Living at the Speed of Life

There have been a lot of changes in my life since I retired a few months ago.  The majority of those changes have been within me – changes in attitude, changes in personality, changes in relationships.

One of the relationships that has changed most drastically is my relationship with time.   Time is still a significant, relevant part of my life.  I still have clocks in my house and, as much as my daily regular schedule has changed, it has changed to a new regular schedule.  

The thing is, before retirement time was one of my main sources of stress and frustration.   Hours in a classroom lasted longer than days during summer break.   Nine months of pregnancy lasted forever!  Years of infants, toddlers, tots,  and teens were  over way too soon.  A week at the office was interminable.  A weekend home was never long enough. The terrible years were endless and the good ones flew by.  There was no consistently to time – ever – and I never had time when I needed it most!

In retirement, time flows easily and smoothly.   I never feel suspended in time, nor do I feel pressured to do more than time allows.  Time passes –  the hours, the days, the weeks, the months – regularly and consistently and reassuringly.   Regardless of all that is or is not happening, time passes.   No longer a sources of stress or frustration, time is now a comforting measure of life.

Happy New Year 2021!

It is finally here!! – a brand new year with bright new hopes and dreams. 🥂🎉

Back in the day, I would be spending this day making my list of New Year’s resolutions. Most of them would be long forgotten by mid-March. A few years ago, I changed gears and chose a new ‘focus’ for each new year. Last year my focus was on peace and I have to admit that will be a hard one to beat. Going forward, I will definitely keep ‘peace’ a priority but for this year of 2021, I have decided to make ‘BEAUTY’ my focus.

During the summer of 2020, I spent a LOT of time outside – enjoying nature as I hadn’t for decades. On the days when the sun was shining, the grass was green, the flowers were blooming, the sky was blue and the birds were singing, the beauty of our world was easy to immerse oneself in. What really surprised me was that, on the gloomy and dreary days, it was even more heartlifting to find a tiny beautiful treasure to appreciate – be it a wildflower, a leaf, a perfect raindrop, or a baby’s smile. That is what convinced me that a year focussed on beauty, would make for a memorable year.

Today, I am fortunate to be able to share a family moment to kick off my year of beauty – and beautiful it was.

Yesterday afternoon, son Dan married Amanda, the love of his life – the woman of his dreams. More than a basic joining two hearts, it was the official joining of two families – a yours, mine, and ours celebration💞 Even in the midst of a pandemic, with a very limited ‘live’ attendance this group made it an amazing event, while family and friends joined them via technology.

Live from the basement of the happy bride and groom. Gabby with Cason, Cori-Lynn (friend), Amanda, officiate, Dan, Lucas and Gregg (friend). Dan made the floral arch, while Amanda had a big hand in the rest of the decor.
The wedding cake – Dan made his amazing sour cream German chocolate cake (2 sections – 4 layers each) and mounted it on the wood base. Amanda decorated it with her typical talent and understated, humerous, flair!

This group does nothing half-way. They feed off of each other’s abundant, positive energy to make everyday a celebration. I was concerned about how well they would make out in a slowed down pandemic year like 2020, but they made the most of it – as always!

To the happy couple, the beautiful family and to all – Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2020

This year is winding down. For all of the challenges of 2020, people are excited for all of the possibilities of 2021. I guess that is human nature!

In 2020, I made peace my priority. In a difficult year, this priority served me amazingly well. It brought me into retirement. It allowed me time for walking miles and miles around our neighbourhood with our little dog, Kat. It brought me hours of relaxing in our yard this summer. It led me to a new and inspirational journey within, through meditation. It provided me with countless hours spent with my husband – a luxury after years of Monday thru Friday/ eight to four-thirty while Dan worked twenty-four/seven shifts. In half an hour, it will see us relaxing in the comfort of our own livingroom while we watch son Dan and his soon to be wife Amanda marry in their own home – hours away from us. Once again, in this year of pandemic, we are grateful for technology!

My path to peace in 2020 💞

All the best as you ring out the old and wishing you a beautiful 2021! 🥂

Why???

It takes a bit of effort to get there and stay there, but living peacefully is nice. In my mind, it is the easiest, happiest, most fulfilling, and most productive way to live. All good things come through peace. 🙂

So… Why are so many people in the world today hellbent on being miserable, confrontational, and angry? This isn’t just a one situation thing, it appears to be the norm in so many situations.

