Celebrate Change with Anticipation

Anticipation

From the side of your eyes, nothing changed. For others looking at you, the changes are pretty remarkable.


Often, we’re the last ones to understand the impact of change on ourselves because we usually can’t see it.



As your body migrates south, the ultimate destiny being 30-inch ankles, we hope wisdom migrates north, accepting both the losses and the gains.


But in each landmark, our pace slows down a little bit of knowledge and experience and insight make us much more sure and creative.


For a long time, lifetime change is a whole world of trade-offs between the physical and the intellectual and if we celebrate what is going well and what is doing better, each of life’s seasons becomes enjoyable.


Twenty years ago, we could visit a medieval city and one day feel we’ve given it a review. Today, we’re lucky if we can get out of the main square in a day. We’d not really see more, but everything we see has much more meaning, kickstarts more thoughts and ideas, and reaches sideways to hold hands with many memories.


What we’re looking at hasn’t changed, but what we bring to the viewing has changed remarkably. Thoughtfulness replaced speed, and variety has changed, linking up memory chains.



So as we look at lifestyle change, the focus is not on deterioration and loss. Its expansion of capacities and gain new layers of experience in everything we see and do.


The fun quotient is either stable or goes up if we understand that sprinting is not the only way of moving through life. So, in personal appearance, we’ve come to move a little further up the index. In food, clarity of taste and presentation moves up the ladder past bulk and portability. In opinions, balance becomes more evident. In travel, comfort takes precedence over ticking boxes.



Research becomes as essential as a surprise—the search for meaning moves ahead of the need for new jolts of experience.


Life becomes much more satisfying and engaging as the constant need for fireworks abates. Marriage, the first children, college, their marriage, jobs, and grandchildren cause massive lifestyle changes. The anticipation of these events must always outweigh any sense of loss if we want to grow with the years.

Losing Is Part of Living

I lost an article I worked on for hours and am distraught. I felt inspired to write that article. I was happy about it, but it got lost in the process of posting it. I got angry at myself. I had only my stupidity to blame. Or my ignorance or carelessness.

Trillium. Copyright: aesta1

I took time out to escape the state I was in when I lost it. Many tries at retrieving it frustrated me that the only way left for me was to give it up, let it go, and start anew.

As I relaxed more, I reflected on it. Losing is so much a part of our lives. It happens almost every day. We lose an object we like, our pet dies, or someone takes our plant. The worst is when a loved one passes on to another life. It leaves us angry, disappointed, afraid, or empty. 

I sat down again to write, hoping to recapture the article. I know this is only my way of dealing with the unfortunate situation, but it will not return. I must let go and keep living and creating something new and different. Instead of moping and thinking of the lost one, I focused on creating something new. Yet, the loss kept coming back. The feeling of anger is still there. The disappointment prevents me from thinking. I knew I had to give it time to let it go. It is gone. It is not gone to me, though. 

Losing is a daily occurrence. I thought over 70 years that I would be a pro at this pattern of accepting and letting go. No, every event is new. Every event makes me go through the process once more. Is there ever an end to this. Will I ever grow muscles to let go when I lose someone or something quickly? 

People tell me to keep myself busy. I’m trying to do that, but the struggle between the loss and the new creation gives me a headache. It continues to play in my mind. Ah, the mind. It refuses to let go. 

The only way is for me to quiet my mind down. I can’t fight it. I can only allow its unfolding process or go beyond it. I know I am not my mind, Nor am I my body. I am not the things I lost. No matter how precious they are, they are not me. They are their own. I need to set them free so that they can be. I am my being, and letting them go, allows me to be.

It is this being that I need to be in touch with, to be in its core, so I don’t get lost when I lose things. I know this truth, but each loss brings it back for me to understand it fully. Each day, I need to remember that losing is part of life.

I can watch the unfolding of things, including the loss, and let it be. Being in Me is an anchor. I am. 

Lessons I’ve Learned From the Loss of A Loved One

Well, what says you? I have been retired for some years now and so are my friends. Not only that, many in my circle have now passed on—a staggering reality for many Seniors. 

Loss of a Loved One
Loss of a Loved One

My husband passed away three years ago, and only today, another in our high school class more than 50 years ago also died. 

