I’m now dealing with the seemingly daily challenges of getting to understand my 80+ year old brain. It often forgets where I’ve heard what. For example, I can’t recall if when I woke up the other morning and I thought of the phrase “growth through discovery” or if it was the title of an article or book cover that I glanced at in the bookstore yesterday. Maybe it actually was my original idea. I hope I’m not violating some copyright of the title of a recently published book as I set out to explore what the phrase “Growth Through Discovery” means in my life at this time …. and possibly yours as well.
Some of us in our 80’s have developed a habit of constantly looking at what we can no longer do. An eye constantly looking at the losses and the diminishing of our energy and abilities to multi-task can be a pretty depressing view of things. Of course we need to be aware of our new personal limitations so we don’t risk injury or a potentially dangerous situation. However, possibly it might serve our growth through discovery if we looked at what new ways we might re-evaluate some of our old activities. We may then realize a different focus on our expectations. Possibly finding a modified approach to some of this. One that serves us better and offers an altered involvement with our previous point of view.
I’ll explore just one aspect of the changes and challenges presented. How about accepting changes in our driving abilities? I’ve heard some neighbors and friends say things like “I can drive in my neighborhood at night: I know that road like the back of my hand!” Maybe knowing the road well might make a difference but what about the 30 new homes that were built over the summer and the fact that almost every household has at least two, maybe even three cars going in and out at expected times. Those once practically empty suburbs have often become equally as crowded and busy as city streets.
Of course it’s necessary to recognize changes in traffic patterns at different hours and adjust your schedule to easier driving times if possible. If we live alone or with another adult that can care for themselves, maybe changing plans to come home for dinner and tackle a long, slow line of bumper to bumper cars is something you can choose to avoid. Those extra little stresses on us older folks can trigger exhaustion as well as depression. Possibly it’s wise to change a previous driving plan and schedule that changed unexpectedly. Possibly the changes cannot longer avoid exhaustion and unanticipated stress of heavy traffic as you missed the time of the original plan. Now it’s much later in the afternoon and you’re already 90% used up from a busy day. We might offer advice to a colleague or friend about making a change to a now sensible plan yet avoid telling ourselves to follow a similar path. The response that might bring additional stress to your day might be, I’ll just handle the traffic. It can’t be a heavy as I suspect even though it’s now an hour later than I had planned.
Suggesting advice or thoughtful planning to others often seems easier than advice to ourselves. I believe we need to remember that what might be safe and sensible for an older friend may also be the best pattern of behavior for ourselves whether we’re 65,75, or 85. Common sense and realistic assessments of a time or traffic situations pays off for everyone. I sincerely believe that if we look with honesty at the weather conditions, our personal health, or current changes in potentially emotional situations as well, we can make wiser decisions for ourselves for this day’s situation. Choose wisely. Your previously planned decision about driving home an hour later, if you think it over, may not be the right choice for today.
There are often decisions we make that have to be modified or altered depending on the changes and challenges we face daily in our later years. This is only one example of a variety of issues that can arise that requires reconsideration of an earlier decision and a change of plans.
By Connie Goldman
Sponsored by Willow Valley Communities
If you are interested in reading more inspiration from Connie Goldman, please click here to purchase her books.