Guest Author - Diane Adams
Driving into work this morning, a jeep merged in front of me. The spare tire cover on the back of the vehicle read “Life is Good.” I have to agree. However, I know many seniors who would disagree with this sentiment. Life is not good for all seniors. A spouse dies. Illness strikes. You are forced to live in a nursing home. You have more aches and pains than Carter has pills. Your eyes are failing. You can’t hear as well. Your mind takes a vacation on the simplest thoughts. All of the above could be reasons why you believe life is not good.
In my humble opinion, having a good life or a poor life is a matter of choice. Declaring that “Life is Good” does not make all of your troubles go away. Deciding to live a good life is a mindset. Even if none of the circumstances in the above paragraph befell you, you would still not be guaranteed a good life. I know people who suffer no hardships, but they would not state that “Life is Good.” On the reverse side of that coin, I know people who suffer daily yet maintain a positive attitude and proclaim “Life is Good.” If you were to look objectively at your attitude about life, what could you change to improve your attitude?
Let’s start with the way in which you awake every morning. When the sun filters through your bedroom window and you peel back an eyelid to look at the clock, what is your first thought? Do you say, “Oh crap,” or do you say, “I hit the jackpot! I got another day!”? Beginning your day with a positive thought will go a long way to improving your attitude for the entire day. Now, let’s have a look at the list from the first paragraph.
If your spouse has recently died, you are in the grief process and probably do not feel like getting out of bed, let alone having a positive attitude. First and foremost, you need to work through your grief. I posted an article earlier dealing with the stages of grief. As you move through the five stages, ask yourself how your spouse would want you to live the rest of your life. Would he or she want you to be wallowing in sorrow, or would he or she want you to enjoy whatever life you may have left? I hope your spouse would want you to enjoy life. When illness strikes, try to put it into perspective. Is your illness life-threatening? If so, what can you do to make your final days meaningful? If your illness is not life-threatening, I think the choice is easier. A positive attitude will get you through the challenges of an illness, but a positive attitude will also speed your physical recovery. The mind is a more powerful medication than most drugs. Living in a nursing home does not have to be the end of your world. Again, life is what you make it. If you determine to be happy no matter where you live, life will be good. Aches and pains, failing eyesight and hearing, and memory loss all come with the territory of growing older. Finding solutions to these ailments might be easier than you think. However, if your particular problems are beyond solutions, acceptance of life the way it is will improve your attitude about living.
In order to get you started thinking about ways to make life good, I want to give you a test. You will need paper and a pencil for this exercise. Number your paper 1 to 20. Next to each number, I want you to write down something positive about your life. When you have 20 positives written down, I want you to tape the paper to a mirror that you see every day. Before you go to bed at night, I want you to thank God for each item on your list, naming them individually. When you awake in the morning, repeat the exercise. Do this twice a day for the next 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, you will be looking at your life with a positive attitude and you will declare, without hesitation, “Life is Good!”