Green Thumb

I do like a garden, flowers and plants. The whole idea to make things grow is so interesting to me. Was never like this, in my younger years I had very little time for a gardens or plants. I liked them, but was unable to keep them alive. I had a garden, but required help to keep it going and still, it never was something to brag about.

That all changed a few years back. As usual, I was buying plants, watching them wither and die. Happily I replaced them and all seemed well. Then I started buying orchids and receiving them as presents. These amazing plants are exotic, beautiful and difficult to keep. Replacing these was not as easy and it felt such a waste to throw them out when they lost their blooms. There had to be a way……and I found it!!!

Asking around to people I knew kept orchids, going online to find different tricks to keep them and have them bloom again, I did research. Indeed, it was the only way because improvising wasn’t doing it. After some months of trial and error, my plants started to bloom again. It was such a great feeling. Who would have known, I have a free thumb after all.

Lately, I have expanded my interest in plants. I am trying to keep alive a beautiful lavender bush and a small succulent garden. Believe it or not, these are trickier to care for than orchids. For now, it is a hit and miss endeavor. Will see how it goes!!!

In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying myself. This is more fun than I thought.

Letting Go of Perfect

Amongst our most irrational beliefs we can count the idea that perfection exists. Few of us actually come out and say it, but we brag about our perfect children, our perfect husband, our perfect relationship. Everything is just perfect: our vacation, our health, even our lives in some cases. We must be thinking about it, constantly.

Where does this come from? How did we end up thinking this way? Haven’t found the root of it, but my hunch is that we got it through our upbringing, our friendly competition growing up, the fact we rather present a polished image of ourselves, maybe pretending all is well, good is easier than explaining anything. Who knows? and in the end, it really doesn’t matter. We must just let go. It only bring us stress and anxiety because we are following a path that leads nowhere!!!

To be truthful, more times than not, I struggle with this. In society, we overuse the word. We tell our friends that the time they have chosen to meet is perfect, we tell our children that the painting they brought from school is perfect, we even say that the weather is perfect.

So look into the richness of the language, use other words, other adjectives to characterize whatever it is you are talking about. I have taken out my Thesaurus….yes, that antiquated reference book nobody looks at anymore. It tells me these words can be used instead of perfect: faultless, spotless, immaculate, impeccable, sound, intact and exquisite among others.

In my personal crusade of de-cluttering and downsizing, letting go of perfect plays an important part. Striving for excellence is more realistic, I think. The same Thesaurus tells me: merit, greatness, distinction and brilliance. Of course, we must not take it to the extreme because we will fall again into the quest for perfection we are trying to shed

Finally, let’s remember that perfection can be an instant in someone’s life. Remember Nadia Comaneci in the 1976 Olympics? She got a perfect 10 score. That was a perfect moment, but it was hard and not easy to repeat. On the other hand, we all can maintain excellence throughout our lives by working hard, believing in ourselves, focusing our efforts, learning from those around us.

Age and Death

This is not an easy topic to tackle. Most of us want nothing to do with talking about death. Somehow thinking that if it is ignored, it would not affect us. I am not criticizing or mocking. Everyone deals with issues in their own way, but since this is inevitable…….we must talk about it.

Death happens at any age, that is true, but at our age we are bound to have more encounters with it. Nothing morbid about it, it is just reality. Friends and family are also growing in age and it happens. Life is terminal, someone said once, and she was right.

This week has been very difficult for me. One of my oldest and dearest friends is in her final days. It has been coming for a while, but is no less painful. Seeing a loved one deteriorate slowly, trying to keep communication open without touching on the inevitable is very hard. She knows, I know….but how to approach the subject. How to say goodbye? How to talk about memories and shared experiences without breaking down? How to be there when you are so far away?

I have tried to make it light, to bring up the best times we shared, to recall the times we laughed and dreamed. Still not easy, I do not have the answer and cannot impart wisdom, sorry. All I know is that it needs to be done, you need to talk and reminisce and laugh. You need to remember the good and the bad and cry if you feel like it. Do not hold back and pretend all is well.

