Category Archives: Carpe Diem

Only Child finds a little joy in horrid world

Busy city street - sign of current times

Busy city street – sign of current times

Yesterday a friend and I were talking about the world today, the world we live in. We both agreed that is is a horrid world – too digital, too hurried, extreme weather, the terrorism, etc. I said it all got going into this state when we entered the new millennium and she agreed, with the addition that back in the 70s there was the Vietnam War. I added that back then there wasn’t so much of everything.

I don’t think it is because we are both seniors (albeit at the lower end of the seniors age bracket).

Truth is we are inundated with too much crappy stuff these days.

It is hard to find a little peace, a little joy. But we need to. The only other option seems to be to “get the hell out of Dodge.”

Last night while hurrying along a Toronto street to do some grocery shopping, I realized – hey, the weather in Toronto is warmer than usual for this time of year. No actual winter weather. True we’ve been getting a lot of fog and clouds and rain is coming later this week. I think something my ex said in an email earlier yesterday also was somewhere in my mind. He and his wife live out west and while they are getting a lot of rain he likes it because it is warmer then.

So, I did a momentary mind pause, slowed down my walking, and stopped cursing the Food Basics store for having one cooked ham on sale left (and it was awful looking – too much fat and a small string curled up in it – you know the “ick” factor).

I actually started to enjoy the evening, thinking it wasn’t bad weather-wise, still warmish.

How do you find a little peace and joy in your life?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Carpe Diem, Cities, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Friends, Happiness, Seniors, Sign of the Times, Winter Weather

Only Child says Carpe Diem

00240021If the unsettled weather in the world teaches us nothing else, we need to grab the good-weather summer days and get outside. (Winter is another matter, better left swept under the carpet for now).

This beautiful long Victoria Day holiday weekend in Toronto, Canada got me outside in my garden. I enjoy gardening but there is always lots to do. The trick is to pace yourself over time, even within the time span you are currently out in the garden. So I did a “to do” list, but didn’t tie myself to what I did when. I started in the front garden, but I had been already out there, 30 minutes at a time or so when possible during lunchtime, evenings on workdays the past couple of weeks. So some areas were weeded and just needed fresh topsoil and the plants planted. One area I had even put down the topsoil. As I did this, I also yanked out a few dandelions that had sprung up. My neighbour next door was rotor-tilling one area of his garden and gave me some strawberry plants. They went into the front and some in the back. Later that day when I was out only for a short walk to Shopper’s, I did what any garden fanatic would do.

Bought some more perennials I saw outside a convenience store I passed by. So I had to plant them.

The rest of the day I spent sitting outside in the backyard, reading a mystery novel and snoozing.

Sunday, was much the same – except this time I dug up the area (weeds) for onions and lettuce, put down some topsoil in the front part of the area, and planted some onions and lettuce. There is still more onions to be planted but I’ve been sneaking some of the onion bulbs in with the flowers in both front and back. I use a lot of onions and like to store the remaining ones in the root cellar in the fall, so the more the better. (But we won’t think of fall now because we know where that leads).

I’m trying to be innovative with the garden this year, partly because I’m still dealing with the aftermath of God’s winter (make that two winters) destruction outside. But we won’t think of winter now. Also I’m removing a lot of what is mostly weeds and planting new perennials. So, I have a few areas in front where it looks somewhat weedy in back and is cleared with new perennials in front. My excuse? I’m waiting to see what perennials come up from last year so I don’t dig them up by mistake. Two hostas up and spreading and those two spikes might just be the third hosta poking through the weeds.

It has been dry here lately – we got some rain Friday evening but not enough to loosen the ground where the false sunflowers are starting to come up for this year. I need to remove some of them so I can get at my compost bin and also promised Tanya and Alex next door at least once clump. And I have another place in my renovated garden for a clump too.

Oh well, hopefully next weekend. It’s getting cold again before then.

Meantime the garden club I go to is having its annual plant sale this Thursday evening. Carol and I hope to get there. I need more sedum and lavender and a new sage plant. My old sage plant didn’t make it through the winter.

