making a wish

September 26th, 2019

Today is bulky trash day at our house, the day that a special garbage truck comes to take items too big for your bins. Bulky trash day comes around once every twenty years or so when you clean out part of your garage. Cleaning a garage is the painful process of recalling the usefulness you once expected to get from otherwise useless stuff. The items we stacked on the curb for pickup by the sanitation service looked like a pile of thingamabobs from broken-down whatchamacallits, their original function long ago lost to age and decay. Even before the trash truck could come some of the stuff was scavenged, which is a hopeful thing. Who knows? Our bulky trash might have years of obsolesence yet to give, idling in the forgotten corner of someone else’s garage.

It’s been a month of clearing out. Last week I called the veterans’ group to pick up more sacks of clothes; after that I swept through bathroom drawers and shelves, where some of the medicines were—get this—pediatric. A close inspection of your medicine cabinet can tell you what you don’t want to know about yourself. Like why in the world are you keeping this 10-year-old earwax softener and two packages of wart-removers, not to mention the eight boxes of Band-Aids accumulated during the age of boo-boos?

At a certain time of year, as with a certain season of life, thoughts naturally turn to what you no longer need and what you no longer have.

Lately I’ve been nursing the visible and invisible wounds of a minor fall. Not an old-lady fall, but an old-lady fall from a bicycle on the boardwalk at the beach. You might not even know you are an old lady until you fall from a bicycle at the beach. The scrapes on my left knee and elbow were deep and bloody; I cried. But later on I realized I’d torn up the insides of my shoulder too. I’m due for physical therapy, which right now sounds to me like “assisted living.” This is no big deal, but still, I’m shocked at the loss of what I never appreciated: an arm and a leg.

The climb is long, they say, but in the end, it’s bulky trash day.

I’ve been thinking about how old my mom was when she died, only 67, and about how young she was when I was born, 63 years ago today, and that calls for a wish.

May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be well.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings be free from suffering.

Photo by Ritu Arya on Unsplash


  1. Happy Happy Birthday dear Maezen.❤

    Comment by marcea pugliese — September 26, 2019 @ 7:04 am

  2. Thank you for your writing. Sorry for your fall. It is hard work , this thing we call aging.

    Comment by Carolee Maya — September 26, 2019 @ 7:15 am

  3. Yes, it can be hard, but it happens by itself! Thank you for reading.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — September 26, 2019 @ 11:37 am

  4. Happy Birthday, you wise, witty, kind lovely human. I celebrate you today, Maezen. And feel like knowing you is the gift I get today ♡

    Comment by Bonnie R Nygren — September 26, 2019 @ 7:40 am

  5. One man’s gift is another man’s bulky trash!

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — September 26, 2019 @ 11:39 am

  6. Love this post so much. Happy birthday, and thank you!!

    Comment by pat — September 26, 2019 @ 8:35 am

  7. Happy Birthday sweet Maezen. I’m so sorry to hear of your fall and am grateful it wasn’t worse. As someone who has both fallen off a bike in traffic on foreign soil AND undergone PT (for an unrelated injury) I feel you. 😉 Wishing you a speedy recovery and many more bike rides around the sun.

    Comment by Michelle — September 26, 2019 @ 8:43 am

  8. Thank you, love. Although my future rides may have training wheels.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — September 26, 2019 @ 11:38 am

  9. Oh no! Those aging wake up calls can hit pretty hard, in your case literally and with scars to prove it. Sigh. I’m so sorry.
    Happiest of birthdays to you, dear Maezen. As always, grateful for the gift of you and for all you share. Wishing you a quick recovery from your injuries.xo

    Comment by Connie Assadi — September 26, 2019 @ 9:22 am

  10. Happy Birthday, Maezen. Sending healing thoughts as well.

    Comment by Jennie — September 26, 2019 @ 10:04 am

  11. Warm birthday wishes, teacher, and hopes for a complete recovery from your injury. I wonder if it’s this time of year, with the change in light, that has me thinking of lost loved ones – my mom and two ex-partners. It’s kind of a tender, inward time.

    Comment by nurah — September 26, 2019 @ 10:43 am

  12. Oh my, I love this so much, being in the ongoing purgatory of cleaning out 60 years of parental stuff. So. Much. Worthless. Stuff. (Also a good bit of stuff I have used since moving back here!) It’s my dad’s workshop that is the worst, because it’s HEAVY stuff.

    So sorry about your fall. I wish mine (at age 60) had involved a bicycle. Like saying, “oh, skiing accident,” when actually I slipped on a grocery store curb cut in Bumfuck, Arkansas, that wasn’t even wet. I refused to go to the doctor and managed the micro-tears in something or other in my shoulder with the help of a massage therapist. Phew.

    Happy birthday!

    Comment by Gretchen Staebler — September 26, 2019 @ 1:14 pm

  13. Happy happy birthday. May you be well.

    Comment by Abby — September 27, 2019 @ 2:59 am

  14. This is a heartwarming read!

    Comment by mary Petro — September 27, 2019 @ 5:53 am

  15. I have a prayer I say when things are not going as well as I want/ wrong.
    “I will not see this as a reflection of my personal worth. I will not see this as something that defines me.” Because knowing myself bad luck at times -in my mind- can transform into me thinking “Ofcourse this happens, I’m such an idiot.”. Could your fall just be something unlucky that happened in that moment rather than something that defines you as an old lady?
    I second your prayer. Congratulations to your mother.

    Comment by Simone — September 27, 2019 @ 5:59 am

  16. ❤️ warmest wishes for a swift recovery. It’s strange how absence alerts us to presence. I notice that daily. Much love to you, Maezen.

    Comment by Sarah Stanton — September 27, 2019 @ 8:38 am

  17. May you receive what you have given to me.

    Comment by Mark — September 27, 2019 @ 9:46 am

  18. Beautiful. I’m guessing we are of a similar age. I find I experience minor accidents and failing of the body as indignities way out of proportion to the scope of the actual aches and pains involved. Thank you for putting it so well.

    Oh and Happy Birthday!

    Comment by Tom — September 29, 2019 @ 5:07 am

  19. You should eat more since you are worth your weight in gold.

    Comment by Bill — September 30, 2019 @ 3:25 am

  20. Take very good care, my dear Maezen.

    Comment by Leslie — October 1, 2019 @ 10:12 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

archives by month