When I think about all that life has offered me I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Soon ( November 15th) I will have my 78th birthday. It is hard to believe. So much time has passed but it feels as if it were yesterday. My childhood with amazing parents and family. Even my mother’s long term illness which taught me so much about life blessed me and taught me endurance and persistence in the face of adversity. I think my anxiety was connected to her near death but life moved on as she chose to accept her restrictions and live.
College aided my growth as I struggled with IBSD and later an episode of Ulcerative Colitis. Graduation brought marriage to my amazing husband in 1962 and anxiety took a back seat for many years. Strangely enough the birth of 3 children brought me no stress but continued joy. They are all married with children of their own and one great grandchild.
It is easy to look back and see things that I would like to have done differently but those are the things we learn with age and experience. Wouldn’t it be nice to see that wisdom early on. The only thing that we can do is to share it with other generations and hope that some of it rubs off. When we are young we are so good at turning away from the wisdom of our elders. Our society doesn’t help as it is so youth focused. Too bad we are not part of the cultures that honor their elders and appreciate their wisdom.
I have had trials that tested my endurance and moments that have provided great joy. That seems to be the sum of life as we age. We can look back and contemplate the rough and the smooth and see the ways we withstood it all.
Long life is a true blessing and I am thankful for all of it….the good and the bad. It has made me who I am.
Ordinary has gotten a bad rap. There is nothing wrong in being ordinary. It’s just that the word sounds so bland. If we consider ourselves ordinary we think we fade into the background. No one notices us. We can feel that we don’t count.
Am I ordinary? In many ways I am. I lead what can be considered an ordinary life. I am middle class, bright enough, average looks…nothing unusual. At least that is one way to look at it.
For some of us ordinary could be a goal. If we struggle with being different, or at least see ourselves that way, ordinary could sound really good. Ordinary would look like everyone else…. the ability to fit in. And we struggle with not being able to. But we do fit in…just into our own place.
The truth is we are all ordinary in the good sense. Each of us has a place in the world. Each of us has something to give to the world. Each of us is important. Each life doesn’t have to shout “see me! see me!” to have meaning. Just being who we are is extra-ordinary enough.
The person each of us is has a role. Each of us is a part of life. Each of us is really extra-ordinary. There will never be another you or another me. That is enough.
Life is a team sport. The idea of a sports “team” is that they all work together toward a goal. No one player is foremost. Without the others the game would be lost. I know that sometimes there are players who seem better than the others but that person could not go out on the field alone. Each one is important to the outcome.
Some games are not for team players….I’m thinking of tennis (mostly alone) and golf (also mostly alone). This is the place where the individual shines. They do shine at the game but I suspect that it took a team to get them there. They didn’t do it alone.
For most of us life requires a team. We need other people in our lives. Without it life is barren. I once saw a documentary about a chaplain to those on death row. The interviewer asked if he believed in the death penalty. He said no. He was then asked what he would suggest instead. He answered that he would sentence them to life in solitary confinement. For most of us this would be worse than death. Total insanity would likely be the result. We really need human contact.
For some people human contact is difficult. Social anxiety can make being with others difficult. For some, being so needy that wanting acceptance from everyone can make life unmanageable. ( a different kind of social anxiety) However, contact of some kind is crucial to our well being. For those people social media is a blessing especially if it offers a safe place to interact with others. Hopefully this contact will help move them toward enabling a face to face interaction.
When I thought about this I realized that there were people in the past who recognized like minded others through books, letters, and limited contact and who used the written word to communicate with each other. Many formed a bond and later connected in a more intimate setting. So even in the past communication in a non threatening way was possible. Now it is faster and easier.
Never stop seeking out those who can enhance your life and offer a safe environment for exchanging thoughts and feelings. Life is a team sport. We can’t do it alone.
I have been thinking about what bits of wisdom I want to pass on. Can I say anything that will matter to you? Will you be willing to listen? Years of life do teach us things that we wish we had know earlier. These thoughts are simple ones.
Enjoy what you have and not what you don’t have.
It is so easy to focus on the things we want. They may not even be things we need but just things we think we should have. If we have a place to call home a bed to sleep in and enough to eat we have enough. Don’t struggle to keep up with other people. They don’ really matter. Instead be grateful every day for your life and health. If you have people in your life that you love and who love you ….you are blessed. Thank God every day for them. Show them that you appreciate them. Life is short and they may be gone before you can blink an eye.
Appreciate the moment
Every moment is precious. Even the ones that aren’t so good. Don’t just let them slip by but store them away in your memory. They won’t come again. Remember we only have NOW. Tomorrow is a day away and yesterday is gone.
Find the good in everything
Watch the movie Pollyanna and absorb her philosophy. We can find good even in the bad things. Some good can always be found. Don’t spend time bemoaning the negative. It just makes you miserable and who wants that. If you must express your sorrow, frustration or anger give yourself 24 hours for a “pity party”and then move on. You earned some time to fuss about your fate but after that get up and go on. Just being alive is a gift so appreciate it.
Don’t regret what you can’t fix.
If you did something that you are sorry for do what you can to fix it and then let it go. To hang on to guilt does nothing to help. Some things in life just can’t be fixed. Remember that. The only thing you will do is to frustrate yourself. Let it go.
Get a decent meal and a good night’s sleep.
Some food in your stomach and some sleep to rest your mind can change your attitude and your approach to things. Things tend to look different in the daylight. Worrying doesn’t help so have a good night and be ready to tackle the next day. Remember, all things pass….for good or ill. Perspective is everything.