Death is so much a part of life. More so in our senior years. The earlier we accept this reality, the better will be our appreciation when it takes place in our lives.

We all dread it, I understand. But, at one time or another, someone who is so much a part of our life passes on. The pain and the loss are something you don’t want to wish on, even your worst enemy. 

How do you go through this? How do you manage? When, even amid fun, the memory of the loved one who passed on occupies your thoughts? How do you forget? 

How do you hold the tears that, at any moment, pour out? How can you enjoy anything when your thoughts often return to not being there?

Loss can be debilitating. It can ground you in misery, fear, and loneliness. Even with supportive family and friends, it is not like having your loved one there.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned:

  1. I realized how valuable companionship is, to have someone to laugh with, express your fears, foresee your reaction and smile at it understandably, hold your hand when the movie scares you, or discuss the often perplexing events in today’s world. 
  2. I have to learn to do many things on my own. Eating out alone in a restaurant gives me a bit of discomfort. Or going to a movie or a show on my own. There’s no one to whisper some comments to or share your delight over a dish or a performance.
  3. I don’t enjoy long drives alone. When my husband was around, our long drives were moments of getting to know things in our past, childhood, or thoughts about many things. The sharing somehow becomes more intimate and genuine. Listening to the radio now doesn’t cut it.
  4. I don’t enjoy socializing on my own. It’s like half is missing. My husband was very gregarious and never wanting for words and stories. I, on the other hand, would prefer only to listen. Now, I have to talk more. Maybe, this is not so bad after all.
  5. It’s always fun to have someone around you to harass, laugh with, cry on, love, and be loved. No matter how much you search for a replacement, it is not the same. Mourn your loss. It is important to do this. However, you have to move on and look for ways to live life after your loss. It is not the end. It is the beginning of something different, fascinating and satisfying when you allow yourself to experience it.

A friend told me that those who died are still with us, and I like this. I talk to my husband all the time. When driving, I ask him to help me navigate the traffic, make it easy to merge on the highway, and don’t forget to close the gas cover or leave my credit card or wallet on the pump.

I see friends in other countries. At least I have company in seeing places and enjoying restaurants in those cities. I see friends where I live. 

I have learned to be close to family, travel with them once in a while, visit them, and hang out with them. As was the case before, I have come to appreciate them more as I relate with them directly and not through my husband. 

I have worked on my fears and my tendency to depend on someone. I learn to do things like driving long distances, fixing things, taking care of things on my own, and dealing with loneliness. 

Each one of us deals with loss in a different way. 

But I have many friends who have lived alone because they have not married, divorced, or widowed. I’ve learned how to take things in stride from them and not let matters overwhelm me. They kept telling me that they’d done it for many years. Why am I complaining? Somehow, this pushes me to do the things I dread doing.

After three years, I feel I’m getting into the rhythm of living alone. As much as the first day it happened, I am still my husband, but I can cope with life alone.

I found how valuable a good relationship with our families and friends is. It’s strong support as I deal with my loss. I don’t think I would have managed if not for these relationships.

What Is Your Favourite Childhood Memory

How many years ago was that? I’ll try if I remember anything as I can hardly remember where I placed my glasses a minute ago.

Backyard

Friends had been sharing the moments they enjoyed so much when they were children. Mind you, that was a different environment from where we are today.

Then, we felt safe in our neighborhood. We played in the streets. We walked to school unaccompanied, and after school, we played with friends. Primarily, our parents had no clue where we were. Most parents then had only one rule: to be home before dark.

When we celebrated our golden jubilee in our old high school, which means 50 years after graduation, most of our friends remembered best our traversing the path home in the rain, carrying our slippers for fear that they might break we’ll get a good one from our mothers.

We slid in the mud, pushing one another in great delight. We couldn’t think of any bullies among us. If a hint comes out, we will get it from our parents. This fear was more than enough to keep us within the line.

We had close friends, but we played with almost anyone. Even the older kids never bullied us. They taught us many things, or some ignored us. As the bell rings, signaling the end of classes, the streets stream with kids in uniforms as classrooms empty in various directions.

After school is the best time of the day for most of us. There was still time to play before we had to go home to do our chores.

We hardly had toys at home, so we stayed in the streets with our friends. We thought of games to play, stories to tell, fruit trees to climb, and infrequently go home with a friend to eat simple left-overs at their house, which often meant cold rice and dried fish. But thinking about it now, we salivate as if we were in front of a hugely delicious feast.

