Boomers, Is Time Working for You?

Boomers, Is Time Working for You?

The ultimate time piece is the heart, ticking inside us.

 

We all have clocks in our lives—on wrists, on phones.   The clocks might work, but does time work for us?  By now, as Boomers, we should know something about how to use time.  But maybe not.

If fortunate, we get up each morning, often facing hours that are carved out for us because of appointments or duties scheduled at certain hours.  But if we step back and take a discerning look, our entire life is like that—it’s carved out to enclose certain events that take place at certain times in the life span—if we are fortunate.  The surprise events (both good and bad) can either derail us entirely or make us stronger and more capable of staying firm on the road of our life.

Now I’m in a new state, a new house.  That’s physical.  But it also contributes to putting me in a new place mentally.   How am I doing?  I’m exploring that.  Maybe I can help you explore where you are.

Within the past five years I wrote a post entitled Why Do We Cry? ( Let’s Look at the Numbers).   I had many obligations and concerns about my family then, and the pace of my life, my Boomer Highway, was becoming overwhelming.  All I really wanted to do was sit and play with my 18-month-old granddaughter.  But she was far away in California and even when I was there, she was not cooperating.  ..she cries and wriggles from me and clings to really just her sadness…she just wants her mother, my daughter (29)… or maybe a corner behind a door or a corner in her crib where she can howl, until exhausted she falls asleep.  And when she wakes up, she might forget about her fever, have a blank page to mark on.

Oh for a blank page.  A truly blank page.  We all need that.  To wake up to a day that is just ours, no one else’s.  We can eat what and when we want; do whatever!

But there are those philosophical questions that often intervene.  So I wrote:  I’m getting older.  So is the world.  It’s all about numbers now…stock market numbers; the see-saw price of a barrel of oil…jobs lost in the first quarter of the year.  And politics: on CNN, in the newspapers, on You Tube—all numbers.  You can’t win if you don’t know the numbers.  I wrestle with mine…

Sometimes I too want to crawl behind a door or get into my bed and blubber.  But I don’t.  The phone is ringing.  Email and snail mail are piling up along with appointments and things called obligations.  And there is always the question: what good does crying really do?    I’m an adult. So I tell myself every day—we will be fine… Then I can go on.

Since I wrote Why Do We Cry, (Let’s Look at the Numbers), so much has changed.  My mother (92) and my aunt (96) have both died, but I am at peace because I believe I gave them everything I could give.  My husband (62) is retired, in a clinical trial for his chronic illness and feeling good—he no longer works like a crazy person but pursues hobbies he loves; my oldest daughter (33) now has a rewarding career, and just got engaged.  My granddaughter is finishing first grade and has two amazing wonderful brothers, thanks to my other daughter (29) who is finishing writing a book.  And my son (19) has moved to my hometown city, Chicago, and has a good job and lots of plans for his future.

WOW!  That’s change.   In Why Do We Cry, I wrote: In the best of all worlds, (62) and I, right this minute, would sell our home with the 4 bedrooms, and move to a comfortable cabin on a warm sea.  There we could hear birds calling, watch them endlessly soaring into clouds shredded by wind and falling light.  Oh where is that place?  Our children are scattered.  We need to sit tight, wait to see how it works out for them, wait for (92), wait for (96)…We must be poor planners.  We must be like our granddaughter waking from her nap, forgetting to connect the dots.  Why didn’t we sit down with those who are profoundly connected to us, those we love fiercely and say: now sit tight, wait to see what happens, don’t go too far—we might need you or you might need us; curtail your desires; be practical; only fall in love with things that are constant—like partners, careers, jobs, cars, even plumbing, electricity, and computers.  Keep it steady, keep it even, keep it together.

But you and I know that life, that time doesn’t ever fall that way.  Yes, many things have worked out since I wrote that piece.  I am fortunate to be in a new place, a quiet place—near to the grandchildren, with time to write, with my husband by my side.  But I still tell myself—we will be fine.  Because that faith is part of how time weaves through our lives, how I got to this place.

What’s the take-away?  I’ll be trite.  Each day IS a gift.  Each day can be a blank page and we should attempt to find at least an hour to write upon it something memorable, something indelible in the time-flight we experience.  Like:

Sitting outside and listening to the birds or the tree frogs or even the sounds of people laughing and walking in the street—listening to life;

Picking up a book, newspaper, magazine or digital device and reading—expanding knowledge, being moved by poetry–the bumping of one word against another;

Holding on to someone we love and feeling the ultimate clock, our own heart ticking, beating in those moments when we share a patch of time.  Being in life, in the moment and REALIZING that we are.

At the end of (Why Do We Cry, Let’s Look at the Numbers) I wrote:

The cabin by the sun-drenched sea floats in my vision, warming my body and my mind.  Sometimes I go there and cry, not a frenzied cry, not an out of control cry—just one to help me release.  There has to be some good about this crying thing.  I’ve read about stress-induced proteins in tears.  Crying releases them.  Pain goes away.  For me it’s that blank page.  When I stop crying it will be like I just woke from a nap, my recent experience transformed to a page that is mine to take hold of, to set sail on—no scars, nothing chronic, nothing dying or lost.  I will give it another go.  It’s called trust.  It’s called living.

I’m not living in a cabin by the sea.  And I still cry.  But my tears are softer now.  They come when I think about my aunt, my mother or when I miss my two children who are still far away.

