Category Archives: Lifestyle

Did you intend to do that…

astilbe

As I leafed through some miscellaneous papers the other day, I found a piece of scratch paper with the word, intentionality, written on it.  I often jot down words, phrases, or complete sentences that I come across that will remind me of a topic I think might make a good blog post.  That doesn’t mean I necessarily know much about whatever the concept/idea is, but it intrigues me enough to explore it further and perhaps share what I discover with whomever may be reading my blog.

So, today, class, we will explore the meaning of intentionality, and how that might work into our lives.  If you care to join me, keep reading.

Intentionality means living life on purpose (at least, that’s the meaning I am exploring today).  Being intentional allows us to take control of our life.  We determine how we want to spend our time and our money; how we want to use our energy…making our life what we want it to be!  If we aren’t intentional, our lives will be controlled by life events or other people.  Life goes on, as they say, whether we are taking charge of it or not.

So, we might as well take charge!

Being intentional about our actions gets us off auto-pilot – doing the same things, the same way, day after day.  Now, I think there is a fine line regarding the benefits of being on auto-pilot as opposed to being off auto-pilot.  If you’re still dealing with a career and/or perhaps raising children, auto-pilot can be a lifesaver that helps you get through your day.  In those circumstances, routine can be comfortable and be necessary for efficiency.

As a retired person with more idle time, auto-pilot can result in boredom, missing out on new opportunities, and in general, watching life pass by too quickly.  I briefly touched on a similar topic in my February 14, 2017 post about letting time slip away.

Some aspects of life that we can try to be more intentional about controlling:

  • Health – utilizing exercise, diet
  • Social – maintaining/cultivating personal relationships with family & friends
  • Financial – managing our monetary resources
  • Spiritual – exploring our personal beliefs about our life’s purpose (why are we on this earth?)

Some actions we can take to begin being more intentional:

  • Try a new exercise plan, add a variety of exercises; try some new healthy recipes; eat something different for breakfast (oh, but I really like my oatmeal!)
  • Contact a new friend or acquaintance; call, text or email family members; be quick to offer encouragement or kudos to anyone you feel is deserving. It’s so easy to think something nice about someone and yet to never express it to that person.
  • Keep track of where money is being spent; develop a budget if one doesn’t already exist
  • Read, read, read – maybe a non-fiction book, or a new genre not tried before; join a book club or discussion group and learn from others’ perceptions and knowledge; try a new hobby or activity; do things in a new order
  • And, maybe most importantly – getting comfortable with saying no to activities that don’t match with personal values, are time-wasters, or are harmful to our physical or mental well-being.

A word of caution:  changing too much too quickly can create chaos.  Go slowly, one step or change at a time.

A final thought –

Knowing our purpose avoids taking attention away from the things that really matter in our lives…family, friends, passions. 

Act with intentionality.

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Social Media behavior…

tabletIn the last couple of weeks I’ve had more than one discussion with friends regarding social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. –  these  friends indicating disdain for how most posts depict unrealistic PERFECTION – loving relationships, fantastic vacations, well-behaved and beautiful children…in general, wonderful, healthy lives.

I’ve been pondering these conversations and here’s what I think.

Reading about everyone else’s success and taking it to heart can be depressing and frustrating if your life status doesn’t match up.  I, too, at times may find my life is lacking the pizazz I read about others having – their positive and perfect lives!

BUT, I think it would be even more depressing to read posts only showing how crummy life can be.

Imagine this – how happy would you feel after seeing posts about how someone just lost their job; someone’s child is dying of cancer; someone’s cousin’s husband relapsed for the 4th time; someone’s neighbor’s dog just bit their mother-in-law; someone’s dad hasn’t spoken to them in 3 years; and so-on???   (I suppose these types of down-on-luck posts could buoy you up as you consider your own problems which seem minor in comparison.)

Personally, I’d rather read the good stuff – embellished as it may be or not.  I’d like to think we’re all astute enough to discern when someone is going overboard with posts about their glamorous life.  We’re smart enough to know no one is immune from trials and tribulations.