The games we played consisted mainly of using stones, old cans, or bottles. Whatever we can find around. We marked the perimeters on the ground with sticks. Oh, we played with sticks, too. We had plenty of fun. But when we showed how we played these games to our children and grandchildren, they smirked at us with their bored faces.

On weekends, we often went for exploration. This activity was best immediately aftermath a storm. We all head to the river. The river in our tiny town became a beehive of activity. We gathered firewood, built temporary wells showing these off to each other, swam, floated in the water, and helped our family with washing clothes.

Some of our friends were excellent climbers. A few had many relatives whose trees we could peruse with ripe fruits. I remember always going out with a friend to climb star apple trees. I have to confess that I could not climb. It scared me stiff. So, I would spread my skirt around my waist and catch the ripe fruits I could not capture well. My friends never for an instant laughed at this or belittled me. They worked around my handicap and found things I could do. Yes, those were the days when bullying was not a trend yet.

After more than fifty years after our high school graduation, this memory is often the most remembered and shared. We must have enjoyed so much our simple lives then. We never blamed our parents that they deprived us or that they never had time for us. We were content then and happy now about our life then.

I wish we had pictures of those days, but unhappily with the absence of cameras and cellphones, we could not document so much of our fun. It’s etched thoroughly in our minds, and though over 70, we could still talk about it as if it only happened yesterday.

We accept that times have changed now, and kids live in a different context with its challenges. We understand that. Yet, we sometimes wish life was still as simple as our childhood.

Our grandkids live in a different context. They have to deal with other challenges, and only if we enter into their world will we be able to help them. Like us, they will cherish their memories just as much as we do ours.

I hope I have awakened a cherished childhood memory you had. Do share it.

A Walk in the Woods

It’s Spring—time to be at the cottage. When I arrived, the leaves were not out yet. The trees were bare, and I could see much more.

Wild Flowers in the Woods

Because the plants growing underneath these trees are getting more sun, they’ve come to open themselves to the rays of the mighty sun and open themselves in beautiful blooms carpeting the woods with its flowers. It’s lovely to see these blooms coming out of the rotting leaves. Life is back. It is in color.

Lily of the Valley

This year, there are many surprises. One of the best is the Lily of the Valley. I haven’t seen it for years, but this year, it surprised me. I thought I was dreaming, but it was there with its fragrant tiny flowers.

But my favorite is always the trillium. In the early Spring, it fills the woods with white flowers. Then, after pollination, they turn to mauve. There’s the occasional mix of deep purple and yellow.

The violets are out, too. Mixed with the bright dandelions, it’s a field to admire.

These flowers bloom whether we are there or not to admire them. It just is—Nature’s prime lesson at this time. This being is what we can model in our lives as seniors. Wilting and dropping are parts of life. We celebrate it as we do the rising and the blooming.

Observing Nature with its changes every season, I think of the seasons in our lives. We go through stages, and when this happens, we resist with force and try all ways to alter them. Instead, Nature shows us how to be with the changes and live through them. Be excited about them.

Living through these changes is not at all a passive stance. It is a complete acceptance of what is happening and living it thoroughly, just as we delight to watch what will spring out every season and where one’s favorite flower will show itself this year.

Every year added to our age is something we need to celebrate. It always brings with it something new, something different. It expands our awareness of our being and how wonderfully made we are.

Today, for example, I found out I can move my left chest and right chest, my left hip, and my right hip, and as I breathe into them, I give them more energy. I am discovering more of my body as it calls my attention with its aches and pains.

Being old is not that bad. At times, we only focus on the deterioration of our bodies. We miss listening to the wisdom our bodies have learned in all its years of existence.

As I walk through the woods and look up at the trees, I see the new leaves sprouted. I thought to myself, and they’re all new. I thought of how they proudly displayed their beautiful colors in the Fall, and off they went when the winds blew.

As we age, we think of our prime days when we were vigorous, highly productive, and recognized. When we retire, we look with envy at the accomplishments of the younger ones and sometimes put them down. We talk of the good old days, much better than they have now.

Is this what we have learned from those many years? Is this what we can offer the younger generation? There must be a wiser way.

