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Challenges

Age in the Time of COVID 19

Life has taken a 180 degree turn and things might never be the same. I know we have felt like this other times, but this time feels inevitable. When the pandemic hit the world, we all came to a standstill. We put our lives on hold and concentrated in not going crazy. Conflicting news, conflicting solutions, anger and finger pointing were just everyday events.

Each and everyone of us has tried to find sure footing, somewhere to rest and breathe and look at the situation with impartial eyes. Not easy and not everyone is interested, fair enough. Things are so confusing that just going through them can cause mayor upheaval. Unfortunately, one thing is really clear, people of a certain age are affected the most…again.

Let’s go through it with open eyes and not sugar-coating anything. When you hit a certain age, you become more vulnerable. Be either physically, emotionally or financially, that is a fact. We may be in full control of our lives, but there is always someone that doubts it and wants to make us see things their way. Isn’t that the truth!!

Isolation was the first thing to hit us. As soon as the first cases manifested themselves, out went all rules and we were ordered to stay home. Period!!! Hard for everyone, we know, but it was made harder for older people. Not only the ones that depend on others, but everyone of a certain age.

Consequently, our sector of the population got the short end of the stick, so to speak. They were ask to stay put, no matter what, to start depending on others for all their needs. Retirement and nursing facilities were hit very hard. The majority of deaths occurred there, on the people that were most vulnerable.

Then, slowly, we started coming out of the lockdown. Some places faster than others, but it happened. We asked ourselves, what now? how are those so vulnerable going to start coping again? do they just stay put and scare? do they really have a voice in all this? are authorities ready to make things better? have they learned anything from the experience? would a plan be put in place to keep that segment of the population safer next time?

Unfortunately, before anything could be explained….we are heading for another lockdown. Countries around the world are considering new measures and new rules. Will they keep us safe? It remains to be seen, but we must be prepared for anything. This time is not a surprise. We lived through the first wave, we learned a few things to protect ourselves. Let’s be proactive!!

Life goes on, we are still alive…….don’t panic. Be smart about your choices because you are in charge of your life.

Categories
Challenges

Life Changes

A storm approaching, but not all is dark

These are strange times. Life has been turned upside side down and it may never go back to what it was. It is not only the obvious changes, but the more profound ones we have yet to see. Those are the ones that will affect us for years to come. The ones, that if we are lucky, will change our lives and make it better. We must pay attention!!!

These are the ones I see coming. Not trying to place them in any order or pretend that I know better than anyone. These are only my observations, the way I see things from the relative safety of my high-rise apartment overlooking Biscayne Bay.

Once all this craziness fades and you can all be sure that it will, what will be left? So here are my observations, take them as you will. Still do not be in haste to discard them, to ignore them or to simple put them aside.

First, the fact that we are looking into a life-changing event will affect us like it or not. There is no ignoring the obvious, but also there is no need to panic and rush to dangerous decisions. Let’s keep our collective head and breathe before we act. This change will serve us well in every aspect of life from now on.

Second, Nature needs a chance to heal itself. We have not given her this chance and we are now paying for it. Just look around you, pay attention. Have you ever noticed that when a field is abandoned for a while, it becomes even better? Or a garden that is left to itself it regenerates and bursts into life? In my little island when I open the windows, I can hear birds singing again. Absolutely glorious!

Third, with enforced quarantine or a two week stay-at-home period, most of us will discovered that home is the safest place for us. We are going back to appreciating the joys of family time, of reading a book without rushing, sharing meals and having conversations at the table. We have time for today and that is a change we needed.

Fourth, as we look into ourselves and our family and home, we may discover that the time we have spent following Social Media is wasted time. Influencers, athletes, actors, politicians and other so called celebrities have nothing to offer us that we cannot think up by ourselves.

Fifth, we might realize that we are part of a whole and not the most important part. For longer than we can remember, humans have tried to control everything, now everything is making us stop and think. Hopefully this will make us go back to basics, to what is really important. This is our wake up call, let’s listen!!

Some will say I am more fortunate than most and that is true. Others will point out that pontificating from my point of view have little value. Still others will let me know that observations are not exact science. They will all be right, but if all of us keep how we feel to ourselves…..what then? It is in the exchange of ideas that we can find the solution and it is in finding common ground that we will survive. I am so sure of that!!