1. Politics – Someone devotes years and fortunes to becoming a political ‘leader’. They make it to the top, are given the reigns of power to do good for a city, province, or country. What do they do? They waste their time and power fighting the ‘next’ election and attacking other political leaders. They are angry, miserable and unproductive and they encourage their supporters to be angry, miserable, and unproductive. Why? Is that what they were elected to office for? Should it get them re-elected? 🤷

2. Corporations and their employees – Most people spend countless hours of their lives working. A lot of these people spend way too much time battling with co-workers. Even the professional associations (unions, small business associations, large business groups) spend more time creating and encouraging problems between company departments and the people in them, than they do working to resolve problems. Why? Corporations cannot possibly thrive if no one is willing to work together, and yet it is a problem in virtually every corporation. 🤷

3. Families – There was a time when families stuck together. Most families – most of the time. Now days it takes nothing to shatter and destroy a family. Even families that are relatively unbroken can be made miserable by those members who are incapable of being reasonable and pleasant. There are so many people who go through life so busy looking for a battle that they cannot even get along with those who they should be closest to. Why? Your family should be your support system. You should be supportive of those in your family. 🤷

4. Society in General – In this day and age, why are there so many people who cannot seem to co-exist peacefully with others? There is a new protest every day. There are new radical groups every day, pushing for their rights and only their rights. There are groups formed for the sole purpose of being miserable. We had one guy here who started a Facebook page dedicated to posting photos of poor parking, to shame the ‘offending parkers’. He wanted people to get up every day and deliberately look for something that would annoy them. 🤦. Another group, I encounter frequently on social media lately, are those who demand the right to be offensive and they attack anyone who is offended by them. 😂. Why? Why do so many people want to be so miserable, for the sake of being miserable?

I cannot imagine why so many people invest so much time and effort into being angry, indignant, bitter and the like. I cannot imagine what they get out of it. I cannot imagine what they think the payoff is for them – happiness, love, prosperity, health? Peace? 🙄

Taking Retirement to a New Level

My concept of retirement continues to evolve…. When I was still working, I thought of retirement as the release from responsibility, doing always for others, and putting up with the constant BS and pressure that is the working world. As retirement came closer, I saw it as an opportunity to live life on my terms – and I was determined to keep it busy and fulfilling. After I retired, I gradually mellowed out and decided that retirement was an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to just ‘be’ – truly living my life each day on my own terms. For the past few weeks, with health problems becoming more and more of an issue despite my best efforts, I was floundering a bit – not sure where retirement was taking me.

Now, I am back on track and feel that I have, for probably the first time in my life, found my true calling. Regardless of all else happening in my life, going forward I am totally committed to channeling peace and hope and love and beauty. I think that is what the world needs right now that it is the best way that I can make the most of my retirement.

This mission of mine takes little effort. I can do it regardless of how I am feeling or what I am doing. I can do it when I am walking, cooking, cleaning, reading, shopping, driving, meditating – anything! It is that easy. It takes nothing out of me, I feel good doing it and I feel I am doing something truly worthwhile with my life.

I have never understood why some people deliberately channel so much hate, anger, greed and fear into the world. That takes so much effort and it makes the world so ugly and miserable. I cannot imagine what it does to people who do it on a regular basis.

So, yes that is my plan for retirement going forward – peace, hope, love, and beauty.

Have a great day!

More Lessons (finally) Learned 🤦

It is so strange that we can hear the same truth repeated over and over in our lives and never really understand the meaning or importance of the message.

I was raised in a relatively loving home. The Catholic Church and her teaching were a foundation of our lives. I have read countless books on self improvement. Through all of my life, the concept of forgiveness and unconditional love has been brought forth time and time again. I thought I ‘got it’.

I have tried to be a good, caring person. I have tried to not be angry or hateful towards others. I have tried to not be vengeful or judgemental. I honestly thought I had a fairly good grasp on living a ‘good’ life.

Early this spring, I developed health issues that seriously impaired my life. I was driven to retire from my job (a few months earlier than planned) and to start living a healthier life. As part of my healing, I began walking – a lot! – on a regular basis. My walks gave me time to think and many of my thoughts focussed on peace. (Which coincidentally was the subject I had chosen to focus on in 2020).

Walking in itself did wonders for easing my stress level. Spending time in nature on a regular basis was relaxing and beneficial. I walked for my peace. I walked for my family’s peace. I walked for peace for friends and neighbours and strangers. While my health was my initial reason for walking, peace was the driving force that kept me going.

These past few days, while I still walked every day and enjoyed my time in nature, I have started to struggle to stay focussed on peace. There have been a number of things happening that I have been dealing with – ongoing issues with my daughter, my son’s upcoming wedding (which will involve spending a couple of days socializing with my ex-husband and his family), politics – specifically a provincial election which will once again result in a landslide win for a party led by people who have caused serious grief and pain to many – including my family, and with colder weather moving in, a return to having my husband watching his television programs in the livingroom. (I love my husband and I certainly want him to be comfortable on his days off, but personally I am uncomfortable with television programs the likes of Jerry Springer in our house).

All of these situations have cost me a lot of peace. I ‘block’ one disturbing thing out of my consciousness and three more things gnaw at me. It has become increasingly frustrating.

FINALLY I get it!

Peace is one of those things that you cannot just have and hoard. You cannot have peace and choose to share it with some, while withholding it from others. You do not get to decide who is worthy of peace.

For the last couple of days, I have been walking for peace – for myself, for my family, for friends and neighbours and strangers – but including and specifically for those who I had been previously trying to block from my peaceful consciousness.

I feel so much better. The more I walk for peace for myself and others, including walking for those who challenge my peace, the more peaceful I become. Seriously – how simple is that? 🤷

Lessons Learned

I Walk for Peace

This year, my focus has been on peace.  As things go, my choice of focus for this year has been spot on.  2020 has been a stressful year for many people and for my own reasons, it has definitely been challenging for myself as well.

Challenges aside, I have enjoyed my quest for peace and have learned a few things in the process.

1.  I have spent sixty-four years battling anxiety and one year focusing on peace.    I have learned that I  should have started focussing on peace sixty-five years ago. 🤦

2.  I have learned to make MY peace my priority.   For the better part of my life, my priority has been trying to maintain a peaceful, pleasant cushion around others to try to keep them happy and peaceful.  My reasoning being, if they were happy and peaceful, they were not making my life difficult and stressful.  In my defense,  I had a very high-strung mother.  My first husband was difficult (such an understatement🤣🤣🤣).  My current husband is a really good man but, after number one, complete trust in any man has been difficult for me.   My children were typical, difficult at times children.  Finally,  as an administrative assistant for the better part of my career, it was my job to keep things running smoothly in my work environment.  I drove myself to be the peacekeeper.  Except, my peace was way down the list of my priorities.    I have come to realize that to enable or encourage peace in any situation, one must first be at peace themselves. 🙄

3.  I have learned that peace makes all of  the best things in life possible.   Health and well-being is difficult to impossible when one is constantly stressed.  With peace, health and well-being come naturally.  Happiness is next to impossible when one is stressed and anxious.  With peace, happiness is natural.   Love is difficult to impossible when one is constantly stressed and anxious.  With peace, one is easily more loving and more loveable.  Relationships are healthier and easier.   Prosperity is possible when one is stressed out and anxious – feeling prosperous is difficult at best.  One never feels financially secure when one is anxious and stressed.  You feel you need more and you worry about losing what you have.  You develop poor financial habits or addictions that undermine your efforts to be financially secure.   Peace brings a feeling of security to all aspects of one’s life – including financially.   

4.  Peace is the gift that keeps on giving.  I could, and I intend to,  make my peace my priority going forward in my life.  I believe we are born into this world to evolve – to become better, stronger, and wiser –  as individuals and as a whole.  I  believe peace is the key to evolution – at least to my evolution. 

Changing Seasons

The struggle is real. Moving from summer to autumn, in Saskatchewan, just doesn’t work for me.

Trading the summer heat for the autumn chill does not work. Trading bright sunny skies for dull, overcast ones does not work. Trading green grass, thick lush trees and colorful summer flowers for the depressing dying plant life of autumn definitely does not work!

This morning Kat and I headed out for our morning walk. We took a route that we do not usually follow. We trod along four or five kilometres of city sidewalks. It was ok. The weather was warmish. The people we crossed paths with were friendly.

Finally we reached our neighbourhood park. I started to take more notice of the nature around us.

The grass was pretty sad looking.
Some of the trees were looking downright depressing.

And then I saw IT!

A perfect golden leafed tree framed by brilliant blue sky.

It is amazing how one can find so much peace and joy and hope and beauty in one glance. I could have been looking in the wrong direction and missed it. I could have been shuffling along staring at the ground and feeling miserable and I could have missed it. But there I was, walking through my favourite little park, looking for peace and hope and joy and beauty and BAM there it was.

Wishing all a great day – or at least one perfect moment. 🤗

Back to Business

Holiday in Saskatchewan

After a month of holidays, my husband headed back to work this morning. I would say we are back to our normal schedule, but with his twenty four/ seven shifts we do not really have a normal schedule.

It has been a nice month. We did not accomplish a lot but it was relaxing having Dan home. I spent a lot of time walking my dog, getting in shape and clearing my thoughts. It is amazing the things you think about when you are wandering the same streets and paths day after day. I plan to share some of those thoughts on my blog in the days to come.

I hope everyone has had a nice summer. With September just around the corner, our summer days will soon be gone. 😢

Lazy Days of Summer💖

Tranquility

Nature makes peace and harmony and tranquility appear so easy. When I look at a bed of ferns and and clover, I see peace. When I see trees, I see peace. When I look up to a crystal blue sky and watch fluffy white clouds drift by, I see peace. When I see gentle ripples on a body of water, I see peace. When I see a perfect blossom, I see peace. I can hear and see and feel peace throughout nature. More than anything, I want to look within my mind and body and soul and find peace. I am a part of nature. It should be so easy. 🤦

I hope that today, whether you look without or within, you find what you are looking for. 🕊️