But probably the most challenging episode was when John and I worked as agency nurses back in the late 80's to mid 90's. We were sent to places we would never have been otherwise. Because we could pick and choose where and when we worked, we chose to go to hospitals that required us to drive several hours each week and we picked shifts that paid the most. Consequently, our most lucrative assignment was in Hershey PA on the oncology unit. There we worked two 16 hour shifts every weekend driving two and half hours down from our home outside Wilkes Barre PA on Friday afternoon and driving back home on Sunday morning.
The upside to this grueling schedule was that we were off from Sunday to Thursday every week!
We had plenty of time to play and do other things and we were making what we liked to refer to as a "boatload" [at the time] of money. We were finally able to put money aside for retirement.
But we were able to enjoy our time together too.
We took a vacation every month.
We slept in. We relaxed.
We were in the process of remodeling our home and had the time to do it.
And we had time to just enjoy each other's company.
John said over and over that we were going to look back and call those days the "good old days". Except he said it in present tense at the time. "These are the good ole days." I remember how much that impressed me at the time.
He was right, of course [although now I refer to all my days with John as the good old days].
But what he taught me was precious. He was telling me we needed to enjoy those days for what they were when they were, not wait until years down the road and then pine for them.
It was a valuable lesson.
One of the things I remember about my father is that he used to always say "Some day".
Some day we would...
Some day we would have...
Some day we would go...
Most of the time he never got to do or have any of those things and he missed what was in front of him along the way.
He was the opposite of the "good old days" theory. He was wishing for what hadn't happened yet.
That's not a good way to live either.
And I was in danger of carrying on that legacy until John.
John opened my eyes and my heart and for that I am very grateful.
Every day is a good old day.
Even if it's swinging on the porch swing with your honey.
Or sitting quietly and watching a bird hopping across the lawn.
Or looking at a sunset and admiring the beautiful colors.
Life is to be lived, not wished or pined for.
John is not physically here with me now but I can still look at the world as if he is.
And I can be grateful for that gift he gave me and know it was given with love.