Time flies when you’re old

Last week, I went to Walgreens to pick up a prescription and to get my shingles vaccination. While I waited for my shot, an older woman went up to the counter to get her prescription filled. When she was asked for her date of birth, I heard the year 1948 and immediately did the math – she is fifteen years older than me. That prompted a lot of thoughts about how time speeds up when you’re old.

I turned fifty-seven last month. My brother posted a picture on Facebook of me with our mother on my 50th birthday. It doesn’t feel like it has been seven years even though a lot happened in that time. I quit a job I hated and started a new one, I lost several family members including both parents, and I moved to another state.

The process of aging reminds me of a ball that accelerates as it rolls down hill, though the reason is math and not physics, so the analogy quickly falls apart. When an object moves down hill, its potential energy is converted into kinetic energy – the energy of motion. When we get old, our physical energy decreases and we don’t move our bodies as easily. But we have the potential to convert that lost kinetic energy into spiritual energy. Our bodies may be going downhill but our souls can look upward.

Our perception of age is relative. Children have no concept of how old adults are and when they try to guess, their responses are funny. I will never forget the time a kid in middle school, standing outside the door of the school library where I tutored a student, looked in at me and said, “hey, old lady.” I laugh about being called an old lady back then because I was only about 40 years old.

When I was a child, a year seemed like forever. At ten, a year is 10% of your life. Now, one year is only 1.75% of my life; when I was forty a year was 2.5% of my life. Now a year, even seven years, flies by. This quickening of time reminds me of the importance of the lesser known lines of the Serenity Prayer. Live one day at a time. Enjoy one moment at a time.

Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace

Today I think of myself as an old lady, albeit a “young” old lady. I take good care of myself with diet and exercise but even the best health habits can’t prevent the effects of aging. As I age, I find myself comparing myself to women who are older than me, like the woman at Walgreens. I guess it’s because I’m preparing myself for what’s ahead and what could be ahead for me physically if I don’t continue to take good care of myself.

In fifteen years, in two blinks of an eye, I hope to be like the older lady I see on my morning runs. She is slender and walks at a good pace, moving her arms as if she were running. Until then, I will be…

Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting aging as a pathway to peace

I resolve to react respectfully

I read several political news stories on Facebook everyday. The comments to an article are often just as or even more interesting than the story itself. The articles expose the ugliness of American politics and the comments reveal the ugliness of our hearts – the selfishness, anger, and self-righteousness.

My mother used to tell us kids, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Facebook has made it easy to say something that isn’t nice without saying a word. You can express anger and contempt with a click of a button. It’s especially easy to react uncivilly to strangers.

When Facebook added the laughing reaction icon, I am ashamed to say that I started using it in the same way that I see other people use it – not to express amusement at something that is actually funny, but to let the person commenting know that I think their logic is laughable. Laughing at someone you think is foolish or ill-informed is bad enough; there are people who use the laughing face reaction to ridicule victims of sexual assault.

When used to show disdain, disrespect, and insensitivity to other people, the laughing face on Facebook makes an ass out of me. 

My New Year’s resolution is to control my reactions on social media. I resolve to not laugh at strangers. I resolve to not get angry at strangers. I resolve to respect other people, even when I disagree with them. I resolve to not be an ass.

May the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, and the emoticons I choose be pleasing to you, O Lord.

May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer

Psalm 19: 14 (NIV)

Photo by Dan Cook on Unsplash

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/12/31/your-daily-word-prompt-resolution-December-31-2018/

On pins and needles

Before December even started, I was already feeling anxious about my  busy season as an accountant, which begins January 1st. There is so much to do! I worry about meeting reporting deadlines and I worry that something important will fall through the cracks. I have the kind of anxiety that keeps me awake at night.

In reading the Sunday paper last week, I learned a new word for that familiar feeling of agitation. In an article on the economy, Jared Bernstein wrote: “The stock market is clearly on shpilkes (Yiddish for “pins and needles”)…” Bernstein tried to explain what is going on with economy and not how to prevent shpilkes.  Nevertheless, I found some hints between the lines.

Just as the stock market is not always rational, my anxiety is not always rational. Sometimes I overreact to bad news or get upset by what someone else says or does. Sometimes I get distracted by all the noise. Sometimes I feel like l’m being pulled in too many directions.

