Happy New Year! As the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, my boyfriend L and I were cozy in bed, fast asleep. That's what happens when you're sixty-something. You record the Times Square ball drop and watch it the next morning. OK, admit it: How many of you did the same?
Putting 2019 behind me
I'm glad to put 2019 behind me. It was a challenging year. My health took a negative turn when my bladder cancer returned in March. Thankfully, I was able to complete 12 treatments of BCG immunotherapy and, as of December, my cancer is in remission.
My health went farther south in September, as I dealt with stomach ulcers and, most recently in December, when my colonoscopy showed a twisted colon and possible bowel obstruction. While surgery may be in the forecast for 2020, I'm hoping that the good fairy will sprinkle some positive fairy dust on my tummy and my colon will untwist itself. I'll be seeing a gastro surgeon soon, so time will tell.
Despite these physical obstacles, I have gratitude for all that I was able to do in 2019, including my trips to Sarasota in Florida and Palermo and Taormina in Sicily, Italy. I'm also grateful for all the wonderful family and friends who love and support me.
And to you, my dear blog readers, who have stuck with me through the good and bad times. I so appreciate your virtual kindness and support. I promise to tell you about my climb up Mount Etna and the beaches in Taormina in the coming months.
Despite health setbacks, I climbed Mount Etna.
Slowing down with a self-care journey post-60
In 2019, I began a post-60 self-care journey, listening to my body and my doctors who urged me to slow down. It was hard for me to comply, especially with my type-A personality that is used to doing, doing, doing. I realized I had no choice, as my body cried out in pain. So, I listened and obliged, allowing more time each day for being, being, being.
My renewed studies in mindfulness provided respite. Completing an eight-week refresher course at a local yoga studio this past fall was just what I needed to jump-start my meditation practice. While I had to pass on an Ireland trip with Collette Travel in 2019 due to my health, I found joy closer to home in places like The Woolverton Inn in Stockton, NJ, where my boyfriend and I were able to take a few days to be nurtured by nature and stop, breathe and be.
I engaged with a new therapist to help me with my transition. She has encouraged me to think differently and reevaluate who and what is important to me at this moment. Throughout this discovery, I'm learning what it means to embrace my limitations and have more self-compassion.
I read a few good self-help books and poetry. My favorite is Gabrielle Bernstein's The Universe Has Your Back. Her guidance was spot on for my controlling disposition.
"Clear direction may not always be presented to you immediately, but know you're on the right path. This knowing is crucial to your happiness and peace. When you get into the 'know' and accept that even the most difficult obstacles can be divine intervention, you can deepen your faith in the Universe," Gabrielle says. "When you choose to see your obstacles as detours in the right direction, you can begin to find a deeper meaning and personal growth amid the discomfort."
Like yoga and meditation, self-care and self-compassion are a practice. It has required me to go deep, look at my daily habits and make changes. It hasn't been easy—especially when these habits have been programmed into my soul for years.
Moving into 2020 with mindfulness
I'm pleased with the progress I've made on my post-60 self-care journey during the past 12 months. Yes, yes, yes, there's much more to do and I intend to continue evolving in 2020 and beyond. There's no turning back.
Keeping a daily journal
My 2020 journal is on my nightstand—ready and waiting to hear from me each day. It prompts me to be mindful. Each morning I set an intention for the day. Then I write down three things I'm going to do. Yep, only three each day so I have to choose wisely. "Include things that bring you joy and time for relaxation," said my therapist A. It's prompted me to say "no" more often to things that don't bring me joy.
In the evening, I write down three things I'm grateful for. I also add anything I want to shed or let go from the day. This technique is supposed to offer a sense of comfort and facilitate calm before bedtime.
My inspirational word for 2020
"I'm trying to eliminate my pain," I said to my teacher L during my mindfulness class in December.
"You don't need to try so hard to push the pain away. Just allow it to be, without judgment, and you may feel less suffering," said L. "Bring your attention back to the breath."
I like that word allow. It's an active, yet gentle verb. According to Dictionary.com, allow has several meanings including:
- to give (someone) permission to do something;
- to give the necessary time or opportunity for;
- to admit the truth of; concede.
To me, the word allow is the opposite of fear. Maybe if I can allow more, I will fear less. Maybe if I can allow more, I will fear less no matter what obstacles come my way. Maybe if I can allow more, I won't have to control every situation or outcome. Wow-o-wow! Is allow my word for 2020? I think allow may be my word for the entire new decade!
I just opened up Gabrielle Bernstein's new book, Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life Beyond Your Wildest Dreams. Gabrielle says in her intro: "The practices in this book will help you slow down, be still, and allow. I will teach you the art of allowing so that you can stop pushing, feel secure, and start receiving naturally."
OMG, Gabrielle, looks like we are in sync. Can't wait to read your new book! To compliment the book, I bought Gabrielle's Super Attractor card deck. Each morning, after I meditate with the Meditate Me app, I pick a card and keep it by my computer for inspiration. Today's card was just what I needed. It says, "FEELING GOOD will bring me far more than whatever I thought I needed."
My hope for 2020 is that "FEELING GOOD" will be overflowing as I allow more and fear less.
To each of you my dear readers, I hope 2020 will bring you peace, happiness and, most of all, good health.
This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.