Monthly Archive: March 2014

Aging – Meaning and Purpose

lincolnFor two weeks now I’ve been asking how we can age gracefully. Other than elevating the need of a belly laugh a day to a necessity for living well, what else do I know?

cat and childI suffered a shock last weekend by watching myself on video. My grandmother’s face was staring back at me. Remember those photos of pioneer families? Serious faces staring at the camera – they probably had to concentrate and hold their breath for 30 seconds while the flash mechanism worked. Besides in those days, getting your picture taken was a rare and serious thing. Dogs, cats and children look like that unless they are forced to smile. That is what I looked like on that video as I concentrated on wanting to be anywhere but there.

What has this got to do with growing old gracefully? It’s got to do with my grandmother. She really did look like that most of the time. Life was a serious business for her. And life was also pretty wonderful: she had her duties to family and community, which she never failed in doing, and for her that was meaningful. She had a beautiful garden, loved getting involved in anything going on, was constantly making and creating, and doing what she could to nurture her grandchildren.

Her life was filled with meaning and purpose… and discipline.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit http://www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

Belly Laugh as the Antidote

Last week I began by complaining about my arthritis and ended with the question: how to age gracefully.young inside

Picture this: you are at a family gathering with a largish number of older relatives; or you are in a restaurant close to a table of older citizens; or you are one of those older relatives or citizens. You can’t help but hear the topic of conversation. What do you guess it might be? Very likely it will be about ailments and treatment. I am not trying to minimize the problems we have in terms of health as we get older; I am simply fascinated at the amount of time we dwell on something we have little control over. I personally think that we talk about it so much in order to feel we have more control over this condition than we really do.

What’s the condition? Old age, or growing old – we all know in our hearts that growing old is not something we have any control over. We will all grow old if we are lucky to live long enough.

I get Zoomer magazine every month or so, and I love the cartoons in that magazine so much I generally read all of them before I read anything else. It may point the way to a better way of growing old – find something to belly laugh about every day.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit http://www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

My Arthritis – What a Pain!

arthritis joke

My arthritis. What a royal pain!

The other day I was challenged by a friend about the seriousness of my arthritis. She suggested that I was over dramatizing my condition, dwelling on the pain it causes me. It hasn’t yet disfigured my hands and I can understand her questioning simply due to that. Curiously though, when I was suffering recently from a lengthy ear issue I did not notice my arthritis very much.

OK, I do dwell on the pain in my hands: I wish it wasn’t there. I wish I had the health and versatility of my younger self, and I do not have that any longer. How frustrating that is! We live in a time of medical support abundance in this country, and yet there isn’t a lot we can do to alleviate the pain of arthritis.

Having said all that, my friend is right; I can dwell too much on my aches and pains, or not at all until it’s impossible to ignore. Either way, I’m not dealing with it very well. I remember seeing a friend attempt to open a water bottle, give up soon after initially trying, and hand it over to a young person standing beside her with the instructions to open it for her. I remember catching myself thinking: how handy! And yes! a few weeks later… .

Oh! I could go on, but you get the idea. The question I am wanting to know the answer to is this: how to age gracefully.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit http://www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

Beauty and Truth

beauth and truth

I died for beauty, but was scarce

Adjusted in the tomb,

When one who died for truth was lain /In an adjoidning room.

He questioned softly why I failed?

“For beauty”, I replied.

“And I for truth, – the two are one;

We brethren are,” he said.

And so, as kinsmen met at night,

We talked between the rooms,

Until the moss had reached our lips,

And covered up our names.

A poem by Emily Dickenson. It speaks to me of the power and beauty of words truly spoken, and of much more. It is so personal. What does this poen say to you?

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a psychotherapist in Toronto, Canada. Follow her blog at http://www.thejoyofliving.co