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The Joy of the in Between

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So often in life we are focused on the next step, goal, or plan. For the many of you who are now retired, the days are filled with planning visits from friends and family, activities and hobbies. Some are making plans to ease the stress of home ownership and downsize within the year, while others are making the move into retirement communities to avoid isolation and enjoy companionship. But, with all of our focus on future plans, we often miss out on one thing, the present. With all of our attention and happiness based on events that are days, months, or years ahead, it can leave our day to day routine feeling a little mundane, lackluster, or empty.

The important thing to remember is that the things, moments, and people who surround us now, today, won’t always be there. So, what if we stop for a moment, shift our focus, and enjoy the present? The in between.

If you take the time to change your perspective and appreciate the now, to find the simplicity of the everyday with its sparks of good, humor, and random kindness, you might surprise yourself. You’ll pay attention to things you never noticed before, enjoy things you thought you didn’t have time for because you were too busy “planning,” and realize you are right where you are supposed to be for this moment in time. There is so much to learn and enjoy in the day to day.

For today, what if you…

  • Stop and say hi to your neighbor instead of rushing to walk in the door.
  • Bring flowers to a neighbor who lives alone.
  • Leave a “Welcome” card for the new resident who just moved in to your community.
  • Pay it forward and invite someone new to join you for a community event.
  • Spend ten minutes reading that book that has been sitting there for months.
  • Call a friend, or family member, you haven’t talked to in a long time.
  • Buy yourself flowers.
  • Play a game with your grandchild.
  • Invite your neighbor to take a walk with you around the community for some fresh air and good conversation.
  • Quiet your worries and concerns and think of something you are grateful for. Even if at this moment it is only one thing, at least it is something.
  • Sit with someone new in the dining room. You never know what you will learn from someone, and it might just brighten his/her day not eating alone.
  • Laugh so hard over something that it brings tears to your eyes. Often times, laughter is the best medicine.
  • Realize sometimes a bad day isn’t a bad day. It’s a bad 10 minutes. Why let 10 minutes ruin the other 1,420 minutes in your day?
  • Don’t compare. Someone else will always be older than you, younger than you, have more than you, or have less than you. But, there is no one else in the world like you. So, love and embrace your age and journey and celebrate you!
  • Appreciate where you live. Whether you live in a 200 square foot studio, a retirement community, or at home with your adult kids, be grateful for the roof over your head. It’s a luxury many don’t have.
  • Be kind. You have no idea what goes on behind the scenes in someone’s life. Simple gestures can mean a lot to someone.
  • Write down daily one good thing that happened to you, or made you happy, and put it in a jar. At the end of the month, you will have 30 things to read that will bring a smile to your face.

Another little secret you might find is that when you stop to enjoy the present a little more, the future unfolds and happens as it’s supposed to. So, although it might be cold and raining where you are this morning, like it is here for us, take a moment to find something to enjoy and appreciate today. After all, “In between goals is a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed.” – Sid Casear