Boomers, is time working for you? Be in your life, be in the moment.    

Do you agree?

You might also read: How To Fight Aging: Deepak Chopra Says Make Time Your Friend. 

 Thanks to Google Images

6 thoughts on “Boomers, Is Time Working for You?

  1. Beth,
    What an incredible follow up to “Why Do We Cry, (Let’s Look at the Numbers)”
    Although I’m not a Boomer, I am middle aged. I am the child of 2 baby boomers. A mother and father who struggled through the recession of the 1980’s, who wrestled with not 1 BUT 2 juvenile diabetic children, who also lost a baby, 6 hours after her birth… they were always parents first, and themselves, last…
    As I grew up, it seemed they never had any breaks. Very few vacations and lots and lots of pain… our life always revolved around numbers, blood glucose numbers, how many protein and carbs at each meal, time for a shot, time for a snack and money… never enough money…

    You speak of numbers and how they add up, I feel those numbers take their toll on the heart. The most fundamental part of life and every day it is surrounded by schedules, time clocks, bills, weight, food counts, age, hours at work, paychecks… numbers that overwhelming become a source a high blood pressure, which becomes a number that affects the heart, the beating part of the body that is essential to life…
    I can’t speak for everyone in my family but I know numbers affect them. My grandmother, 95, is suffering from pneumonia. You can only imagine how her children and grandchildren felt hearing that (95) was in the ER and needed to stay for a few days, that her lungs were filled with fluid, it wasn’t draining, they had to stick a needle into her lungs… (95’s) only daughter (59), was coming into town, could I, number (1) grandchild, pick her up at 2:30, number (1) son had to go to the funeral of (95’s) oldest friend… make sure I was there by 2:30 because (59) had to get back to the hospital by 4:00pm to hear the test results… but wait I had to get my child (8) back in time to go to a party at 5:00pm and we both had to get ready still—-
    The numbers are truly endless and I cry for those numbers so much. My age (40), my heart attack (1 so far) but surely more given my young age for the the first one, my parents (67 & 63), my A1C, the biggest signifier of diabetic control (7.4- not to great but also not terrible considering my (36) years with Type 1), my husband’s A1C (7.8), he’s still adjusting to diabetes, his chronic back and surgeries (3), how many weeks can he go without any prescription pain meds (about 3 right now), my insurance premium, my out of pocket costs, my grocery bill… but most of all the number that hits me the hardest, isn’t about my health or my parent’s, or the ages of my grandmothers, or the debt I owe it’s my daughter’s age…

    Grace will be 8 years old in 2 months, she has lived 8 years of life with us, and like my parents it has been fraught with great struggle. The time span she is at now, is how much longer she has until she drives… in 10 more years, she will be graduating high school and going off to college, in 20 more years, she may be having children, but my numbers say that I won’t be here to see them. So I have to take every moment I have of this incredible child’s life and enjoy it, my numbers tell me that I am very sick inside and I may not even be here for the 8 years that will see her driving…

    However, that 8th birthday that is soon coming up, hits me hard. It signifies a change in her, she is becoming more independent, wanting to spend more time with her friends, needing me less and becoming more argumentative when she feels something is ‘unfair’… It’s a passage of time, I know this in my head. I know it happens to every parent…
    I love watching her grow, becoming her own person…but at times my heart cries for that number 4, the year when she could finally walk and talk, when she listened to everything I said with wide eyes, when playing with her was the funnest part of my day and HER DAY!

    Time will keep passing and numbers will keep moving, my heart will keep beating until it finally hits the magic number where it just cannot anymore and in that moment I will know that I lived the best life I could, that I gave everything I could to the people around me, that my parents did the same for me and their parents for them…and the world will keep spinning.

    • Natalie, this is beautiful. I am so appreciative of how you reacted to my numbers and for sharing your numbers. Your A1C is good. Keep working on that. Grace. She is the grace in your life and though she is becoming independent, you know that has to happen. Grace is learning how to live from you, and your strength will be hers. That should give you comfort as the numbers move. That’s why it’s so important that we have knowledge of the numbers, but that you call to Grace, hold her in your arms and look in her eyes and hug each moment. I hope this day is good to you, Beth

      • Thank you Beth!
        You’re post today has given me inspiration to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
        I appreciate your wisdom so very much.
        I hope California is GREAT to you and you get to spend and treasure every moment being a grandma!
        Natalie

  2. Yes Beth, I so agree! Each day IS a treasure and each moment should be savored. Often a hard thing to do when we have busy, demanding lives. But I think it’s important to make time to be grateful.

    But time can be hard to come by as we get older. First of all we get slower, LOL!
    But also as we get older I think we’re more conscious of time, at least I know I am. We’re more aware that we don’t have that much of it anymore. It’s not like when I was 20 and it seemed like I had all the time in the world.

    I know for me now it’s super important to take time for the important things and understanding what’s important and what’s not is a major part of that.

    Blessings,
    Liz

    • Ah, Liz,
      Loved your response. Some days I am so good at valuing what is important and therefore living my time meaningfully and sometimes I forget and let stress take me over as I fuss over insignificant things. I guess that’s being human. So let’s resolve to enjoy the moments. Hey, do you think getting slower will help us do that, LOL.

      Thanks, Beth

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