Enjoy the flowers, the greenery you see around you. Remember – carpe diem – seize the day. You never know what disaster will land on you tomorrow.

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Carpe Diem, Gardening and depression, Home and Garden, Only child, Peace and quiet, Reading

Only Child on quality versus quantity of life

Only Child  contemplates quality vs quantity of life

Only Child contemplates quality vs quantity of life

Yesterday I attended the funeral service for the mother of a friend. The mother was in her late 80s and for the past 10 years had suffered from dementia. Her quality of life was not good. My friend had to put her in a nursing home eight years ago but she spent a good part of her days with her mother.

It got me thinking of quality versus quantity of life. For those of you who have been following this blog you may remember that my parents did not live to a ripe old age. My dad died of brain cancer at 66 when I was 16 and my mom died of a sudden brain aneurysm at age 63 when I was 22. Here we have my dad suffering from some form of cancer off and on for six years before he died. He was not in a good place (and I don’t mean the hospital) in the last few months. Mom, on the other hand, had a few headaches, then the aneurysm and despite surgery, she died five days later.

Two of my maternal uncles and a first cousin once removed (I hate that ancestry categorization – sounds like they are getting kicked out of the family) lived into their 90s. When the cousin died at 90, she was blind, had dementia and a bad heart. One uncle, my godfather, died at the same age. He had dementia and heart problems. The other uncle, not a blood relative, died at age 98 and was healthy – mind and body – almost up to when he died.

My paternal grandfather died in his early 70s the same year my parents were married – so before I was born. My paternal grandma died in her mid-80s of a heart attack. She still had all her mental facilities and was able to get around okay.

That’s my history. But I’ve seen a lot of other suffering from illnesses and from my observations I truly believe that quality of life trumps quantity. If your mind is gone; if your body is filled with sickness that will kill you, is there a point in carrying on?

However, having said that I believe it is up to the individual to decide if they want to end their life sooner than later if they are terminally ill (of mind and/or body). It is not up to God’s will (and how often has that term been mis-used – from the family of terminally ill people praying for a miracle, to if the person dies well, they say, it was just God’s will.)

Excuse me. It is not God’s life but yours, mine – the person who is terminally will. If God gave us free will then we should have the right, if terminally ill, to decide if we want to die sooner than later. Quality over quantity.

And that’s where the problem arises.

Canada now has given the okay to assisted suicide, although the details have to be worked out. I have a problem with that, not because it will still be up to the dying person to decide, but because another person has to get involved. For every other medical procedure and the like I believe medical doctors have to go by the letter of the law – whatever their beliefs. But not here. I think they should be allowed to go by their conscience as long as they recommend a doctor who will assist in suicide. And not interfere with the dying person’s choice.

The other problem is often a person is too sick to decide and unfortunately hasn’t made a living will. So the family members try to impose what they want and believe to be right, not necessarily what the dying person wants. And not all family members agree.

So, it is a dilemma. Maybe we should have had it built into our being that if and when we become terminally ill, we just die right away.

Of course, some won’t make it that far because of other people’s actions, from vehicle crashes to plane crashes like the German plane crashing over France because of the co-pilot’s deliberate actions.

Perhaps the only thing to do is carpe diem – something I struggle with because of all the problems in my life – and I don’t mean just health-related.

What do you think?

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Assisted Suicide, cancer, Carpe Diem, Death and Dying, Dying with Dignity, Family, Family and Friends, Mom and Dad, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child looks at the old and new year

Only Child contemplates changing for new year

Only Child contemplates changes for the new year

Carpe Diem!

The world is still here despite predictions of otherwise for late 2012. So, I am here too and starting out this new year with good intentions and goals. My modus operandi for 2013 is to live creatively, efficiently, simply, frugally and be healthy. In there I will also try to help my friends who need it most and perhaps be more grateful for what I have, but I’m still expressing my non-gratitude for what is lacking that I need because it is here I can possibly find ways to change. One of the latter is time, which went way out of control in 2012 and that can’t happen anymore. I’m a year older and need to rein in my time and what I do and will not do in it.

