I got a Marco Polo message from a friend of mine who was having a rough day. She was feeling a little down and very frustrated with her current circumstances. But as I listened to her chat, her words really resonated with me. She said, “one of the beauties of being older is that you recognize that these things pass…so you just gotta get through them. And I knew once I got up and got showered and went out for a little bit that I would feel better.”
I listened to her message and typed it out word for word so I wouldn’t be misquoting her. Because I think she’s right.
She got up, she showered, she went out for a little bit, and she felt better.
Now keep in mind I’m not talking about days with serious depression. I’m talking about those days that you just feel a little blue – I like to joke and say I’m a pale azure blue, verses a bright blue or a turquoise blue. Adulting is hard. The longer we live, the longer we experience our ever-changing moods and know that most of us don’t ride a constant high. We have those lows, and sometimes we can’t instantly snap out of them, no matter how hard we want to.
But thankfully time and experience, like gentle friends, remind us that we typically will level out our mood. We’ve gone through this before, and we will come out of it, just like before. And as my friend suggested, sometimes the best thing to do is to get up (change your physical position), take a shower (that good clean feel can make SUCH a difference), and go out for a little bit (change your atmosphere): three simple actions that can be just the direction we need for a hard day.
I’m making a point to enjoy things I did when I was younger. Obviously, I’m talking age appropriate things. The purpose is to intentionally do an activity just for the sake of continuing the enjoyment of it: letting some memories continue on, so to speak.
For example, when I was in college, I adored taking short nature walks by myself. I’d try to get lost on trails and just soak in the green around me. I’d run my hands along the plants and let them kiss my fingertips. I’d attempt to be mindful before I even knew really what being mindful was. It was relaxing yet energizing and helped me face people again.
So why did I stop? I think life just got in the way. I’ve realized that often the good things in my past are no longer there because they aren’t as convenient anymore. But it’s my own fault. I have the power to remember them and then to make them happen.
So, I do.
The other day I got myself outside, and I took a walk: it was just me and nature’s beauties. And I felt richer. Not because I found money along the pathway, but because I felt I had cracked open a treasure in life that has never been that far out of reach. I wish I hadn’t waited so long.
Is there something you’ve enjoyed in the past that you can start doing again? Even if it’s something small, like a treat of your favorite childhood food (health permitting). Maybe even just close your eyes on a windy day and listen as everything whips around you, just as you heard it and enjoyed it when you were on the playground in elementary school. Or perhaps indulge in a TV show you used to enjoy as a teen.
The older I get, the more I realize life can be made better by intentional living (or intentional adulting?). And I’m going to post more blog entries about the steps I take toward it. I hope you will join me and do some intentional living as well.
I recently looked over at the mug sitting next to me on the table: it read “wifey.” And while it’s not a super big deal, as I’ve been a “wifey” for 13 years, I became suddenly aware of how easily my roles in life change as I get older. (Okay, so maybe it was both the mug AND the caffeine kicking in that brought this revelation.) No matter. The point is, like a type of royalty, we get new titles added to our names.
I was born with the titles and roles of daughter, sister, cousin, niece, and granddaughter. Soon I become a friend, and when I was a teenager, I was a girlfriend. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve continued to add to my repertoire: sister-in-law, fiancé, wife, daughter-in-law, and one of my favorites: aunt.
Today, take a moment to realize all the titles you’ve accrued as you’ve aged and the new roles you’ve stepped into. What are your titles? It’s truly an honor to have them. I remember when the phrase "Always wear your invisible crown!" first became popular, and I think there is something to be said for its encouragement and direction. While we may not be sovereigns with giant, sparkly tiaras, we take on roles of leadership in our life, and they carry plenty of honor, pride, and pure joy.
Let’s wear them well.
I keep hearing that “older” people are on Facebook, and that it’s not really used so fervently by the generation after me. Well, I guess I’m older, because I’m totally on Facebook – in fact, some of you are reading this blog post because I posted it to Facebook. It may not be the latest and greatest form of social media, but I still enjoy it, especially with a nice cup of tea.
Until I don’t.
I’ve heard so many of my friends say how much harder it is to NOT compare our lives with what we see on Facebook (and of course other social media like Instagram.) And I agree. Scrolling our Facebook feeds can result in its own unique strain of anxiety and depression.
As a result, I’ve unfollowed people who I love and want to keep in my life, but who post things that aren’t serving to encourage me. Simple as that. And I know a lot of you do the same. It’s nothing against the person and everything to do with what I want on the glowing screen in front of my face.
The SECOND best thing I’ve done is to also join Facebook groups who encourage me. Their posts build me up when I see them appearing in my feed. One of my favorites is “No Sidebar”, a group of people whose focus is on slowing down life and living more simply. Their description:
We want to help you figure out what’s getting in your way, at home and at work. We want to help you let go of distractions, online and off. We want to help you turn down the noise that disrupts the quiet of your heart and mind and soul.
Let me tell you, this group has been such a happy spot in my life! It may not be interesting to you, but I have a feeling there is your own version of “No Sidebar” in the Facebook world.
I have also joined a fitness group that exercises as I do, a group that celebrates all things hygge, and multiple blogger groups to help encourage my writing.
It’s taken me awhile, but I finally have a Facebook feed that I enjoy and that lifts me up. Scrolling Facebook is not anxiety filled. I actually take pleasure in it now. Do I still have my moments? Sure! But they’re fewer and far between. And I hope that by sharing some of the changes I’ve made, you will join me, and soon feel the same way.
Creator of Love, Auntie.