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Why a Cup of Coffee in Bed Is Very Satisfying

Nothing urgent is out there calling you to get out of bed. Is there? The perk of being a senior.
First Coffee Cup

So, in the morning, I look forward to having my cup of coffee. I have had my coffee in bed these days, and I realized how enjoyable it is. I used to get up, get ready for work and drive to the office, waiting to get a coffee there. It perks me up for work.

However, now that there is no work to hurry to, I can enjoy my cup of coffee leisurely, every sip a delight.

It makes me feel I have nothing else to do, only enjoy being with myself, essential.

I had no idea of its joyous potential until recently, when the lockdown made me live with myself and no one else. I talk to myself. I only see myself, so I began to see myself consciously. I started to know it, explore its inner realities, and what a surprise it is.

The self has a tremendous inner world waiting to be known. I started exploring, and I delved into its dark side. I felt its fears, insecurities, deficiencies, sorrows, anxieties, and secrets. It astounded me that I connected to it, got to know it, and brought it to light.

As I dug deeper, I found my inner self beneath these, a self full of light, beauty, and capable of creating. I started connecting to this self, and my life changed. Could this be real?

My life fills with magic as I welcome the new unfolding, the unknown getting known each day. A different pattern unfolds before me, something I create not with the usual effort of the previous self but with the ease of connecting to power beyond oneself.

Now, I love these moments of being with myself and connecting its power to its depth to its unending capacity. I realize I am not seeking my mission in life which for years I agonize over. I strive for myself, the self that is my gift to the world. It’s myself as it continues in its creative unfolding. Here I am, universe. I am the gift, the mission, the calling. I am as I become and connect to the universe.

I had for years felt the longing for home, not the physical house, and for years I moved from country to country, and it kept nagging at me. I did not understand it, so I ignored it, but it stayed on.

Recently, I have come home with time for myself and alone with myself. To a world right there inside of me and yet connected to all. I have come home.

I now realize I have one call, one mission, to be. To be the fully developed being that I am. As I do this, I become more connected to the world because as I become one with myself, I become one with the world. Oneness. No more division. Wholeness.

So one more coffee in bed. One more time to be me.

70 Years and One

I woke up surprised to see it was 6:30. I slept so well and straight through, which does not happen often. I took on a relaxed position and started my meditation. Something new in me wants to be recognized. It brought joy.

Piano Collage.

I started to listen, and slowly it revealed itself. It is Me. I felt its joy, freedom, freshness, and exhilaration to come out of whatever box I hid it in all these years.

Somehow, I managed to craft a self that fits whatever my environment requires all these years. I did it so well that I eventually believed it was me.

Yes, I lived it well and fooled many but not myself. I felt the restlessness, the need to get away, and the anger when someone goes near the hidden one.

I was a success, so no one thought there was something wrong except for the more discerning of my friends, who sometimes brought it up.

My body tells me the truth. It cannot stand straight. I was tired most of the time, even when I did nothing. When I host a party, I always need a week of quiet after that.

Sometimes, I take time to meditate and go inside my quiet self, but I have hidden it so well that even I forgot where it was. I could not envision it because I have fully identified with my crafted self. I shared deep insights into myself with some friends after my meditation. Not only that, I took some courses to help me go deeper into myself, so I thought I was okay.

Wisdom seemed to flow from me that I thought there was nothing else I needed to do. A friend of mine finally agreed that I perhaps have nothing else to do with myself until my next reincarnation, but this proved not true.

Here I am in Spain. I had a vague feeling that this would be my second birth. I told my friend that I was here for “me time.” The schedule of life here allowed for this. It was now eight in the morning, and I could hardly hear a noise except the sound of my keyboard.

Another good thing about my trip here was my stay in a convent. My friend here is a nun and invited me to stay in the convent, where I rested when I arrived. It afforded me the quiet and solitude that I needed. The atmosphere of prayer somehow healed my soul and may have invited the real me to come out. There was not much interaction, so there was no one to please or entertain.

This atmosphere may have coaxed my true self to take the courage to show itself. It was the start of the advent season, and on the altar, there was a big picture of Mary pondering things in her heart. I carried this image with me as I went through my days of quiet and prayer.

