These days I am long past any interest in being “youthful”. I am what I am and what you see is what you get. Instead, my concerns are about managing my energy and my short-term memory. I am also concerned about my ability to continue to live in my own house as I age and what to do when that is no longer possible. When my friends and I get together I find we have the same concerns. So, I offer myself as an aging coach and a coach who is aging.
One of the advantages of living to an old age is to be able to look backward and see the patterns in your life. For instance, thinking of my relationship with money – when I was a young married woman I didn’t want any responsibility for handling money. I wanted my husband to deal with all things financial and tell me what to do. I had grown up in a home where my parents fought constantly, mostly about money issues. I was truly frightened by their fights as a small child and decided that money was something that caused fights and I wanted to avoid it.
That attitude changed, many years later, when I became one of the first two employees of the Rising Tide Market, a natural food store in its fledgling days. I was also asked to become the bookkeeper, to my horror. But I was coached by two remarkable women who did not get upset when I made a mistake but, instead, showed me how to track discrepancies and make corrections. This took all the emotion out of it and soon I was enjoying the activity much as I would doing jigsaw or crossword puzzles. I eventually took courses in bookkeeping and accounting and developing a business of traveling to small local businesses and keeping their checkbooks balanced and papers filed. This was in the days before personal computers.
Eventually I bought a Sears Catalog and Appliance Store franchise and ran that until Sears ceased operations of such stores. In the years since I have developed my talent for bringing order out of chaos by becoming a professional organizer and downsizing consultant. I have often helped people untangle their financial messes and set up filing systems for retrieving the information that proves vital at critical times.
Looking backward reveals the way life opens up for us when we let it.
Whoever said “growing old is not for sissies” was correct. Each year finds me with less flexibility, more arthritis, and a less reliable short-term memory. Therefore, I adapt and compensate for the changes I experience. I bet you do, too. Do you have notes on Post-Its all over your house? Do you leave the mail and other paperwork you bring home out in plain sight so you won’t forget ? Do you find that these attempts at remembering soon become useless as you churn through piles trying to locate the one very important thing you need?
My best system for adapting and compensating is my Day-of-the-Week system. I have grown into this system over several years. I use it as a fall-back system…when I am overwhelmed by all that remains undone, I use the present day of the week to orient myself. For instance, today is Monday, so I have paid any bills that were due and filled in my calendar for the week with activities that must take place this week. I plan to serve a quiche for supper because it is an egg or cheese dish as my plan suggests. By using a weekly schedule loosely, I manage to stay current with most things. When life gets away from me I restore my sanity by selecting only the one thing that needs to be done on that particular day.