Today I’m especially conscious of making the most of 2013 one day at a time after talking with a friend on the phone last evening. To respect her privacy I’m not naming her or describing her situation except to say, like me, she is an only person (but she does have siblings in another country). She also faced serious health issues last year and continues to do so this year. She is someone I want to help where I can – despite her stubbornness and independence. She does realize her situation is a wake-up call for change and has already embarked on making changes.

Talking with her also reinforced what I have to do – make changes. This is my year of transition in work and personal before the beginning of 2014 when I can finally start receiving the Old Age Pension (I wish the Canadian Government would change the name). But that’s for next year.

This year, I will do what the late John Lennon did – try to live one day at a time.

Happy New Year. May we all know what our necessary changes are and have the courage to make these changes daily.

And read the book 18Minutes by Peter Bregman to get some ideas where to start. See http://peterbregman.com/18-minutes/ for more information.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Balance, Carpe Diem, Family and Friends, Goals, Health, Only child, Peter Bregman, Sharon A. Crawford, Time management

Only Child says Carpe Diem should be your motto

Only Child and son, Martin, on Mother’s Day 2012

I know I’m in stress overload/overwhelm, whatever you want to call it when I keep losing and misplacing items. Some, like the sunglasses left out on the patio overnight, turn up. Others, like my property tax payment receipt, seem to linger in limbo. A big pile of files waiting atop my file cabinet to be filed just adds to the confusing milieu. My late mother had another version of this – she’d mix up things, such as haul the bacon, instead of the steak, out of the freezer. Guess I don’t have to be concerned about doing that – my freezer contains neither bacon nor steak.

Add in all the client work deadlines, plus doing another proof of my mystery short story collection (Beyond the Tripping Point, due out this fall from Blue Denim Press), the stuff I’ve been worrying about, a couple of health issues I’ve been dealing with, etc. etc. and I’ve been spiralling around in big overwhelm the past week or so. I’ve been heading out to the garden a lot to work off the excess anger/energy with weeding and trimming the silverlace and to just sit, relax, read a book and the newspaper, and eat my meals.

But I’ve still been tumbling around like a top gone awry. And feeling resentful.

Then I got the bad news from one of my “old” school friends about her cousin, another school friend. The cousin (who used to walk me to and from kindergarten) just lost her son. He died suddenly last week. He was 43. That’s too young and no parent should outlive their children. I know with war it happens a lot, but…

It gave me a jolt. I immediately emailed my son and his girlfriend who are in London at the Olympics to see how they were doing and enjoying their holiday. Haven’t heard back yet, but it is less than 24 hours since I sent out the email.

The situation with my old school friend does put things in perspective. Got me thinking, that we all need to slow down. How much of what we cram into each day really has to be done? Can we slow down, move something to another day, delete doing something, and just try to live and enjoy each minute of the now? I know John Lennon’s words of wisdom – “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” definitely enters the picture. But you never know what will happen tomorrow…or later today.

Gives me some clout to cut back on my business email time without feeling guilty about it. Today, I heard on the news about a Canadian professor who when going on vacation, emails all her work connections not to email her during her holiday time because their emails will be deleted.

I send out an email notice to clients about my vacation and ask that they don’t email or phone me then. Not all pay attention. Should I add the “your email and voice mail messages will be deleted and you’ll have to resend/ phone again?” Food for thought.

Meantime, check out these studies on taking email vacations and how it can reduce your stress. http://storify.com/ucirvine/email-vacations-decrease-stress-increase-concentra

Oh yeah, don’t forget Carpe Diem. Check out its origin and real meaning at http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/carpe-diem.html.

You never know what lurks around the corner.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Balance, Carpe Diem, Death and Dying, email overload, Life demands, Mother and Child, Only child, Overwhelm, Sharon A. Crawford, Stress