Aging Well in the Gorge August 5th 2020

Is there anything certain these days? I mean besides death and taxes. It feels like the pandemic has turned the world upside down and inside out - elevating the uncertainty and unpredictability in a world that has always been uncertain, whether it is our own safety or the national partisan posturing. (Okay, maybe we can be certain about the latter.)

But can’t there be a little certainty in our lives? Just a steady rock we can climb on so we can feel safe, secure and can experience a sense of calm when we become overwhelmed with all the current confusion?

Uncertainty is a natural and unavoidable part of life that can change quickly and unpredictably. And because of this uncertainty, you may find yourself always assuming the worse of all the endless what-ifs. What if that mole on my arm is cancerous? What if that slight pain in my chest is more than indigestion? What if my forgetfulness isn’t normal?

Spending time worrying about the what-ifs robs us of the enjoyment in the present, saps our energy, and keeps us up way too many nights leaving us feeling stressed, anxious, and powerless over the direction of our lives.

But uncertainty isn’t always a bad thing. Surprises can be something to enjoy: surprise birthday parties, an invitation to dinner with friends, or an unexpected bouquet of roses from your spouse. (If I surprised my wife with flowers, she would be wondering what I did wrong!)

Okay, now you may be thinking, “I’ve been around the block plenty of times, so you don’t need you to tell me that life is uncertain. But you haven’t explained how I can find some certainty - because trust me, these days I don’t always see uncertainty as a pleasant surprise but something to fear.”

Well, there are two ways you can start to find some certainty. First, focus on what you can control. Chronic worrying about what you can’t control doesn’t give you any more control over those events.

What can you control? How about creating a daily routine and sticking to it? Do you make time to walk, to relax, to get plenty of sleep and to eat healthy? And when you go outside, do you wear your facemask and wash your hands when you return? Those actions you can control. And by creating dependable routines, you can move from ineffective worrying about what may or may not happen to feel a sense of control over your life and well-being.

Second, focus on the present. One of the surest ways to avoid worrying about the future and all the possible bad things that could happen is to focus on the here and now. Instead of trying to predict what might happen, (we’re actually very poor fortune-tellers!), switch your attention to what’s happening right now. Enjoy the pleasures of the present.

You may be like many others where these uncertain times can leave you feeling uncomfortable about the future, can magnify your problems, and even paralyze you from addressing a problem. But even though certainty is elusive, by focusing on what you can control and living in the present, you may be able to find that safe haven of certainty that can help you cope with the unpredictable changes - because, as we know, life will always find a way of surprising you.

“Well here’s another nice mess you've gotten me into!" was the catchphrase used by the comedy duo Stan Laurel playing the childlike friend of the pompous bully Oliver Hardy. I received answers from Jeanne Pesicka, Barbara Cadwell, Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Dave Lutgens, Tim Annala, Jim Donnelly, Steve Chance, Gary VanOrman, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Cindy Winfield.

Speaking of Laurel and Hardy, they made their only American television appearance on December 1st, 1954 when they were surprised and interviewed by Ralph Edwards. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this reality series broadcast live on NBC television from 1952 to 1961? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a recorded episode of Truth or Consequences, also created by Ralph Edwards.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to be cool. Until we meet again, I have reached that time during the summer when I’m really looking forward to autumn.

“I learned to give not because I have a lot, but I know how it feels to have nothing.” Anonymous

 


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