Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kiss This Paper

          What if you aren’t rich and don’t own valuable possessions that will be left behind after you’re gone?

          I never had children and I’ve been plagued for many years by this question about what will remain after my physical being is gone. Perhaps it’s egotistical to say that I’ve always wanted to leave something behind…a legacy of some sort, but what could that be?

          My writing seems to be the obvious answer and reason for the title of this post.

          What if the only things you leave behind are your words?

Anne Bradstreet
                  Sometime in the 1630’s Boston Puritan poet, Anne Bradstreet, contemplated her legacy when she penned a letter with a poem to her husband, Simon. Pregnant, she feared she might die in childbirth and wanted to be sure to leave something of herself. She felt solace in knowing that the words of her poem would leave her mark on the world and would stand as a physical presence to those who loved her:

“And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this
verse,
With some sad sighs honour my absent
Herse;
And kiss this paper for thy loves dear
sake,
Who with salt tears this last Farewel did
take
.”

          It chokes me up to think of a bereft husband or other relative holding dearly the paper that last touched a beloved…that the ink brought forth the words that came from her being. We don’t have that physicality today, and that is sad too.

          Perhaps because we don’t have a poem written in ink today, it’s more important than ever to pen some sort of legacy – whether you have descendants or not. And it doesn’t have to be a full-on treatise about the minutia of every corner of your life.

          I doubt anyone wants to know who first kissed me or what I did with my first paycheck or about the argument with my father that made me run away from home when I was 14. I believe it’s more important to leave some thoughts on what your beliefs are, and how you felt about things. Personally, I wouldn't waste time sharing my feelings about an opposing political party. Also I can’t picture a final bitch session as anything productive either.

          One page. It can be one page telling the world who you are…who you were and what you felt, what you believed in and what you cherished. Wouldn't a spouse or your children or even a friend delight in reading how profoundly positive they had affected your life and how they made your life richer and much more fun? That's what I'm going to write about.

          I’d like to think my one page would make people smile.

Contact Antonia at antoniasseniormoments@hotmail.com or

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Start Forgiving: 3-Steps to Help you Let Go - Rev. Chris Michaels, Guest Post

          It is really hard to accomplish our goals and reach for our dreams when we are looking backwards. I want to share with you a 3-step plan to help you let go of lingering resentments.

Step One: Step Back

          Step back a bit and look at the situation from a proper distance. And when you do you’ll realize you did the BEST you could with what you knew at the time.

          The truth is, if you would of known better, you would have done better. But you didn’t, you couldn’t. Forgive yourself for what you didn’t know.

Step Two: Take Responsibility

          Whether you intended to hurt them or not, the fact is YOU DID. So, don’t blame them for being oversensitive. Don’t make them bad and wrong for misunderstanding you.

          Stop defending your actions – and take responsibility. Man up – and say: “I’m so sorry you got hurt. That was not my intention.”And then say the 4 words that are least used in the entire English language. “Can you forgive me?”

          Now, let me be clear. You are not responsible for their feelings. You are responsible for your actions, which may have caused their feelings. We have a word for taking responsibility for someone else’s emotional state. It’s called co-dependent. So don’t confuse them. You’re responsible for your actions and choices and if they hurt others own them, apologize and ask for forgiveness. They may or may not be able to forgive you, but that’s their issue, not yours.

          And don’t wait for their enlightenment because it may never come. Take responsibility for the role you played and forgive yourself.

Step Three: Give What You Want to Receive

          If you want others to respect you, respect yourself. If you want others to forgive you, start by forgiving yourself. Show yourself the kindness you want others to give. Be patient with yourself and learn to accept yourself, warts and all.

          You’re going to get hurt. That’s unavoidable. There will be injustice. It is just part of human life. The only way to end the pain and stop the anger is to practice forgiveness. The practice of forgiveness is not easy and it is unending. But is essential in this life.


Learn more about Rev. Chris Michaels and all that he does here. You can get a copy of his wonderful book The Power of You here.

You may reach out to Antonia at antoniasseniormoments@hotmail.com or  Antonia's Senior Moments on Facebook.
 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Life after 50

          You wake up one morning and all of a sudden you’re in your mid-50s and starting to think about the rest of your life. You’re afraid it’s going to be all soft, tasteless food and forgetfulness, hearing aids and trifocals, early-bird specials and multiple trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

          Try visualizing this instead: it’s the least stressful time of your life where being unburdened of a 60-hour-a-week job, a 30-year mortgage and raising children allows for a freedom never experienced before. Yes, lots of people in their 50's still have jobs and mortgages, but there is a shift from the hectic mindset that often accompanies our younger years. We can be more relaxed and happier in our 50's and beyond. It’s possible for everyone, including you.

          You’ve been holding in your stomach all your life, let it go. You’ve been covering that ever-widening bald spot for the last 10 years. Go ahead, show us the shine! Be proud that you’ve made it this far in life. Just think, you can let go of trying to keep up with the Jonses. You can sit back and relax and watch the next generation of people jumping through hoops to acquire the latest clothes, cars, jewelry and electronics. There’s no reason to keep up with the latest music (which I find uninspiring, at best, anyway) and no reason to know what all the current slang terminology means and how to use it.

Making the Most of It

Here are some ideas for insuring your life after 50 is the best it can be:
          ~Maintain a healthy lifestyle – this is best for ANY age                       ~Hang out with upbeat people 
          ~Share your experiences with others – teach or mentor                                someone
          ~Let go of worry – meditating works really well for learning                            to let go
          ~Make yourself a priority
          ~If you do feel the urge to complain, keep it to yourself
          ~Simplify, simplify, simplify – clean out and donate or                                     discard
          ~Take time to smell the roses

          I’m serious. There not only IS life after 50, but it’s a wonderful life. Personally speaking, I had a job and financial obligations in my 50's and still do, to a lesser extent, now that I’m 67. But I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I have an abundant life for which I am grateful. It’s a life that isn’t extravagant but it is rich in experiences, including friendships, spirituality and a continuing quest for knowledge. So, be open and embrace all the fun and new experiences of getting older.



This post originally appeared at Randall Friesen's Something Mindful
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