Sometimes you feel you have not said everything, that you forgot something that is very important. You struggle to remember everything, but what is happening takes over your brain and your heart and you cannot. Still, do it, talk and laugh and cry, your loved one knows better than you what is coming and have accepted it. Do not make their parting difficult. Let go……

Let GO of everything that makes you sad and mad, everything you perceive as unfair. Cry, scream, yell. Blame the Universe, God or whoever……they can all take it, trust me. It is not the magic pill for grief, but it is healthy and necessary.

When everything is over, take stock of your life again. Make yourself a promise to live to the max, to enjoy everything that comes your way and to be grateful for the time you still have and for everything and everyone you have in your life. Dry your tears and look forward. There are still dreams to bring to fruition and memories to make and share.

Busyness or Effectiveness

Do you feel you are always busy? Running errands or trying to get things done around the house? You are not alone, most of us feel this way. We thought that with age, the children gone, retirement and more time on your hands, we would dedicate ourselves to things we enjoy. We have discovered that busyness and efficiency are definitely not the same. Go to the dictionary and see for yourself!!!

Busyness is the state or condition of having a great deal to do. Effectiveness is the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result. As you can see……we are talking apples and oranges. I, for one, want to be able to keep my house in order, have time for myself, get the time to go and see friends, read a book, walk with my husband, travel. How to accomplish all this? Seems like I am wishing for a lot. Well, not really!!!

First things, first…we must understand that being busy means filling your time with tasks. We say we are multitasking. I have news for you; all you are doing is working without a plan. We must focus on a single task to do it right and succeed.

Busy people fill their time with different tasks when what they should do is figure out how to spend less time getting things done. They think doing and accomplishing is the same thing. Unfortunately it is not. To succeed we must choose the most direct path to accomplish by doing less. Sounds confusing, but it is not…try it!!!

Focusing on action is not the same as focusing on clarity, we must be clear about what are we looking to accomplish. Be selective how you use your time and your resources…not easy but it is important to follow.

Set your priorities and do not get lost in details. Always try to see the big picture and focus in attaining the results you want. Keep track of your goals, revise them and do the important things first.

Once you realize that working smart is better than working hard, you will be effective….not only busy!!!

The No Fight against Stress

As much as we want to keep our lives stress free, it doesn’t happen easily. This is mostly because we are conditioned to take everything too seriously. To take things in stride, to accept what is happening with a measure of calm is hard. Consequently, we take a different route and stress more. We are to blame for this…….we let stress rule our lives and do little to manage it. Instead, we fight it.

We think of managing stress as a fight. This is not the way to a solution. Fight implies a struggle, a give and take that cannot be helpful. We must just get a hold of this struggle and make it softer, calmer, more reasonable. That is the only way to get a positive resolution.

Absolutely not easy, trust me. After all, we do tend to complicate everything, don’t we? At least most of us do, because there is always someone that can do this effortlessly. The rest of us must try and try and breathe…and finally learn.

Slowly and with determination, we should move forward with this idea. Taking one day at a time, one situation at the time, there is nothing else that will work.

This is what we should be doing these days: slowly learning how to get stress out of our life. Catching the rhythm, not going with the flow, of what everyday life brings. Nothing else….

New Year, Same Life

2019 has arrived and most of us did as we always do: we made resolutions. For the last couple of years, I have refused to go along with this. Lets be honest……resolutions are meant to be broken and we do. So my resolution has been not to have any resolution. It’s a win-win idea, right?

Well, yes and no. Since I subscribe to premise that if you have no goals, you are aimlessly wandering through life, this decision can be double-edged. On one hand, I am not concerned thinking I am not keeping my resolutions, on the other I am concerned thinking I am somehow wasting time and energy in doing nothing new.

Since for most of us, life changes very little from year to year, even if we keep one resolution or try to change one thing, we feel we have accomplished much. Now, do not get me wrong, I am not talking about earth-shattering change, much less life-changing change. I am just pointing to the fact that a small step can be good.

Simply, if we make resolutions we most think well what are we really getting ourselves into. If we decide not to make resolutions, just let the whole thing go. Couldn’t be simpler.

