Wednesday, March 16, 2011

it starts now

How many of you put off things because of lack of time, lack of money or maybe just lack of planning? You work hard, you're tired, you have a family at home that needs you, you're in school, you can't afford to take a trip, you don't have time to go to the gym, you'll do that next month or over the summer or when your student loans are paid off or, or, or...

Relax. Take a breath. Look at your life. Are you enjoying it? If not, what can you do to change it? Can you squeeze 30 minutes into your day to do something just for your enjoyment? It could involve someone else, as long as it is for you. Do you even remember what it is that you enjoy? Sometimes we forget what we like, especially if you are partnered and/or have kids or someone else you take care of. I dare you to find yourself again. I challenge you to enjoy yourself.

Do you have a bucket list? I've learned that there is something more important than the items you might usually put on a bucket list: those once in a lifetime dreams of yours. I think people forget about the ordinary things that are right in front of them. Enjoying the crisp, cool air only found early in the morning (while walking your dog) before work on a typical, muggy new york summer day. An ice cream cone later, that same day! The flowering trees as spring approaches. Donuts at work on a friday morning. Happy hour friday nite. Girls nite out. Spending time with the nieces/nephew. A belly laugh. A belly full of great food. A concert, or better yet, a free concert! A great song on the radio. A smile given. A smile received. The cry of seagulls. I could go on and on.

Some days I just don't have much time or energy. Luckily I have a dog that really doesn't give a crap how I feel. She still needs to go for a walk. And luckily, walking is one of my favorite things to do. It is a quiet time for me. A time to stop worrying about things and just enjoy the scenery, the fresh air and moving about. I also use this time to plot the rest of my day and make some goals for myself. For me, I've found what makes me happy: nature and movement.

I work with the elderly all day. I'm new at it but it's not hard to figure out what needs to be done to be happy as you get older. Many of these people were very productive. Doctors, nutritionists, social workers, teachers, mental health care workers. Now they are the ones being taken care of. They lose their feeling of self-worth. They can't do the things they used to enjoy. They can't move the way they used to. One women always says to me that she wants to kill the person that said "these are the golden years!" Even though she is one of the ones that can still do most things by herself. I ask her if she had fun in her life and she says oh yes, she had a great life. No regrets there. She has good memories. I have another woman who mostly stays in her room and complains a lot. Although lately she has said that she wants to stop complaining and will scold herself when she does.  We try and get her out of her room even if it is to join in an activity for half an hour. The other day, someone mailed her a huge box of chocolate. She was so happy! She is pretty easy to figure out. If you walk into her room with a smile on her face, she responds with the biggest smile you have ever seen. Sometimes the grumpiest people are just afraid that no one loves them or needs them anymore. She used to be a caregiver back in the day.

What is my point? I have so many thoughts going through my head that it is not coming out very clear here. I guess my point is to enjoy life and enjoy it in the here and now. And realize that as you age, you may need to change the things you enjoy. I know I always say that I don't want to get old. Many of the things I enjoy involve physical activity. Things that I know I will no longer be able to do when I'm old. But maybe I need to rethink that. I have many interests and not enough time for them all. Just because I probably won't be snowboarding when I'm 90 doesn't mean that I can't enjoy other things. Maybe that is when I'll finally have time to learn spanish or the drums! Maybe instead of gardening I'll finally learn how to draw landscapes. Maybe when I can't work anymore I can be a mentor or a tutor if I still have the brain power.

I have another point that I'll try and squeeze in here. What you do now is going to influence you when you are older. How you use and treat your body is going to matter when you get old. Your body will thank you for the muscle and strong bones you're building right now! So many of the elderly I deal with have swollen, painful ankles. Some of it is from their drugs and some is because of their hearts. Remember the heart is a muscle. Get out there and use it. Walking will not only build up your heart, it will build up your bones. I know genetics and other shit play a part in how we age but still, get out there and treat yourself right. Don't have regrets. It starts now.

4 comments:

  1. Awesome! I am going to print this one out so I can re-visit it from time to time.

    Love you J9!

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  2. Well said, and thank you for the reminder!

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  3. Hey Janine - I am so sorry about your recent diagnosis - lots of prayers for you & DW. You should know that WT's new boobs look SPECTACULAR! I have only seen her w/ clothes on, despite her attempts to show me otherwise :-)

    Hang in there - we all love you!

    Barb

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  4. Well Barb, I've only seen wt's finished product naked but I have to agree, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!

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