I am a regular Facebook and Instagram reader – I read them daily, in fact.  I mostly appreciate how I can keep up with the lives of family and friends that I don’t see often.  I love seeing pictures of children and grandchildren, and being able to watch them grow.  I enjoy others’ vacation pictures – imagining how nice it would be to see the places to which others travel that I might not.  I don’t follow many celebrities, and I know many use social media to “sell” their own fame, movies, music, etc.; but, I am intrigued to see their posts…not unlike reading People magazine in the dentist’s office for the latest pop culture gossip.

I’m rarely offended or left feeling inferior reading the good stuff because I appreciate most things in my life and don’t want to begrudge anyone telling about the positive aspects of their life.  I’m happy for them.  I occasionally make those very types of posts myself, and don’t do it to show up others –  rather, just show what I am grateful for.

Here is how I approach dealing with social media.  The points seem very logical to me, but perhaps if you’re lamenting about how posts are so faux, you can adopt some of my strategies.

  • I keep in mind that everyone has problems and nobody’s life is perfect – whether or not they tell every sordid detail of their life on Facebook or Instagram.
  • I have the ability to scroll right past anything that bothers me, without reading it.  (I actually do this regularly with posts that have anything to do with politics!)
  • If somebody’s posts really get under my skin or annoy me, I hide the person or unfriend them.
  • Sometimes I take a break and just don’t turn on my tablet or phone and therefore, am not exposed to outside influences in that way. (Who am I kidding – I am addicted and can’t imagine not checking in regularly!)

As for me, I will strive to make my posts about my life realistic and hopefully, uplifting.  I don’t intend to complain about life’s unpleasant happenings for the most part.  Everyone has their crosses to bear – don’t need to hear about mine unless exposing my issues in a humorous way can make readers smile or feel like they are not alone in dealing with everyday life.

And, meanwhile, I’ll continue to read Facebook and look at the photos on Instagram – enjoying them for what they are and not letting them bother me.  If you use social media, I hope you can do the same.

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Throwing a hissy fit…

This morning I threw a COLOSSAL hissy fit.  The trigger site was my laundry area in our unfinished basement.  I pulled bed sheets out of the dryer, turned around and put them on the ironing board so as to reload the dryer from the washer.  When I then pulled the sheets off the ironing board to carry them upstairs to my bedroom, I also knocked the iron off the board and watched in horror as it clattered to the cement floor.  They must make irons durable enough to handle such a jolt as the only thing that I could see happened to it was the dial for choosing the heat level came off.  I was able to easily replace it – no harm done.  (I have not yet plugged the iron in to see if it still works, however.)

Before...
Before…

BUT, in the seconds during and after this mishap, I erupted in a tantrum.  How could I be so clumsy and careless??  Fortunately, I was home alone so no one heard my expletives or my cry, “I hate my OLD self (that’s old age, not former self).  I hate the way I look.  I hate the way I feel.  I hate the way I act.”

After...
After…

Wow, what’s left to like??  And, how do any of these feelings relate to dropping an iron?  I stormed up the steps and began to cool down – realizing how pathetic my outburst was (not that at that moment it wasn’t exactly how I felt.)  I knew that I had to calm down.

Obviously, I was in a funk today that was just ignited by the iron incident.  I needed an attitude adjustment.

Interestingly enough, just yesterday during a discussion with RC about an acquaintance who is struggling, I uttered the suggestion that this person should just “pull himself up by his bootstraps!”

Just what I needed to do this morning; yet, realistically, I do know that is not always easy to accomplish.

After calming down and reflecting on the outburst.  I thought about how easy it must be for older adults like myself, to turn to alcohol or other mood enhancing drugs to help them cope.  When I googled alcoholism amongst retired people, a whole slew of articles popped up.  So, apparently, this is indeed a problem in my age group.

Before I go any further, I will assure you I’m not considering drinking any more in a day than the glass of wine (ok, sometimes, two glasses) I enjoy fairly frequently as I watch the evening news or prepare dinner.  But, I can see how persons feeling inadequate or depressed or just generally down on themselves might turn to drinking thinking it could be a solution to masking negative thoughts they may have.

