Donna Ryan / Lifestyle & Retirement

Set In My Ways

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DonnaRyanInTheSpringDue to a sore and swollen foot I was forced to put my workout routine on rest today and my fitness activity tracker was replaced with the television remote control.  While surfing the channels I came upon an old episode of the show, “All In The Family.”    As I type I glance at the scene of Archie screaming at “Meathead” how wrong it is to put mustard on a perfectly delicious pretzel.  I crack up laughing listening to Mike’s response of “when the heck was the last time you tried something different Arch?”

Archie was the King of the phrase, Set In My Ways!!!

I smile thinking back on the days when I would watch this on Saturday night with my Mother.  It is not the show itself that brings back the happy thoughts but what we did routinely every week.

Back in those days the Sunday newspaper had an early edition that could be purchased on Saturday evenings.  Before the last credit hit the black and white reflection on the screen Mom and I had our shoes on and headed the 10 blocks to the El station which housed the newspaper stand.  My dad enjoyed reading the paper and while young I loved going as many times we arrived before the delivery truck and I would be treated to the best egg creams ever.

As time wore on sipping the sweet drink at the counter was replaced with the embarrassment of feeling “uncool” being seen at the newspaper stand with your Mom on Saturday night.  I quickly learned to become the Gloria Stivic and adamantly asked Mom why Dad just couldn’t go himself?

Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall, snow sleet and hail she went with or without me.  It was simply something she wanted to do for him.

Dad was Archie and Mom was Edith.

I was Gloria for sure!!

I remember shortly after getting married inviting my parents over for dinner for the first time.   I excitedly dialed the number to enthusiastically describe a new stuffed cabbage recipe I found in a magazine.  The moment I described how I was not making my recipe on the bed of sauerkraut which was Moms way, but instead was using tomato soup, I got the standard “set in our ways” response.  Donna, you know very well your father does not like tomato sauce and you may want to make something else.  My “Gloria” response to “Edith” was there is more than one way to cook and he will be fine.

What dad asked for he got! Not that day!!

He may have looked bewildered but he wound up loving the cabbage rolls and Mom asked for the recipe!

Each night my mother put the box of cereal, a bowl and spoon on the kitchen table for his breakfast each night before going to bed and Dad would still wake her up in the morning for he could not find something or other.  Archie could not survive without Edith for sure!

Despite my defining these actions as “set in their ways behavior,” there definitely was unspoken love between Edith and Archie and my Mom and Dad.

I think all generations look at their parents with an Us versus Them attitude.  The young must constantly prove to the old how wrong their parents’ ways are.   In many ways the young generation is correct.  We do isolate ourselves to so many exciting and new things and do need to lose the mindset of my way being the correct way.

Change is the plot of every single person’s story.

As I get older I try to embrace change with an open mind as I love seeing things through different eyes.  It is hard to let go of the inner child who wants to prove my way is easier but you finally realize it is fine to let everyone live their life as they wish for the goal is not to be right but happy.

The routines of our life often times have us taking so much for granted.  If I could have one more walk on a Saturday night and come home with frozen cheeks and hand my dad the newspaper I would give him a hug of thanks.  These days I would not care if I looked uncool walking with my Mother and would enjoy each second.  Oh how I wish I realized it more back then.

Each generation is set in their ways and I suppose the young will never understand some of the ways of those before them.  I suppose it is a good thing to want improvement.

Each generation has lots to teach.  While I am happy I got to show my parents how wonderful different stuffed cabbage roll recipes can be I also learned volumes from their “set in their ways” behavior.  I may not like to admit, but in many ways I see a little of both my parents in things I do and say.  We turn into our parents!!!!!

The episode is over and it is time for me to shut the television off and while I love the childhood memories it is time to seal them back into my memory bag and keep with me all the wisdom that little girl learned in the past 56 years.

With the credits running down the screen I now put a shoe on a rested foot and I will get on with what many may call my crazy routines.

Who knows, maybe one day after I am long gone someone may flip through an old episode of a show and think of me and say she was set in her ways but we sure had some good times.

Those were the days!
Editor’s Note:  Visit AFL member Donna Ryan at her website:  She says, “I have always thrived on inspiration. I love reading it everywhere I can find it. I am 55 and it has been a journey with many twists and turns. I invite all 50+ women to join me in discussions on this second chapter. Our road ahead is fun and exciting because these truly are the best days of our lives.”

I thrive on inspiration; I read it every day and I try to live and share it through my actions. Stepping out of our comfort zone can be very frightening. I have learned that I will never grow if I don’t face fear! I encourage all women to join me on this sometimes weird and scary adventure. Let’s discuss all sorts of things from makeup colors, to recipes, books, funny jokes and everything in between. We are on this journey together so let’s gather around and share our stories, dreams, and goals as well as happy and sad times too. You name it; we can do it! We are fifty something and these are the best days of our lives. No matter what the circumstances you are living you are only a keystroke away from friends that care! So join the circle of the 50plusstickingtogether friendship chain. Let’s keep learning, growing and inspiring each other together. It’s Never Too Late!!! Visit AFL member Donna Ryan at her website:

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