Majority’s Rules

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
—Mark Twain
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Our old buddy, Mr. Twain, makes a valid point. And in my humble opinion, ain’t nothin’ wrong with taking the road less traveled or marching to the beat of your own drum. And I know of no place on earth where is it written in stone that the majority rules the waves.

Yet I am by no means discounting the level of comfort that comes with the knowledge that other folks share our opinions. Or that they have had the same experiences. Sometimes being in a majority can ease our minds and boost our spirits.

I believe the answer lies with knowing when we should break out of our comfort zones and step outside of our proverbial boxes to take a walk on our own path. And this is a lesson my mother has been teaching me all my life. Mostly by example, in the way she has lived hers.

At 94-and-a-half years young, my mother is still marching to the beat of her own drum. She is an intelligent gal. Independent and spirited. Warm-hearted and giving. And her age has never had an affect on these traits. On the contrary. All her life she has set the example that it is your attitude which counts, and not your number.

Yet the rules governing the majority can sneak into our daily lives and have impact when we least expect them, or wish for them. In my mother’s case, it is her declining physical and mental ability because of her advanced years that is robbing her of a quality of life that should be hers, by her right and by her choice.

But she can’t make that choice, no matter how much she wants to. She can’t fight a body that is failing her and a mind riddled with dementia. She can’t break out of her box.

But she has bucked a lot of trends. She is 94. Excuse me…94-and-a-half. Which exceeds most life expectancy/actuarial tables. And while she needs to use a walker now to get around, she is not in a wheelchair. And while her short-term memory has tanked, her spirit remains strong. And while many of the people of her “Great Generation” have since passed away, she keeps on keeping on.

She has to play by Majority’s Rules because she is elderly and her body and her mind are failing her. But she can still choose to live her life on her own terms. She has chosen to keep living, and not give up. She has chosen to greet everyone she meets with a bright smile and a sparkle in her eyes. She has chosen to exude love and happiness rather than indifference and bitterness.

She is taking Majority’s Rules and tossing them out the window. She has paused and reflected and decided that as long as she is able, she will take the road less traveled. She will march to the beat of her own drum. And she will do so until, as she often says, her good lord calls her home.


7 thoughts on “Majority’s Rules

  1. Sounds admirable to me. Phooey on society if it doesn’t recognize it.

  2. I am finding the word “Phooey” is getting quite a bit of mileage in my world these days. Has a nice ring to it and I love the idea of setting my own priorities, rather than having someone else to it for me with their ideas of what should be important to me. But then again, I never made a good sheep, ie., I never was one to blindly follow the herd. Especially if it appears that they were heading off a very steep cliff.

  3. I like your way of looking at this late time of life. My mother has been saying for many years that she is “ready to go” and some days I wish she could be in charge of that decision. But, after reading your blog entry, I can think about the way she smiles and tries to make everyone around her laugh. Her caregivers say she is sweet and hilarious, although as her daugher some of her antics embarrass me. I need to hear a perspective like yours so thanks for writing.

  4. You are so very welcome. It is not easy to keep a positive perspective, no matter how hard we try. I do feel as if I constantly fight that battle, most noticeably after a visit with my mother. But it always seems that when I have had a particularly difficult visit with her, when Missy Dementia has been hard at play, that I will run into one of her caregivers as i am leaving her facility. And when they recognize me as my mother’s daughter, they always say something kind. They tell me she is one of their most favorite residents, how she is always cheerful and thankful for their efforts on her behalf. And how they hope they will be as uplifting to others as my mother is to them when they are her age. Proves the point how a small but thoughtful comment can go a very long way.

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