As I read some of the articles Google referenced, I gleaned the following reasons older/retired folks might turn to drinking –

  • to counteract feelings about the elimination of work structure
    • loss of status
    • loss of employment based social support
    • loss of life purpose
  • to cheer oneself up
  • to combat loneliness
  • to counter boredom
  • to fill newfound leisure time
  • to assuage grief – loss of spouse, friends
  • to overcome negative thoughts about the loss of youth – MY BIG GRIPE!

Of course, the articles I read also noted why excessive drinking was not a good solution for elderly folks –

  • interference with meds
  • potential for causing liver disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, some forms of cancer
  • propensity for accidents – falls, etc.
  • increased sensitivity to the effects of alcohol due to problems metabolizing it

Logically, there should be ways to overcome all the issues that may cause an older person to turn to drinking.  In some cases, however, I realize this is easier said than done.

In my case, I will overcome my hate for the loss of my youthful self (see 2nd paragraph above) by –

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, continually reminding myself of all I have to be grateful for
  • looking for meaningful ways to stay busy with fun outings/activities, volunteer opportunities, get-togethers with friends
  • engaging in hobbies like reading, crossword puzzles, gardening
  • and, how about hanging out with young people – grandkids for instance?!

I hope you realize I use this blog space to lecture myself and give myself a kick in the pants.  If it provides you with any inspiration, that’s a plus for me.

P.S. I am embarrassed to share my outburst about the iron mishap.  It was totally ridiculous!

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Time slips away…

Beautiful Sapodilla Bay, Turks & Caicos
Beautiful Sapodilla Bay, Turks & Caicos

I can now check off the one and only item on my bucket list…a family vacation – daughter, son, their spouses, our grandchildren, RC and I all enjoying time together at a destination free from everyday-life interruptions and responsibilities.  I always imagined it would be in a warm, sunny spot, and I am so grateful it indeed, turned out to be that way.

Last August RC and I celebrated 50 years of marriage.  Our children and their spouses gifted us with a wonderful family trip to the Turks and Caicos islands.  Since August in Minnesota provides us with reasonable weather – warm, sunny – and January/February often does not – cold, snowy, icy – we planned for the trip to this tropical location to happen in January.  A perfect escape from winter!

I had five plus months to dream about this upcoming vacation.  I knew the planning/anticipating time would go  by very quickly; and, I also knew the vacation time would be over in a flash.  I was so spot on!

Now, here I sit a week and a half after returning from this fabulous trip – stunned that it is all over and done.  A pleasant memory.  Instead of watching the sun set into the ocean, I watch if from my living room easy chair, as it sets down through the barren trees and behind my neighbor’s house.  Life is back to being routine.  Not a bad thing, but I find myself grieving for a great week that passed by so quickly.

I’ve always heard that the older you get, the faster time flies by.  It certainly does seem that way to me.  I read something the other day that provided a good explanation for why this seems to happen.  In essence, by the time we are in our last half of life (maybe even before) our lives are mostly filled with routine and predictable happenings.  Because they are so routine, we can’t even remember what we had for dinner last Sunday!  The blogger (sorry, I don’t remember what blog I was reading) suggested the way to overcome time flying by was to make sure we are enjoying new experiences – learning something new, seeing something new, participating in a new group, eating new foods, trying new exercise – you get the idea.  He or she said the newness of whatever the activity may be would make the experience stand out (shaking up our routine) and help us to remember it and in turn, make it seem like time wasn’t passing us by.

Vacationing in Turks and Caicos was definitely a new experience for me and I will always have wonderful memories of this trip; and though it passed by way too quickly, maybe the point is if we string together enough new experiences we will be jostled out of our routines  and our lives will seem to move at a more leisurely pace, or at least will be more fulfilling.

A friend recently commented that at his age (same as me), he thinks to himself at the end of the day – ” another day gone by that I won’t get back; another day closer to the end!”  I often find myself thinking that same thought, only I think of it in seconds and minutes passing that I will never get back.

