MOM – Use It or Lose It!!!

I’ve had an incredible privilege these past several weeks. My 80-year-old mother chose to stay with me while her life is in limbo. She is currently being moved from New York to Texas as a result of my brother’s corporate transfer. Some real estate issues are holding up the process. She will ultimately be living in her own second-floor apartment in my brother’s home.

Mom and I are having a lot of fun together. One attribute I must have acquired from my mom is her enduring SUCK IT UP attitude.  Granted, my mom could get an Oscar for her ability to play the victim. “My eyes, my hip, my shoulder – but I’ll be okay. Don’t worry about me!” While she’ll let you know she’s suffering, she will persevere!

I must say my mom endured many hardships in her life.  Born in 1928, she came into the world during the Great Depression. Her father died of multiple myeloma when she was 7-years-old. There weren’t many social programs in 1935 to assist widows, so my grandmother, mother and uncle Don survived by living in the attic while borders rented rooms in their home. Mom worked as a secretary to put her brother through college. Her first husband ran off with another woman. And her ultimate challenge was raising me.  She’s still trying.

Mom was never one to walk away from a good fight. You didn’t dare tell her that she couldn’t get her money back on a Money Back Guarantee. Bedtime meant bedtime. And if she decided that I was going to school on St. Patrick’s Day looking like a Leprechaun, I quickly understood that mom’s punishment for arguing with her made me look forward to getting beat-up in school.

Mom has an invincible spirit. Always has. She can still move along quite quickly at 80. Just give her a shopping cart and a discount card; this lady can almost sprint. She was a tap-dancer and a ballroom dance instructor. She moves along with as much grace as life affords her but you can tell she’s in pain.  Nonetheless, she keeps moving.

We’ve gone to the gym a few times so I can give her a gentle workout. Her exercises are simple, mostly done seated. She grits her teeth and gives her best. During one of her breaks she told me that my brother was planning to put an electric seat (electric chair?) on the staircase in his new home so she could get up-and-down the stairs. She says she doesn’t want it. Mom’s rationale? She said, “If I stop climbing stairs, I won’t be able to climb stairs!”

That folks is the USE IT or LOSE IT mentality.

Mom would rather SUCK IT UP than quit living her life to the best of her ability. She said my grandmother quit climbing stairs and lost her ability too soon to climb. Mom chooses a different fate.

How about you? What strengths have you stopped using? What are you losing? Don’t limit this understanding to physical fitness. I need to be reading, writing and speaking more lest I lose my skills.

We all have so many strengths to maintain. We need to be like mom. SUCK IT UP and live our lives to the best of our ability!

David Walker Clapp | Suck It Up | Professional Presenter | Portland Oregon Motivational Speaker

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