When Life Shrinks: A Preview

Last January I was sidelined with an annoyingly slow recuperation to a mundane procedure.

I had ample time to process the phrase my hip gynecologist had casually tossed in, “If you were my mother…I would advise… blah  blah  blah.”  I lost her at “mother”.  Here I thought we were contemporaries…potential bff’s.

 

Here’s a picture of my gynecologist.  What was I thinking?

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 9.20.26 AM

 

So I was under strict orders to be a couch potato. I cleared my calendar. Oh the books I would read; oh the writing I would produce, oh the plans I would make.

 

Day 1 was liberating.  Brett was at my beck and call – grocery shopping, cooking, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming golden retriever stage brush.   

Day 2 however had me staring at the window, a la Jimmy Stewart, wondering what life was like “on the outside”.   No evidence of reading, writing, planning.

Day 3 found me stir crazy.  A control freak somewhere on the ADHD spectrum.  And still no reading, writing, planning.

 

So it begs the question — how on earth would I cope with the inevitable shrinking of life?  When beloved activities are hijacked by the aging process.

 

I hope I cope like Mary.  

Mary just celebrated her 105th birthday.  She’s the life of the 3rd floor at the nursing home I visit. Her white hair is always coiffed; she wears brightly colored scarves and gobs of jewelry.  And now helium balloons adorn her wheelchair flopping behind her as she heads to Bingo.

“What’s your secret?” I  ask.

Mary is dismissive of such a silly question.  “Oh, Barclay, I am just too busy!” She peruses the activity board to check out the day’s options.  

Mary is probably the most positive person I’ve ever encountered –  in the most dismal surroundings I’ve ever encountered.  She’s thriving.

 

 It turns out our attitude matters more than our circumstances. 

So, let’s model Mary. 

And while we’re at it, let’s yell a robust “Bingo!” and fling some scarves in the air — just for fun.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

 

  • There are ALWAYS blessings to count.  Stop reading right now and hold up your hand and name 5  – out loud and with gusto.

  • BE ready so you don’t have to GET ready.  (I stole that catchy phrase from a sermon.)  Work on your attitude NOW while you can still move.  And a word about Bingo – we have to admit – it has stood the test of time!

 

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Living in the NOW

In her later years my mother endorsed Eckhart Tolle’s best seller, The Power of Now.

Peggy saw no reason for dawdling in the past and rehashing the Done.  She grabbed each day – waking with the sun and attacking her projects – prepping for Bible teaching, planning the next party, volunteering at the day care center.  In her immutable style, she was fond of saying, “You have to get off your ass”.

Tolle would agree. “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”

The Bible also speaks about living in the present.  “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.”

“THIS is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

The latest buzzword for living in the present is “mindfulness”.  And we retired Boomers have ample opportunity to practice this practice.

But first I have to admit – I am lousy at this.  I have befriended anxiety;  fear is my longtime pal.  And my glass is usually half empty.  God must look at me and sigh.

SO, in the interest of evoking a smile from God, I’m going to be intentional about living in the NOW. Want to join me?  Here are some “tricks” offered by  Health Line  to reduce anxiety and promote mindfulness.

 

Set an Intention

“Setting an intention can help you focus and remind you why you are doing something. If something gives you anxiety — like a big speech at work — set an intention before it takes place. You can set an intention to take care of your body before heading to the gym or to treat your body with kindness before eating.”

Turn Household Tasks into a Mental Break

“Instead of obsessing over your to-do list or clutter, let yourself relax into the moment. Dance while you do the dishes or focus on the way the soap runs down the tiles while you clean the shower. Take five slow breaths while you wait for the microwave to stop.”

 

Wish Other People Happiness

“You only need 10 seconds to do this practice from author and former Google pioneer Chade-Meng Tan. Throughout the day, randomly wish for someone to be happy.  You don’t have to tell the person, you just have to send the positive energy.”

 

The author of Health Line, Mandy Ferreira, also suggests we take walks, look up, pause at traffic lights, take a break from social media, lose our phones for a bit.

And then she adds an interesting point.  We can actually feel anxious about  not being mindful enough!  She says that Netflix has its time and place.  (Phew…I’d hate to forego the next season of the Bachelorette!)

So let’s channel Peggy and Eckhart and  enjoy the gift of NOW – while we get off our asses.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

  • Don’t let worry rob you of your NOW moments.
  • Pick one trick and give it a go.  I like the one about dancing while doing the dishes. No one’s looking.  Well maybe my golden retriever, Codie, will turn away in horror.

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

%d bloggers like this: