I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Summer 2023 has begun

I could smell these roses

I took this picture inside the lovely home I visited last Tuesday. The juxtaposition of these flowers with the ones seen outside caught my eye. It was raining lightly as we walked for most of the time, but I didn't mind, the coolness made it very comfortable for me. I'd much rather have clouds and a little rain than sunshine without any relief. However, as the summer wears on, I will adapt at least a little to the heat. Or, I should add, I always have so far.

This past week, I finally finished paying for my hearing aids, which I charged on my credit card, and now I'm thinking about the laptop I will be purchasing soon. It will be the same thing I've been using for awhile now, but upgraded and hopefully faster and easier to type on. This one has the blasted "butterfly" keyboard that has caused me some grief; the keys want to stick and I've found a way to fix them when it happens, but it's an annoying keyboard and I'll be happy to get a new replacement. The only bad part is that since it's an upgrade, there will be lots of new bells and whistles, with new and different ports and whatnot. They always do that whether you want them to or not. I'm in no hurry, obviously. I've had this laptop for three years now and can go a little longer with it.

I received my monthly massage on Friday, and the therapist told me she will be raising her rates soon, but doesn't know by how much. Although she doesn't really want to do it, her studio rent is doubling and just like the rest of us, other essentials in her world are increasing in price. I will continue to get my regular massage whatever the cost, however long I can afford to do so.

I ran across this quote and found it to be inspiring and perfect:
Your days are short here; this is the last of your springs. And now in the serenity and quiet of this lovely place, touch the depths of truth, feel the hem of Heaven. You will go away with old, good friends. And don't forget when you leave why you came. —Adlai Stevenson II

 Ah, yes, dear Adlai, you are right. I didn't know what I wanted to say next, but after  quick visit to brainyquote.com, you were right there to say it for me.  I especially love the line about touching the depths of truth and feeling the hem of Heaven. One wonderful part of having lived a long life is that I know exactly what that means. Just for fun, I went to Wikipedia and read the biography of Stevenson. He was someone I had heard about when I was young, and I would have voted for him when he ran  against Eisenhower if I had been old enough. But I wasn't; the first vote I ever cast was for Kennedy in 1961. I think Adlai Stevenson would have made a great president. Eleanor Roosevelt was a close friend of his and a believer in his abilities.

The politics of the world have been weighing me down as I visit the newspapers I follow daily. First the loss of those five men in the Titanic sub disaster, and now the situation going on in Russia, which is so fluid and unsettling that by the time I finish this post it might have changed again. So I'll leave it and concentrate on trying to keep myself on an even keel. That's really all we have any control over — our own internal equilibrium. I can't change anything outside of my own situation, and if I think of what the Buddhists say, it's all illusory and constantly changing anyway.

I was really fortunate in my early childhood, believing that I was the center of the universe and that everything revolved around me. My parents doted on me, and until my baby sister was born, I truly felt invincible. Then she became the one they doted on, and I was relegated to big sister status, no longer the only one they loved. I think I turned into a little bit of a brat, until I grew accustomed to the enormous change in my status. I did learn to appreciate and love the interloper, but it took me awhile. Firstborn children are the only ones I think who might have understood this toddler's dilemma.

These days, I spend most of my time following a pretty strict routine. Each day of the week has its own makeup, and Sundays always start here, with this post. I've been doing this long enough that it's very disconcerting if I cannot sit propped up in bed and ruminate about life during this time. Then, after having gone to breakfast with my friend John, the rest of the day is varied, depending on the weather. Since the pandemic altered my daily routine and made me seek out new avenues to satisfy my need for companionship, things have changed but are now settled into a new pattern that suits me quite well. Losing my friend Melanie due to her moving away has caused me to rejoin the Senior Trailblazers, and I've already made some new friends there.

I do sometimes let myself fall into what I think of as the "old age doldrums," when I awake in a grumpy mood and don't feel my usual ebullient joy at facing a new day. There are many ways that I choose to change things up, mostly by looking for serenity in the world around me. There are so many wonderful things to focus on, if I allow myself to do so. And there's of course the internet, which gives me a chance to see what Dr. Google says about how to find serenity. Here's what I found just now:
  • Accept what you can't change or control. You can't actually control your mind and simply tell it, “Be more peaceful” — just as you can't control life. 
  • Practice forgiveness.
  • Practice mindfulness meditation. 
  • Make time for yourself. 
  • Keep a journal. 
  • Get back to nature.
Oh, yeah! I do most of those activities already, and I just needed to be reminded of all these delightful ways to rediscover my own personal serenity. How about you? Do you have ways to buoy yourself up from the doldrums? If so, I'd love to hear them. 

For now, I think I'll wrap up this eclectic post and get on with my day. I have enough time before I need to get out of bed to visit my virtual family and see what you've been up to lately. And then a quick perusal of the news of the day, and I'm ready to spring out of bed and see what this irreplaceable special day has in store for me! I do hope that the coming week will bring peace and serenity into your life, and that you will continue to be well. I wish you all good things, dear friends.


William Kendall said...

Personally I get through summer, but I'll never like it.

ApacheDug said...

DJan, I enjoyed this week's column. I like when you write about more "tangible" things (compared to Buddhism and stuff of a metaphysical nature) but I know you're a hippie and it's what you dig. Anyway, glad to read about the hearing aids being paid off and will you share more about your new computer when you get it? I really need a new one and I need all the inspiration I can get. Speaking of inspiration, loved your take on Adlai Stevenson! I wish I could've voted for him (and JFK), my very first vote cast was for Jimmy Carter's second term. (I'm still angry we got stuck with Reagan for 8 years but that's another story.) I'm now going to practice some of your personal serenity, I liked that. Hope your week is a good one. Peace.

Barbara Rogers said...

I've been reading and enjoying your posts for a while, but seldom comment (aren't we often just enjoying being receivers, rather than conversators?) I thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and some activities. I'm in a different situation, from a different past, but today sit here reading what you thought and wrote, and appreciating it. Voting has never been more important than now. I've also recently found a lot of serenity, which I hope to hold onto while doing more mundane tasks in life.

Marie Smith said...

I am generally a happy person, enjoying what the day presents, looking for the positive in most things. I enjoy the simple things really, the song of a bird, a child’s laughter, the smile of greeting from a stranger. Life is good for now and I enjoy it.

Have a great week, Jan.

Rian said...

Isn't it wonderful when something is 'paid off'... it's a great feeling. Of course there's always something else we want/need, but that's life. And I've never heard of a 'butterfly' keyboard. Had to google it. Still not sure what it is.
"touch the depths of truth and feeling the hem of heaven" are lovely words. I wonder if they mean the same thing to people. I find them comforting.
Since I was not the oldest child, but the youngest, I may have a different take on family life. I did have a happy loving family... but if pushed, will say that being the youngest sometimes felt ignored. Probably not true, but still...
And yes, 'old age doldrums' or whatever - sometimes (a lot of times) I wake up grumpy/not happy - but I get up, tell myself to put one foot in front of the other (stiff upper lip and all that) and get on with it. Once up and about, life is good again. It helps to think of some things I can do that will make someone smile (usually it's a little thing like baking cookies, throwing out some strawberries for the Box turtles, sending a text to a friend, etc.) It helps.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan,
I see ApacheDug is curious about your upcoming new laptop and I am as well. A while back you posted a photo of you and John at the coffee shop while you were working Worldle on a laptop. I can’t tell what kind of laptop it is, Apple or PC?

It seems like your recent posts have been reflections on the past and I’m enjoying reading about your history. The quote by Adali Stevenson II is interesting and the last sentence can be deep: “…don't forget when you leave why you came.” I’m going to speculate that most humans don’t know why they came. They spend a lifetime struggling to find an answer. Sadly, there are also those who never even realize they have a purpose.

Happy week ahead to you and SG.

Elephant's Child said...

I do love your Sunday posts. They brighten and often balance my Monday mornings for the week ahead. I always find calm, serenity (and often joy) in the natural world. And avoid the newspapers when I can. I read the headlines and usually grieve, but dwelling on tragedies I can't alter does me no good.
Have a wonderful week dear friend.

Gigi said...

As a firstborn, I agree with your comment on the dilemma. Although, my brother and I were only thirteen months apart; so I don't actually remember when he joined our family. But my mother told me years later that I was NOT HAPPY and regressed to acting like a baby for a while.

Have a wonderful week, DJan!

Linda Reeder said...

I am still pondering what my path to serenity might be. It's not quite the list you posted. I don't meditate, I think too much. Nature certainly does play an important part in bringing me serenity, if I ever do actually achieve it.
I am hosting a cousin's gathering tomorrow so I have been busier that I like planning and preparing and cooking and arranging flowers and visiting a produce market to get fresh local strawberries and.......lots of stuff. I am almost done for today, but will be busy again in the morning. Tom is a wonderful help.
Then we are going to run away to the Whidbey cabin for three days, a short window of opportunity before the cabin calendar fills up with scheduled family vacations for the rest of the extended family. I plan to do very little there. A bit of serenity might find me.

Margaret said...

Walking, reading and coffee dates enrich my life and brighten my attitude. Book Club is wonderful too. I'm not a serene person by nature, so I have to work at it. In the efforts come the peace.

Red said...

So far I've ben able to recognize when I'm in the doldrums. Once I recognize the doldrums I seem to be able to carry on. I do have a meditation that gives me the blues.

Far Side of Fifty said...

If I get really tired I can get in the doldrums...so I nap:) I like that quote especially about the hem of heaven:)

Anvilcloud said...

It’s strange the habits and customs that we get into. When I posted my first blog, which was more or less what the heck is this, I didn’t think I’d be doing it 20 years later. I rust the rest of your day unfolded as you liked.

Barwitzki said...

I wish you every success in implementing your positive plans... yes, as you get older you can really become a lot more relaxed.
A hug to you from Viola