R.A.Koyama

Live Well, Live Happy, Live Long

Category: Life (page 3 of 4)

Life takes many turns. These writing cover every turn and turnaround most have faced.

Clean Your House Before You Leave

 Part 1: Dealing with Family Treasures, so your kids won’t have to

 

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If you have reached the age where you have live through the death of a family member, you will recall how difficult that time was to get through. You remember not only pain of the loss but the pain of having to decide what to do with all the things they left behind. If you have, you will understand the need to not to get lost in the complacency of living and thinking I’m all right, there is no urgency. No matter what your current age and I am thinking if you are reading this book you are past the age of 50, the end of life is but a heartbeat away. Just kidding, statistics say that if you have reached the age of 50 with no major illness your life expectancy has increased by five years. Even with this good news about living longer, the concepts that I am writing about are appropriate for all of us as we get older. So the time to do this is now! And there is another critical piece of information we all need to be aware of, your will in most cases does not tell your loved one what to do with ALL your stuff. Therefore, if you think it the line of “I hereby give, devise and bequeath all of my worldly goods and assets of my estate to “someone,” in your will is enough to save them from having to clean your house without clear instructions you’d be wrong. Those words in your will are in fact too little information and too late to be of any comfort the family. So let’s begin the process while we are still able. I promise going through the step I am presenting will make the whole task less stressful.

Downsizing is the time to right-size

Most of us, as we age, reach a point in our lives when downsizing through need or want a reality. We may have lost a spouse, or the last of our children has left home, or we are just finding our current house to large to keep clean. In some cases, the home that somehow managed to survive the wear and tear of raising children may now be in need or repairs or even updating that we are no longer willing or able to have done.

If this is the case, then downsizing doesn’t seem too ominous, but when you look at that stuff it may appear overwhelming. As the old saying goes a journey is started by taking the first step. Or in this case maybe just a few or even many. Are you ready to start?

Taking the first step one is easier with a plan:

a. What do we really use

That first step starts with taking a real honest look at what we use on daily, weekly or even monthly basis. In doing so, we may find that in fact, we don’t use all that much. Some of what we think we do use is done just because it is there, not because we need it. When was the last time you used a particular item, last month, last year, last wedding or birthday? As we attempt to lessen our load, we should remember that what we did use as the kids were growing we no longer need going forward. What we kept even when the grandkids were young will not be needed in the future.

b. What don’t we need

Think about the two sets of dishes, one for every day and the company ones. Do we really need them? When was the last time we used them and when will we use them again? If your kids have grown and don’t come for weekly dinners or have moved outside of driving distance, do you really need that extra set? Maybe the company dishware is now good enough for your everyday use. Aren’t you special enough to use them? And are they special enough for you to cart around and have worry about breaking or even just dusting off?

Consider

a. Replacing the old with new

Have you noticed that some of what we call our staples for cooking and cleaning have changed? Some for good and not so good, I would challenge. But most I would submit have become available in smaller more appropriate sizes for empty nesters. Once the kids are gone, who needs that large and heavy cast iron frying pan? Who needs a 4 four slice toaster? Who needs a huge roasting pan? Heck who even needs that huge soup ladle (of which I have two). Heck even if you are a keener when it comes to cooking you are still cooking for fewer people. Now is maybe a good time to replace all this big stuff with smaller versions of those good old standbys.

But wait! Don’t make a mistake I did when attempting this.

I was getting rid of all of the big, hardly used pots and pans and managed to do quite well. Or so I thought until Thanksgiving rolled around and I discovered that in my determination to downsize I no longer had a big enough pan for the turkey! So be forewarned, think before you throw something in that charity box. Think of the last time you used it if it was for one of those special occasions maybe, just maybe you can find a spot for it. The spot I found is one I think most of has in our kitchen. It was that corner cabinet, you know the one reach can’t reach the back of and anything that was put there has been long forgotten. Well, I discovered that it was the perfect spot for that large roasting pan, the one I had to replace (darn it!). I also discovered another use for my husband bungee cords. I never could figure out why he kept buying them. So I wrapped one medium sized cord around the pan, and the lid hooked both ends. I then attached a longer one to the shorter cord making sure it would reach the front of the cabinet. So now when I need it, I just pull on the bungee and there it is. It’s a good thing the pans are big. I also managed to find a cookie pan with an open hand so I put my platters on an another (you got it) bungee cord that I could just tug on to bring the rest within reach. So now I push it the back of the never ending cupboard and now that once or twice a year I need it just pull on the cord.

So if you can’t remember the last time was that you needed or used it (remember to consider holidays or special occasions when you host dinner), then it may be just the time to toss it.

I will admit I was and am to some degree a gadget person; the gadgets are now mostly technology based. But, I can recall when we not only had our stove, oven, and microwave but also an electric frying pan, a deep fryer, a waffle maker, a sandwich maker and it goes on. We justified them by saying that they made things easier, quicker and the kids could use them instead of the stove which presented a danger for burns. Well, the kids grew up and did learn how to use the stove without burning themselves.

Now back to the replacements. I am amazed a how small they are making things these days, things that do the same job as those old clunky appliances we used to use. There are now things that can do the job of three of the old ones. So if your kitchen gadgets even slightly similar to mine now might just be the right time to downsize and upgrade a little. Heck, we deserve it.  And so do your kids, who if they are now living on their own probably have everything they need and they are problem newer.

Leavings’

As I write my next book – Clean Your House Before You Leave– I wonder about what it is  that we should leave.  We all leave something behind, good or bad.  I am sure we all wish that what we do leave behind is good and something others will value.

The age old consideration of what you leave behind is good memories.  Memories of you that your family hold close to their hearts.  Well if that is the case then perhaps we should start to cultivate those memories so that will grow and out live us.

