Sunday, January 3, 2010

Living well in 2010

I've been drafting a bunch of new year's resolutions, but something about the process didn't feel right. Today when I read Abode One Three, a single sentence jumped out: "...a best-lived life is more than an adequate replacement for plans, for resolutions." That resonated with me, and I stopped trying to generate goals that are specific, measurable, and on a timetable.

For a very long time, my life was dominated by goals and objectives, assignments and deadlines, 50-hour weeks at the office and precious little personal life. My husband has spent much of our nearly 25 years together trying to get me to enjoy the moment, to celebrate an accomplishment, to indulge in any one of my favorite renewing activities before tackling another work assignment on a lovely Saturday.

In February 2007, our first grandbaby was born. When I held that baby, nothing else mattered. Now there are two, and it's still that way. Meanwhile, I cut back on both time and responsibilities at work, and some huge, toxic pressure dissipated. I began living in the moment, enjoying life as never before, and blogging as a way to savor and record the experience.

My resolutions, such as they are, are about trying to maximize the bliss, minimize the stress, work through the transition from the working world to retirement, and honor the important relationships in my life. I've identified a half-dozen areas where my attention needs to be directed in order to live life as well as I can.

* Be the best grandma I can be. Spending the energy, thinking up new Wild Rumpus Daycare activities, reading and counting and drawing and dancing and making music and rolling around on the floor and playing ball and taking excursions...it's rewarding for them and us! This is an unexpected, unparalleled experience, and it will only last a few years. I don't want to waste a single minute!

* Get active. I need to build up my energy, strength, and stamina in order to do--and enjoy--the things that are important. It's hard to get out for walks when it's 10 below and icy. But a combination of aerobic dance moves, yoga, pilates, and lifting small weights--when I actually do it--gives me better energy to do more of everything else. If I want to dance with the grandbabies now AND at their weddings, I'd better get fit!

* Choose a retirement date. I'm working part-time, mostly for the health care benefits. I'm looking into possible ways to further reduce hours, work at home, or flat-out retire in the coming year. If we win the lottery, I'm outta there.

* Identify health care plans for after I retire. It sounds impossibly ancient: I will be eligible for Medicare. I have to research and choose among a dozen different plans. More difficult: my hubby, covered under my workplace policy, is younger and will not be eligible for Medicare for a few more years. He had a cancerous lymph node two years ago, so getting accepted will be tricky and expensive. We were so hoping for a public option!

* Do things that feed my spirit...gardening, blogging, sewing, photography, and maybe even playing the piano again. Being with friends and family...and also being alone. I always did enjoy solitary pastimes; as an adult I discovered I was an over-the-top introvert who needs tons of alone time for my own well-being.

* Pick up a bigger share of the housework. True Statement: My husband does just about everything: cooking, shopping, dishes, laundry, snow removal, grass-cutting, cat litter, recycling, composting, etc. I feed the cat and decorate the house for Christmas. Our son-in-law vacuums weekly so the floors are clean for the grandkids (a great trade-off, don't you think?), and on rare occasions I've been known to dust. The combination of 20 hours a week at the office and 20 sharing in daycare wears me out. But Peter devotes 30-40 hours to daycare, plus a fulltime job--which he does at home at all hours of the day--and still does the housework. It's time for me to pitch in (sob) and wash dishes once in a while, or mop the kitchen floor, or wash the shelves in the china cabinet. Yes, I do know how good I have it. When he proposed, he said he was already keeping house and he'd just keep doing it. So I let him. Damn, it's time for me to step up.

That last one is going to be the hardest. How about you...are you owning up to one really difficult behavior that you intend to change but wish you didn't have to? Will we all feel better once we behave better?

25 comments:

The Peach Tart said...

Sounds like some good things to aspire to.

Megryansmom said...

Maximize the bliss and minimize the stress, I love it!

DJan said...

My hubby does all the cooking and cleaning up. He doesn't think I do it right, and I love it. I was working until retirement and he was at home, so it worked out great, and when we moved to our retirement place, I just kept the arrangement. He's a homebody and I'm a gadabout, so it works. But I have started making soups because I feel guilty about not cooking at all1! Great post. Oh yes, great grands too...

The Good Cook said...

I do not clean. I have a cleaning service. After keeping house, raising children (4), and having a full time, stressful career, I semi-retired. With my "retirement" came the luxury of having cleaning people. I love it. I will sacrifice a lot of things (expense wise) to keep my service. Plus I'm a happier person for it!!

On giving up something for the long-term good? I just gave up wine (with dinner) during the week. As I dive into my 50's I have found I have to cut back to keep trim and healthy.

Long life, well lived, healthy and happy - I'm thinking that's a great trade-off!

Ms Sparrow said...