Those are morbid thoughts – rather, I intend to begin thinking of how I might find new activities I can enjoy to shake up my routine.  I’d like to think I have a good 15-20 more years of life ahead of me.  Beginning now, I am going to do my best to make the most of those years, creating pleasant memories and SLOWING TIME DOWN!

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Retirement, now what do I do…

Fall Tapestry

This is a mildly ridiculous topic for me to be writing about at this point since I have been retired for nearly two years.  However, I think I am still in a period of adjustment as I find myself wondering what I am supposed to be doing with the rest of my life!

I will say, I love my mornings now – without having to get up terribly early, I can take time to do some meditating, reading and writing before I even have breakfast.  My reading at this time of the day consists of what I guess you would call self-help type books.  Material that hopefully inspires me to be a better person, be better at something, make the world a better place, take better care of myself, etc., etc.  (Notice my quest for better!)

Currently, I am reading a Julia Cameron book, Walking in This World – The Practical Art of Creativitybook  Cameron’s main goal in her book is to help people realize their human potential…it is a course in creative discovery.  I am finding this book thought provoking, and I especially appreciate the exercises she suggests at the end of each chapter.

Since I have been pondering how I am to spend my days now that I don’t have to work a 9 to 5 job, the section entitled Art is Therapeutic, Not Therapy which I read yesterday, seemed to be written just for me.  The theory Ms. Cameron outlines here is that one could work with a therapist to find answers/solutions/understanding to a problem, but “art” as she calls it is much more active (as opposed to reactive).  Therapy helps us adjust to the world; “art adjusts the world itself.”  Or, rather than therapy showing us how to accept our feelings, “art teaches us to express how we feel and alchemize it.”  Just for a clearer understanding, (for me, if no one else) since the book is about being creative, I think the word, creativity, can be substituted for the word, art, here.

The exercise proposed at the end of this section was to take a stack of magazines with pictures and cut out ones that seem to deal with an issue upon which you are ruminating…a situation you would like to understand more fully.  In my case, what do I do now that I am retired?  Then, make a collage of the pictures and write about what you learned from this process. Cameron indicates the discovery can be telling and may be surprising…”a holistic sense of healing may emerge.”

So, this morning, I took my stack of magazines and paged through them looking for pictures that depicted scenes I could relate to.  I found pics of girlfriends laughing and sharing conversation, pics of grandparents spending time with their grandkids, pics of people enjoying solitude and nature, pics of people working in their garden, pics of people engaged in exercise.

Surprise!  These are all things I am doing.

Maybe I know what I am supposed to be doing in retirement, after all – enjoying my life!  So, I need to stop fretting about it.

Maybe you’re not retired, and/or you’re not wondering what to do with your life; but, perhaps you are facing a situation you would like to understand more fully.  I’d encourage you to give this little exercise a try.  Like me, maybe you will be affirmed that you are on the correct path; or, maybe you will discover a new way of approaching something in your life.

I feel like I have just delivered a book report here – and, probably not a very good one in terms of letting you know about the book I’m reading.  If you’re interested, I would suggest you get the book yourself.  It is available in the library.  My objective was to tell you about one of the exercises suggested in the book and how affirming the results were for me, hoping if you were so inclined to try it you may also find positive results.

I always love to have feedback so feel free to let me know what you think of this exercise.  You can leave comments in the section below.

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It’s back to school time…

Though I have always felt a certain amount of sadness when summer ends each year, as a teenager, I did get excited about the start of each new school year every September.  I always felt like the beginning of the school year was ripe with new possibilities for me.  Though they now seem silly and trite, the possibilities I dreamed of included things like – this is the year I will get really good grades; this is the year I will be popular and have loads of friends; this is the year I will find a boy who likes me as a girlfriend; this is the year my hair will always look fabulous!  With the exception of hoping for good grades (and, really, was I willing to put the time into studying that good grades would require??) my hopes in those times seemed to imply I had a self-esteem issue, didn’t they!?

The new school year was also exciting for me because I knew there would be at least one new “school outfit” and new shoes purchased…a chance to finally be a really “cool” dresser.  Then, there were the new school supplies purchased… I loved getting new school picpens/pencils and notebooks.  (The new supplies would certainly aid me in getting the good grades I dreamed about.)