Categories
Lessons

To Plan or not to Plan

A cool Campari and soda

Life is complicated, if we let it be. Or in some cases, even if we don’t allow it. It is the nature of living. So we can let it happen as it comes or we can plan how we want it to go. Yes, I do hear you. We can plan all we want and still do not come up with what we wanted.

Still, there are many out there who sear by planning. They map their life to the minute. In some cases with great success. Others will tell you that the life they are living just felt on their lap and they are just going along for the ride. Which is the best? to plan or not to plan. Have to say it is completely a matter of personality and preference. Here is why.

Planning everything to the last details can work well for people that crave organization and rules in their lives. Not planning and going with the flow is more for people that enjoy surprises and unexpected twists and turns. Now, how many of us are completely sure to what group do we belong? Certainly not me!!!

For years I was always saying that in our family we do not plan enough. Plan B was a favorite phrase. I used it for everything. Sometimes I was proven right and we indeed needed it. Sometimes all worked out just fine and it was never necessary. This applied to anything from trips to financial decisions to where and when to move. It made for a very interesting life.

Of course, I’ve known that all the planning in the world can go askew in a matter of minutes. So many circumstances are outside our field of influence. Decisions are taken out of our hands by events that have nothing to do with us. Planning , I have decided is overrated!

Let’s explain that. Plans are overrated when we depend on them for anything we do. Flexibility is more important. Go ahead and plan, but also be ready to change, tweak or totally forget that which you have planned. It is a liberating concept and one I am embracing joyfully!!!

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Lessons

Your Life is your Everyday

Stop and enjoy Nature!!

This is the biggest truth I know. Took some time to actually realize it, of course. We tend to focus on the big events in our lives. The small everyday events that make our days, we just brush off. Not for me anymore, I know better now.

In the rush to get things done, to manage our daily tasks, we fall into a pattern. Get the small things done quickly, so we can get to the big stuff. We are always looking forward to the next event in our lives, the trip, the visit to family, the birthday party, the wedding or the family reunion. All very valid and important things in our lives, but they only come once in a while. The excitement makes us believe that they are what we should focus on.

I have news for you, if you haven’t discovered this already. It’s the everyday events that make up our lives. Think having coffee with a friend, visiting your mother, reading that book you have been hearing so much about, a walk in the park, trying a new recipe or just taking a nap. That is life.

When you step back and think about it, you will understand this insight. You’ll realize that sometimes, staying home is the right thing. Do it. Other times, just stepping back and having time on your hands because you needed to is a gift. No other choice, but to enjoy what you can do at that moment.

Life is made of those moments, enjoy each and every one. No need to wait, nothing to organize, nothing to plan, nothing to buy. Sit back and live!!!

Categories
Challenges Living

Embracing RA

Not all of you know this: I live with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I say live because suffer is such a strong word and one that I find doesn’t reflect one’s attitude towards this illness. Having clarified that, living with RA is far from easy. It is because of this that I have decided it’s time to embrace this and share how I cope on a daily basis. For those of you who do not know what RA is, HERE is an explanation. Albeit a simple one, it will give you an idea of what people with RA have to deal with. It is not osteoarthritis, so do not confuse them.

Life is far from perfect as it is, but some of us must deal with additional challenges on a daily basis, for the rest of our lives. Not only the disease, I prefer illness, has no known cure, but treatment can cause much havoc. Sort of a no win situation: damn if you do, damn if you don’t.

People can be curious, rude and insensitive about this illness because most of us do not look sick. Pain, after all, is not always visible. Unfortunately, it is ever present. A flare can turn our lives upside down. In some cases, internal organs or your skin are affected. This is due to chronic inflammation and the fact that your body attacks itself.

A good rheumatologist is essential. Someone that understands that treating the symptoms is as crucial as treating the disease. New treatments are available, but not always effective to everyone patient. So I keep up to date with what is out there. Reading, asking questions and being proactive are indispensable. Changing doctors if necessary it’s also a choice.

What I have learned is to accept the limitations, but do no let them take over my life. Work around them. Movement is my friend, so even if it’s just a little, I move every day. Walking, yoga, dancing by myself and stretching all help. I take care of what I eat. Food can be a great help or the cause of a flare, pain and worsening symptoms. Taking time to rest, changing plans at the last minute are things I do now without apologies. I have learned to take advantage of my good days and to take care of myself in the bad ones. Most of all, I have learned to live life to the fullest every day.