There is lots to look past these days to get to a place of joy and contentment.
The current political arena has stirred up all kinds of division and discourse.
Shootings and bombings have us on edge any time we are in a crowd.
Natural disasters – caused by global warming or not – make me feel the need to stockpile non-perishables and a hand-crank radio.
It’s not just occasionally but almost daily that we are assaulted by some disastrous hardship that affects us directly or through family and friends. I steel myself every morning when, before I get out of bed, I check my cell phone to see if we’re at war.
Jokes about Armageddon aren’t as funny nor as easily sloughed off for those who fear things are coming to a head.
Yet, we must do whatever we can to avoid letting actual current events and fears of possible future calamity ruin the happiness that exists for us today.
Easier said than done, you grouse. I get it. There’s no one more apt than me to want to curl into a ball and stay in bed to avoid the oppressive weight of the world. I have friends who survived the Las Vegas shooting (and relive that harrowing night repeatedly in their dreams), and know several families who lost everything in the Wine Country fires. I was evacuated myself during those terrible 10+ days of smoke and ash and uncertainty. I can’t imagine what it’s like for senior citizens who are grieving the loss of all the evidence of their lives and having to start over creating new homes, which will take years.
You can’t say, “Well, it’s just stuff,” when items lost include childhood memorabilia or sentimental jewelry meant for future generations, or age-old pictures that never stood a chance against the flames. Many a beloved pet fled in the confusion; some did not survive.
I know what these fears are like, and I’m struggling like you might be struggling. As seniors, we don’t have a lifetime to recoup.
Sidebar: It’s super-early as I write this post and Kali, my little kitty, awakens from a nap on the couch next to me and uncharacteristically joins me in my comfy chair wanting to draw my attention away from the computer and toward her. Does she feel the vibration of my pain as I recall the angst? I set the computer aside and she climbs right in my lap. Ah, just what I needed. I’m a sensitive person and, as the tears flow, Kali stares at me, reminding me to look for the good.
As seniors, it’s more important than ever to try to look beyond all the negative.
What difference does it make if we do or don’t cope well with the daily barrage of shocking political antics, the latest natural disasters that significantly upset or ruin the lives of thousands, or with the behavior of a few that impacts the lives of so many?
It’s important because the alternative – giving up – is not an option. We can’t give in to the pull of all that is wrong in the world. Negative stuff isn’t new; it just feels bigger than ever and as though its momentum is accelerating.
I never imagined my retirement years would be filled with the need to be so resilient and tough. But there it is.
If we can rise above our own discomfort, fear, and sorrow, we can be there for others. We can be that soft place to fall for those who have lost everything, or just some small thing dear to them; we can provide hope for those consumed with fear of the future.
There is a stronger need now for us to be that shoulder to cry on, that writer of Thank You notes to first responders, that listener, that maker of meals filled with love. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other again and again and again. It’s about appreciating and celebrating all that we have and do with friends and family, including pets. It’s about that delicious cup of morning coffee and the wonder-filled innocence of a child’s play. It’s about letting go of slights and insensitivities, expectations and judgments. It’s about being uber kind – to others and to ourselves. These are the things that no one can take from us.
Joy and contentedness in our lives will surface quicker and stronger if we don’t give up, if we don’t succumb to fear and pessimism.
By doing for others, we rise higher within ourselves. And the more we are able to create positive, the more we’ll get to experience positive.
While we won’t forget, we can’t let any outside misery ruin our remaining years! Be strong and hang in there!
Well said – thank you!
Such a beautiful post! You’ve said it all. There IS no other alternative but to keep moving forward, even if that feels imperceptibly slow and painful.
Thanks for acknowledging that “stuff” isn’t always just stuff. It’s not your life or physical well-being or people you love. BUT it’s there often because it surrounds you with reminders of those same people, or times in life which meant something, or just because you think it’s beautiful. These things COUNT and grief for one’s “stuff” is real.
Before we evacuated I took a long hard look around the house and said out loud, “It’s just stuff.”
It was only after I connected with friends who had lost everything, including pictures and precious mementos planned and now never able to be passed down to children, that I realized the value of others’ “stuff.”