Pick your battles

Image result for pick your battlesOne of the hard things to learn in life is which battles to fight. It is so easy to get caught up in something and turn a mole hill into a mountain. It took me a long time to back down and not get caught up in the moment.

I can remember arguing heatedly with one of my children about what to wear to school. The outfit wasn’t that bad…just didn’t match. If that happened to day I would have just let it go. Amazing what we learn with time.

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This also applies to conflict with a spouse. Sometimes it is just better to not be charged up by what is going on. I am so much better at that now than I used to be.

Some battles are not that important. They really won’t matter in the big scheme of things. Learn what battles really need fighting and when to just back away.

Last minute? Not this time!

Tonight my husband and I attend a dinner for graduates of The United States Military Academy (West Point). He has worked on this dinner very hard….too, too, hard. The problem has been that younger graduates (we finally figured out) did not have the training in how to set up a formal dinner. Having done this during our years in the military and also since then we are well versed in how complicated it is.

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For this kind of dinner there are seating charts, table numbers, reservations, meal choices and many other things. The younger grads think that you can just call the day before and change table seating or add extra guests. Obviously they have never dealt with hotels, country clubs etc and don’t understand deadlines.

In spite of all the confusion I’m sure it will all work out but afterward there will be an extensive after-action report and some teaching (from me) about how things are managed. Not many things are done like this any more. The world is more casual and most people have never had to do it. I guess if you work at the White House you get it. They will too after this.

Lifestyle and health

As I was out walking today I thought about how many of our illnesses are caused by our lifestyle. Heart disease, some cancers, COPD, and many others are directly linked to how we live.

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I was reminded of a friend of mine who smoked. Each year she stopped smoking for Lent and then started back up after Easter. What a crazy thing to do.

Image result for healthy lifestyle and mental healthSome problems arise because of our mental health. Anger can be linked to stroke and high blood pressure. Anxiety and depression can lead to suicide. I don’t think we cause those problems ourselves but they may be, and frequently are, linked to our childhood. Our parents were responsible for how we were treated as children. In some cases this was good and in others not. It can be a major struggle to overcome childhood trauma and it does affect lifestyle which in turn affects health.

More and more we are learning about the link to our lifestyle and our health issues. I hope that we are able to make better decisions for ourselves as we learn and especially for our children. Maybe the more we learn the healthier we will be.

Who will win?

For the last few days I have been suffering with what I thought was the beginnings of a bad cold. Runny, runny, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and feeling bad. That started three days ago. Today I feel better. Makes no sense. It it were a cold I would still be coughing etc. for at least another week. I am grateful but also a little confused. It is like waiting for the other shoe to drop. I hope I continue feeling better.

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It’s funny how starting something like a cold can mess up our thinking. With Coronavirus out there we are more aware than usual of what a virus can do. My husband and I are older and this is the first time that it has made me feel more vulnerable. I am not used to that. I am a healthy active person and am seldom sick. It feels weird to be in a group that is more at risk.

This virus scare has awakened all of us to how vulnerable we humans are. We have lived with the idea that we are supreme. There is nothing out there tougher than we are. Well, guess what? Something that can only be seen with an electron microscope can take us out.

It certainly puts things into perspective. A while ago someone said that the insects will outlive us. Now it sounds like it may the viruses. We don’t take care of ourselves and the earth around us. We eat poorly, don’t exercise, abuse our bodies and then wonder why we are not well.

It’s time to rethink things. We have to pay attention to ourselves, others (animals, insects, bacteria, whatever) and understand the consequences of our mistreatment of everything.

I put off

We procrastinate. I think we all do. We put off things. Those of us who have anxiety would rather suffer being anxious than tackle the thing that is causing the problem. We would rather obsess about it and keep putting it off. This make the anxiety blossom and nothing has gotten better.

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I am better at doing things than I used to be. Somewhere along the line I discovered that doing the thing I dreaded got it our of the way and then I felt better. Sometimes the list has to be scrapped until the next day. Sometimes I fall back into the trap of putting things off and then I suffer for it.

Image result for listsOne of the things that got me started was some advice a number of years ago. The person suggested making a list of the things that needed doing and then prioritize them. You may not get to the end of the list each day but you will be able to cross some things off. Seeing those cross outs makes you feel better. It also tackle the things that I obsess about first.

