Ordinarily, I do not make New Year’s Resolutions. That ensures I never have to deal with the added stress of achieving goals and the guilt that comes with not following through on fragile but usually ill-fated good intentions. This year is different and my awakening came when I was changing the sheets on our bed the other day.
I currently have three sets of sheets in rotation. My favourite sheets are like slipping into horizontal bliss, deliciously smooth and finely woven. They’re 100 percent cotton and feel smooth and divine next to my skin. I can’t remember where I bought them but if I could, I’d load up with more. My second set of sheets (Martha Stewart) is lovely but they don’t quite hit the mark like the first pair. And my third pair of sheets feel like canvas. They may have some astronomical thread count but those threads are coarse as tree bark and it’s like sleeping under a tarp.
I probably spent more on that third set of sheets than I should have so I hate to part with them, but that’s when my epiphany came. I’ve decided that at age 72 my life is now too short to spend it under sheets that are less than blissful. Those canvas jobs are going to the charity bin. Maybe someone with thicker, less sensitive skin will enjoy them, especially since they’ll be free to whoever picks them up. They’d be perfect drop-sheets for painting or to provide shelter should you need to pitch a sturdy tent in the Arctic.
Those sheets represent my new approach to life. Whatever time I have left on this planet is going to be filled entirely with positive experiences and happy people. It’s a state of being that’s largely within my control. I admit I can’t completely avoid loss, disappointment or sadness, but I can claim my full share of bliss in most areas of my life. As one of my former bosses used to say, “Shit happens”. We all experience bumps in the road. That’s life and we just keep motoring.
We alone are each responsible for own happiness
From now on I’m going to fill my life with joy. I already have so much to be thankful for and aging brings the knowledge that joy and contentment are not synonymous with expensive material possessions. My library books give me unlimited joy and they’re free. Snuggling with my little dog fills my heart with joy and she’s happy to oblige at no cost. Walking in the sunshine on a clear day, enjoying the fragrance of fresh-cut grass or autumn leaves are all unbeatable pleasures. The company of people I love is the ultimate affirmation.
Baby boomers are reaching a point in life where the horizon is approaching and time is moving too quickly. We realize that every day is a gift and I’ve been examining my life in terms of how to maximize that gift of time I have left.
Part of that process means eliminating sources of conflict or negativity from my everyday life. Therefore, I rarely watch the news on television anymore. There’s nothing to be gained by being subjected to daily updates of gun violence, car accidents, robberies, and political strife. If something important is happening in the world that I need to know, it’ll reach me somehow. I don’t need or want to be bombarded with negative news. It’s soul-destroying.
My enlightenment hasn’t been an overnight occurrence. Over the years I’ve gradually taken steps to eliminate toxic friends from my life. We’ve all encountered people along the way who suck the energy out of us; they’re cynical, critical and generally unhappy. If that’s the way they choose to live their lives, it doesn’t have to be part of mine. It’s not selfish; it’s a matter of self-preservation.
There’s a lot to be said for the old phrase, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I’m as guilty as the next person of being less than stellar in this regard, but I’m making a concerted effort to fix that. The fact that I’m retired and I’m now enjoying the best years of my life makes my pursuit of joy infinitely easier. Now that I’m no longer subject to the demands of disagreeable bosses, temperamental coworkers or the stresses of daily commuting, the majority of unpleasantness has been eliminated from my life. While work can be satisfying and enjoyable, I’ve found retirement is infinitely better.
If you’re a regular reader of BoomerBroadcast, you’ll know I recently purged some of my personal belongings. I tossed stacks of uncomfortable bras, donated dozens of belts that I can no longer wear and eliminated everything from my wardrobe that didn’t fit properly, didn’t make me feel great or was simply a waste of space. The detritus of my everyday environment is being eliminated.
Now, I’m clearing psychic space, making room for only positive, joy-inducing experiences and activities. Frank Costanza’s “Serenity Now” mantra on Seinfeld had a lot of merit. Unfortunately, screaming it at the top of your lungs in the midst of a crisis was obviously counter-productive. I have the option of easily tuning out or removing myself from confrontational conversations. I’m not interested in participating in or listening to complaining or bickering.
I’ve not yet reached absolute nirvana because I still can’t purge those angry, hateful thoughts I have about the American and British political situations, nor can I disregard how our Canadian politicians have also been such a colossal disappointment. Perhaps they too should consider casting aside negativity and start working in the spirit of kindness, goodwill and the betterment of humanity. Imagine how much different and better this conflicted old world would be.
So, as I hang my favourite sheets outside to dry in the fresh breezes, I’m thankful that I have a safe, comfortable bed to climb into every night. I won’t beat myself up when I enjoy a yummy cookie with my cup of tea and I’ll continue to focus on positive experiences, joyfulness, and kindness. You’re welcome to join me in saying ‘No’ to negativity from now on. I have amazing friends and family and I’m clear about my priorities in life. They’re simple, achievable, shareable and uplifting.
I wish every one of my very special BOOMERBROADCAST readers a conflict-free, happy, healthy and fulfilling new year. Be kind and be joyful mes très chères.
Do you have any changes planned for 2020?