Just breathe

Stress grows like Creeping Charlie.

Once the root’s tentacles grab a hold of your rich dirt, few weed killers ever take control.

But I admit I’ve been letting stress at work and home get the best of me this week.

So walking to the bus stop tonight, I was thinking how it would be a great evening for a long yoga class or a short run.

That is until I was overpowered by a 4300 pound SUV.

With me, the 130 pound ped in it’s way.

The female driver was leaving her parking garage too fast, and was oblivious to the fact that I was crossing the sidewalk.

Directly in front of her.

But I did come through unscathed.

I was on my usual high alert status since I’ve had plenty of near misses as a pedestrian in the business district of the city.

Now, I could have felt anger towards the woman who nearly hit me.

And probably would have in the past.

But I remembered how I used to rush out of the same ramp in snowy rush hour traffic to pick up my husband by a rigid 5pm deadline, back when he was in an adult care program.

Could this woman be hurrying to pick up a family member as well?

Maybe a son from soccer.

Or a daughter at dance.

Perhaps she was off to visit an ailing parent in the hospital.

Or even her own spouse.

So I decided to just give her a pass.

But I did rap gently on her hood and whispered the word ‘breathe’

I believe the driver got the message.

This evening I was able to find my own spot for peace and growth for a while.

I hope the woman escaped her own choking weeds of stress, and did the same.

Journey of Joy

I never expected to be delivering a eulogy for my husband last New Year’s Eve.

But the timing of the event wasn’t lost on me.

I abruptly started this year on a very different, unplanned journey. But one with a backpack full of possibilities.

And I’m moving forward now at a quicker pace, even if I do fall off track occasionally.

For last 10 years I’ve been involved with four generations of caregiving. Yes, there were some heart wrenching days, but there were also many rewarding ones.

Witnessing a rare smile on Dad’s expressionless face, holding hands with my husband in hospice, or drying my little granddaughter’s tears are memories I’ll always keep with me.

But for now, I’m in a period of respite from caregiving and I’m ready to make up for some lost time.

Also knowing another milestone birthday is coming around the bend, provides additional motivation to just keep moving.

As a result, I’ve started what I’ve labeled my ’50 for 60′ bucket list.

Each of the 50 items entered is something from my past I’d like to revisit such as taking a sketching class, or something totally new like paddling a kayak.

Some tasks that made the list are geared towards helping others. For example, number 8 involves starting a foundation to help provide respite support for caregivers of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

There will be costs involved with some activities, but most are minimal or free.

Soon I’ll be taking short road trips to trails I’ve never walked, historical museums I’ve never entered, and mirrored lakes I’ve wanted to photograph.

I met with a coach/friend yesterday who did the same three years ago, and she provided me with the perfect ‘compass’ to keep me from getting lost.

Her own personal road map for the successful journey she took.

Will I get everything checked off the list by my birthday?

Probably not.

But I’ll sure enjoy the ride.

As this will be one pure journey of joy.