Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, January 09
It’s a new year again and the beginning of a new decade… I hope that your winter holiday season was good to and for you and your families. My Christmas break was OK, not stellar and not terrible either. My family was able to spend some time together, have a couple of nice meals together and to close out the year in each other’s company.
The bringing in of the new year seems to bring some hope for better things to come. That’s a good thing. Of course, there are the New Year resolutions that are made by some. Some folks can stick with them, others – well – not so much… I tend to fall into the second category as far as resolutions go. I tend to NOT make them because I don’t realize much success in keeping them. I just need a better set of reasons to be resolved to do something other than the turning of a page in a calendar.
So, Happy New Year and Happy New Decade. I wish nothing but kindness, good health, love, prosperity, contentment, laughter and growth for all who’s paths I cross in the coming year, decade and beyond.
I had a realization this new year… this will be the decade that I retire from my work at the College of the Rockies… now 10 years is a long time – and I won’t be retiring this year or next – but I will be retiring before 2030… This is the first time I have been able to see something like that coming. That might sound funny or odd to some, its just that I haven’t ever really thought about retirement until lately.
That whole idea brings up some “stuff” for me. I can actually see that my hourglass has more sand in the bottom of it than there is in the top of it… and that’s concerning for me… The bigger piece that I see or recognize of late is that there seems to be a whole bunch of those grains of sand that flowed through the hourglass without much attention being paid to them at all. A bunch of “wasted” sand… if that’s a way of putting it… In looking back, I recognize that there has been a great deal of my life that has dribbled away without significance.
I think back to a substitute social studies teacher that I had in grade 7. He was an older fellow that had been called in to teach our class for a week or two. Now, he wasn’t a social studies teacher, he was an English or Sciences teacher, so our social studies lessons got a little side tracked for a couple of days until he could come up with his lessons for us. That’s not to say that our time with him was wasted. One of the best lessons he gave was the lesson he delivered on the first day we met him. He talked about 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day…. Etc… and how we made use of that time. He talked about the 8 hours a day that we sleep (I WISH), the time we put toward hygiene, eating, school and learning, and how – at the end of the tally for a week – there was just a tiny bit of time to do “great things”. He emphasized the importance of making good use of that time as a resource. I think back to that lesson and how little consideration I have given to the importance of the “sand in my hourglass”. This idea ties into my concept of taking an active role in the course of my life… something I have sincerely not done a good job of for a big part of my life. In many aspects of my life, I have just kind of gone with the flow…
I realize that I have been pretty fortunate in my life. I have an incredible family, a good and rewarding job, a few very good friends, a roof over my head and so many other good things. I’ve been relatively successful. To those ends, I have made pretty good use of my sand…. Indeed, I recognize that I have accomplished a pile of good things in my life. I do recognize though, that there has been a bunch of my life that could have had far more value. The thing about that hourglass… the sand only flows one way.. so I can’t do ANYTHING about the grains that have fallen to the bottom of the glass… all I can do is be mindful of the way I spend the rest of the grains of my life, and to try to make each grain as valuable as I can.
I have limits though. I have limits with actual ability, health, resources, etc – so I have to do with my life what I can within those limits. Everything in balance.
I’m not suggesting that I am going to be able spend every one of my life’s moments in some special or grandiose utopian pursuit. That’s not who I am. What I am suggesting is that my intention is to be at the helm more in my life so that I can direct where my life takes me… and this has been an evolving “piece” of my life over the past few years.
I’m going to try to do more to stay within the ideals of my “wellness model”. This intention and awareness are parts of the model. (As a reminder, the 8 facets of my model are: Awareness/Vigilance, Action, Acceptance/Understanding , Connections, Purpose/Intention, Values, Commitment/Persistence and Supports).
I suppose, like the life lesson that my substitute teacher gave me about making the most of life’s time in our social studies class, the time wasn’t “wasted” but was a diversion from my life’s planned course. Perspective???
My challenge for the week.
- Take 15 minutes every other day to be quiet with your thoughts. To be mindful of where you are in your life and how the actions you are taking are feeding you.
- Read something, anything and then discuss what it is you have read with a friend or family member. Put the technology down, turn it off. In my opinion our Facebook, twitter, snapchat, etc are disconnecting us instead of creating the connections that we as human creatures need.
- Write something in a journal every day. Write about how your day was, write about what the weather was, write about how something made you feel that day. I like to use Penzu – it’s an online journal that is secure and encrypted.
That’s it, I challenge you.