R.A.Koyama

Live Well, Live Happy, Live Long

Category: Happiness (page 2 of 5)

Happiness is a state of being, just like aging.

Aging conjures up thought of Leavings

 

Death is not the end when you consider what you are leaving behind

 

 

Wistful Sky

Wistful Sky

Most of us consider dying as the end and true it is the end of our lives, but it isn’t the END. The vast majority of us leave something behind. That leavings may be family, friends or some other legacy. Sure we think about leaving something behind in the form of insurance.

Just watch TV for a while, and you will no doubt see ads showing families talking how they feel so sorry for the other family who was having a hard time paying for their loved one’s funeral. The message is you need to have insurance; that is what you leave behind and if you don’t then your death is not the end but the start of a financial struggle for those you left behind. And I think it is true, that each of us at a minimum has the responsibility to have enough insurance to cover whatever bills and costs are left when we go.

 

But that is not all there is to dying.

 

Sure dying isn’t good for any of us. But the only person that death is the end for is YOU. Once you’re gone, you’re gone, end of the story – For YOU.

 

What we leave behind can be good or bad, I want to focus on the good.

I believe we live at the most wonderful time ever!  There is so much we can leave behind that will be wonderful and most of all make people happier than we could ever have done at any other time in our lives.  Of course, when we go, there is the immediate feeling of sadness, but after the initial pain, there is so much we can leave them with that can help them get over it sooner.

 

So for those of us who have not lived in isolation, our death is not the end. We have family, and friends to whom our death means more than just us being gone. I believe we can do more to lessen the effect of our death and to make our death something that helps them in their life more fully. I am not speaking of tangible things. We all leave things behind, what I am talking about is our essence. What is the essence of ourselves that we leave behind?

 

I am reminded of my granddaughter and even my children who always had this blanket or stuffy toy they could not go sleep without.  I remember their panic if it could not be found.  And I also recall their answer when asked why they need it so much, why wouldn’t another stuffy or blanket do?  The answer was; it smelledLike you or Mommy or like home, and that was what helped them calm down or go to sleep.

 

 

sleeping child

 

What we leave behind is the topic of my next book  titled Leavings, you can get a feel for the content by reading a recent post on the topic by clicking here  LEAVINGS’

Well, when it is our time to go to sleep what will we leave with them to go to sleep?   I know for our kids now in their 40’s their most trusted soothers have now gone.  The blanket at one point disintegrated in the wash.  That stuffy has lost all of its’ inners and the outer somewhere along the way.  So what will they have to soothe them, and make no mistake no matter how old they get they will need something of us to help them through life.

 

How much do you think about what you will leave behind?

When we are in our 50’s unless we have had some serious illness or someone close to us has died, I would guess there is no thought given to what will be left behind when you are gone.

When we reach our 60’s our thoughts turn to our life and possible death. But beyond the tangible, we need to leave how much consideration do we give to what of US we will leave behind.

 

So I ask you when that final door closes what of YOU will you to leave behind?

 

Be sure to stay tuned for LEAVINGS

 

In the meantime, you might want to pick up the latest book titled Clean Your House Before You Go.

 

What do we do with all this Stuff?

Keepsake or forgotten memories

Where does all the stuff come from?

 

Kids and clutter seem to go together, the question is why do we still have it years after they have left home? After they have gone on to have homes of their own what is left becomes clutter.

A lifetime of gathering the families Stuff

Left to tell

It is pretty common for parents to want to keep some of the things the kids made or wore when they were growing up.   Somewhere along the line though that keepsake pile grew and expanded way beyond the original intent. Who would have guessed that we could gather this much stuff? Now as we get older ourselves we see the need to reduce what has been accumulated.  All the things that were left to tell do the story of our kid’s lives. Those kids are now starting new lives with new stories of their own children.   What we are left with is more than we can or want to deal with.

Downsizing vs rightsizing

 

 

Now is always easier than Later

While you may not, just yet, be planning on downsizing you may need to do some rightsizing.  Taking on this task earlier rather than later is a wise thing.  The longer you take to reduce what you have makes it much harder as time goes by.  Not only do you get more sentimental about things the truth of the matter is you have less energy to do the work. Downsizing seems to be the next logical progression.  A progression made much easier by rightsizing while we still have the energy.

Save Your Energy

Getting older and possibly being empty nester should allow you more time to do things you have wanted.  Attacking the clutter when you have time is not really what you had planned.  Dealing with it early means you can save your energy for getting out and doing what you have worked to do – enjoy life.

 

As we get older we discover we have too much stuff and not enough energy to deal with it.

 

Staying Home in your 70s, 80s, and Beyond – Free Chapter

Defining “Staying Home”

 

Home is where you choose it

Home is where you want to be.

“Staying Home” in the context of this book, means staying in your home. Be it a house, condo, apartment, or mobile home (which was my mother’s chosen home until her 90’s) or whatever place it is that you choose to call “home”.

 

As we get older many people, friends, family consider that we are, or will quickly become infirmed, and be incapable of looking after ourselves and remaining in our home.  This becomes even truer if we have lost our partner and are now alone.

 

I am not saying these people are being mean spirited.  They have love and, concern for our well-being and, us but they see things from their perspective, not ours. They don’t live in our bodies and they don’t have our thoughts or our desires. They do, however, think they know what our limitations are.  Now in some circumstances, they may well know more than we do or we are willing to admit, but if that is the case then this book may not be for you. If your judgment is impaired in any way then I would suggest you read this book in consultation with someone who can explain what needs to be explained about the suggestions and, how they fit or do not fit your circumstance.  You need to be the judge.  If nothing else I hope you will be empowered by what you read to make an informed decision.

