Autumn Intentions

As I noted in my last post, for me, the new year starts in September not January.

Carol Hedges, the author of this post has the same perspective and makes her New Year’s resolutions in September.  This year she came up with 10 Positive Aspirations for Fall.

Her aspirations include:

  • Learn to layer – no more one season clothes, that’s what cardigans are for!
  • Ignore trends
  • Resist ‘buy me’ words
  • Stop her subscription to Good Housekeeping

Note: When I got married 44 years ago, my mother subscribed to GH for me.  I have kept it for sentimental reasons.  But I too have stopped my subscription.  It ain’t what it used to be!

  • Stand by my social media friends – I get this.  It takes a bit to put yourself out there on a blog, Instagram, etc.  It takes nothing to ‘like’ a post!
  • Stop worrying
  • Say no to super foods – just eat a healthy diet
  • Hug my virtual friends
  • Give thanks
  • Live with pride

I think these are generally fine aspirations/resolutions.  Thanks to advice from our yoga teacher, Jeni, I no longer make resolutions.   She suggests setting intentions instead of resolutions.  I took her advice to mean that intentions are more powerful.

As the month gets underway, I have been focusing on my daily intentions, which are simple yet challenging for me:

  • Choose Health
  • Be Kind
  • Get cleaned up before noon 😊.

Note: I spent so many years getting up at 5:45 and rushing to get out the door by 7 AM at the latest.  In retirement, I am savoring my morning tea, meditation, leisurely breakfast, and exercise. Before you know it, it is time for lunch.  So, my intention is to at least be showered and dressed by noon!

But, when all else fails, this intention works:

Remaining centered, I remember to live lightly, laugh, and be kind.

Daily Word, 9/7/22

And, in the words of a wise woman whose daily intentions were duty and service,:

It’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.

Queen Elizabeth II

Allene

Micro Moments

I was reading a post about Les Petits Bonheurs – little day-to-day joys, simple pleasures, small moments of happiness in French.

The author had some good examples:

A nap in the middle of the afternoon, a glass of wine while reading that latest best seller, a walk in the park

Kay Margaret Kay

I have done a post on simple pleasures before.  I agree with her list and can add some of my own ideas.

On a particularly hot afternoon, when I was thoroughly sick of summer weather, I got to thinking.  Instead of ‘small moments’ of happiness, how about going even more granular and finding ‘micro moments’ of happiness?

I had great fun coming up with this partial list:

  • My soy tea latte every morning
  • Shared laughter
  • My first sips of a cold and crisp sauvignon blanc during our evening happy hour
  • An email from the library that the book I have been waiting for is available to download
  • My husband’s dahlias
  • A visit from a talkative hummingbird
  • Spotting my autumn colors
  • Crossing the border into Canada
  • And, the best of all, waking up to a marine layer after a particularly long hot spell 😊

I quickly realized that this list of micro moments could be infinite……and I think that is a good thing!

Allene

GRUMPY

As I near 70, I am trying not to turn into a grumpy old woman!

My mom was on the grumpy side (a bit of an understatement).  She could be wonderful, but nobody would confuse her with someone positive and upbeat!  My aunt, on the other hand, was the epitome of positive and upbeat.  She never had children and was a joy to be around.  My mom had me and, on the other hand, was a tough customer!

Maybe I was the problem?

My mom was born in 1910 and was 2 years older than my aunt.  They were raised on a homestead in SE Montana with no access to medical care.  My aunt had a dislocated hip since she was a baby.  She finally had hip surgery in her 60’s or so.  Having chronic pain myself, I can only imagine how much pain my aunt was in for most of her life.  That can certainly lead to ‘grumpiness’ as a minimum.  But my aunt never complained that I knew of.

Despite her disability, my aunt lived a long life and died at 92.  Interestingly, my mom died at 84.  There might be some science here…..

This article made me think of my own aunt.  The author also had a kind and good-natured aunt and has come up with a list of 9 actions to take so you won’t be a grumpy old woman. 

