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February 16, 2010
I came across a good quote the other day.
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” (Jim Rohn)
Many of the seniors I meet say that they are frustrated by feeling a loss of control over their lives. And some are angry with the world in general, or with some specific people, because they are the ones who have taken the control from them. But have they?
I don’t think we ever actually have control over our lives. What we often have is a plan for the future, and a commitment to working our way through that plan. Having that sense of purpose and having a sense of accomplishment as we make progress, both contribute to making us feel “in control”.
When you talk to your senior friends, they remember when they were young and had a plan, and had a passion for pursuing that plan. And now, they have no plans. Perhaps that is why they feel they don’t have control. Perhaps they have allowed themselves to “fall into someone else’s plans”.
We met a new client this month who, at 80 something, is moving from St. Catharine’s to Toronto. She is so excited about her plan. She feels in control.
One of my favourite books is “Dreams have no Expiry Date”. I don’t think planning has an expiry date either.
February 9, 2010
This week is the second half of how folks react to the prospect of moving. Last week we summarized the experiences of the reluctant mover. Some relish it as a new adventure and some resist even though they initiated the process on their own.
What lessons do you glean from these experiences?
Chapter 2 – The New Adventure Mover.
With Ms. M. (92) the story is quite different. She knew the logic of making a decision to move to a Retirement Residence, still, she did not want to leave her home of many years. It had been owned by her father and was once a summer cottage for her as a child.
In July 2008, Ms. M hired Trusted Transitions to help her downsize starting in October.
After many discussions about the timing of the move, Ms. M. decided in April that she had to schedule the move and set the date of June 23, 2009.
Between October and June, every Thursday, 2 hour weekly visits were scheduled. Being practical, Ms. M. knew what she most wanted to keep. A floor plan was created early in the process. Every week a room would be tackled and decisions were made regarding what to keep, what to find a new owner for or what to dispose of. Her generosity came in to play as she gave the most special things to friends and family.
Each week was somewhat emotional as more items left the house. Though looking forward to the meals being prepared for her after all these years she was saddened to leave all of her cooking and baking materials behind. The long downsizing period she had given herself (9 months) allowed her to accept parting with them.
On moving day, she stayed at her home to enjoy the house one last time. Her treasures preceded her to the Retirement Residence. Driving herself, she arrived mid-afternoon once everything was in its rightful place.
She opened the door and went “ohhhh” and slowly entered drinking everything in. She enjoyed rearranging the furniture a few times in the first week to truly make it her own.
Ms. M. still talks about how she loves her home of so many years but she is quite “comfortable” in her new suite. After 6 months she has made many new friends and is pleased her old neighbours still visit to play cards and enjoy dinner with her in the dining room.
Ms. M. allowed herself to time to deal with the transition and what it meant to her. She allowed herself time to make decisions on what to do with her possessions and be comfortable with her decisions. She eased herself into the transition and could merge old with new.
February 2, 2010
It is interesting to compare how people react to the prospect of moving. Some relish it as a new adventure and some resist even though they initiated the process on their own. This blog will be relayed over the next 2 weeks as each move has many lessons within them.
Chapter 1 – The Reluctant Mover.
After Mrs. P.’s (96) husband died a year ago at the age of 97, she decided, rather suddenly, to move out of town to where her relatives lived. Within 2 months she had sold the 3 bedroom bungalow in a large city they had lived in for 55 years and moved into a 500 square foot one bedroom suite in a retirement residence in the country.
With little time to prepare her for a move of this significance, she could not let go of her possessions and proceeded to move them all with her in the hope that what she did not have room for them, her family would want.
She took a kitchen full of dishes, pots and pans, china cabinet contents, cupboards of towels well past their prime, her husband’s old clothes, and many more end tables and lamps than she had space for. In the year since her husband passed, she had lost weight and many of her clothes were way too large to wear. They were moved with comments that they may be altered. She said that she planned to take up sewing again, so her sewing machine and paraphernalia were moved. She had boxes and boxes of old papers that were transported.
Sadly, with so little space in the new residence, much could not be unpacked and is currently filling up a relative’s garage.
Mrs. P. was a reluctant mover. Though she made the decision to move, she was not ready for it. She jumped in when she was not prepared for what moving meant – either physically or emotionally.
Next week….read about Mrs. M’s move experience. Then ask yourself…..which would you like to experience? And what could you be doing now to make it happen the best way?
January 25, 2010
Two blogs back I mentioned that I had sent Francis a copy of the booklet “When Someone You Care About Dies” by Dr. Bill Webster.
Until quantities last, we are offering a copy of this booklet, without cost, to readers who respond. Send an email to moc.snoitisnartdetsurtnull@ofni with the subject “Dr. Bill Webster’s Booklet” including your name and full mailing address and we will send you out a copy.
Grief is such a personal response. There is no right or wrong way to deal with it, though many try and bury it beneath a facade of “I am OK” as a way to cope. As with many of life’s difficult experiences, if they are “shelved”, “put on the back burner” or ignored, we never quite heal. Another event happens and the reaction sometimes multiplies as each experience is not truly acknowledged.
Dr. Webster’s 31 page booklet puts into words what I struggled with in my grief. The death of someone also brings about “other losses”. The death of a spouse may mean the loss of financial security. The death of a child may also “represent the end of the hopes and dreams we had for that child.”
He also delves into other life losses. “Any loss that causes a significant change to our lives is a life loss. Death is not the only significant life loss to cause a grief response.” When read, this statement brought with it a flood of personal scenarios, one of which was retiring from IBM. I now believe I mourned that transition.
His outline of realities to be dealt with after a loss will help us cope not only with our losses, but help us understand the impact of losses to others.
He makes frequent suggestions of self discovery as you deal with your loss that I am sure will help all who take the time to review. The ending of his booklet provides some uplifting thoughts we need to hold on to.
“You have lost someone you care about. Although life is different now, you still have a life. You can make choices about how this loss will affect your life. Choose to be thankful for the past. Chose to be resourceful in the present. Choose to be hopeful for the future.”
If you or someone you know may benefit from receiving this booklet, contact us with the information requested above and we will send it out to you.
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