Embracing All Seasons of Life

by Francine Van, Guest Contributor

Losing Life SpiritI arrived at this moment with age but know the feeling of loss of myself. It happens. The crucial question is how to preserve it and thrive.

Ageing brings forward the essence of life. Defining this spirit is impossible because of the uniqueness between us and I have learned the emotional weight we carry contributes to its demise. Families and friends layer burdens unintentionally in addition to doctors, grocers, transportation needs, or any other interaction. As a person in pea-time or the ripeness of my life, I decline the use of senior as an adjective to describe myself. Elder a little better at least implicates some wisdom in the matter. And ripe is defined as developed. I like it. This quote reminds me to embrace all seasons of life, not just the spring of our lives:

           “To be interested in the changing seasons is …a happier
           state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring”
           ~~ George Santayana

I found my spirit challenged a few months ago with medical tests, and the thought of knowing when the possible period at the end of my life sentence may come physically, decided to sit still. I realized the busyness I had created and allowed around me. Me, who is me now?

I stopped answering my phone, except to necessity, emailed those close to me that I was fine, and I was, just not well. I had no goal but to indulge myself. Some of the days I watched TV all day, movie after movie with a glass of wine or I sat and felt the wind.

But I continued two obligations a few days a week. One to a school lunch program and a half day volunteer gig with a retail re-cycler. I learned I had chosen well after numerous attempts volunteering for different causes. I found one as a cashier enjoying interaction with the public helping shoppers find deals in a restore. I also found a part time job at schools that offers the loving energy of children. Their hope and sincerity will lift anyone and their truth telling, like how old I am, punches directly at my ego. Talking with children has no room for self importance.

I took a month off. I stopped social engagements of any kind filtering them slowly back, but with limits. I found myself writing more, my passion, and working on some projects that have been laying around without progress. Needless to say, I found my spirit. Honestly, it is never really lost, just buried under the emotional weight or what I have come to define as death by a million cuts. I believed this to be part of ageing, but again, now realize it happens all though our lives.

Awareness and confidence are the only solutions. Awareness of how you are spending your time to ensure balance. I believe that in retirement the façade of the golden years, or fulfilling a notion of a perfect grandparent, or dedication to volunteering to help everyone in need, will drain you. Thus, the confidence in choosing your activities for the day to help you  thrive is the most important goal of each day. Learning to say ‘no’ is a requirement. Take time to feel the joy of life. I would never have guessed being on a school playground would bring light to my spirit, but it does and for now my life continues with a comma. It was only a pause after all.

Merry Christmas!
Merry Xmas
Hoping I find this spirit too.

About Golden Wave Movement Canada

The Golden Wave Movement is a made up of engaged individuals who have serious concerns about the increasing challenges retirees surviving on modest pension incomes face nowadays. While our main purpose is to raise awareness of the financial difficulties faced by this vulnerable group of citizens, we also intend to raise awareness regarding challenges related to their physical, emotional and psychological well-being and how to enjoy their golden years.
This entry was posted in ageing, Elder population, Quality of life, Retirement and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Embracing All Seasons of Life

  1. Mike H says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. The aches, pains and medical tests can wear you down. You have to silence all that noise and be grateful for all the good in our lives and there is a lot of good. Like the writer I don’t answer my phone at night and try not to be shackled to email and internet. I try to get out in nature as much as I can and in Toronto there is no excuse to find beautiful areas of green or in the winter, white. I have no régimen. I eat when I am hungry and wake up when I feel like. I am not suited to volunteering but I give back to the community however I can. Our riper years can be quite lovely.


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