  1. Be Patient with Children – do you remember adults who treated you well?  Return the favor.
  • Don’t Fear Teenagers – we’ve all been there
  • Be Open to Technology – yes!  Technology is wonderful for connecting to people of all ages
  • Let Go of Grudges – it is difficult to be positive and optimistic and hold a grudge
  • Be generous – live from a place of gratitude
  • Live in the Light – enjoy natural light and wear bright colors 😊
  • Engage in Activities You Enjoy – for me, hanging out with my husband, family, and friends, walking, movies, reading, and travel
  • Stop Complaining About Your Health – find something else to talk about (I’m guilty)
  • Be Social – we all need people in our lives

The line between angry young woman and grumpy old lady is very fine.

Judy Horacek

Allene

Family History

I was going to title this post ‘Aging OK’, but some recent events changed my tune a bit.

On with the post –

I was reading one of the gillion articles out there on aging, looking younger, etc.  I am not down with the whole idea of ‘looking younger’.  I have always been open about my age which is almost 70 (my candor may have been detrimental at times in this ageist society). I am fine with looking ALMOST 70.  No one will confuse me for a 60-year-old, but I also hope that no one thinks I am 80 either! 😊

Back the article, ‘10 things that make you look and feel older than you are’.  I like this one a bit better, because the focus isn’t exclusively on looking younger. 

Here are the 10 things:

  1. Being out of style (no pastel sweatshirts embroidered with flowers or birds)
  2. Sleep deprivation
  3. Being grumpy
  4. Never trying or learning anything new
  5. Isolating yourself
  6. Worry
  7. Being a couch potato*
  8. Lying in bed most of the day
  9. Being negative
  10. Holding onto anger

I like all of these tips and think they make sense. 

I, on the other hand, have a family history that is now coming home to roost and making me feel older than I am (and probably making me look older too)!  My dad died from colon cancer and suffered from macular degeneration in his later years.  I hoped to avoid both!  So far, no luck!

I just had what I hoped was my last colonoscopy and had a precancerous polyp removed.  I am glad it is gone, but it means at least one more colonoscopy in my future ☹.  And I saw my optometrist and he found some early macular degeneration.  Thanks Dad for both!

So, what’s next? 

I am now taking AREDS 2 for my eyes.  I am trying to adhere more closely to a Mediterranean diet and increasing my fiber intake which hopefully will be helpful to prevent colon cancer and stabilize my vision. According to this article by a Registered Dietician, good nutrition isn’t necessarily a silver bullet!

*The one thing I am totally committed to is daily exercise! The American Cancer Society recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity/week.  I am trying to walk 45-60 minutes each day.

Exercise is roughly the only equivalent of a fountain of youth that exists today, and it’s free to everyone.

S. Jay Olshansky

Allene

My Tribe at 69

Yes, I know I post a lot about friendship on my blog 😊.  I imagine that is because the ‘friend deal’ is a big deal to me.  I remember how important friends were to me when I was growing up.  With adulthood, friends can sometimes fade into the background due to a lack of time as marriage, career, family, etc. take center stage.  Fortunately, with some care and nurturing, they don’t completely go away (whew!). For me, my friends are even more important to me in my third third than they were when I was growing up.

Not only are friends important for companionship, but they are also vital for my health. Who doesn’t like taking a walk with a friend? On the subject of friends and health, many of you are probably familiar with the Blue Zones.  If not, I highly recommend checking it/them out.  

The Blue Zones are the areas of the world where people live exceptionally long and healthy lives, such as Sardinia, Ikaria (Greece), Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Okinawa (Japan), and Loma Linda, CA.

Dan Buettner studied these communities and identified Power 9 (copyrighted), the nine lifestyle habits of their healthy people. One of the lifestyle habits he identified is choosing the Right Tribe, which are social circles that support healthy behaviors.  For example, Okinawans create moais – groups of five friends that are committed to each other for life. 

I started thinking about my own right Tribe and came across this article about friendship after 60. Here is what the author looks for in friends.

Friends who:

  • Are fun, LAUGH, and enjoy new things,
  • Only complain when its necessary,
  • Are real about what they’ve experienced – are authentic,
  • Stay open to possibilities, and
  • Are not dependent on my energy – energy is precious. Some give and take is important at this stage of life and relationships.

