by Jane Curtis aka texasjane
At our ages, the list of possible answers is getting shorter. My second husband and I used to have a company named "What's New."
We basically took statuary... glued a flower pot on the back of it and made a mold over the whole thing. We then filled the mold with many different things. Our most popular pieces were made of marble.
It would come out as a fancy flower pot or planter. I had learned to carve and to make molds. He was a CPA by trade but had always wanted to go into business for himself. His big thing was having a new experience every day. It did not matter what it was. He had been born with club feet. Too many doctors, experiments, and surgeries later he could walk. This lasted until he finally went to public school.
He was small for age and got picked on to the point a bully decided to stomp on his feet while in the schoolyard. This meant he would not be able to walk for many years. It was the time in bed, teaching himself, going from one tooter to the next that the quest was born. He had fantastic arm strength from lifting himself in and out of his chair. He played the organ to give his legs and feet the exercise they needed with the least amount of pain.
I asked him once if he hated the kid that had done that to him. He said, "No, He will have to live with it. All I had to work with what I had. Hate only hurts me. I did not have time for that."
He healed to the point he became a hand to hand combat instructor in the Marines. Even during his physical no one thought to x-ray his feet. He never looked back. He was an amazing man who I would love to have one more "debate" with. He stood 5'3" but he was ten foot tall to me.
He dabbled with just about everything. He played the organ beautifully. He did not read music. He would hear a piece on the radio and sit down and play it. He was truly talented.
He loved answering our business phone with "What's New?" instead of just "Hello". We started out with twenty pieces that turned into a 40 piece line of flower pots. We made them out of marble by mixing resins.
It was along this line that he stumbled onto formula for a synthetic wood like product. He kept playing with it until it came out the same every time and he got the patent on it and called it Durawood. It would do everything wood would do except rot or burn. It did melt if it got thrown into a fire but it did not actually catch on fire. We could put all sort of grain on the pieces we made so we started doing things in "Cherry Wood", Oak, Fruit Wood, etc. It was very unique. It took two years and we were distributing in 18 states. Things were going extremely well for us.
Still, every day, he would look for something new. No matter what. A new color, a new flavor for food, a new song even. His mission each and every day he looked for something new.
An injury at work in our factory landed him back in a wheelchair. It was during this examination he was diagnosed with Leukemia. We were married for seven years before he came down with Leukemia.
We sold the patent and our company so I could take care of him. He did not let it get him down. He wanted me to enroll him in every trial they were having for the disease. He said even if they do not save him maybe the research would benefit someone else. We prayed together many times.
He did finally walk without aide for several years. That was a first or a "new" we really celebrated. Loving him was very humbling. Sometimes we would go to the maternity ward while he was in the hospital to hear the cry of the newborn babies. The last two years he was with me were busy ones.
Still every day... I would search for something new to show him. It was a thing we enjoyed each and every day. Two years later, when we got to the end, we had been married nine years and it was time for him to go he told me... it did not matter how much money we ever made. The love we shared he had packed away in his heart and he was taking it with him.
He also had his list he had kept for years of the "new" thing he had experienced each day. Looking forward to something new each day pushes you forward.
He looked at the long, long, list. He said, "Look how many new experiences I have had. I have had a very good life. The quest for something new is going with me too."
He was not the first husband I had to bury but his quest to learn and find something new each day of his life planted a seed in me to do continue the quest.
The definition of "New": having recently come into existence: recent, modern.
That leaves the door wide open. It is a great habit. I urge all retired peoples to try it. You will be surprised how the list will grow.
I point blank asked my husband why he was always looking for something new. He said he never wanted to get to the point where he could not appreciate something new simply because it was new. He had remembered how much he enjoyed discovering things when he was a child... before the operations started. He spent a lifetime trying to get back to that sense of wonder. It has nothing to do with age but with life itself.
I was recently reminded:
We will never be remembered by words, but by our kind deeds.
Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but the moments that take our breaths away.
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter. That tells what kind of life you have lived.