Categories
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
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.

Categories
Challenges

Holiday Traditions

Our Miniature Tree

Tis the Season and with it come traditions. Year after year we’ve kept them, they give us a sense of family, of togetherness, of happy memories. As a result, we feel we must keep them going forever. In fact we have been keeping them for years even if we do not feel the same way about them anymore. It’s the way we were brought up, the way we brought up our children. For most of us, it’s the only way!!!

This year, forget about bringing up all those boxes full of Christmas Past. They were wonderful in their time, but we must be realistic. Forget about buying presents randomly, forget about cooking for days to have more food than people would be able to eat, forget all of those traditions. Nowhere it is written that we must exhaust, stress and overspend ourselves to make the Holidays happy. Reality check, Happiness is subjective!!

Let’s try a different way. Let’s make it all about what makes us happy, what bring us together, what we want to do. Start new traditions, decorate with things that please you, cook less and spend more time with your loved ones. Share your blessings and volunteer, make other people Holidays bright, be present and share your time. The rewards will be amazing and your body, mind and pocket will thank you!!!

Categories
Challenges

Commit to Change your Story

Painting by MAURY, Delta add-on by Mercedes

What a thing to say!!! Is that even possible? and how do you go about it? These are valid questions. The answers are absolutely up to you. It is a voluntary process, one you must really want it to be able to achieve it.

Starting with examining your habits, your way to do things, the way you process information and your reaction to it, this can be good for you. Remind yourself that you are not looking for things to change, you are only looking at how all this affects your life. What you find that is good, you must continue to practice.

Most importantly, you must be realistic about this. Change is good if you get positive things out of it. For that, you need a plan. Start by asking yourself: who am I? Be as impartial as you can….not easy, but try. The point of this exercise is to accept yourself for who you are a this time in your life.

Make a list, put down what you have discovered that you find helps you. In another list, put down all the things you feel hold you back: regrets, fears, old hurts, emotions that cause you to fret. Compare lists and set goals. Once this is done, you can review as you go. Change the way you talk making every thought positive. No more: why me or I can’t do this. Those are not conducive to change.

Forget the past and concentrate on the now and the future. Let’s consider the past a learning experience and move on. Take risks, get out of your comfort zone, think outside the proverbial box. Focus on yourself and your journey, what others think is irrelevant.

Finally, spend time with people you trust, who support and love you. Leave argumentative and negative people behind, they do not belong in your life anymore. The change you are looking for will get you where you need to be. There you will find the people the new you can make history with. Go for it!!!