Her list is pretty much my list.  I would add a couple of wishes to the friendship list:

  • Friends who are trustworthy
  • And here is the biggie – friends who are forgiving of my numerous flaws, keep coming back for more, and somehow love me regardless 😊

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”

Jim Rohn

Despite numerous ups and downs over the years, I am fortunate to have a moais of five+ friends that are stuck with me. Here’s hoping they feel the same way!

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, so before I close, here is a quote from Dr. King:

All we say to America is: be true to what you said on paper.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Allene

The Elephant

Pardon this analogy because I really like elephants! 

But to me, SARS-CoV-2 is like an elephant.  It is big and no one really seems to be able to see all the puzzle pieces.  And I am not sure the entire elephant has even been revealed at this point (another dangerous variant to come?).

I really feel for the scientists who are trying their best to develop guidance and advise elected officials.  I imagine much of the time they must make the call without all the science they would like.  If they wait for all the science to roll in, it might well be too late to act to prevent hospitalizations and death.

An example of that evolving science and changing guidance revolves around masks. 

First, we were told not to wear masks because they were needed for health care workers and they probably wouldn’t help the public.  Masks were recommended to keep infected people from spreading the virus.  The science shifted and we now know that masks protect the wearer and the people they encounter, so everyone was told to mask up.  Along came vaccines and fully vaccinated people were told they didn’t need to wear masks any longer.  And now, with increasing cases and the delta variant, everyone needs put masks back on regardless of vaccination status. Another indoor mask mandate goes back on the books today in Washington state.

I am OK with guidance evolving as new science becomes available, but to much of the public it feels like ‘whiplash’!

I was looking forward to fall with travel back on our agenda.  We also have trips planned for fairly early in 2022. Our fingers are crossed at this point because there may be more elephant….and new guidance….to come.

I came across this somewhat depressing post: Thoughts of Winter 2021 Give Me PTSD! How I am planning for the months ahead.

The author is planning on how best to take care of herself with COVID 19 threatening her ability to get out and about for yet another winter!

Her suggestions include:

  • Shut off media
  • Make a list of things to do
  • Enjoy hobbies
  • Invest time in friends
  • Explore a new interest
  • Exercise
  • Dream
  • Talk it out
  • Change ‘should’ to ‘could’
  • Repeat positive thoughts

News is scary, hospitals are filling up, and people are refusing vaccinations. It’s time to think over how to take care of myself as the days on the calendar march forward. I’m making these preparations and encourage you to consider making them too.

Linda Ward, Mindset

I am not quite ready to make a list quite yet; I guess I am in denial.  But Linda is making some good points.

See you later this week.

Allene

‘Before Times’ Carry Forward?

My husband went fishing with a pal on Thursday.  During the ‘before times’ (pre-COVID-19), I would often use my free time to do some leisurely shopping.  I thought about taking a run to Bellevue Square (my favorite shopping destination) but couldn’t muster the energy or the interest.

I read this post the other day.  

The author talks about the subtractions she has taken with COVID-19 and has no intention of resuming in the ‘after times’.  Her list includes shopping trips, running errands just because she needed something, social events she never enjoyed, uncomfortable clothing (!), comparing herself to others, having opinions, and thinking she can change the world’s problems.

As I’ve spent tons more time at home and have been forced to adjust, I see that I have subtracted some habits and practices in my life. And those have been positive subtractions.

Debbie Hensleigh

I don’t think we are solidly in the COVID -19 ‘after times’, but there are things I used to do that I am not sure I want to carry forward.

Shopping trips as a pastime is probably one of them.  I am also trying to limit my frequent errand running. 

Being less judgmental is a constant challenge for me, but a worthwhile goal. 

I am totally down with her plan to ditch uncomfortable clothing.  Thank heavens for my vast Lands End tee shirt wardrobe!

I definitely plan on continuing 2 of my ‘COVID times’ activities this summer – reading and hanging out on my front porch!

Have a good weekend and I will be back on Monday.

Allene

Summer 2021?

One of the bloggers I follow says she coined the term “Summer of Love” for 2021.

After the past 15-16 months of Zoom, quarantine, drive-by baby showers, virtual meetings and learning, YouTube yoga, Instacart, missing our loved ones across the country, lack of hugs and kisses – it’s time to love again!

