To Be Or Not To Be . . . Why This Should Matter To You

” I love you” are likely the most misunderstood words to be strung together since language became important. This phrase has caused more grief and sadness and has brought more joy and happiness than most other statements made. What does the word love mean? How do you describe love? It’s much like trying to describe what a cherry tastes like. Can’t be done. But most everyone who walks the planet says or suggests they they “love” someone without really knowing what that means. People talk about loving their pets or a song. Really! The problem is most of us have our own understanding of what the word “love” means but not really knowing what it means to others. We just assume that it means the same to others as well. When our expectations regarding what it means to us aren’t met relationships tend to end or are seriously altered in some way and not always for the best.

Back when this declaration of “love”, for me, was primarily connected to hope, fervour, and fascination with someone else’s physical attributes. Sex was also something that, for many, was shared as one way of demonstrating “love” for a partner. The point is that sex was and still is an integral part of developing and maintaining that “loving feeling” human beings have for one another. But what happens to a relationship when the sex stops or is infrequent? When we are young we fall in love with a Hollywood image. It is often based solely on “looks” and when the looks change or begin to fail so does the passion and the closeness of the relationship. Just look at the rise of divorce rates and the instances of common-law relationships. Much of this change has to do with babies and boredom.

There are many “senior” relationships which survive all of this and enjoy a closeness, a respect, and a “love” that defies description. Perhaps it’s because they truly are “in love” with that special person they met a long time ago. I still haven’t come across any senior who can tell me what love really is or feels like but there is a twinkle in their eyes that says they got it.

Unfortunately there are many seniors who are unable to enjoy sex any longer. There are some who are relieved and some who see that inability as a sign of old age-that life is passing them by much too quickly. Not being able to enjoy sex for many is a sadness that deeply affects them. ( I plan to write a piece about this later on) It affects their self esteem and messes with their mental health. It is in our best interests to learn how to enjoy our partners and maintain our interests in our relationship with them without having sex.

I have put together a few ideas that some might find helpful.

  1. One of the things that we often share is the same sense of humour.  Even the young have to come up for air once in a while and so having a common sense of humour is most important for them. They wouldn’t stay together long without it. It is the same for seniors. They enjoy laughing together and finding they still have a common interest in what makes them laugh. It is a commonality that connects them and is special to them.
  2. One of the most exasperating things is to constantly be corrected by your partner and for you to do the same to them. As we age our minds will start to slip a bit, our hearing becomes a bit more taxed and our memories will also be challenged a bit more. To be reminded of these deficits is never pleasant to hear. No one needs to be keeping score about who is right or wrong more often than the other. Someone once said-“and he exercised his right to be considerate and kept his mouth shut.”   Real solid advice.
  3. Don’t be afraid to catch your “honey” under some mistletoe at Christmas or to steal a hug in public. I saw a beautiful couple the other day, I’d guess in their late seventies, walking along all dressed up in their winter gear.  As they approached what looked like a slippery patch on the sidewalk, the first thing he did when they got a bit closer was to grab for her hand to make sure she didn’t slip or fall. Kindness with no thought of reward still works really well to say how much someone cares. Try it. It feels good.
  4. Do nice things for each other. Most can still hold a door open for the other. It’s a show of respect and kindness for the other and not an imagined weakness. Screw the politically correct and the feminists. Since when did being considerate get pushed off to the side like a piece of trash. Try making a cup of tea or something as a surprise for the other. It says, “I was thinking about you sweetheart.”
  5. Always be on the lookout for something new to do that you both can enjoy learning more about–together.

Our relationships become dramatically more important as we move through time. Sometimes it gets down to deciding whether or not you want your last vision to be that of someone you “loved” or being alone because you didn’t pay attention to the really important things in your life.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim                                jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Disclaimer: the photo resource was used for education, research, or critical purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of these images.)

10 Reasons Why It Ain’t So Bad Getting Older . . .

I gotta be honest here–I still struggle with getting older. Part of it is about the mortality issue but some because I feel guilty at times that I wasted so much of the time that was given to me. But then I argue with myself by saying “yes but you wouldn’t be who you are today if you hadn’t lived the first part of your life as you did being who you were then. Think about what you learned being you then and how that has helped you today to give back to others who struggle as you did”–that’s true too.

I used to concern myself about how I was going to leave this planet and that caused most of the fear. Then I became curious about how I would go and hopefully, it won’t be painful. What will it be like I often wonder? The big part, now, is that I will not see those whom I love in a physical way anymore and I will miss them so much. The smell of their hair, the touch of their skin, the solid hugs and just the great feeling of seeing them laugh and enjoy and to hear the passion in their voices. All the more reason to take as good care of myself for as long as I can and believe that it will be OK.

So now I am putting together a list of all the good things about getting older for me. Some are rationalizations-some are cliches. Many of you who are reading this will have thought of or heard many of these before. But perhaps there will be the odd one that makes folks stop and say–Hmmmm. Hadn’t thought of that in that way before.

  1. I am now a grandparent and there has been no joy, pleasure or privilege greater than that except being there when my kids were born
  2. I get to use all the things that I learned along my way and I can pass them along to my kids and grandkids if they will listen. I can’t control that part of course but I can be sure that they hear the pearls of wisdom that have been passed to me.
  3. Although I still take care to appear to dress decently and shave when I remember or care to I don’t believe I have embarrassed anyone close to me lately. I don’t have to get caught up in the trends of the day. Hell, I’ve got clothes that are much older than my granddaughter. I do try to draw the line at wearing white socks and sandals at the same time which tells me that I still have some semblance of pride left in me.
  4. When I was younger I, like so many, saw my self-esteem directly connected to my appearance–the right clothes, the right hair or hair cut, the right cologne, a shine on my shoes, pants the right length and so on. I still care about some of that stuff but my sense of self is not tied near as tightly as it used to be.
  5. I don’t have a problem letting folks know when they piss me off. I don’t try to hurt people intentionally but I don’t waste a great number of words saying what I need to say to them.
  6. Time is such an important and valuable resource that I have begun to think very carefully how I choose to spend it, with whom and doing what.
  7. I spend much more time thinking about how to help others than I used to only because it feels good to do it and I know that it makes a difference in the quality of the lives of those I choose to reach out to. When I was younger it was more about who might help me in return if I ever needed it. I have come to recognize that those times are about bribing people more than something heartfelt. Today it’s about knowing that I can still make a difference in the world I live in.
  8. I spend much more time today watching people and caring how they are doing than ignoring folks, as I would do at times because I didn’t feel I had the time to reach out to them.
  9.  I can take the time now to feel the sun on me and appreciate it for its warmth. If I’m late getting to somewhere, well, just start without me-I’m good with that.
  10. I still appreciate the tunes from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. It was and still is great music. I can recall, with clarity, some of the good times with people who just enjoyed living. When we are younger we don’t have many memories to go back to. I guess that’s because we were too busy making them at the time. Now I’m grateful and thankful that my mind still works as well as it does and that I can capture those times like they were yesterday just by hearing a particular tune.

I know that the list could be a great deal longer but if I were to try to sum it up–at least for now I would say “get good at adapting to where you are now, be sure you enjoy what you have chosen to do and care about those you have decided to share your time with.”

Anyways that’s how I see it, all the best, Jim

Send me your list if you want, I’d love to read it. Feel free to send this along to family and/or friends. Comments can find me at:

jim.lifechoice@gmail.com  OR jimcloughley.com

This photo resource was used for criticism, education or research purposes only. I derive no monetary benefit from using this photo. This photo was provided by barkingsidemobility.co.uk

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