I’ve always admired bloggers who can write about anything at any time. For me, there has to be an inspiration – something that triggers the desire to write. And of course, there has to be time. Inspiration and time – two things of which I can never have enough.
Recently I had the opportunity to spend time with my 91 year old mother-in-law. (Ex mother-in-law actually, but for us, that’s just a label. Pupa is my friend, my confidante, and all of the things I would like to be when – and if – I turn 91). Although she’s been in fine form for most of her nine decades, the inevitable slowdown has begun. She’s less able to manage walking, driving (thankfully) is a thing of the past, and she has to rely on others for help. Which she detests.
When I told her that I was unhappy to see her in this somewhat diminished state, she chided me. “I don’t look at my life that way,” she said. “I’m positive. I have so many things I have yet to do. There are concerts to plan for the garden (I’ve written about her magnificent garden project before, and you can find information about it here (in Italian), and here), there are places I want to visit. Don’t be sad, look forward. Be positive.”
I haven’t stopped thinking about that conversation, primarily because it encapsulates our very different views of life. I view myself as someone who manages to get things done (many things done) almost in spite of myself, while Pupa gets things done by sheer force of will and positivity. Perhaps it’s two sides of the same coin, but when I look at her, an almost century old Italian signora, I see a spritely, elegant, charming woman who has never (to my knowledge) let her fears take over. She faces them, charms them, and they somehow dissipate under her smile.
We spend so much time thinking about ‘could have, should have, would have’ that we (or I) often forget about being present in the here and now. Pupa is a fine example of how one woman can actually change the world, her own, and the world around her.
My step-daughter Giulia made an exceptional film about her grandmother (you can see it here, with the password pupa). It unflinchingly portrays the single (but un-lonely) life of my mother-in-law. Watch it and you’ll understand what makes this woman special, and more importantly, why if she can be positive about the life around her so can you. And so can I.