Have you laughed today?

June 22, 2010 No Comments

 

Quote of the Day

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter”.  – e.e. cummings

 

365 Days to a Balanced Life – Day 22

 

Three events happened in my life in the past two years that have made me reflect more about how I am living my life.  The first was the death of my father, followed immediately by my mother being put in a nursing home due to advancing dementia and my own stroke 6 months later.

My poor mother has deteriorated to the point of not being able to walk or feed herself.  She is no longer communicating, although I do think she knows who we are.  The facility she lives in is considered higher end and in some respects quite lovely.  However, it wouldn’t matter if the faucets were solid gold and Wolfgang Puck was their chef, it is a degrading and horrible existence.  Walking through those halls seeing these once vibrant people slumped in wheelchairs and staring into space (and those are the lucky ones), is terrifying to me.  Don’t worry, I am not going to get into a discussion about how we as a society must make some changes in how we handle the elderly (although it is worth considering since we are next ),  I am going to tell you how inspired I have become as a result of my visits to my mother.

It has made me realize how quickly life can change.  Less than 4 years ago my mother was managing her own house and looking after my father.  She took daily walks and appeared to be as strong as an ox.  Then came the diagnosis and a steady decline for both of them.  My own stroke at the age of 52 could have changed my life forever.  I was very fortunate to recover so well.  I think about that every day and realize I cannot put off things that I want to do as we never know what the future will bring.

It has inspired me to consider if I am truly living my life the way I want to live it.  I ask myself daily if it all ended today would I be sitting on my cloud pleased with what I contributed.  The answer is always not completely.  I am always aware of the changes I need to make to create a fulfilling and meaningful life.

It has made me realize that like most people, I am living on auto pilot.   One of the goals I have for my 365 Days to a Balanced Life is to live with intention, focus and purpose.

It has also inspired me to really cherish my relationships.  My goal is to find the energy and make the time to create opportunities for enjoying my family and friendships.  It is important to stay in the moment during these times together and to let the little stuff go.  Does it really matter if the house or the meal is perfect?  Select simple things to do that do not create stress in the doing.  Have a family game night after Sunday dinner or start a Book Club as a way to connect with friends you otherwise don’t have time to see (you might even discuss a book).

Most importantly it has taught me that you need to find joy in living.  It truly is amazing how so few of us have little real and lasting joy.  I have so much to be grateful for and yet I don’t feel joyful because of all the “stress”.  One of my daily habits will be to create joy in everyday living and teach my children to do the same.  My father taught me a valuable lesson shortly before he died.  Even though he had struggled in life, lost a child and was not happy in his marriage he had somehow managed to be content with his life.  He had the five children he set out to have and he worked hard to be able to end his days in his modest house on the beach.  I want to feel that contentment.

And finally, I need to laugh more and not take life too seriously.  I am starting to watch more comedy instead of crime and hospital dramas.  Clearly I have enough drama in my life.  If we aren’t going to enjoy our lives right now, when are we?

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