So what exactly does “Staying Home” mean to me?

Well when I think of really “Staying Home”, I think of living exactly where I am now.  I think of taking care of myself the way I do now.  I think of sleeping in my own bed, taking a shower when I want, eating when and what I want.  I also think of being aware of what I need to do in the areas of hygiene, eating, and safety. These days I also think of what I need to do to keep my life the ways it is now, and what changes I need to do to ensure I can stay here for a long time.  I don’t think I am alone in having the wish to also die in my home.  I often joke with my children, who sometimes don’t see the humor in it, that, my wish is to go to bed one night and wake up dead.  Their perception is a little different and they think I am wishing to die soon.  Of course,  at is not what I am saying at all, really what I mean is that when the time comes, and I hope that time is a long time in coming, I hope I can just go to bed in my home and of course die in my sleep.  I don’t think that is a death wish or unreasonable request.

The alternatives may not be the best choice

The alternative to “staying home” is to live either in someone’s home, a senior home or nursing home and living by someone else’s rules.  This is precisely what I do not what and I don’t really think many others do either. I also have not desire to live with any of my children and I would hazard a guess that is not what they would want either, not that we do love and care about each and if they had to would accept it.  I am just not yet and hope never to be prepared to accept a reversal of roles.

 

You can get the complete book by clicking HERE

The Hardest Conversation – Free Chapter

Wishes, Wants, and Reality

Parents and children often disagree, but they should not prevent giving and getting help when needed.

 

Choices

Different people, different wishes

All people no matter what their age or situation has wishes and wants and many of them are not based on reality.  Heck, I’m in my 70’s and while I wish I was younger and want to keep my youth, know that in reality, I need to just get on with living with what I have.  Your parents I’m guessing would be no different.

 

My Wishes may not be Your Wishes

 

What you need to realize is that many of their wishes may not be what you think they are or should be.  Everyone has deferent wishes but as we age we also recognize that our wishes are often just that “wishes”.  But these wishes at times often help keep our spirits up, they are like dreams.  We dream of what could have been and what may still be, but most of us are aware that dreams don’t always come true and sometimes that’s for the bests.

 

What I want may not be what You Want

 

Aside from the wishes, your parents have that may seem absurd to you, but you need to do your best to see things from their perspective and not yours.  For example, let’s just say the decision for your parents to downsize has been made and your parents want to take something with them. You now that this item is just too big for the new place, remember to let them figure that out.  Sure they may need your help to figure that out, but don’t just come out and tell them so. Even if they have to move it in and discover they have no room to move, the decision to remove it must be theirs.  You may share that fact that you think it may not fit and that if it doesn’t then they will need to be prepared for what they will then need to do.

Another example that comes to mind is when my sister wanted to move from the lovely condo she was living into a very small and old apartment building.  I certainly didn’t want her to do this, I couldn’t imagine why, the condo was big, new and very well kept.  Bottom line was she wanted to move because didn’t feel comfortable in the spacious condo because she and her husband had always lived in a quaint but small house up until he died. The condo felt empty and made her feel even more lonely.

What either of us wants may not fit with Reality, find out how to deal with this in the book – The Hardest Conversation.

 

 

 

Helping Aging Parents Make Difficult Decisions – Free Chapter

My Health is my concern, not yours

 

Aging Parents

Aging Parent

If that is not the case, it brings us back to that conversation being best served by having an understanding of your parent’s temperament.  If the conversation is started by suggesting it take place at the doctor’s office, you have already lost half if not all of the battle when it comes to talking about what the future should, could or will hold.  A conversation in this company will have already put the parent on edge and have them thinking you feel they are incompetent and that you need and support of the doctor to talk them into something they don’t want.  If you do in fact, need that support you will need to have a different conversation.  A conversation with the goal of getting your parents permission for you to discuss their health.

Ask for permission for Doctor Input

Doctors, as we age, become either our best friends or our biggest fear.  Sadly, too many of us as we age increasingly rely on medication to alleviate any and all aches and pains, both physical and physiological.   You will need to know what your parents’ feelings are with respect to their doctor and how that doctor is assisting them with their health care.

 

Once again temperament plays a big role in how all conversations will go. When it comes to health, the conversation should start with how they feel their health will be in the future and how it is now. Your goal here is to gain an understanding in a non-threating manner what your parent’s thoughts are when it come to their health.  This is not about the doctor’s opinion or your feelings. It is setting the stage for a conversation that may be the topic of a future conversation.

Speak of Now Not Tomorrow

 

When the conversation takes place, it is best started on what is happening now rather than just throwing out the doom and gloom of the future. It’s the age old question; which do you want first, the good news or the bad?  In this case always start with the good—how good your parents look, how something they are currently doing is a good idea.  To bring up the future, you need to tie it to the present.  For example: “Wow, Mom, you are looking pretty spry, those walks must be working.  How do you feel, do the walks make you feel more energetic?   Good, they say that is key to staying healthy.”  If your parents disagree that this has been helping them, they have opened the door for a talk about what they think could help them now and how they think it will change, for better or worse, as time goes on.

 

Keep the conversation focused on the now and let the parent direct it towards tomorrow and the future.  Doing so will help bring the true nature of the needed talk more easily into the conversation with much less stress for all parties.

 

In a nutshell, you talk about the good of today and let your parents introduce the potential changes of the future.  Use that introduction to speak of how things may change or need to change down the road, even if that road is just around the corner.

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