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Chatanooga TNUncertainty can sometimes be a good thing, giving room to open up a whole new world.  This picture of me is an excellent example of how an unplanned trip to Chattanooga, TN turned out to be one of my best one-day trips ever.  A truly exciting trip it was!

This past year went by with quite a bit of uncertainty with many things, the results of which proved to be quite rewarding.  In prior years, my life was just one big having-my-ducks-all-in-a-row circle for pretty much everything I did.

Quote from Dr. Chopra About Uncertainty

Deepak Chopra, MD, founder of the Chopra Center for Well Being once said: "I embrace the wisdom of uncertainty, because if everything is certain, where is the creativity?'

After reading that quote in the May 2015 issue of Oprah Magazine, it opened up a whole new world for me. Such truth! Creativity is a wonderful thing. It means ingenuity. Inventiveness. Resourcefulness. Vision. Innovation. Originality. Inspiration!!

Living your life in a way that everything you do or want to do must be certain, planned or scheduled can be crippling. A really cool friend helped me realize this, as throughout my younger life, that was my normal way of living.

As I age and have now become this 50-plus woman who is a bit more wiser, I leave room for creativity by working very hard to let go of being certain, scheduling or planning every single move I make.  It's actually working well and it feels great! It has opened up my world!  So many new things have now come to mind. Things I can now do, places I can now go, people I can now see, things I can make, instruments I can and have always wanted to learn to play, activities I can participate in -- my cup runneth over!  Lol...

Have I been my own drill sergeant?  It looks that way, doesn't it?  It's just that I've always loved having almost every aspect of my life carefully planned and scheduled.  So much that I was often teased about it by my close friend.  My profession in the legal field over the years is partially to be blamed. Lol!!  Mind you, there will still be things that do need to be planned, organized and/or scheduled.  I'm actually talking about no longer doing so in every single aspect of my life.  Enough already!

It is now time for creativity!  Yes - the time has come.  Now that I'm approaching my 60s, this is a time when I want to be doing new things and in particular, things I've always wanted to use my creativeness and resourcefulness to accomplish.

Dr. Chopra was right and his quote was timely. I most certainly embrace the wisdom of uncertainty.

What are your thoughts on his quote?  Have you been doing that in your life?  Share your thoughts with me.

IMG_5563It's been a while since I've updated you on mom.  She'll be 94 years old in four months and doing pretty well if I may say so!

She converses and jokes around pretty well but often goes off into things she has already said.  Very often too.  We understand and we let her.

Her appearance is a bit different now though.  She's thinner now - not underweight though.  She eats well.  Asking for seconds is a regular thing.

Her eyes are quite glossy.  We're told this is to be expected.  She's slower too; gets up slower and walks around slower.

But let me tell you, her mouth has not slowed down!  She can get feisty in a hot minute and we find it quite funny.  We love it though.

Only about two years ago, we were planning her funeral as she had gotten so sick.  She however overcame all that and promptly told us "Fooled you, didn't I?"  She's something else!  We were so glad to have her back (so to speak).  This is one of the times that you feel really great as a caregiver.

The family and and some of our long-time friends visit her on a regular basis so she gets no time to feel lonely.

We're thankful as she hangs on and gets to meet her great-grands each time a new one comes along.

 

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stage_145Gone are the days when aging or getting older meant slowing down and diminishing health.  Nowadays for many of us, it means time for reinventing ourselves.

Here are some of the things I did to reinvent myself:

-I quit the dreary 9-5 routine and started my own company working from home, that has the potential of  earning even more than I was making.  Instead of working towards "retirement", I did what felt best to me and that was to re-career.  I'm no longer sitting at a desk for hours on end but instead, am out and about servicing my local clients, attending seminars and workshops and networking.  I will only sit at a desk at times that I have chosen to get that portion of my work done.  It's great to have a choice.

-I'm able to take care of my aging mother without the stress and strain of wondering how she might be doing during the daytime while I'm miles away from home.  She now has a part-time caregiver that assists with her care while I'm there at home.

-I cut my hair and discontinued the chemical processing torture that I subjected my scalp to for decades...yes, decades.

-I can and do travel for more than 2 -3 days at at a time without worrying if my job will be "safe" upon my return if I overstay.

-I workout at whatever time of day I choose and am not stuck with just late evenings or weekends only to do so.

-I changed my diet to a more healthful one eating mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.  As a result, I feel much better and my numbers are great every time I go to get my annual physical checkup done.

-My love for dancing and singing has been revived as I now have more time to practice.  I'm even learning to play the keyboard and the bass guitar as well.

-Lunch dates with friends and family are now had on a regular basis, allowing for more connection with them.  This is a big difference from a rushed three-quarters of an hour lunch for sure!

As I said before, these are just some of the things I'm now able to do since I reinvented myself.

Folks, this is also the perfect time to pursue a life-long passion you may have had for something.  Why not channel that passion into something you may be able to earn from and totally enjoy doing?  If you're not in need of the money, try volunteering.  You will always be needed somewhere, not to mention the fact that you would be giving back while you're enjoying what you're doing.

As we age we really should make it the time for reinvention -- not the time for slowing down.  The old adage "age is just a state of mind" holds true for me and should for all of us 50-plusers as well.  In fact, I really don't look at myself as "getting older."  I feel even 15 years younger and that's why I chose to reinvent myself the moment the mid-50s came around.  I refuse to slow down and wait to retire as used to be the norm back in the day.  In fact, I don't believe I ever will!

