I had a big smile on my face when I read Bill Nemitz’s (“Pondering patience in a time of pandemic”) and Greg Kesich’s (“Attitudes about aging are no joke”) columns in the Jan. 31 Telegram. Patience and aging are two topics very close to my heart and soul.

After spending more than four days on the phone and the computer trying to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, it was hard to believe when one actually opened up. Chaay Tee/Shutterstock.com

I reflected on Bill’s column and one sentence stood out to me. “If you’re the type who believes in contributing to your community, waiting patiently for the vaccine – and taking all necessary precautions in the meantime – becomes your ‘pursuit of that higher goal,’ ” he wrote, quoting a psychology professor. I snuggled right into that sentence. I didn’t sit back and do nothing, but I truly believed if I did all I could do to make it happen, it would all work out. My late daughter Cathy used to say to me, “Mom, why do you always find something good when life hands you a challenge?” My family, my faith and Plan B.

Plan B has been my “go-to plan” during the pandemic. Last July, Finding Our Voices (findingourvoices.net) was invited to host a panel with survivors of domestic violence in Eastport. I was asked to be one of the panelists. My primary care provider thought my original plan was not safe. I was very disappointed and sad. Voila, I went to Plan B. I participated in the program but traveled and stayed in a safe motel by myself. I was discouraged when it was too cold to walk outside this winter. I live in a second-floor condo. I decided to use the space inside my home and the flight of stairs as my walking territory. I do three 15-minute sessions that include 10 flights of stairs and a walk around the inside of my home. I complete a mile and a half and climb 30 flights of stairs. What’s your Plan B?

For over four days, I worked nonstop on my computer and landline (yes, I still have a landline) to secure an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Finally, about 2:10 p.m. on Jan. 18 on the Northern Light website, something popped up on my screen prompting me to make an appointment. I froze and stared at it for a second. I was so used to seeing “no appointments available” that the actual application took me by surprise and tears welled up in my eyes. “Get moving, Mary Lou,” I said, and began filling in all the information. When I pressed “send,” I relaxed in my chair and said, “I wonder how old people are able to navigate this difficult and challenging process.” I burst out laughing and said to myself, “Mary Lou, you are one of those old people.” On Jan. 20, I turned 81.

For years, my friends and I have been surprised when we read in the Press Herald about an “elderly woman,” and she was in her early 60s. I don’t perceive myself as old. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the editorial board of the Press Herald was listening to the presentation by the Maine Council on Aging. What do I call myself? “Mature”! My thesaurus gave me a multitude of synonyms for “mature”: “grownup,” “full-grown,” “older”; “ripe,” “mellow,” “strong,” “aged” and “sweet.” I am all of them and more. Over the past two years, I have lost three of my closest friends, who were my mentors and sages. They silently and without fanfare have passed their torch to me. I am blessed and surrounded in their love and wisdom.

I will end with the five “A’s” of life, which came out of a class I took a few years ago. They work for me as I travel and navigate each new day: attitude, awareness, acknowledgment, acceptance and adjustment.

Attitude is the most important for me. It sets the stage for the other four to follow. They can do the same for you.

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