Three-quarters of a century I’ve lived as of today. I’ve witnessed tremendous technological and medical advancements in recent times. I’m uplifted by many talented people who dedicate their lives to improving others’ lives. During my youth, most everything was rudimentary. Sometimes I miss the simplicity of yesteryear, anonymity and personal interactions. Today there’s a complex, frenzied, overloaded, often impersonal, distracted and noisy style. During the ’40s and ’50s there were monthly school air raid and fire drills-squats beneath desks. Many felt as fearful to wait in long lines for school immunizations or of being sent to the principal’s office. Today there’s prevalent terrorism and surveillance — an unknown fear back then.
Ours is an unsettled world, a test of resilience and unstoppable trust that eventually we’ll be OK. We earn our just reward. Media repeats the same scary stories so we are constantly inundated with negativity. Daily atrocities against humankind are daunting and painful. Yet I constantly witness acts of kindness, caring and generosity worldwide. There’s an outpouring of support, help, little and big acts of love. Most important is what we say and do because children learn from us, then teach the same to their children.
It was a troubling election last year. Years ago, it was about what a leader could do to improve world relations and work to make life better for all. Now it’s character bashing, harsh criticisms, flared tempers, ill feelings.
It’s concerning to see the impact we have on our earth. Like our bodies and souls, we need to take good care of this beautiful planet to assure its longevity. We’re thankful for John Muir who fought to stop greedy land developers so that we enjoy preserved beauty of national parks forever.
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I said daily prayers that I’d live to be at least age 45 because I wanted to raise my children. No one, I was sure, could love them as much or raise them the best way possible as me. It was my privilege and responsibility.
It was an epiphany when I thought, how can I expect so much of others when there’s much work ahead to improve myself? There isn’t enough time in my life to achieve my needed improvements.
What have I accomplished? Have I made a positive difference? Was someone’s aching heart lifted by what I said or did? I reflect on lifelong blessings: nature’s beauty, joy of family and friends, comfort of our creator. I gained more compassion and appreciation while working through seemingly insurmountable challenges, suffering and loss of loved ones. As I turn photo album pages, I realize that half of those I’ve loved have left this good earth. Even grief teaches that every person I spend time with deserves kindness, attention, expressed appreciation and love — now and always. They must know that they matter. I have to live with myself so I continuously strive to be the best me I can be. Hard work, but worth the effort. It’s an entertaining thought, “100 years from now — all new people. ...”
Ga Neille Hostvedt, of Meridian, is widowed, has three children and is a retired freelance artist/writer.