“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard
Periodically, through my life I have found myself restless and discontented to the point that I pay attention. I do this every few years – Reevaluate my life because I suddenly feel as if I am living by rote. I pause and think…”Do I really want to do that? Do I want to spend time with that person? Am I feeling the deep satisfaction at the end of my day of a life well-lived?
Normally, I’m like Elsie, the contented cow. If you feed me and give me some green pastures to feed my soul, I’m good. Not now. I’m looking at everything in my daily life and wondering if I am on the right path. Do I have purpose? Do my life have meaning? I can get joy from the most simple things if I am paying attention. So am I paying attention? Am I loving and present?
Oh, don’t mistake me. I am aware of my physical and personality limitations. But am I doing my best with who I am and what I have? I have dug out the mission statement i wrote years ago and re-alligned myself.
I think I am fine on the joy scale. I wake up and walk down the stairs to my first beauty of the morning. Any time during the day i can shake my head and look around me.
But here’s what I am including in my life:
I have a friend who loves all types of music (except heavy metal and Dixieland Jazz, for me) and she has agreed that we would each choose some music every couple of weeks and get together and listen to it. I plan to belabor her once more with the full recording of my favorite opera, La Traviata and old recordings of Queen Ida.
I am pursuing formation of a group study to share my deep interest in the Enneagram. I find it an addition to my spiritual path that it helps me overcome the prison of personality and connect more with my essence and my source. And I love the deep discussion that arises from different ideas and views when there is a shared interest by a few people.
Our University offers a variety of courses in OLLI. A couple of other subjects have piqued my interest so I’ve signed up.
Focus on giving.
I’m personalizing my giving and increasing it. When my son was here this summer we discussed his appointment to a foundation on which he is allowed to choose worthwhile causes. He is provided a monthly budget, which after due diligence he can provide to the charity of his choice. I thought, “Hey, i could give more!” I can make my own giving plan and study each month where the amount should go.
My first month was great fun. After talking to one of my favorite local causes. the Northwest Seasonal Workers Association, I learned that had an upcoming shoe giveaway. Evidently all schools require close-toed shoes now and many parents cannot afford new shoes for all of their children. So off I went to TJ Maxx with high expectations and a big cart.
But I worried, “What a disaster for a girl to have to wear shoes chosen by an old lady who isn’t really current.”
What to do? I looked around the store for girls of the school-age. l found one teenager and two preteens whose parents allowed them to help me. I asked each of them to choose two pair of shoes in each size that they would be happy to wear. (One girl asked her dad to buy a pair for her, too .) The father and two girls carried my bags to the store.
I was pumped for the next foray and took my sister-in-law to help. It was fairly easy to find young man and one teenage girl to choose boys shoes. And just as fun! NWSA said we doubled their shoe stash. Yay!
Time with those who matter.
I have dropped one monthly group and have put another on notice that my attendance will be irregular. My close group of friends are important. Talking. Laughing. Crying. Sharing. These are the everyday connections that enrich my life..
Sometime last spring my husband and restarted a tradition of a date night. We haven’t ever been structured about that… Why not now? Our life too easily slides into watching television in the evening and not talking.
But lately, it’s come to our attention that we’re a little bit divided in our opinion of what constitutes a date night. (What a surprise that we wouldn’t seeing eye-to-eye on this. LOL!) He thinks seeing friends and enjoying ourselves somewhere out of the house is what it’s all about. I see a date night as time for he and I to talk. (Another surprise!) We can talk about everything from our family members to our feelings about our life. Just real conversation – looking each other in the eye and communicating.
So we really need both. So we will have to be dedicated to making a plan.
I also want to get serious about having some communication with each member of my family on a regular basis. It’s easy for a month to go busily by without that. I don’t need a long conversation. Even sending a text with a photo and a few loving words is a communication. A specific question about their life lets them know they are in my thoughts and in my heart. I’m a visual person so I’ve put each one on my calendar!
Write often and real.
I’m taking a writing class online. Writing is important in my life and I’ve let it slide since my stroke, so I have proven that I don’t always do the things that are important to me. I need the structure.
Wow! I’ll have to check and on this in a few months and see how it’s going…