With its highs and lows, life can feel like a roller coaster ride. It can feel like you’re on a merry-go-round, pointlessly going around and around and never getting any where. It can feel like you are on pins and needles.

Bernstein reminded me of the importance of having the right perspective. Sometimes we blow things out of proportion. Sometimes we worry too much about the future because things aren’t going smoothly now. Sometimes we can’t see clearly because we’re listening to people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Keep things in perspective. Don’t overreact. Check the facts.

A little article about the economy reminded me how important it is to filter out the noise. Bernstein writes, “Go ahead and watch the roller coaster if you must, but if it makes you sick, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” There is no point in worrying about things you can’t control. If you filter out the noise, then you can focus on what you can control. You can arm yourself with useful information. You can be rational and proactive not just reactive.

In my job, the best strategy for reducing anxiety is planning and preparation. I reduce my worries of missing something important by making checklists of my tasks and their due dates. I am doing whatever I can ahead of time.

Preparation is huge but I cannot prepare myself for everything. Unexpected things happen. In July, my coworker resigned. I had no idea he was thinking of leaving. We have a small office so I had to pick up half his responsibilities until we hired a replacement. Being flexible helped me make the best of a stressful situation. I looked at it as an opportunity to learn something new.

When I am trying to juggle too many things, I get frazzled and overwhelmed. Last year, I found it stressful when auditors interrupted my work with requests for information. As annoying as it is, being audited is part of my job. I don’t like to admit that I either need help or I need more time. I am learning that there is no shame in asking for help. It’s a lot easier to share the burden.

Looking back at the most stressful moments of last year, I can see that sometimes I forgot to take a deep breath and a moment to relax and refresh my mind. I was too focused on how much I needed to do. I didn’t take advantage of the power in the pause. 

  • Keep things in perspective.
  • Don’t overreact.
  • Check the facts and arm yourself with information.
  • Filter out the noise and focus on the right message. 
  • Plan and prepare for whatever you’re worried about.
  • Be flexible when life throws you the unexpected curve ball.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Share the burden.
  • Pause, reflect, and focus your energy on what is most important.
  • Breathe, just breathe.

+++++++

Photo credit: Photo by Lisa Woakes on Unsplash

The Nightmare of Imperious

I’ve taken the liberty of treating the adjective imperious as if it were a noun because for some reason it reminded me of the word Aquarius. That brought to mind the Age of Aquarius song. Imperious means assuming power or authority without justification, which reminded me of you-know-who.

When a reality star acquires power
‘Cause people wanted a savior
Greed guides their new oppressor
And his rage fuels vile behavior
This is the Nightmare of Imperious
The Nightmare of Imperious
Imperious
Imperious

Division and discord abounding
Hostility and fear resounding
Bald-faced lies and aspersions
Malignant narcissist delusions
The audacious authoritarian rises
And the whole world he surprises
Imperious
Imperious

Let the truth win, let the truth win, let sanity win
Let the truth win, let the truth win, let sanity win
Let the truth win, let the truth win, let sanity win

Oh, it’s let Mueller time, c’mon
Now all who love truth sing along
Truth and justice will march on
Speak truth to power and watch truth march on
When you’re discouraged, let truth march on
We’ll wake from this bad dream and truth’ll march on
And when you feel like you’ve been lied to
When the arc of the moral universe seems too long
Just remember it bends to justice, and let the truth march on

****

Daily word prompt: imperious

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/12/08/your-daily-word-prompt-imperious-December-8-2018/

Silly and Pointless

Thanks to social media, I see and hear a lot of silly things. But some things aren’t just silly, they’re silly and pointless – the very definition of fatuous. 

  • It is fatuous to lie when the lie is easily disproven.
  • It is really fatuous to lie about trivial things.
  • It is fatuous to brag about yourself.
  • It is really fatuous to boast about things that are not important or admirable.
  • It is fatuous to let foolish pride get in the way of admitting the obvious.
  • It is really fatuous to pretend to admire the emperor’s new clothes when everyone can see that the emperor is naked.

It feels like I’m living in an alternate universe. If I couldn’t laugh, I would cry.

****

Daily prompt:

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/your-daily-word-prompt-fatuous-December-6-2018/

Image credit:

Drawing by Vilhelm Pedersen (1820 – 1859) – English Wikipedia (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/47/Emperor_Clothes_01.jpg ), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4038625