Wandering or Wondering?
Forgetfulness is normal and as we age memory loss increases. There is no escaping occasional memory loss. Have you ever walked into a room and don’t remember what or why? This becomes more common the older you get. The fix is to start over and have a mini AH HA moment. Your spouse or friends may ask why you did something stupid or exhibited poor judgment and you don’t really have a satisfactory explanation. You don’t want to change something you’ve always done because you’re stubborn. These behaviors are actually part of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease; fear of which causes anxiety in most of us who seen its dreaded effects.
My wife, Iris, claims I exhibit wandering behavior, another Alzheimer symptom, coupled with a small measure of antagonism now and then. My behavior involves taking my camera and driving through the older areas of San Antonio. On these photographic excursions I would drag my wife along with me. The stated goal was to photograph outdoor art, mostly done by average people or community service organizations to beautify a neighborhood or to promote a compelling social message.
I started these photographic adventures a few years ago with no agenda or plan. Sometimes a newspaper story about some piece of outdoor art would peak my interest, or I saw one while driving and I would make a mental note to go back with a camera. My satisfaction came not with the original location found and photographed but with an accidental bonus shot. A random piece of art on a wall or fence, on the side of a warehouse would catch my attention and it would be added to my collection. Over a 1000 photographic images fill my digital files and many are displayed at http://publicart.mdlonline.com/.
The antagonism would come when Iris would find fault with my driving (looking around, missing a turn or driving on the wrong side of a deserted street). Her anxiety level increased when I would park, get out, leave her in the car alone and walk around with a $1,000 camera.
I would claim my actions are normal and safe. And I would proclaim this loudly.
My actions were not clearly thought out and perhaps even a little dangerous. Sometimes I would go on these trips alone early on a Saturday morning. My rationale was anyone up to no good was probably still asleep. I would drive to my target area, circle around once to check out the neighborhood and then call my wife to give her a report. Her paranoia became contagious; I would park, shoot my pictures and hurry back to my car. After a quick look at the pictures on the camera’s preview screen I would return home. My return would be delayed by a ride around the general area trying to locate other outdoor murals or paintings. On the way home I would call Iris and ask if she needed anything at the supermarket, an automatic behavior induced by 42 years of marriage.
Yes, I was wandering. Yes, I was sometimes antagonistic. Yes, I was inappropriate. Three strikes and you are out. Don’t put me away just yet I still have a lot of life to investigate. I am just curious and somewhat creative. Perhaps I was wondering about life, not wandering without direction.
My recommendation for channeling creative ideas is: KISS. Keep it Safe Seniors.
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