 

Yeah – what about us? Where did my life go? Does anyone fully understand the role of a caregiver?  If you don’t, I encourage you to find out because one day, you may find yourself in this very role, not knowing what to do or who to turn to.

I’m currently the caregiver for my 92 year-old mom and I'm here to tell that I have no idea how I got here.  It is not an easy task - you have to know this.  It is a life-altering task and I believe this is why many people would rather have their loved ones placed into a facility for the aged, instead of undertaking this rather arduous task.

For me, before I can make any move to do anything or go anywhere, I must first take into consideration what will happen to my mom in my absence.  It got to a point where I even had to give up my 9-5 job, as there were too many problems with me not being at home to supervise the various aides that were sent to take care of her on a daily basis.  It became too much and now that I’m at home managing her care, it has become much better.  But then comes the weekend when under the current program for which she qualifies, an aide is provided only long enough for her to get a bath, and have her room cleaned up.  That leaves me with the responsibility for the remainder of the day each Saturday and Sunday.

This has proven to be very restricting.  If I have to go out to run an errand or visit family – or even to do something fun, I have to be cognizant of the time so she isn’t left alone for extended periods.  You have no idea how frustrating this is – to be watching the clock every time I’m away.

You may ask me why don’t I just place her in a nursing home.  That's easier said than done.  Firstly, my mom is not nursing home material; she has all her mental faculties in place, is very, very much against being placed in any such institution (we’ve tried it but to no avail), and is also a very costly option if she isn’t considered to be ill or completely disabled.  She therefore isn’t a candidate for neither a nursing home nor an assisted living facility.  Secondly, our family is Caribbean and where we’re from, you don’t ever place your loved one in any such facility unless it became an absolute necessity.

So is this part of how this responsibility came to fall in my lap.  Nonetheless, I perform the daily tasks for her care with great pride; after all - she took great care of me and my siblings, but I’m here to tell you, caregiving is not a task to be taken lightly.

Folks, I made the plunge! I left the corporate world.  Caregiver issues for my 92 year-old mother became insurmountable and I had to make a big decision.  Should I give up my nine-to-five legal assistant position and stay home with my mom until such time as she passes?  
The answer was an emphatic and resounding "Yes!"  It was the thing to do -- the ONLY thing to do.  This woman took care of my children and my three siblings’ children during our various absences.  There was no second-guessing the answer to the question.

In addition, I had grown tired of working the 9-to-5 schedule.  All three and a half decades of it!  I wanted my time back.  I wanted to wake up when my body felt like waking up -- not according to the alarm clock.  I wanted to stop the regular morning routine of getting a little workout in, preparing breakfast for me and mom, driving to the park-and-ride to catch the train, then catching the bus that would take me right to the front door of the office.  I got so tired of that routine.  I wanted my own time back.
 
Now, I wake up according to my internal clock.  I prepare and enjoy a healthy breakfast because I now have the time to do it.  I take mid-day strolls in a park of my choice.  I go to my performance group rehearsals ready to work -- not tired from working all day. I have no boss.  I feel F-R-E-E!!!

I wouldn't trade this for the world!  Staying home to take care of mom and to just do anything I want to do on my own time has got to be the best decision I have every made in my lifetime.

On my ooooown. Once again. One more time.  By myyyyself!!! ~Patti LaBelle~

 

Yesterday, my niece posted a picture of my late dad on Face Book and it almost floored me.  It was as if papa came up and stood right in front of me. I could feel is presence so strongly.

 

He passed away in 1997 and I still have not come to grips with the fact that he’s no longer here.  He’d been ill for sometime and passed away at the ripe old age of 81.

My papa was a stern but very sweet man.  He was quite handsome and the youngest child for his parents. He was also last to die of all his siblings.  Papa paid my sister and I wonderful compliments, made jokes with us, held discussions with us.  An ardent church-goer, he absolutely loved to read.  You could catch him every single day, sitting on our porch reading every page of the daily newspaper.  

Papa was a well-dressed man and was such a social butterfly!  Just ask anyone who lived in our area! Everyone loved papa.  The grand-children can attest this.  To them he was the epitome of friendliness and sweetness.  My daughter, #Execumama, still to this day, cannot bring herself to talking about her grandpa, without getting all teary-eyed and ready to just “bawl her eyes out!”

Papa showed me and my siblings real love.  For my sister and I, as little girls growing up it was important to have the love of our father and not to try seeking it from any other man in order to feel loved.  Yes, papa gave that to us. Papa was there for us from the day we were born.  He never left us.  We never knew what it was like to be without a father.  He provided for us.  He supported us.  He nurtured us.  We never even knew we were poor because papa made sure we never saw or felt as if we were!  He was well respected -- by us and by everyone who knew him. 

When the grand children came along, they all wanted to spend most of, if not their entire day, with their grand parents.  Understandable.  Mama and papa, particularly papa, had more time to spend with them (by this time he was now retired from working).  He was their everything.  Just ask them and they’ll tell you in a hot minute.  Very warm and comforting  with a huge listening ear to all their little stories.  He had all the time in the world and he gave it to them!

My youngest brother looks and does everything exactly like my papa!  I can often be caught just staring at my brother whenever he comes in from Tennesseeto visit us, or whenever we visit him.  I have that to hold on to, because in my brother, it feels like I still have my papa here with me.  

I miss him so much.  Papa has moved on to higher ground, but I'm somehow still in denial that I can't actually touch or feel him anymore.  It's been 15 years...but who's counting?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

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