Sleep, oh sleep, wherefore art thou?

(Barclay here)  It’s 3AM, and I am wide awake.  My mind replays the less than brilliant utterances of the previous day; following that, it imagine the day ahead with all its embarrassing possibilities.  And then, I begin my tossing and turning dance moves, trashing actually, much to the annoyance of Codie, our usually patient golden retriever, who groans audibly, detangles herself from the bundled sheets, and jumps to the floor, weary of my flailing feet and their impact on  her beauty sleep.

Does anyone actually sleep through the night?  When I ask my friends in their 60s and beyond, most report being night “thrashers” as well.  Some can’t get to sleep in the first place; and others wake up and can’t get back to sleep.

 

(Joy here) Sleep, something that should be so natural and uncomplicated has become my biggest health issue in this 6th decade of life!  Why didn’t someone write a manual on what to expect?!    Sleepless in Chicago and sleepless in Claverack New York, should be the retitled name of our retirement blog.

If I knew this was going to be a problem when I was a lot younger, I would have slept a lot more and had hours in the bank! TOO LATE NOW!  I’m trying to help the next generation here!

I have tried most over the counter medications including ZZZquil, Melatonin, both time release, which I was sure was going to work, Unisom, Avinol p.m. (Shark Tank liked the product so much they put money into it!  Clearly, they don’t have insomnia!)  and finally succumbed to seeing my doctor for a prescription.  I did this with great reluctance, although the deep circles under my eyes told me I better do something!  I have had great hope for all of these sleep aids and they have all let me down.  This week I went back to my old favorite, Sleepy Time tea with a chaser of a sleep aid an hour later.  I Googled this cocktail combination to make sure I wasn’t going to overdose and it turns out other people do the same thing.  The results were pretty good –so with an eye mask, a white noise sound machine, and my cocktail of choice, I caught some decent zzzzzz’s. One night does not make up for months of insomnia!

One of my friends suggested seeing a hypnotherapist.  I’d never thought of that, but I wanted to get to the root cause, not just put a band aid on it.  So, in 2 weeks (she was booked solid!) I will try my first session.  I’m up for treating this in a non drug way, if at all possible.  The issue with long term insomnia is that it gets embedded in our subconscious and you begin to think that you are supposed to wake up at 3.  You go to bed expecting that you will not sleep through the night and that is exactly what happens, like a little alarm clock going off.

Alfred Barrios, a psychology specialist compared the benefits of psychoanalysis to hypnotherapy for sleep disorders and found hypnosis helped 93% improve their sleeping after only 6 sessions compared to psychoanalytical therapy which required 600 sessions to achieve a 38% improvement!  Certainly, worth a try!  If nothing else, I figure I will get an hour’s worth of sleep!

To all our readers who sleep peacefully through the night, consider yourselves very lucky and for those who don’t, call or text Barclay and I, we’re probably awake!

Today’s Takeaway…

Sleeping is a blessing.  Deep sleep, uninterrupted with the exception of an occasional pee, is divine!

Talk to other people, share your experiences, it will at least make you feel better -you are in really good company! 60 million Americans have insomnia and can be counting sheep any night of the week!

As always, enjoy the ride

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does God think of retirement?

Is the concept of retirement in the Bible?

There’s one reference to retirement and it’s in the book of Numbers.  The Levite priests were to retire from their priestly duties at the age of 50.

Besides that, God is silent on the matter.

But he is not silent regarding the concept of work and purpose.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you, not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Crown Financial says that we should view retirement as  an opportunity for “repurposement” rather than a cessation of work.

“The problem with today’s attitude towards retirement is that it completely negates an integral aspect of God’s design – that we were created to work. It also normalizes something that was never intended to be normal – not working.”

So what is our new work?  Our new purpose?

Crown says that the Biblical view of retirement is —

“Freeing up our time to devote to serving others more fully without the necessity of getting paid for it.  It is time to repurpose how and why we invest our time and resources.”