With the busy lives we all live at times it is diffucult for us to even consider what our Leavings’ will or could be.  Our kids are gown and have their own busy lives.  Our grandchildren also have so much going on that just find a time in their busy schedule is next to impossible.

I am reminded of this and what we will leave behind because I feel that some where along the way my granddaughter have cultivated an almost private type relationship.  A relationship that I hope will be a leaving she will cherish.

 

The picture may be a little out of date and blurry but it reminds of her looking back into the sun to see if I was still there.  Hopefully she will feel I always!cropped-SAM_0633-e1448483860323.jpg

She doesn’t live close to us and getting to see her is a challenge, so we have to use the telephone as our method of communicating.  Which may not seem like much on the surface.   How can a telephone call leave much in the way of memories?  Heck we talk on the phone and half of what we talk about is forgotten the minute we hang up.

And that is probably true, what is different with my Granddaughter is that I have become her chore time partner.  Like many children she has things she is responsible for doing at home, clean her room, fold her laundry, take the dog for a walk, sweep the floor and the list goes on. Since she doesn’t like doing those things alone, she calls Grandma and with the phone on handsfree we talk.  Well a lot of times I just listen as she goes on about her day, her friends, her school.  We even discuss what her Mom did at her age, what I did at her age.  So the conversation provides me with updates on her life and of course all the things she thinks her parents are being unfair about.  My job here is just to let her vent and not take sides. Somewhere in the conversation I attempt to help her see things from a different perspective, being careful not impose my own thoughts  on her.

In addition to those topics of conversation we talk about my family.  Since I was 14 years younger than my closest sibling most of them a have already left us.  She is naturally curious about them and what my life was like growing up as pretty much an only child.  She herself is an only child as is her mother and this piques her curiosity even more.

My point here is that with these long conversations I am hoping that my leavings’ will be the memory of these conversations. Not necessarily the conversations or even what we talked but just the memory of her being able to call Grandma when ever she was bored, or when she had to do mundane chores and just knowing I would be there for her.  And for me the memory that she called me!

These are My Leavings’, and perhaps the topic of another book!

Aging shouldn’t stop you – Take The Step Your future awaits-

 

I am sure many of you have heard the phrase – Take the step the bridge will be there.

It was an inspirational phrase used to help people accomplish things they thought they never could or would.

Well to me that phrase has two purposes, the first was to write about aging, and the seconded was to encourage others to live their lives to the fullest no matter what their age.

So that is why I am encouraging you to TAKE THE STEP no matter how unclear it appears.

 

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No matter where we are on life’s journey, we need to do things that we consider beyond our capability. If we do not continue to push ourselves, we could soon find ourselves being pushed by others.

That is the reason for my first book  about Staying Home written to help us acknowledge what and how we need to prepare ourselves and homes to fit our needs as we age.  For many people, the concept of having to do so is something they do not want to accept.

This is where the phrase becomes helpful.  By taking the step, you are walking across a bridge that will support you as you age.

By not taking the step you are ignoring the future and what it holds.  Make no mistake there is a future, what your future will be is for the most part up to you.

That is why I encourage my readers and my friends to take whatever steps they can to secure the future they want,  not the one others will impose upon them when they refuse to take the step.

So if you haven’t read the book let me give you a few of the key steps the book will help you take.

  • How to stay mobile
  • Managing Your Memory
  • Taking Care of Your Hearing
  • Recognize the importance of Attitude
  • Taking Stock of your Living Environment

These are just a few of the areas covered in the book.

 

One of the things that I want to say and that I often tell friends who didn’t consider the above to be some they need to review;

IF YOU CAN”T BE SAFE – YOU CAN’T BE HOME!

So why do I say that?  Well, the truth of the matter is if anyone in your family, community or health support system feels that you are not are safe living in the manner you do, they will be the first to insist that you need to live in an “assisted living facility” for you own safety.

That is something I and I am sure many of the people I know do not want to have happen.

So READ THE BOOK, it will help you take the step to walking on the bridge of your choosing, not someone else.

Hard Conversations

senior sail to the future

I have written about my current book project titled the Hardest Conversation and think that I should explain that it really speaks to helping aging parents live the best rest of their lives. This book is not about a parent in decline.

The reason this is the hardest conversation is because your parent(s) may/will be very much engaged with life when it takes place. Those parent(s) that are active, and energetic often do not consider the conversation relevant. It is diffcult at times even for ourselves to think about what we need to do or be aware of as we age. To my mind it doesn’t matter if your parents are 60 or 80 when you have this conversation, it is one that needs to take place. When you read the topics covered in the conversation you will see why I think that it will help you (if you are the adult child) realize that this is a discussion we all need to consider as we get older.

The time may come when each of us has to face the final conversation, but for now I think a focus to a bright and enjoyable future is more appropriate. Once this has been addressed no doubt there will be need for that book, but that is in the future. I truly believe that a happy today, pleasant dreams and goals for the future can make this conversation stay quite aways in the future.

Do you know what your Temperament is?

No matter what stage of life you are in never stop learning.

No matter what stage of life you are in never stop learning.

Do you know the temperament of your parents, other aging family members or even your own?  My new book on “The Hardest Conversation” reveals that is could be critical when having these difficult conversations.  I wish I had taken that into consideration when my brother was making some of the decisions he made.  If I had known how to address his personality and temperament, I might have been able to help him change his mind about some of them.

That’s not maligning any of the choices people make it simply pointing out that when we have certain information we may active differently.  Along with the book, “The Hardest Conversation”, I am writing a short ebook that describes some of the different temperaments, how they change as we age and some of the conflict they can cause.

Just because we are aging doesn’t mean that we are incapable of learning or changing things to make our lives better.

 

You will find that theme throughout most of what I write, be it a tweet, a facebook, blog post or a book.

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