On this day before the winter Solstice and the sun’s turn towards increased daylight, I am grateful to the many readers who have read and supported my Gratitude Blog.
My own turn towards the light of gratitude began when I turned eighty. Gratitude is about perspective; and at eighty, the lens widens in one direction and shortens in another. Looking back, I can catalogue years, events, people, trends, the richness of the life I have lived. Looking ahead, there is guesswork as to how long my body, my brain, my sense of purpose and meaning will continue.
Does my goal to live to 105 years make sense? Up to 85, I thought so. In the years between eighty and eighty-five, I have written two full journals on gratitude, read numerous books on the subject and published 115 blogs. I believe that if I continue to focus on gratitude— to search for what brings a sense of thankfulness with full appreciation even with the challenges of aging, I might make it to 100 years or longer.
In the past year, I am more aware of the importance of connection. As friends become ill and pass away, I am grateful for the memory of close and fine relationships. The missing is sometimes hard like this past Saturday when Marv and I attended the Bar Mitzvah of the youngest grandson of my best friend Flo who passed away over twenty years ago. I’ve stayed close to her husband and children and know her seven grandchildren. On every family occasion, her strong spirit is present and I am melancholy.
In the yawning sadness that lingered that evening and the day after, I was unable to focus on my Monday blog deadline and wondered was this the beginning of my winding down the blog? I let it drift until this morning when I began to write and the words poured forth. Writing takes focus and patience, as does aging.
For the coming year, I will be focusing on gratitude and often, on the aging process as I experience and learn about more about what brings good balance at this stage. My essentials?
- Healthy and viable relationships with friends and family.
- Knowledge about one’s body, what makes it tick well, how to manage vulnerabilities.
- Good nutrition— I cook daily, am a reformed “health food nut”
- Time for creativity— writing my blog, personal essays, poems
- Time for learning— piano, particularly jazz, which challenges my mind, helps me create new brain cells.
- Nature— gardening three season, house plants, visuals of green spaces
- Time for reading— news, poems, books that grab, fiction or nonfiction
- Engaging media– movies, television
- Exercise— tai-chi, weights, cardio
I juggle a lot, suffer from over ambition and often, over exertion, lifelong habits I try to reign in. Moderation is a learned behavior and one I try to focus on daily. I am grateful that as I age, I am getting better at mindful pacing. Happy Winter Solstice!