Category Archives: Attitude adjustment

Did you intend to do that…


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.


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.


Daring to be uncool…

Spring is will be springing out this week - YAY!
Spring will be springing out this week – YAY!

When my youngest grandson was in pre-school, he wore his pajamas just about everywhere.  One morning he was in my care and I was responsible for getting him to school.  It came time for getting out the door and on our way, and Max absolutely would not get out of his pjs and into his school clothes.  Thinking I couldn’t allow him to go to school dressed like that, I did everything I could think of to cajole him into putting on appropriate clothes…that is, what I deemed appropriate.  I even tried to shame him – “the other kids will laugh at you if you go to school in your pajamas.”

I honestly don’t remember if he won the battle, or I did – we’re talking several years ago now.  Today, when I think of this episode, I am filled with regret.  Yes, he was only a young child so may not have been consciously trying to be “uncool”, but in fact, that’s exactly what was happening.  Max was perfectly comfortable doing his own thing.  I was the only one in the room worried about him dressing out of the ordinary and drawing attention to himself.

Isn't he adorable!
Isn’t he adorable!

I’m not sure I ever was a free-spirit like Max, even as a youngster.  As an adult, I have never wanted to stick out in a crowd as being different or to bring attention to myself.  I fear being thought of as foolish, silly, or awkward.  But, I am beginning to realize I sometimes stifle my self-expression or creativity by being self-conscious.

The problem in the Max story was mine, not his.  I tried to project my self-consciousness onto him.  He had the right idea – whether conscious or not – I did not!  Wearing his pajamas to school bothered no one. 

Get a grip, Grammy, and let the kid express himself!

Fortunately, Max a has a wise mom who knows when to let him do his thing.  I believe Max even wore his pjs in a Christmas program back then – and, no one in the audience cared, made fun of him, or likely even noticed! (Except Grammy, of course.)

Laughing, singing, dancing, wearing clothing that may not be in vogue are all good for the soul…they allow the “doer” to be authentic.  All are activities I don’t always feel comfortable doing in public.  I’m going to work on changing my hang-up about being “uncool” – work on lightening up.

My spouse is a great example of someone who can let his hair down, so to speak.  He thinks nothing of bursting into song while walking from the parking lot into Target; or playing the car radio loud enough for all around to hear.  Both of those activities embarrass me for him – you don’t catch me doing either of them.

My effort to change my self-consciousness and act authentically once in awhile will have to be deliberate.  It won’t come easily for me; but, I’m thinking I may find letting go very freeing.  It’s a lot of work to stay in control and act “cool” all the time!  Wish me luck.


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.)


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.”


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!


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!


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

Affirmations – prescriptions for change…

water fall

One of my latest mental exercises is using affirmation statements.  I don’t have many stories to tell yet about how well they are working or to illustrate the process with a success I have had using them…I’m apparently not far enough into the process to be able to give a testimonial.  So, I thought I would discuss the concept of these tools with those of you reading this and see if you have any good stories about how using affirmations may have worked for you.

In a couple of the self-help type books I have read lately (yes, an almost 70-year-old can still be looking for help!), affirmations are mentioned as a good tool to utilize for self-improvement.  Simply put, an affirmation statement is a positive statement of belief.  It can be used to rewire the brain to make changes to behavior patterns, or transform one’s outlook on life…a prescription for change, if you will.  Affirmations can allow one to move any area of one’s life to the next level.  They can be powerful tools for managing stress, caring for physical health, and stimulating productivity.

Here are a few suggestions I have come across in my reading about this topic as to how to use affirmations:

  • Use I am statements – think of Ali, the famous fighter, who always said “I am the greatest.”  (And, at the time, he was the greatest.)
  • A more specific, behavior changing type of affirmation statement is I am committed to ___________, so that I can _______________, by ____________.  (This method was suggested by Hal Elrod in The Miracle Morning books.)
  • Write your affirmations out (in your journal is a good place, if you keep one) and repeat them every day.  Affirmations repeated over and over work on the subconscious mind.