Back to those Levites from the Old Testament.  Upon being released from their duties, they did not join a golf club and work on their chipping and putting; they did not devote hours to perfecting their down-the-line backhand.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with those activities.  I am still trying to get out of a sand trap in less than four attempts!)

The Bible says that the  retired Levites were to “assist their brothers in performing their duties.”

So we retirees can “assist”.  We can assist our church, our neighbors, our families, the homeless, or a cause we are passionate about.

The Bible also says we are to think of the next generation.

“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”  Psalm 71

So maybe you want to become a “cuddler” — a holder of babies in the NICU of a hospital.

Maybe you want to work with therapy horses, as Joy has done.

Or maybe you can simply devote extra time (which we have) to praying for the sick.

Or if you are a knitter (which I am not), you can make hats or blankets for those in need.

Whether we are knitters, pray-ers, cuddlers, God seems to be saying that our re-purposement is to assist others.

We should, however, take exception to that phrase, “old and gray”.   We may be old, but we don’t HAVE to be “gray”, right?

In fact, I find myself getting more blonde as the years go by — a miracle of Red Sea proportions.

Or a testimony to the skill set of my hairdresser, whom I see with increasing regularity.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-I just discovered that being a NICU “cuddler” is a sought after role.  Se we need to apply today!

-And it’s OK to get better at exiting a sand trap or becoming blonder with the passing years.  It’s just a matter of knowing what truly matters when it’s all said and done.   And most likely it’s holding a sick or premature baby while sitting in a rocking chair in a NICU.

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

Know Your Body!!! It’s Speaking To You.

woman standing on mat

Photo by theformfitness on Pexels.com

As a woman, you probably can relate to the dreaded annual tests we all should undergo , that of a mammogram, ultrasound for those of us with dense breasts, perhaps, a PSA, if you are a man of a certain age, and even, my favorite, the colonoscopy.  All joking aside, this was a very tough week for me because I had experienced symptoms associated with colon cancer.  Thank you internet, thank you Web MD, and thank you to my father who helped make me a hypochondriac.

When you know your body well (as you should) you notice subtle changes, patterns, variations from the norm.  From the research I did online, I thought my body was telling me something. GO SEE A GASTROENTEROLOGIST!

With this in my head, I became fixated on the disease and became convinced I had something seriously wrong with me!

Though the prospect of a diagnosis is very scary, it is something you must do if you suspect something is going on in your body.  Early detection is key.  According to WHO (The World Health Organization) each year 8.8 million people die from cancer, many of them are in low income and middle income countries without access to adequate testing. In the United States, we have no excuse and owe it to ourselves and our families to take advantage of diagnostics.

So after preparing with a delicious cocktail of laxative and Gatorade, 32 oz bottles no less, twice (how can anyone consume this much liquid and not barf?!!) As anyone who has ever undergone a colonoscopy, (thank God, they changed the thinking to every 10 years now!) you know being near a toilet the day before is critical!

The day of the test came and I soldiered on. With butterflies in my stomach and negative thoughts of doom and gloom, I drove myself with my husband at my side an hour away to make sure my colon (now  extremely clean!) was healthy.

I didn’t even get a solid sleep during this procedure since no anesthesia was used. I guess this hospital has a shortage of this specialty! It’s Albany, not New York or Chicago!  A sedation of some sort, but I still felt the scope being turned around inside of me and talking between the 2 nurses.  Before I knew it, the procedure was over, routine I’m sure for any gastro doctor.  Diagnosis- all clear!  No polyps, no growths, phew!  I was soo relieved to hear and knew that I could put my worries to bed, at least until some other symptoms crop up pointing to another disease. I am, after all, my father’s daughter.

Today’s Takeaway…

Know your own body.  Don’t ever dismiss anything that seems out of your normal pattern.  That goes for pooping too!

You have one life to live and it’s precious.  Take your annual diagnostic tests every year without fail.  Remember,  early detection can make all the difference.

Enjoy the ride.

xox Barclay and Joy