Now, as an adult and long past dreaming and worrying about my life in a new school year, I still have a sense as the season changes from summer into fall, that it is a time for new beginnings.  It seems I have opportunities to:

  • change my in-the-house and outside décor to something more fallish
  • change into my fall wardrobe and put away the summer clothes
  • re-start my exercise program and be more faithful about actually doing it
  • be more deliberate about eating a healthy diet (maybe less Dairy Queen runs?) and, adding comfort food to the menu as the days are shorter and turn colder
  • spending less time on social media and more time on reading good books
  • actually doing a good job of cleaning up my gardens so I don’t have as big a mess to deal with next spring

And, on and on and on.  You get the idea.  I am grateful I live in Minnesota where we have distinct seasons (well, not grateful for how long the winter season is!) so I can feel excited about the new opportunities each season brings.

I am full of gratitude also that I am fortunate enough to have any and every possibility for doing anything I want in any season.  It is up to me to make the most of my life situation,  and to find joy.

I wish you lots of happy times during these last couple weeks of summer (according to the calendar, we have until September 22).  But, I encourage you to look forward to the “new school year” and make the most of the new opportunities that come your way!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Acceptance…

Last week I drove to Silverwood Park – a Three Rivers Park District park near my house – and sat on a park bench near the lake shore.

The bench
The bench
The view
The view

As I sat there for several minutes gazing at the lake and enjoying the serenity of the setting, I wondered what the other people enjoying the park that day thought about what I might be doing.  Little did they know that I sat there because I can’t walk very far on the paths right now without feeling the pain of my hip bursitis.  Normally, I would be walking the pathways and getting some exercise.  In fact, I would usually walk to the park rather than drive.

Particularly at this time of year when everything is budding and blooming, and we finally have warmer weather here in Minnesota, I love being outdoors.  It lifts my mood and provides me with a light heart.  So, my hip issue keeping me from my walks is really bugging me!  An aha moment came to me last week (might have come to some of you more quickly, but I may be stuck in a rut) that I could at least enjoy the outdoors by sitting on a park bench even if I couldn’t walk very far.  Thus, my drive to the park to take in the view from the bench.

Now, all of the verbiage above is just background for why I was sitting on the bench and wondering what people thought of me.  I really want to address my concern about what people were thinking of me.

I pondered the idea of how my actions impress (or not) other people.  Here are my thoughts and questions about this topic:

  • Probably 98% of strangers I encounter give very little thought to what I might be up to; however, that is likely because I am Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual and mostly don’t bother anyone or stir up trouble.  What if I was Muslim or Asian or Black or gay or trans-gender?  Would others then feel they could judge my actions?
  • If anyone does wonder about my behavior, they have no idea what my life is all about at any given moment – how my story affects my actions.  I could be experiencing a tragedy or crisis that causes me to behave differently.  (Yes, I know, hip bursitis is not a crisis, but it is currently affecting my lifestyle.)
  • It is nobody else’s business what I am doing as long as I am not hurting anyone in any way.  Why can’t we all see that as long as no laws are broken or no one is hurt, there is no reason to fear and judge the actions of others, even those that may be of a different race, culture, religion or socio-economic class?

In January, for the last couple of years, I have set a “word for the year” to use as guidance, hopefully, for my lifestyle.  This year my word is acceptance.  I started out with non-judgmental, but decided acceptance sounded better.  I am trying to accept everyone I meet as they are.  I may wonder about the actions of others, as I thought others might be doing about me as I sat on the bench; but, I want to remember that I do not know everyone’s story or the customs of their culture or race or religion, and therefore, cannot judge their behavior.

In the troubled world we live in today, it seems to me we could all attempt to show more acceptance and less fear of the people we encounter as we live our lives.  Who knows what their story might be!

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Slow down you move too fast…

Remember that Simon and Garfunkel song from the 60s – entitled, The 59th Street Bridge Song (why not Feelin’ Groovy??)

Slow down, you move too fast; you got to make the morning last.  Just kicking down the cobblestones, looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.