I can give you an example of my use of the middle bullet point above – an affirmation involving action.  I have hip bursitis (you have heard me whine about this malady before) and am intent on correcting the problem if at all possible.  My affirmation statement for this has been I am committed to doing my exercises every day so that I can move around and sleep without pain by May 1.  (I thought of this affirmation and used it prior to May 1.) I have dropped the May 1 deadline and continue to use the affirmation, and do the exercises.  (I can report that though I still have the hip issue, it is much improved and I indeed, move without pain most of the time now; and, I think this is because I use the affirmation and then feel obligated to follow through and do the exercises!)

The other type of affirmation – like Ali’s affirmation – may address how we would like to feel about our behavior patterns and/or our capabilities.  This one can be more difficult to work with because our internal demons immediately refute what we might be trying to affirm.  Example:  I am a good writer.  My immediate response – my very own censor – says “who do you think you are; nobody is going to ever read anything you write and think it is wonderful or useful!”  The so-called experts on this topic assure that if an affirmation is repeated daily it will ultimately transform the way we think or feel about ourselves and overcome our limiting beliefs and behaviors.

In my last post I wrote about how I am focusing on being more accepting of others and less judgmental.  Today, as I was pondering what to write about affirmations, it struck me I could use I am a kind person as an affirmation to help me with my goal of respecting other people.  I will add that to the list of statements I review daily.

I’m going to keep using my affirmation statements about exercise, my writing abilities and my latest addition about being kind and see where they lead me.  Likely, I will add others as inspirations come to me.  I’ve got nothing to lose.

Would love to hear if you have a story about changing something in your life by using an affirmation statement.  Feel free to share in the comment section below.



Showing compassion & love is always appropriate…


I do believe in the thought my title above conveys.

BUT, several weeks ago as I sat at my grandson’s 5th grade graduation (moving-on ceremony), a baby was crying behind me.  It irritated me as the noise was very distracting to hearing the people at the podium saying wonderful things about the 5th graders.

A baby bothering me!  What is wrong with me?!

Actually, my irritation was directed more at the parent of the baby than the child – why didn’t he (the parent) take the baby and leave the room so as to not bother those sitting around him?

I know the answer – because his other child was one of the 5th graders being recognized and he didn’t  want to miss this special lifetime event.  That’s reasonable!

Oh, and I might add to this story, there was a toddler sitting with his mother in front of me with two celebratory balloons, waving them at just the right level to block my view of the stage – another irritation!  Again I thought, why is that mom so oblivious that her balloons are blocking the view of those seated behind her son and her?

At the beginning of the year I designated acceptance as my word of the year – the word I would think of to direct my behavior in my encounters with all people.  The word reminding me compassionate and loving actions are always the appropriate choices to make.  BUT, the story above shows how quickly I abandoned those tactics!

I’m not proud of my attitude that day at the graduation ceremony.  I don’t think there is any reasonable thing I could have done to change the situation; but, in the long run it wasn’t that big of a deal.  I was able to hear and see the entire program.  I could have portrayed myself as a much better person though if I had smiled throughout the activities instead of periodically glaring at the parent with the crying baby behind me.  That did no one any good!

I’m going to keep working on having an attitude of acceptance in my everyday life.  Greeting and meeting people with a smile instead of a sneer can be a small step in making the world a better place.  (I might add, I need to remember this when I encounter what I consider to be bad drivers on the roads.  I’m not saying I suffer from road rage, but it is not uncommon for me to utter expletives when someone cuts me off or tailgates me.)

There, that is my confession for today.  I hope writing this and sharing it with you will help me get back on the right path!  I have previously quoted the lyrics of an old Dionne Warwick song which again, seem appropriate here – “what the world needs now is love, sweet love!”  Oh brother, and how!!