I love your well-organized list and high aspirations. I'm not making any plans this year since I never live up to my own expectations. Being disappointed in ones self is not a good state.
I wish you well!

Colleen said...

Great list! I don't envy you on the whole "choosing a healthcare" one though =(

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

@Peach: My hubby says I can aspire to having a love slave...or maybe he already is one and wouldn't mind being identified as such. :-)

@Megsmom: I know; I thought about deleting everything else and just using that. Maybe I'll make that my motto.

@DJan, sounds like a great arrangement.

@Cook: Cutting back a little to stay trim and healthy...good plan. You must already be doing other things right!

@Sparrow: How about a resolution to maximize the bliss? In any case, do NOT be disappointed with yourself. :-)

@Colleen: Every time I get frustrated at choosing among so many options (e.g., 47 kinds of mustard on the grocer's shelf, dozens of video cameras, etc.) I remind myself that it's better than no options at all. Still, it won't be a lot of fun.

Julie Magers Soulen said...

You have a wonderful focus on what is important. Hope you have a fabulous New Year!

Cheers!
Julie
Julie Magers Soulen Photography
Blog of Note

Moogie said...

Grandchildren and retirement. They are both wonderful.

The mad woman behind the blog said...

Thank you for this! I just picked up the hand weights I keep under my desk while reading your post.

Both you and my in-laws are an inspiration. Watching Nana and Papa play w/ my toddler reminded me to put down my laptop and enjoy this little wonder of mine.

Happy New Year B-O G!

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

I know you will like the feeder. I know we have had them for a number of years and they have been blown down in hurricane Ike and the only thing is, You should hang them, if you can, from a bunge cord in a tree so you can reach up and pull the thing down and change the seed or unhook it from the cord and have another cord handy so you can let it go back up without the feeder on it. It is so nice. The birds love it to swing and the squirrels get on it sometimes and it bounces up and down.

JenJen said...

We draw our inspiration from several angles, we women....and Matthew is always one of my go-tos.

Much luck and encouragement to you...

Jeanie said...

It is wonderful how those little grandbabies can change our outlook on everything. It sounds like you have a sound handle on living you "best lived" life.

gayle said...

The only time I am really free and in the moment is when I am with my grandson!!
I do have to think of my word for 2010 and my resolutions.

Love yours!!

Far Side of Fifty said...

You have some great ideas ..I hope that you succeed at all of them! I love being a Grandma too..it is wonderful! You are so lucky to be able to care for them ..and you get to play all day!! I think that is just perfect..and in the end..it is totally worth it..no matter what else you accomplish:)

WhisperingWriter said...

I am jealous that your husband does so much. Can he come talk to my husband???

Matthew said...

I'm touched that something I said resonated with you. I hope everything you aim for comes to fruition this coming year. :)

Chantel said...

Dear Bliss...you so inspire me. My lists are long. *sigh* I find comfort in them at the end of the day--at times I cannot sleep if I haven't made one for tomorrow. However...the things that don't make the list--somehow seem more important in retrospect. Will I ever learn? Rough patch at the moment...

I've heard good things about Humana.

Allyson said...

It makes me so sad to hear the new statistic that 44% of the people who do have jobs right now are not happy in them. Miserable, actually. Life is WAY too short for that craziness. Yes, bills must be paid and savings must be built, but there has to be a better way. When I quit working out in the world, it was the best decision I ever made. I don't dread Mondays on Sunday mornings and I no longer have panic attacks. And THAT is the life well-lived. Congratulations on devoting so much time to your grandchildren. You will never regret it. As for me? My only plan for 2010 is to keep on keepin' on. And perhaps eat more chocolate! :D

Angry Julie Monday said...

Stopping over from SITS..I'm goal to put down my goals for this year, as opposed to resolutions. Goals are easier to achieve rather than resolutions.

Hope you figure out all these things and it works out for you!!!

Granny on the Web said...

Somewhere you found this perfect husband, I am most intrigued with your last statement... I have always wanted one that did all this. No hope now, I am stuck with a hoarder of the first order who doesn't know the meaning of tidiness, but I still love him. Fool that I am!!!
Great post
Love Granny

kys said...

You already admitted to having a great husband but it bears repeating. You have a great husband!

I'm just trying to find more balance in my life. A little more movement, time with the family, reading, sewing, and blogging too. What I really need is more hours in the day - or a clone.

Cheryl said...

Guess what? I love all your intentions for 2010. Happiness rules. And your husband rocks!

Linda Hoye said...

Loved this!

cardiogirl said...

Now that's an impressive list! My goals are always pretty low when it comes to New Year's -- I always feel like I'm doomed before I even start.

However, I have been trying to clean the kitchen before I go to bed. I know, this sounds so lame but it's something I'm working on. I've had varying results.

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