I got no deeds to do; no promises to keep.  I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.  Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.  Life, I love you.  All is groovy.

I recently had a weekend with no plans or activities scheduled.  Our grandsons’ basketball games were on hiatus between the winter and spring seasons; the Gopher basketball season had come to an end; and gardening season had not yet begun.

So, because I had recently requested four books from the library and amazingly, they all became available at the same time, I spent pretty much the entire weekend reading.  Now, what I discovered is since I had no place to go or anything specific to do, I REALLY concentrated on the reading.  I must admit many times I am trying to read quickly so skim whole paragraphs in order to finish a chapter in a book before I have to leave the house to go somewhere.  On this quiet weekend, I really took my time to read each sentence.

In essence, I slowed down from moving too fast – like the song admonishes us to do.  I realized what a gift I was given to have the time to contemplate the authors’ words in each of the books I read – perhaps, to find a deeper meaning.  Instead of just reading the words quickly I had time to really think about the author’s message.

My usual quick method of reading books probably explains why I can get to book club meetings and not remember how the featured book ended! I am in awe of my fellow members during our discussions who can recall what I consider really small details about the story we’ve read.  I usually can’t do that!  I consider myself a detail person; but really, I guess I’m not if I can’t pay attention to the detail in books.  The sad part about that for me is I aspire to be a good writer, and good writers are good at writing detail.  I need to pay better attention!

Really, I started out writing this post with the idea of conveying how important I feel it is to take time to slow down.  Seems as though it has turned into a piece about becoming a better reader and paying attention to detail.  Unless skipping over details as you read also pertains to you, you can ignore that part of this post.

Back to the slowing down topic.  I really enjoyed my quiet weekend.  I know I have written about being still and quiet in previous posts; but, again I will say I highly recommend taking your calendar and blocking out some time to just sit and read, meditate, reflect, pray, watch a movie, listen to music, nap, take a walk outside…to just be.  It doesn’t have to be a whole weekend – an hour here or there can work.  I think you will find it very refreshing/re-energizing.  I know I do.

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I’ve Got My Ears On…

After months (okay, maybe years) of responding “what” to persons engaging me in conversation; or, missing much of the dialogue in movies I was watching; and, lastly, being told by my children that I couldn’t hear, I have succumbed and been fitted with hearing aids.

My new ears!
My new ears!

I didn’t go into this without some trepidation.  First of all, I think of hearing aids necessary for only OLD people, and I don’t want to be thought of as elderly…oh, wait, I am getting old.  (Notice, I said getting old.)  Secondly, amongst the few people I know that have them, they always seem to be complaining about them – hearing too much noise, or messing with them to get them to work properly.  My fear was that I would not be able to adjust to the aids, and I too, would not be successful wearing them.  Add to these concerns, the cost of the devices (EXPENSIVE) and the fact insurance and Medicare pay very little in the way of reimbursement, and you might see why I was fearful as I made my appointment with the audiologist.

But, make the appointment I did with an audiologist recommended to me by a friend.  The doctor, a woman, put me at ease immediately.  Though she is likely several years younger than me, I would describe her as a grandmotherly type lady with a huge smile on her face and very cheerful.  During the appointment she thoroughly tested my hearing and shared with me the results in easy-to-understand language.  She answered all my questions and calmed all my fears.  It was clear to me she is very passionate about helping people to hear better.

So I left the first appointment after indeed, placing an order for devices the doctor felt were most appropriate for me.  She actually represents about ten hearing aid manufacturers so had many to consider for me.  Turns out her favorite and the one she felt would work best for me is a Danish company – must be a sign as I am part Danish!  There really is no risk in making a choice, as her routine is to give people 45 days in which to get used to the devices and make sure they are working well.  If in that 45 days I decide these aids are just not working, she will fit me with a different pair.

I received my hearing aids a week after ordering them.  Now, I am still in the 45 day trial period, and in fact, have had two adjustments made already.  It seems that as my brain adjusts to the hearing correction, tweaking may be necessary to make the devices more effective, especially when first starting to wear them.  Once, I have gotten comfortable with my new-found hearing ability, changes may not be needed for a long time.  With this particular audiologist, adjustments are made for free for three years.  The devices themselves have about a 8-10 year life span.

