If you ask a thousand people what they want, you’ll get a thousand different answers. And if you ask just one person that question you might still get numerous answers depending on the day of the week and what is happening to them at the time. Today’s answer may be entirely different than the one I’d give on Friday. Nonetheless, it’s an important question, and one we should be asking ourselves every day.
As seniors, with most of our lives behind us, never before is it more important than now to slow down and/or stop long enough to see if what you wanted before – yesterday, last week, 30 years ago, etc. – remains true today. And, I don’t know about you, but, in general, it takes more of my energy to accomplish anything these days. I’d prefer to avoid wasting energy where possible. Frequently asking ourselves this question might save us a lot of energy by making sure we’re doing what we want and not headed someplace we’d rather not be.
Many of us operate on autopilot as we move through the weeks, continuing to strain our efforts in pursuit of something that no longer is as important, satisfying, healthy, or required. The reason we do this is because we haven’t taken a break to step back and re-evaluate our choices.
For instance, a major source of my time and energy has been spent on eating better and on losing weight. I’ve done this for decades. I’m not even sure I’d know how to release this time and energy for other endeavors. But, I’m at a place where moving onto other energetic activities would be just fine. Ten more pounds one way or the other will not make or break my health. Even the size of clothes I’d wear wouldn’t change much, if at all. Yet I persist. Yes, there’s good reason to keep focused a little on eating healthy and keeping my weight from creeping up, but there’s time and energy to spare now for other things. So, why am I not shifting my sights to other things I may want to have and do in the last years of my life?
Is fear still running my life? Am I not enriching my life with new and different things because I’m stuck in old habits? Is my eye on the prize (whatever that is) blinding me from pleasures from other treasures? Does what you want or what you used to want got you dug into an unrewarding cycle of repetitive measures? “Oh, I can’t do anything different until I’ve finished what I set out to do years ago, and I’m not there yet.” If that thing isn’t done, and it’s not hurtful – either to yourself or to another – to let it go, I say let it go.
Move your focus closer. Begin each day with that question: what do I want today? We only have so many todays left; start each one anew. Go ahead, ask the question but make it fresh by looking at what will bring you delight and happiness each day. If this means smaller and easier things to want, that’s just peachy fine.
Here are some good questions to help identify what you may want each day:
~What shall I have for breakfast?
~How much time shall I enjoy the outdoors today?
~What one or two chores will I get done?
~Who shall I include in my social time?
~How much time will I allocate to the news and world issues?
~What will be a special treat that will cap off my excellent day?
Think about what you want in today’s terms, not in what others or the past is telling you to (continue to) want?