Over the holiday I visited my in-laws in their memory care and assisted living homes. They are lucky enough to have purchased long-term care and are well-cared for and have access to everything they need. My MIL is in a wheel chair but still has her wits about her. My FIL is in the memory care home and although still talking and recognizing his wife, he said her name loud and clear as we were leaving, I can see that most memories have slipped away from him.
As I go into this new year having procrastinated some things that I really want to do (mostly because I’m scared) seeing them made me realize a few things that I want to take with me as I hopefully embark on some kind of change.
Life is not endless
We only have so much time. The time is precious and no matter how I spend it, I want to be present. Even if I am washing the dishes, I want to appreciate warm water running over my hands, having a beautiful family whose dishes need cleaning and the joy that comes from completing a task. I want to find joy in everyday activities, maintaining a home, raising a family, having a husband who loves me. It may not make time go any slower but I will at least have the knowledge that I enjoyed it as much as I possibly could.
Appreciate my body no matter it’s state
I may want to be thinner, longer, tanner (more tan?) fitter and a lot of other things but I am not appreciating what I actually have. I can walk and move with ease. I can stand up anytime I want, exercise to my heart’s content, drive a car, travel, see my kids, run around, dance, work, garden. I can do all of those things by myself and anytime I want. I recognize that may not always be the case. So I’d like to take advantage of my current state and enjoy it, push it, and see what it can do, take my body out for a test drive. At the very least, I want to enjoy the simple joy of my imperfect body.
Do things while they are important to me
I have urges to do things. I want to build with wood, I want to sew a dress, I want to plant a garden, I want to make delicious sauces, I want to travel to foreign countries, I want to draw and paint. I have urges to do those things now. But as I get older, other things may take priority and I won’t want to do these things anymore. The urge may fade and other urges take their place. So if I don’t do them today, I may never do them because they won’t be important to me anymore. I may not feel the loss of them in that moment, but I will feel the loss of them as a memory of something I once felt the urge to do but didn’t.
All this is a reflection meant to encourage me to take action, to prevent me from letting time slip by, to live 2020 with purpose. So thank you, in-laws, for helping me to see.