Note for those of you who read both my Carolyn Lane and Healthy Hedonism blogs: I couldn’t decide which one this post should go on – so it’s on both. Apologies to you for a double-alert.
“The two vital things for good aging….something to look back on, and something to look forward to.”
I’ve put this in quotes, because I’m sure that someone else said it before me, and probably better … but I can’t remember who, and I’ve already spent /wasted / invested / enjoyed / (choose your own verb) – a good half-hour browsing quotation sites to find it.
I did re-find a similar favourite, in my own files.
“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” That’s from Joseph Addison – though the “Thinkexist” quote site didn’t know the source. If you’re a quote-quester, see below.
Anyway – this quote-excursion started out when I was musing about one of the final pleasures of our Mosel journey. We’d said to Hans and Inge that they should choose a stop-over for the trip home. Both had travelled a lot in the Schwarzwald (Germany’s Black Forest of cherry cake fame) separately, and more recently together. “Wolfach” they said. There’s a hotel-restaurant in OberWolfach (Upper Wolfach) Hans knew well – so – Tomtoms synchronised, off we all went.
Sadly, there are no photos of it because we were through it and coordinating the next bit to OberWolfach before I realised we’d not get back there. (Well, not on this trip.)
The Hirschen in OberWolfach, up a green and gorgeous valley dotted with classical Schwarzwald farmhouses, was everything Hans had remembered.
It’s a big restaurant, yet the service was intimate. Our “Wirtdochter” (literally, landlord’s daughter, the word carries that sense of service in a family-run pub or restaurant) moved with lightning speed between tasks, yet seemed to have all the time in the world to ensure our enjoyment. The elderly owners both separately went from table to table, shaking everyone’s hands and confirming that all was as it should be.
Of course we needed to eat traditionally: my casserole of three types of game came with the necessary pear and preiselberries, and Roman’s plate tells the story of his wild pig. Margrit had bach-forelle (stream-trout as opposed to the farmed ones we normally get), and well – much happiness all round.
But what prompted my “something to look back on, something to look forward to” thought was watching Brother Hans.
He’s had a hard eighteen months with his health, and mortality has shaken its wings at him. His world had become much smaller, his focus much more internal.
But from the moment we proposed the Mosel trip, things changed.
Both his memories and his anticipation rushed in to fill those darkened, narrowed places. Every day we were away his energy increased. And at the Hirschen he was recognised – “someone” again – and able to bask in the pleasure we were getting from a place he’d recommended.
Home again, the change has lasted.
So, pinned to my mental wall is a reminder: to make sure there are things to look back on. I’ve always excused myself by saying my mind doesn’t work well backwards – and it’s true that I do live more in the future than in the past. But, as well as creating new memories with current adventures, perhaps I need to work on retrieving all the past ones I’ve rushed through.
And another reminder – the benefit of anticipation. Not just making sure there is always something to look forward to, but actively enjoying the pre-pleasure.
Something to look forward to – something to look back on. And relishing both!
Thank you Hans, for the life-lesson.
I also get a “quote a day” from www.goodreads.com- sometimes perfectly apt for what I’m reading/thinking.