It doesn’t work for everything but is does help with some things.

 

We are not perfect so TRY!

Usually, when we say we can’t do something, what we means that we won’t do something unless we can guarantee that we’ll do it perfectly.      The Artist’s Way

I am so guilty of this. Growing up my father was always encouraging me to try lots of different things. So many time I wouldn’t because I didn’t think I could do it well. The sad part is that I missed so many opportunities by not trying.

It took me way too many years to try anything I want to experience. I am not afraid any more of not being perfect or of failure. When I started my last job I told people that if I gave a presentation and it didn’t have an error then I didn’t do it.

So many times I post blogs with errors because my mind is running faster than my fingers. I know, I know I should check them over but I get ahead of myself.

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We are not perfect. We never will be. Don’t miss out on things because you are afraid of not doing well. Life is too short not to try!

The elusive memory

The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves, they find their own order…the continuous thread of revelation.  Eudora Welty

Our lives move forward on a continuum. Events happen every day. Some events are memorable and some are not. I have always found it interesting the things we have stored away and can recall and the things we can’t. Our memories are selective. Our brains store information….probably everything we ever did but most of it cannot be recalled.

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I have been asked about my earliest memory. I have a memory but it is not really clear. I am standing in a crib in my mother and father’s room. That is all there is. There is no context…nothing more than that. I don’t know why I have that memory. It seems to have no significance but there it is.

Image result for memoryOf course we remember traumatic events or days of special happiness but we don’t always remember the specifics and our memories will usually not match those of others who were there.

It is also interesting how memories can be triggered by other senses. A certain smell can cause recall. I grew up in Virginia and my family had large privet hedges around the back yard. When I smell privet it brings back memories of that place.

Music can remind us of a particular time that we heard it. We also experience the feelings associated with those memories. This can be a good thing but in the case of persons who have had a trauma it can bring it all back full force. That is what happens to those with PTSD. The memory comes with all the feelings of fear and horror.

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How our brain keeps memories and which ones come to light is not fully known but more is learned each day.

 

 

 

Drugs and Devices

My husband is scheduled in April for the implantation of a device to prevent clots. This started me thinking about such devices and prescription drugs.

The FDA regulates drugs and devices used in the US. In general this is a good thing but there are some holes in the system.

If a device is very similar to another device it can be approved without as much testing as the original. This can be used by companies to slide in products that have not had the extensive testing required by the original. For example, there is not just one heart valve replacement on the market and they may not all be considered equal.

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There are similar issues with drugs although the problem can present in a different way. Has anyone wondered why the company that raised Insulin prices astronomically was able to do that? A small change in the medication made it able to considered a different drug and was therefore allowed a different patent allowing the price gouging. Insulin was originally given away by its creator in order to help mankind. Look what has happened now.

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We have so many problems with our medical system and these are ones not always at the forefront. If only we could all care about the patient and not all the outliers how wonderful the system could be.

Tell the truth??? or not??

Truth said in love can hurt before it heals. Unknown

Sometimes we know something that we feel needs to be told. It is something that we know will be a surprise (not always a good one). It is something that could be devastating. What do we decide to do?

This can be an awful decision. It is important to look carefully at why we would disclose. It is possible that we might never be forgiven. It is possible that any friendship will be gone. Do we want to tell for us or for them? Will the disclosure be worth the pain it could inflict? We absolutely have to look closely at ourselves and think about the outcome. Sometimes revealing something it not necessary in the long run. Some times the repercussions will be too painful and can be unnecessary.

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Taking the time to think everything through is most important. Hurting someone should not be done lightly. Think before you do!

Why?

Today we went to see the movie 1917. I am not fond of war movies but my husband wanted to see it. I don’t want to talk about the movie but something that came to me while watching.

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Another war….how many since? Why are we this way? Why do we go to war rather than solve problems? Why are we greedy and selfish? Why do we hate those who are not like us? Why are we not loving and kind and compassionate?

Did we start out that way or did we grow into it? And the real question is what can we do to change?

Lots of questions and no real answers. Rilke’s quote tells us to live in uncertainty and wait for answers.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” Rainer Maria Rilke

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I hope that he is right and that some day, somehow, a miracle will occur and the earth will be a place of peace and love.