After our daughter’s wedding and all that it involved, I find myself with time in my hands and the desire to use it for myself. Taking time for me, spending time with people I love and like, doing things I enjoy and not feeling guilty about any of it. This year that is all I can promise myself: one small step at a time in whatever direction I have chosen to go.


The Life of a Tech-Challenged Blogger

 

I have done this blog thing for a while now. It keeps me sane and helps me put into words what I have learned, what I am still learning. It is a way to stay in touch with my ideas and to share them. Hopefully, I am helping someone out there to navigate the waters of graceful aging. Or better yet, I am helping myself!! It has been a rewarding experience for the most part and I am having fun doing it. It is a great stress release, a way to keep sane at a time when many things in my life are changing.

My passion is writing……everything else is just a mystery. I have learned a lot, I think, but not enough. Truthfully, I have little patience for all this technological stuff. It seems alright one day and incomprehensible the next. Things work out today and totally fall apart tomorrow. For a couple of months, a notice of website not secure in red pops up when I open my blog. Then there are the suspicious users with strange email addresses that have accumulated on my user page. Some of those I have discovered are in China, Russia or who knows where else. I can delete as many as I can, more and more pop up.

Do not get me wrong, I love the fact that out there people are reading my posts. On the other hand, nothing ever comes from that because not one of them has ever made a comment or left a line. Very frustrating!!! On the other hand, do I really need feedback? Will let you know when I figure this out.

All this time I have debated with myself about my blog. Why? It is nothing I can do about the technological part of it. I have to keep trying and keep writing. My server has helped and, most importantly, my son has lent a hand. I have learned a few new tricks and they seem to be working…so far. This is it as good as it will get.

Finally, I am just getting back to my writing, leaving behind all the other stuff. Absolutely ignoring if anyone reads the blog or subscribes to it. That was never the reason to start this blog. I do not need approval or consent. All I need is the desire to share and to write.

Life is good, I am still learning and I am still willing to share what I learn. Everything else is just incidental.

 

 

Look for What Completes You….

We must never stop looking for what makes us complete. Such a simple and true statement, such an easy way to keep ourselves engaged, alive and in charge of our lives.

In the great scheme of life, as we grow older we grow wiser. It is not that we were not wise before, or at least some of us were, it’s that we begin to see everything around us in relation to ourselves. We become, finally, the center of our own world.

We still love our family, our friends, our partner, but we now love ourselves more. So we look for what complete us within ourselves, not outside. It is a realization that makes us wonder why we didn’t think about it before.

In this new mood we have acquire, we must always look for what complete us. This can be anything: the book we want to write, the places we want to visit, the music we want to hear, the art we want to create and the new life we want to live. It can be anything, even finding the love of our lives.

None of these things come to us at the same time, not all of them get into our paths unaided. We must actively look for them. Sometimes, they come as we need them, as we are now prepared to accept them. We must recognize them and embrace them. This is our time, this is what we must do.

If we just move along, accepting what comes our way, we cannot expect to be completed. We cannot expect to live this time in our lives to the fullest. So, never, never stop looking for what can complete you. Never stop looking for what fills you up and make you who you really were meant to be.

Such a wonderful time in our lives. Who ever said that aging is a stale process, a time of slowing down and letting things pass us by? Whoever said that or thought that should wake up and look around. Getting older is an amazing journey and we must enjoy every step.

 

Photo: ID4237914 Httin/Dreamstime.com

Wedding Planning continues…..

Things are coming together. I can feel the parts of this puzzle moving and adjusting. It is really looking very cohesive. Slowly, everything is falling into place. Have to say, I have had my moments of doubt and my moments of great stress. Restless nights and busy days trying to accommodate everything that needs doing into my schedule.

Fortunately my daughter and her fiancé are very much involved and have taken a lot upon themselves. After all, it’s their wedding, their moment. They know what they want and how to get it. I am here to help, but not to decide. I hope that we are all still close when all is said and done!!! Just kidding, but with hint of truth.

