Two favorite ingredients in my anti-aging cocktail: Humor and Curiosity

Guileless comedy offered up through my favorite delivery system–granddaughters–is sure to keep me young, or young-ish!

Sophia and Karina

I really don’t spend any significant time thinking about my age, but I did just have a birthday. Maybe that’s what sparked a bit of the following conversation.

 Karina makes her mark on the world by distinguishing herself as combination perennial princess, artist and musician, as well as a young and budding Sarah Bernhardt.

She dances and sings through life. If I’m any good at predicting the future, I’m reasonably sure she isn’t going to need reminders to “breathe lighter.”

To the question, “Karina, are you looking forward to starting Kindergarten and being in school with your sister?” she  immediately chirped back, “No. I don’t really want to do all that work!” I hope her teacher won’t be too quick to silence a little girl who sings or hums a tune all day long.

In contrast, six-year old Sophia can hardly wait for second grade, and in fact, has conversations about going to college. While we were walking to the school’s Open House she announced that she was looking forward to being 30! Thirty?

I laughed and said, “Oh no! Not yet! Enjoy being a little girl. And besides, I don’t even want to think about how old I’ll be when you’re thirty!”

Without missing a beat and with all seriousness she said, “You mean dead?”

She has no trouble keeping it real.

I almost choked on my tongue I was laughing so hard! After a moment of recovery I told her I intended to be around a long, long time…long enough to become a problem for her.

I’ve been laughing about this for a couple of days, and it brought to mind the Mark Twain quote, “The report of my death was an exaggeration,” typically misquoted as “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

I like to think Sophia has greatly exaggerated reports of my age!

And speaking of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, have you ever seen him on film? I mean really moving about at his home in Redding, Connecticut,  with his daughters Clara and Jean?

This very rare video, filmed in 1909 by Thomas Edison, is really quite amazing. It’s a bit jumpy in places and the quality is grainy, but speaking of age–1909! A better quality digital restoration is not available for embedding, but can be accessed HERE. The quality is really excellent in comparison to the original and you’ll be able to better see the faces. I hope you’ll still watch the original, however, just because it exists!

Are you curious about other rare historical film clips? Newsreel archive British Pathé upload 85,000 historical films to its YouTube channel. Oh my goodness but this is a curious person’s treasure trove. It might take me a while to see all 85,ooo, but some hold more interest than others.

I’m not as interested in “The World’s Greatest Jumping Dog  or “A Real Life Flea Circus,” but Julie Andrews, at thirteen years of age singing for George VI, now that is quite fun and interesting, as is the World’s First Mobile Phone, footage from Paris, 1922.

Humor, curiosity, interest in learning from the past and looking ahead with expectation to the future, these are important components in my life and ingredients in my anti-aging cocktail.

As mid-week sometimes hits a bump, maybe you can find something here to both amuse and enlighten.

The jumping dog did make me laugh! And by all means, breathe lighter!


Midweek Humor

I found this posted near campus. Sometimes it just feels good to laugh.

Half-eaten biscuit

Found: Half-Eaten Biscuit

A half-eaten (now stale) biscuit was found last Thursday on the arm of my sofa. The apartment doors were locked, my roommates were asleep, and I lay on the couch asleep so the question that must be answered is: Who the hell placed this biscuit on the arm of the sofa?

Please relay any information concerning the origins, nature, and ownership of this half-eaten (now stale) biscuit to the following number. xxx-0595.

Reward. We’re not offering cash. Just $3.00 dining dollars. And a pencil.

Hope this gave you a midweek chuckle. It did me.

Every survival kit should include a sense of humor.  ~Author Unknown

There I was, minding my own business…listening to a little Christmas music…

If you missed my previous post about the outrageous desecration of ancient California Native American petroglyphs you might want to catch up here.  I assure you I have no intention of continuing with themes related to negativity and odious behaviors, but based on a morning encounter with a billboard, I just couldn’t resist sharing what occurred this morning–a final emphasis on how much work goes into maintaining balance, while cultivating positivity!

It’s kind of tricky business to put yourself out there as a positive outlook blog–breathelighter’s primary focus is towards encouraging general well-being and the ways that I maintain balance, then this week I switched gears quickly and talked about being outraged.  My natural set-point is balanced more heavily towards optimism, but sometimes I lose that perspective, despite my best efforts. Occasionally I realize that although I don’t very often lean into depression, if I’m not careful, I can swallow a heavy dose of cynicism.

It’s not my best trait. But when I don’t actively affirm more positive attributes in others I fall into a well-nursed  negative and complaining tone.

I  know to take responsibility for how I feed my emotions. It’s my problem if I listen to others complain, or digest non-stop media messages designed to elicit a negative emotional response. It’s certainly my own fault if I choose to be addicted to the daily news…most of it is rubbish.

When I realize I’m tumbling into the abyss of gloom, I usually know what works to lift me out.

So that’s what I was doing this morning.  On the way to work I chose to keep the radio off, and as I was cheerfully listening to a favorite Christmas CD I pulled up to the first large intersection and quickly glanced to my right. Whoa! My head did one of those whiplash hard snaps! Where just yesterday a billboard promoting a local health food store stood mighty and tall right next to a “Christmas at Disneyland” advertisement, this is what I read.

Well, that will wake you up!  It wasn’t even 7:00 a.m. yet!  Even Christmas music can’t quite calm that jolt!

The San Gabriel Valley has the largest concentration of Chinese Americans in the entire United States. You can see the message is printed in English and Chinese. I won’t comment on the board’s content except to say that I feel ignorant of the issue. The billboard did its job in raising some level of awareness and I’ll fact check as soon as I’m able.


So where do I go from here?

I have an activist nature…I don’t ignore problems very well (not that I don’t sometimes try…)

I wonder if young people know of Helen Keller?  She inspires me.  As a deafblind social activist–did you know she helped found the ACLU? –she lived her own words:  “Although the world is full of suffering it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

She doesn’t sound cynical, does she?

There are so many people doing really GOOD things to the benefit others.

I have been hearing some wonderful stories of examples of hardworking, committed people not necessarily actively seeking global change, but  finding creative ways that make a difference right on their doorstep.

So that’s my focus for the rest of this week.

My next post will share a couple of stories highlighting people/places or things that inspire me. Maybe you’ll also enjoy the benefit of a little shift in focus.

I hope you’ll come back and be buoyed along with me.

And the music I was listening to on the way to work? Music always elevates my mood.

I’ve added a page at the top of the blog banner where I’ve listed some of my favorite holiday tunes. It’s just for fun. Maybe you can leave a comment there and let me know what you are listening to this holiday season.

I suggest we all turn down the noise! If you’re more disciplined than I am, try turning it completely off!