker, to be the one asked to interview clients that, shall we say, may be hygiene challenged? A sense of humor is vital in this life. And, I find, especially important as we age.

My vision is not as great as it was – and yet I seem to see more. I, having recently retired, am so much more aware of the beauty of nature around me. I take such delight in watching the birds take a bath in the mornings in my tiny bird bath out back. I look around at others when I go for a walk and see those who may want to connect with a glance, those who are preoccupied with a conversation on their phone, those who in whose eyes I can see and feel the fear brought on by this time of pandemic.

My hearing is not as great. And yet I can hear more, because I try to listen more. I take the time, not being in such a hurry to get to whatever the next thing on my list is or was, to stop and hear what someone may be really saying… like the grocery clerk who has worked 12 days straight trying to keep the shelves stocked and people supplied.

My sense of touch is heightened these days, it seems….most likely from social distancing, living alone, and realizing how precious touch is. I hold tightly to my kitty, who now is ill and will leave me in a matter of time. That touch and soft fur have brought such comfort for the past 17 years.

I feel like older people are seen as gray in many ways….having lost spark, senses, passion, color…..but this does not seem to be the case at all with me. I feel more intensely, feel more sensitive to all around me, and feel more alive than ever. Perhaps life feels sweeter as the time ahead of us grows shorter. And perhaps I can share that sweetness with others, and remind us all that as long as we are still alive, we have gifts to share, passions to embrace, and life to live.

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