This is my mother-in-law, Clementina, from North Carolina. She is amazing. At 85 her body is slowing down but her mind is "as sharp as a tack." She is witty and clever and kind and patient and understanding and REAL. Her optimism, sense of humor, and genuine love of life makes her a joy to be around.
And . . . she does crossword puzzles. Every day. In pen!
Aging well and gracefully has been on my mind in recent years. Being 40-something will do that, I suppose. A few months ago I decided to emulate Clem's daily ritual in hopes of somehow fending off the dreaded brain paralysis that often accompanies old age.
My local paper offers two different crossword puzzles nestled in with the comics. Of course, I DO NOT choose the New York Times one. Start simple and gain confidence, I say.
It has been frustrating and difficult at times, but also pretty fun.
My vocabulary of three and four-letter words has grown significantly. I am now able to define epee, olio, lea, and efts, for example.
My sweet mother-in-law regularly defeats my feeble attempts to complete the puzzles without "cheating" (i.e. searching the web for answers.) "Cheating" is the only way I will increase my vocabulary though, right?
Hopefully all this "across and down" reasoning is stimulating the development of new synapses and neuro pathways in my brain that USED to be able to integrate calculus equations and do regression analysis.
What will I be like 40 years from now when I am 85? If I can be just a wee bit like Clementina from North Carolina, I will be content.