Just this week, an adjustment was made for me that did not increase the loudness, but made the sounds sharper.  My hearing test shows that I have trouble with the higher pitched vowel sounds when listening to someone speak.  That is why while watching movies, for instance, I could hear the dialogue, but could not always discern what was being said – very frustrating!

The bottom line here is I am very happy with the outcome of my decision to get help with my hearing.  Yes, as a woman, I do have hair to hide the fact that I am wearing devices; but, they really are made such that even if I was bald, you may have trouble noticing I am wearing anything extra on my ears.  I am happy to report I can now understand dialogue when I watch TV, I think I am asking “what” less frequently, and, in general, I am not missing out on what goes on around me.

By the way, I can adjust my devices for three different settings (many more are available) – master is the one I use most of the time, comfort is used when I am in a very noisy situation and don’t want to hear everything, and TV is a sharper version and allows me to hear the dialogue when watching a movie or tv program.  A voice in my ear tells me which level I am using; she also tells me when my batteries are low.  (Actually, just like choices one can make for Siri’s voice on iPhones, I can choose the voice to be male or female and even one with an accent.)

If you feel like your hearing is not what it used to be, I would suggest you not hesitate to get help.  I’m here to tell you it is a very good thing to hear well.

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Music Makes My Heart Sing…

     Music to fit any mood!
Music to fit any mood!

Recently, as a reward for enduring another PT session for my ever-plaguing hip bursitis (topic for another blog post?), I treated myself to a Starbucks’ coffee at Target.  Normally, I would prefer to sit in a Starbucks shop and relax, but I needed to pick up a few items from Target so chose to indulge in the java there.  Actually, it wasn’t an unpleasant atmosphere – I sat by a window and watched the rain outside, and the only other patron sitting at the tables was a young mother and a very cute baby who charmed me with her smiles.  The best part was the background music playing was music from the 1940s.

Though I was merely a baby at the end of that decade, I have always been drawn to the music of the 40s.  Listening to it always conjures up images of an era gone by.  I can imagine all sorts of scenarios to go with it…like, I can imagine soldiers of WWII and their sweethearts dancing the lindy to the big band sounds. (That is, when they were on leave and not fighting the ugly war.)  Since it is in my imagination only, I can make the scene as fanciful as I want.

I think music is wonderful in the ways it can relax us, excite us, motivate us, inspire us, or cheer us.  It can also bring joy and laughter or even tears.  Listening to music can be an escape – from sadness, stress, undesirable tasks or boredom; or, it can provide a diversion as we go about our household chores or exercise.  And, what about providing the impetus to get up and dance – with or without a partner?!

Mostly, I only listen to music when I am driving in my car.  Thanks to SiriusXM radio, I have a wide variety of genres from which to choose.  With the exception of hard rock and opera, I love all of it, and choose whatever appeals to me at the moment. Though I also often  select public radio and the news to catch up on current events (more frustrating than anything, these days), I have set my favorite music stations so they are available quickly with the press of a button. Like my husband, who flips back and forth between several channels while watching TV, I tend to flip back and forth between radio stations in the car.  My rule with oldies songs, for instance, is if I have never heard the song before, don’t remember it, or don’t like it, I don’t listen to it and quickly change the channel.

I know in the past, I have written about how much I love silence; and, I still think it has its merits and benefits.  But, today, I am writing to remind myself how much I enjoy listening to music which of course, is noise – in some cases, big noise.  I don’t listen to some of the oldies or my favorite country tunes without cranking up the volume…likely why I now need hearing aids!  Even my introverted soul can be energized by listening to music, and I am vowing to take time more often to listen to it other than just when I am in my car.

If you are already a music lover and indulge in listening frequently, you are probably saying, “well, duh!” as you read this.  If not, maybe you will be inspired to take time to treat yourself to your favorite tunes more frequently.

Music sets my heart free.  I hope it does for you also.

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