Today was the fulfillment when I met for the first time my authentic self. I felt it. I rejoiced with it. Inside of me, something new and beautiful emerges, robust and confident not to be swayed by comments or expectations. I love it.

It took me seventy years, but this doesn’t matter. What matters is that I found it. My senior years will be one of the profound joy of being who I truly am, not perfect but beautiful, not whole but becoming, a being that lives its depth and keeps rooting itself in it.

Easy Ways to Create Relaxing Spaces in Your Condo

Cozy living room. Source: aesta1

No matter how small our places are, we can continually create some cozy corners where we can unwind and enjoy the things we love to do. Yes, creating spaces where we can make this relaxation happen needs to be a top priority for many seniors.

We stay much more in our places now because of the restrictions due to the pandemic. Even without the Covid pandemic, it is always a comforting experience to enter your home when calming and relaxing. Thus, it is crucial to our well-being that we make the places we live, no matter how tiny, very relaxing.

During the day, relaxing for even a short moment is crucial to our mental health. You’ll probably say that’s what I do every moment now. Maybe, but I will tell you my latest experience.

There was a time in one of my slouches on the sofa, a favorite position during the pandemic lockdown, my mind turned to quiet. It moved its focus on my body, and I started to listen. My body felt so tense even when all day, I watched Netflix. I thought I felt relaxed as I did not do anything stressful.

My body told me otherwise, so I continued listening. I started to listen to each part of my body where I felt the tension. At that moment, I realized how stressed my body parts were. I then decided to do something about it.

First, I cleaned out the clutter in my place. I have given up my house for a two-bedroom condo in the heart of the city. After three years, I quickly filled it up. The books alone that I got attached to already filled up so many spaces. So, I searched on the Condo website to see if someone was renting storage. I found one, contacted the owner, and rented it. I also have storage, but I filled that up fast. The amount is something I could take out of my entertainment budget, and for my mental health, the investment was worth it. The acquisition, I believed, was good for my mental balance.

Second, I gave away things I did not need. I gifted them to friends.
Third, I stopped buying. I continued to check out stores for new designs and products, which I enjoy doing, but I left these products at the store. Unless it is a hundred percent fit to what I was looking for, I did not get it. I often went home with only a few food items that I consumed immediately in my forays downtown. I felt lighter and happier.

Fourth, I managed my “por si acaso” (just in case) attitude. This phrase means buying things just in case there is a need for them. I threw out the thought each time it came to me in the store.

Fifth, I transformed cozy corners in my condo into places of relaxation, and here are the pictures. The first picture is a reading corner, the second is a coffee corner, and the third is a lounging area. These three places give me options to do some of the things I enjoy.

Reading Corner. Source: aesta1
Coffee Corner. Source: aesta1
Lounging Area. Source: aesta1

Finally, I abandoned my sofa for a large part of the day with these relaxing places and instead found solace in these other areas. While the real work is within ourselves, these places promote a sense of well-being, enabling us to do more interior work. Indeed, creating relaxing corners in our home makes for a healthy being, and we must give it more attention. I wish you luck in your effort.

To Work or Not: The Seniors’ Dilemma

Seniors Dilemma
To Work or Not

When asked if she was still working, my 70-year old friend responded, I love being at work. It keeps my mind working. I’m still thinking of what to do when I retire rather than eat, watch tv, sleep, repeat.

But isn’t work a repetition as well of what we had been doing for years? Isn’t retirement an opportunity to explore something new? Isn’t this a unique chance to try out some of our dreams and desires and give them a reality?

Often a dilemma that seniors face, many opt to stay at work where they are engaged and have a network of friends to socialize within the work environment. Somehow, when you retire, you lose touch with these people. More than ever now, many Seniors decide to work because they need extra money to support their retirement. Work is not a choice but a necessity.

Many other Seniors couldn’t wait for that last day of work, and many of them have created a life they never dreamt of before. The impetus could be the big move to a place closer to their grandchildren. Or it could be to start that business they had wanted to do. Or give more time to hobbies they enjoy doing like going to the cinema, art shows, museums and traveling to different places to appreciate other people’s culture and ways of life. There are varied reasons for decisions we make, and none of these are wrong. 

Our decision is very personal, centered on many considerations that fill our lives. But, maybe, there’s more to just these considerations. Deep inside us are desires that, when listened to, may direct us to new paths we haven’t even thought of before.

