See For Yourself

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You can’t always take someone else’s word for something that you can’t see for yourself. It’s fine to participate in a good debate and some people enjoy taking classes as adults because they’re still interested in learning. But never settle for accepting someone else’s opinion.

We often tell our children to be leaders, not followers. We encourage them to think and act for themselves (of course, they’ll only listen to what we say for a few short years). Then it’s on to their friends as their closest advisors.

It’s certainly easier, by far, to just be a bystander and not commit yourself to a cause. That might be okay for some people but others like to take a more active part. Standing up for or standing beside another human being takes a different kind of person – one who is completely dedicated and accepts the risks involved.

Open your eyes, your mind and your heart and, together, let them lead the way. You’ll sleep better, you’ll feel better and you’ll never again doubt your choices!

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The New Normal

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There’s nothing wrong with getting older. It’s almost as if the ‘over 65’ crowd is ‘the new normal.’ Aches and pains aside, more people than ever before are living into their eighties, their nineties and even living long enough to hear Willard Scott read their names (not as part of a memoriam but) on a Smuckers jar.

One noble aspect about aging is that it doesn’t discriminate – all races and genders, if they’re lucky, can be members of this inclusive club. The only rule is that you do it right… the living, that is, not the dying.

Old people are constantly portrayed as those suffering from incontinence, heart disease, arthritis and memory loss. They’re seen as cranky, unattractive, frail and forgetful. The fact of the matter is, today’s elders are actually computer literate, taking classes, starting new jobs and finding ways to improve their lives.

It’s no longer enough to just sit back and enjoy your retirement. You must keep an open mind and not be afraid to fail. You have to be open to discovery and appreciate life – especially knowing that your time may be limited.

Always remember this… You don’t get to choose how you’ll die but you sure can choose how you’ll live!

Ready Or Not

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“Ready or not, here I come…,” we shouted as children playing Hide and Go Seek. And, not surprisingly, we always found our playmates. “Are you ready, yet?” we asked our own children when we were running late to an appointment. “Let’s Go” and “Chop Chop,” I often, and as kindly as possible, say to my parents when I know they would rather just stay home but they’ve got places to go and things to do.

With 24 hours in a day, you’d think that we would have plenty of time… we rush to work, we rush getting dressed up to go to events and we even rush so that we don’t end up having to rush. Time is a funny thing. We think we have so much of it when we’re young so we’re always late. Then we want time to slow down because things were so much easier when we had nothing BUT time.

“Youth is wasted on the young.” Wouldn’t it be great to have known then what you know now that you’re older and more experienced? Sadly, all of that knowledge and wisdom comes too late to be able to really enjoy it – as our younger selves could.

They say you’re never quite ready for marriage or children. There isn’t necessarily a perfect time in our lives for such life-altering events. But we do our best whether or not we’re truly ready!

 

Leave Em Smiling

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As you age, you notice certain parts of your body fail to work quite as well as they used to work. Your eyes don’t see as well and your ears don’t hear as well. You might experience a change in your taste buds and certain smells that you used to enjoy may now seem unpleasant.

Supposedly (much like ‘when a door closes, a window opens’), when one of your senses starts to decline, another one becomes stronger. People who are born without sight or hearing or even limbs have been known to accomplish incredible feats due to this phenomenon. Some of our best known artists, musicians and athletes are among them.

So, if it takes you a little longer to get around or you have to rely on the kindness of others when performing daily tasks… fear not. We’re all in this together. Today you may notice the daily struggles encountered by your elders but tomorrow (or soon enough) your day will come. And even if (one day) your teeth come out of a jar, you can still command an audience with your Life Songs. Just remember to always keep em smiling (and, more importantly, make sure you take those teeth out of the jar first)!

Do It Yourself

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DIY – there are some things I enjoy doing for myself. These include: knitting, needlepoint, coloring, collage-making and jigsaw puzzles. Granted, they’re all mostly artsy-crafty types of activities but I get a lot of satisfaction out of completing my own projects, without help, and with (hopefully) pleasing results.

But when living with my elderly parents, I find it much easier to just pick up the slack. And that seems plenty agreeable to them as well… most of the time.

I understand and respect their need for independence – but only up to a point. Sometimes it just makes more sense (and takes less time) to do things myself. I also hate feeling like I’m overseeing them or rushing them to finish certain tasks because I have other places I need to be and work I need to get done.

It’s not like I plan on remodeling or doing major electrical work around our home. But, between my constant need for organization and cleanliness (above all else), I’ll continue with my little projects as long as they make me happy… busying my hands and keeping them far away from the cookie jar!*

*Cookie Jar – from Paint Your Own Pottery, Stowe, VT
Plate – from Fishs Eddy, NYC
Cookies – from Keebler

Labor Day Lament

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As I was swimming my daily laps in the pool this morning, I was thinking ahead to all the things I planned on doing over this holiday weekend. My first thought was of attending as many street/town/county fairs as humanly possible. I just love those – especially, as a crafter myself, enjoying seeing all the amazing crafts people create.

My second thought was about all the sales there would be in stores. I have no intention of putting myself in the middle of all that craziness – both the traffic and the people who truly believe they will be getting some kind of bargain. But, also, there’s the fact that having all those people working on the holiday kind of defeats the purpose of celebrating the holiday, doesn’t it?

So there’s the real dilemma. To work or not to work. If you need the income or don’t care one way or another then it’s your choice to work. If you feel more strongly about not working, then that is your choice as well. Either way, stores will voluntarily open or close, people will barbecue or shop or just relax and enjoy the last remnants of summer with friends and family.

For my parents, it’ll be just another day following just another weekend. They will most likely keep to their daily routine and maybe, just maybe, think back to their younger, carefree days or to their years of hard work and, hopefully, feel a sense of accomplishment for lives well lived!