What we can learn about life’s simple pleasures from hobbies to serious growers and savers of our heritage plants… a mihygge special on our elderly who care for lives beyond humans!
It was a special summer weekend morning in the year 2015 when I decided to enter a rose show in my neighborhood! A hobby gardener in my past time, a geriatrician by day… This day would open up to show me many of the ways that our elderly are saving our planet and species!
Not only did I win a couple of categories in that special Mother’s Day Rose Show 2015, but I also connected with people who had taken upon the responsibility of working towards a common goal of not only growing or saving roses but also educating others and being an ever learner!
People over fifty make up the majority of our society, catering to flowers, fruit, vegetables, herbs, animals, birds, crafts, and art… Many have spent a lifetime nurturing one single flower species or many. They have taken their hobby so seriously that they hardly miss a meeting, connecting, and learning, but many have cared for their elderly while doing so. or doing it while needing a caregiver themselves as they have aged. For most, it is more than a hobby, it is their mihygge, life’s simple pleasures, passion, happiness, comfort zone…
We talk about caring for humans as difficult, well what these great stalwarts have done and accomplished is even more, as mother nature always has the upper hand! Today as we rejoice and behold the beautiful varieties of roses, flowers, irises, dahlias, herbs, daffodils, primroses and chrysanthemums, rabbits, dogs, cats, horses, sheep, goats, cows, alpacas, poultry, vegetables, squashes, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuces, garlic, onions, it took thousands of hours of dedication, hard work, some almost backbreaking labor, compassion, curiosity, passion, to preserve these.
Some grew up on farms, islands, and handed down generations, while some were city dwellers with corporate jobs, but immense love for a thing brought them together, which we call a kindred spirit. Some started societies, hobby farms, and businesses, and their interests grew through organizations, meetings across boundaries, and even internationally. I will never forget when my elderly patient once remarked how she could still find herself longing for fresh heritage breed untainted cow’s milk. Having grown up on a farm in the Midwest, she said her resilience and toughness were all attributes of that. Well, of course, she never got osteoporosis. Now that is something… that might have many more reasons for it than meets our eyes. In another case, a bed-bound elderly woman chatted with me during a house call about what tricks she used to grow radishes for Easter. She recalled how her family saved seeds and the entire village or hamlet gathered to share the harvests and seeds for the new year.
Writing, and poetry create an outlet for many to publish their talents on paper. Reading these wonderful poems and articles every month makes me think about what goes on behind the scenes to bring them into reality, give them life, and empower others. A book is not too many to read if written by a determined writer, and a garden is not too many to visit if created with the utmost dedication.
Gardening is a hobby, a lifestyle, and a great exercise for our brains. Gardening brings great mental health and I see proof of it when I visit these gardens. The enthusiasm, the charm, the ability to transfer a mere idea into a reality and bring it to life, now to be enjoyed by all, humans, plants, and animals, is one of the most rewarding things in life! So a collector’s garden is a joy and not a hoarder’s paradise. Gardening is not material wealth, as the monetary value is only for the eyes of the beholder.
Charity comes along with gardening, raising animals, birds, and plants, and some of the secrets of these traditional ways are a foundation of giving and sharing. Many of them raise them and donate them at events, organizations, and auctions so that someone else can experience that joy and kindle the same spirit by paying it forward. Over the years, those photos and memories created will be cherished, and so shall those lucky people who have been the recipient of a heritage plant, bird, or animal. Charity begets charity and a country thrives through such generous donations by those fifty and above, through their ways of cozy living.
Many of the people I know are healthy and active and lead meaningful lives. Age is ageless, life is limitless. We can say that with clarity now. Cognitive health is enhanced through leading lives filled with simple pleasures. No matter how simple or complicated they might be, they still bring that sparkle, and this sparkle is the spark of cognitive awareness, respect, and humility. An active brain is a blessing, for our brains do not need many things to keep them stimulated, focus, communication, insight, and intuition are some of the skills that are built through such hobbies I mentioned above.
For a Peruvian woman of eighty, her pack of alpacas and shawls and wool is priceless; for others, it could be the heirloom pumpkin seeds that have passed through generations of hands and are still served at Thanksgiving; and for some, everything every day is priceless. What I saw in my new world amongst the societies I belong to now is that no one knows everything. The ability to communicate without fear is the recipe for a healthy mind, body, and soul. When we inhibit our passions or our passions are inhibited, our fear grows exponentially, and it is not just a frightened look in our eyes, but a change in our vital signs, physical, emotional, religious, spiritual, mental, and economic health. Anxiety, and depression, can be helped in many ways by letting our elderly nurture the passions and loves of their lives. These hobbies are ones that one can outgrow or begin anew. This love is freedom, and this freedom is what our elderly believe in. Using my homegrown hydrangeas on the counter for health, I did not realize how this simple gesture would impact our beloved elderly’s lives. It had become the focal point of their office visit that day, and in another case, letting an elderly woman bring her dog into our office to her room, made her outspoken, and jovial and opened up the conversations even more.
We can each do our part to continue these traditions. What is the question here? While our elderly loved ones’ passions become the talk of our lives, we must remember that geriatric care often goes beyond just a history and physical or a walk in the woods. As our generations age, we must encourage space, harmony, and peace through diversity in every way. No one is modern and no one is old-fashioned for each of our lives in our own time zones. . 😊 Next time we admire something old and beautiful, let us take the time to appreciate the enormity of excellence and perseverance. As I look forward to so many more such encounters, now that I am fifty, there is a new meaning to our means. I hope this blog empowered, inspired, and pushed you to your own. We would love to hear from our readers, we are here to share, learn and aim for so much more in life… through our life’s simple pleasures. Thank you