Andrea McGinty, May 2021

Andrea is encouraging ‘proactive change’ in your:

  • Health
  • Career
  • Family
  • Helping Others
  • Love Life (I think she is an online dating coach?)

While these are all noteworthy suggestions, they just aren’t my cup of tea this year. As I think of my summer ahead, my intentions are more along the lines of:

  • Enjoying the moment
  • Having fun with my husband, family and friends
  • Taking care of my health
  • Not taking on any major projects

So for me, maybe it is more about 2021 being my ‘summer of self-love’!

See you on Friday,

Allene

Little Kidneys

I was re-reading one of the French Women books the other day.  Author Mireille uses the term, petits riens, which means little nothings that bring pleasure to life. When I looked it up on Google translate, I inadvertently spelled riens, reins, which means ‘little kidneys’.  Who knew what a difference transcribing a letter could make in French!

I also came across this blog post where the author describes her 8 Simple Pleasures to Enjoy After (or before) Age 60.  I am totally with her about a trip to Trader Joes.

Both of these inspired me to create my own list of simple and essential pleasures.  In addition to TJ’s,, my list includes:

  1. A tea latte made with soy and a piece of toast with organic butter in the morning
  2. Wine (organic) @ 5 with my husband
  3. Grayling stud earrings in aurora borealis (no longer available) and my Allbirds shoes
  4. A mystery book and a mystery on TV (Acorn, PBS, Amazon Prime, or Netflix – I’m not picky)
  5. A knitting project
  6. A Zoom date with friends
  7. A walk outside (providing it isn’t too cold, windy, or rainy)
  8. A card or letter waiting for me in the mail
  9. A Pentel Energel pen and a Paper Mate Sharpwriter #2 pencil
  10. A trip in the offing to see family or friends, or a jaunt to Europe in the works
  11. Blogging

As I came up with this list, two things struck me.  The first is that, except for #10, all of these simple and essential pleasures are doable even in a pandemic.  The second is that any diet that doesn’t include a soy latte, toast with butter and wine @ 5 is a non-starter!

When it comes to our petits riens we don’t need to know exactly what they add to the fullness of our experience; we need only to be open to the possibility that seeming trivialities may play a significant role in how we feel overall.

Mirelle Guiliano, French Women for All Seasons

What are your petis riens?

I will be back on Wednesday.

Allene

There’s No Place Like Home

When I was growing up, my mother always accused me of having ‘ants in my pants’.  It wasn’t because I was super active (I wasn’t), it was because I never wanted to stay home.  The ‘ants’ have followed me into my adulthood until……

The pandemic!

At the beginning of the shutdowns back 10 months ago, I had a hard time staying home.  I really struggled with not doing our usual travel and just running around.  Over the summer, I got into a routine and it helped to be able to be outside for exercise and to safely meet up with friends and family.

As the fall rolled around and the weather began to shift and activity moved indoors, I expected to get pretty antsy.  While I do have my moments, I am pretty content to hang out at home. 

My comfort zone has shrunk a great deal.  I want to stay safe until we can be vaccinated.  So that means I go to the grocery store early in the day, take walks in my neighborhood and go to a few other places when it is quiet.  My contact with friends is via Zoom or, on a rare day when the weather cooperates, an outdoor visit.  Most of the time I just hang out at home with my husband, take a walk in the neighborhood or run errands close to home.

Speaking of home, I have no real desire to do a makeover., although an update would be a good idea.  I did find this great post on looking at our homes differently, thanks to COVID 19. I agree with much of it.  I would like a dedicated exercise room and the idea of creating an outdoor space that is livable year around. I will be curious to see how much our stay at home experience during the pandemic impacts home design in the future.

As I was writing this post, I found myself wanting to re-read some books that I have had forever. One is Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard, from 1986!  I still find some of it pretty timely (even though who has a Filofax these days) and I like her ideas about rituals.  Another book on my shelf is Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin from 2012.  I never finished it, so now might be a good time to do so.  And, failing those, I can always reread one of my million simplicity books 😊! 

For the first time in my life, I can honestly say ‘there is no place like home’ and I breathe a sigh of relief when I walk through the door.

“Safe, safe, safe the heart of the house beats proudly”

Virginia Woolf

Stay safe at home this weekend and I will see you on Monday.

Allene