Maybe, retirement is our specific moment to do this. Listen to that desire deep within us, that something for which we want to give our all, whatever it takes to make it happen. When we do this, I guarantee that success and joy will come. There might be a genius idea waiting for you to express, a desire so strong that nobody or nothing can stop you from making it happen. But whatever the reason, for many, this is the time to make a change. Today is your time.

But then, you ask yourself, what does it take to do this? Do I have what it takes to make this happen? There are more approaches than one to do the change. Whatever path you follow, there are some general steps you can start right now. 

First, keep our minds open. Because we hesitate to change, we view the opportunities and see only the barriers, dangers, and problems. We have our set ways, and we keep being in that even if our lives have changed and we have aged, we can hardly do those things anymore. We can’t give up and let go. We need to pass on the wisdom of our experience to the new generation, not the jobs they crave often.

Second, keep your ear to the ground for innovative businesses people are starting now. You might stumble into one of these, which will be the inspiration you need.

Third, read up on what other Seniors are engaged in or are starting and developing. Sometimes, our vision is limited, so we need to enrich it with what others are trying out.

Fourth, listen to what you truly desire. The demands of current work and responsibilities often silence the longings deep inside us, but they are there just waiting for us to lend them our ears. To truly hear, we need to be humble and listen to what our aging body tells us. At our age, the calls are different. They could not be the usual things we do, so listen.

Fifth, there are many courses we can take to pursue these desires. So, there is no reason to be discouraged from pursuing your new wish. YouTube alone and Podcasts can teach us new skills or knowledge we need to start. Listen to some of these and find out which has a strong resonance to your inner self.

Have courage and move on. You’ll never know. You might be the toast of the town a year after you say goodbye to that job.

Beyond the Edge

Recently, I visited New York, my first trip outside of the country after a long pandemic lockdown. While there, a friend and I went to its latest attraction, The Edge. We went up the elevator to the 100th Floor, and when we got out, a 360 view of the whole city greeted us. There’s a platform outside that makes you feel you’re indeed on edge.

It was quite an experience. At first, excitement gripped me as the elevator brought us up. I wondered what it would be like to be on the 100th Floor of a building. My breath quickened as we reached the top, and I couldn’t stop my heart racing expecting something spectacular.

I was not disappointed. My eyes riveted to the view that was unfolding in front of me. It draws me to move on and experience what it was to be right there on that promontory extending outside the perimeters of the building. Fear and excitement interspersed. It’s like falling in love for the first time, and one is drawn to the person but is also hesitant to get closer, not yet knowing who this man or woman is.

I walked towards the edge with hesitant steps. Every step is a decision to test the limits of my fear. The presence of so many people gave me courage. It was an assurance of safety. Safety in numbers, as they say.

Slowly, we walked around and quickly became quite comfortable looking out at the city spread under our gaze. My hesitant steps became hurried with excitement that we even went to the bar to buy a glass of champagne to commemorate our being there at The Edge.

Afterward, my thoughts focused on the experience of what it is to be on edge. Often, we fear even going near it. We seek safety, comfort, and stability. I thought of children, especially those who have newly learned to walk. They keep going to where something promises excitement, something attractive and of interest. They’ll move towards anything that catches their fancy with no sense of danger along the way.

We, adults, have long lost that pursue of anything that has caught our attention. We would think of all the possible risks and obstacles that we end up not doing at all.

Fear often engulfs us to go closer to the edge, so we hold off and stay where we are even though nothing in this place excites us. Life continues to be a bore but safe.

To be perched on the edge, we can see more. We can see clearly, but we hesitate to go there. Instead, we satisfy ourselves with seeing only a part of reality but feeling stable. As we grow, we aim for stability that often, we only see a tiny portion of reality. We satisfy ourselves with this narrow view, and we defend this audaciously when attacked. We have learned all kinds of defenses to make it more stable.

Is this how we want to live our lives? Or do we want to be more on edge?

The edge is the limit we have set ourselves, which we do all the time. I run away when I’ve reached my limit. I don’t understand why but I do it. So, I’m meditating on this to find out why I have been doing this all my life. This running away is serious as it has affected so many of my significant decisions. Is it because I lack the courage to face whatever it is that baffles me? I don’t know. I will share when it gets more evident to me.