My friends, who have gone through this process, keep reminding me that all will be fine. Just breathe and relax, they tell me, the day will come and everything will be gorgeous. I know it will be, it’s the getting there that tends to be a bit rocky.

We certainly need instructions on how to handle these days. We need a how to book, a manual on how to talk to each other, how to make decisions without arguing and how to remember this is just the process, not the end result. I do not know if the book has been written, but I am absolutely sure it’s a great idea.

In the emotion of the moment, in the planning for the perfect wedding there is something that gets lost. It happens with every wedding. We forget that this is an event, a celebration, a coming together. This is not the final destination of this relationship. This is just the beginning, we are celebrating the start of the journey. It is so important to keep that in mind at all times.

Again, I am listening to friends and family who have planned weddings. They all agree that everything turned more relaxed, more fun when they realized this simple fact. One told me that we must remember the wedding is the send-off, we must make it happy and enjoyable and we must make sure we are not looking at the event instead of looking at the road ahead. I liked that.

In the meantime, I am keeping notes in a special notebook. It helps me stay grounded and lets me see how far we have come. It also keeps me sane when I feel there is too much on my plate. This might be the basis for that realistic how to book I am sure we all need to help us navigate the process with ease and grace. Or maybe it would just serve for me to read it back later on and remember with fondness this wonderful time.

Looking forward to more planning because this is such a special moment in our lives. Here it is to giving Camille and Oliver the wedding of their dreams!!!

 

Photo: Dreamstime.com

Respect Yourself First

 

Nowadays, in the middle of the negativity and the fake news, the insults, name calling and other non pleasantries we hear a constant call for loving each other. Love is promoted as the way to end all this. Somehow, it is believed that love will conquer all and things would be salvaged if we just understand this simple premise.

I am afraid I do not agree with this idea. Love is great, is all encompassing and can save us….but loving is not something we can call into existence at the drop of a hat. Sorry, if I sound too cavalier or too mercenary, whichever term you use. Loving is an emotion, a feeling, a wonderful thing that either happens or not.

Now, respect, that I can understand. According to the dictionary its meaning is as follows:  Definition of Respect. You can actually learned to respect, sounds just the thing. To come to this realization is one of the great inspirations as we grow older.

Now, learning to respect, as everything else in life, should start at home. It is a simple premise: learn to respect yourself first and then respecting others will come easy. As the years go by, more and more we’ve gained a healthy selfrespect. It is a feeling that well surpasses the idea of just loving oneself.

How to achieve this desired state? We must not complicate our lives on purpose, so follow simple steps, arrive at certain simple decisions that will make a difference in our lives, basically that is it: go simple.

We must start with taking care of our bodies. It’s the only one we have and must last all of our lives. Treat it well and keep it healthy. If we do, it will serve us well and help us enjoy life more. This is the most basic, solid way of respect.

Never aspire to normalcy, because, after all…what is normal? Be yourself, a bit sassy or flamboyant or even weird if that is who you truly are. There is no reason for being anything else, but yourself. “There is no one alive who is youer than you” Dr. Seuss.

Be honest with yourself. Sometimes the truth hurts, but we need to accept that. It will build your self-confidence. It is always better to know where we stand. Having the wrong self image will never help with respect. “Honesty is such a lonely word…” Billy Joel.

Accept your shortcomings. It is the only way to deal with them. Same with any situations you find yourself in: accept and deal with them. You are who you are, so learn to forgive yourself and move on. Never, never  compare yourself to others.

Be prepared to take a stand for your beliefs, regardless of their popularity. Life is not a popularity contest, never mind what people think. Learn to say NO, have boundaries  and learn to protect them. “Find a place to make your stand and take it easy” The Eagles. You do not owe anything to anyone.

Accept your mistakes. We all make them. Apologize when you are wrong or when you have hurt someone. More importantly, do it without offering excuses. Once you go that route, you lost your ground and your apology is void.

There a so many people we need to deal with on a daily basis, if we respect ourselves, we will respect others…….and who knows we might learn to love them too.

 

 

Own photo: steps at Fort Nassau on a warm evening in October.