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Have you ever noticed how people get set in their routines?

People often get set in their routines and don’t pay much attention to anything outside of their worlds. I have noticed this trend is especially common in older folks. They tend to eat at the same restaurants, shop at the same stores, and use the same bank branch all the time. I hadn’t given it much thought until yesterday.

My mother-in-law needed a ride to her doctor’s appointment. The doctor’s office has recently moved, and is located in a city with which she is largely unfamiliar. She’s in her 80’s, and it’s difficult for her to learn new routes. Since Friday is my day off work, I volunteered to drive her. I don’t spend that much time with her, and thought some quality time together would do us good.

She arrived at my house 15 minutes early, and immediately asked me if I was ready to go. She offered the use of her car, but I’m far more comfortable driving my own. She was a bit concerned when I took a different route than my husband takes when he escorts her to the doctor. I assured her that we would not get lost several times.

She’s hard of hearing, so it’s a bit challenging to converse with her. She wears hearing aids, but I’m not sure how much good they do her. I am tenacious, and no longer mind repeating myself several times. When I was younger, repeating myself for her drove me absolutely nuts. Now, I have a better understanding of her position. With age comes wisdom.

Our trip to the doctor’s office was without incident, and I invited her to have lunch with me at a local restaurant afterward. I’ve always enjoyed this particular place when I’m in town. It’s been there for 30 years. My mother-in-law had never heard of it, so I explained what to expect and headed that way.

The place was packed, and I was forced to circle the lot to find a parking spot. Inside, I had difficulty finding a table, but finally located a clean one in the back. She was hesitant, but once I got her up to the buffet she was fine. I imagine all of the noise from the numerous other diners was not pleasant through her hearing aids.

After a nice lunch where we chatted about her growing number of great-grandchildren, I asked her if she’d like to go to the store with me. I needed a few things that couldn’t wait until next week when I get paid, which is usually when I stock up on household items. She indicated she’d like to go with me, and asked if I could help her find a new wallet.

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Once inside, it became obvious that she’d never shopped in this type of store before. I picked up my items, and then led her over to the wallets. The prices were much less than she usually pays at the departments stores where she has always purchased such things. She chose one, and was shocked that it was only $10.00. On the way up to the register, she told me how much she liked the store. She said there’s one close to where she lives that she might visit.

I’ve introduced my mother-in-law to many things during my long marriage to her son. She has enjoyed my favorite book store, the local library, herbal tea with honey, late night cheeseburgers, drive thru ice cream, and family restaurants with me. Now, I’ve introduced her to Dollar General. I don’t know if she will actually shop at one of their locations or not, but yesterday she stepped out of her comfort zone and tried something new. I call that a victory.

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