At the start of the year, when we all dream of fresh, new beginnings, I wrote about the idea of ‘climbing the stairs.’ What did I mean by that? The successful outcome of solving problems depends on the emotional effort a woman puts into her situation. You have to have a goal in mind. You have to focus. And, then, the hard work begins as you huff and puffed up the stairs into an answer.
You’ll also enjoy my story, Reinvent Yourself After 50: Growing Into New Friendships, and How to Make a Choice After 50: 8 Steps.
The bottom line? There is no magic wand for a solution. You cannot push a button and ride up the elevator into a worthwhile answer. You have to climb the stairs to reach your positive goal.
Climbing the stairs, for me, during the pandemic was a major undertaking and I am not quite there. I am still climbing. I am still seeking new answers for the three-year change in the pattern of life. Hope and dreams help me at every crossroad.
“I believe from the bottom of my heart a woman over 50 can survive and thrive with gusto when she starts with a personal mantra. Mine was: “I want my productive and joyful life back on my terms.” What is yours?” — Honey Good
I am not a writer who hides behind a mask. No, I don’t candy coat. I show my vulnerability because I am not afraid to lay my cards on the table. The Covid experience engulfed me with layers of sadness, loneliness, and anger. However, interestingly, I had little fear of the illness.
How did I pull myself out of my doldrums? I huffed and puffed up numerous flights of mental stairs asking myself questions and trying new avenues to brighten my day. Some worked and I reached a new plateau. Others failed and I fell back tossing them aside (yoga). All the while never giving up or losing faith in my ability to survive.
HOW I OVERCAME MY DOLDRUMS
I had the drive but nevertheless, the journey was not an easy one. Why? Because after a time I noticed Covid 19 was causing me to feel lethargic.
My mind was getting used to the day in and day out of nothingness. I had to force myself to huff and puff my way up the stairs. My motivation: I wanted my old life back on my terms. I wanted to feel fulfilled and joyful, not lethargic, lonely, and sad.
It takes determination and motivation mixed with a positive degree of hopefulness to face any adversity. As women over 50, we are the generation who has the wisdom to climb out of whatever ails us when we use the ‘tools’ of life learned over the years.
Let’s face the fact that it is hard for everyone, myself included, to take control of adversity. I believe from the bottom of my heart a woman over 50 can survive and thrive with gusto when she starts with a personal mantra. Mine was: “I want my productive and joyful life back on my terms.” What is yours?
Please understand — you will have to compete with an array of personal feelings. You have two choices. You can stretch yourself to the max as I did (it is very hard) and climb the stairs or you can succumb to personal lethargy that causes procrastination.
I REMEMBER MY JOURNEY …
I remember the first shutdown was in March of 2020. Over three years ago. I recall telling my Ultimate Concierge, about a week later, “This is scary. We are losing control over our lives.”
MY FORMULA FOR CLIMBING THE STAIRS
The first flight of stairs was easy. I began listening to the news and reading everything I could get my hands on. I wanted to learn about the situation facing Americans and the entire world population.
The second flight was also easy. I began to understand and internalize information. It was on the second landing that I decided the entire world was living in a foreign place called Elsewhere. Remember?
Why Elsewhere? This new world took away my freedoms, my normal lifestyle that I had taken for granted. Everything outside the four walls of my beautiful condo-in-the-sky became evil, in my mind.
During this time I was forced to wear a mask and had to isolate myself from human beings. I was not allowed to travel, I no longer was allowed to look and touch produce in the grocery store — I ordered in. I stopped visiting shops and learned to use Amazon. Not to mention all of the other global ramifications. I could have become an emotional wreck.
Finally, I reached the conclusion as I ascended up the third flight, that I had no control over what was taking place outside the walls of my condo-in-the-sky so I turned inward — into the world of my peaceful home.
I asked myself what I could do to continue to feel positive, productive, happy, and energized. Putting together sound thinking takes a lot of emotional energy.
I CHOSE TO MAKE LEMONADE
This next flight was more difficult. In my favor, I had all the time in the world as I began the next flight of stairs. I began dreaming with optimism, never with pessimism asking myself what would fulfill me.
Many thoughts consumed my mind and I went back and forth. I knew I had to plan with care and never stop dreaming. Dreaming became my hook! Without a dream, there is no desire. This was a difficult stage because lethargy was a negative pull.
I had to huff and puff until I saw new dreams in my head.
MY HOOK — DREAMING MY DREAMS INTO REALITY
At this point, I knew that I had to take control of what I could. For me that meant organization! I decided to redo our closets, the storage room in our condo, our file cabinets, and a kitchen broom closet. Why? Our closets and our storage room were old-fashioned, our files needed updating, and I needed more storage in our kitchen. My lethargy was replaced with energy. I reached a new plateau on my climb — finding joy in life.
After this realization, it was time to figure things out. So, I read about storage (this book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, was literally life-changing) and researched people to help me. I tossed out unnecessary items and I found wonderful keepsakes tucked away that I gave new life. Now I was on a roll; no longer a rollercoaster. I would not allow Elsewhere to destroy me emotionally. I learned the importance of organization. An organzied home. An organized mind.
The project kept me focused on the positive. I directed my time to the inside of our home rather than to the outside. This project was healthy because I realized I could not bring an end to Elsewhere outside of my home but I could prevent its awfulness from taking over my emotional thoughts.
The Difficult Part
Also, I decided I had to take charge of my health or else. Feeling as I did was not good for me emotionally or physically because I was pent up with frustration and loneliness for friendship. I missed walking down the street and seeing smiling faces. The lack of communication with others was a killer for me.
This flight of stairs was hard. I do not like to exercise. I had to huff and puff while formulating a digestible plan. We had a treadmill. Come rain or shine, I would discipline myself to walk 30 minutes a day on my treadmill. I found a series I loved on TV to make the time fly.
In year two when shops started reopening I ventured outdoors to a Pilates class twice a week. This flight, though very difficult, proved rewarding. I was proud of myself, I kept my weight in line, and made a close friend — my Pilate instructor! I now go to my class three times a week.
NOW IT IS TIME TO DREAM
There were other projects I undertook as I climbed the stairs. I dreamed. Dreaming is so healthy for the soul. I dreamed of finding a new place to hide out in the winter. I planned trips that I was never sure we would take.
While continuing to climb the stairs to find a perfect hideout for the winter we did realize our dream of traveling to Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya with three of our Good grandsons.
What did I learn above all else as I huffed and puffed up the stairs during the pandemic?
As I climbed the stairs, making other observations and decisions, I fully understood that through my creativity and innovation, I had personal control. That I could transform the negativity of isolation, sadness, loneliness, and outside forces into flourishing new personal frontiers.
With purpose, willingness, and a dream nothing can prevent you from reaching your joy-filled goal.
How did you keep your head above water during your time of isolation? Did you tackle a new project or two? How did Covid affect you on an emotional level? Do you feel you did your best or could you have done better? Did you climb the stairs; in other words did you grow from the experience? What are the positive residuals you took away from the lockdown?
When you are feeling sad, you have a few choices. You could wait until your sadness hopefully passed — I find that seldom works. Or you could turn the sadness into a positive emotion — that takes skill, courage, and might. Yes, darling, you have to climb the stairs.
No getting around it, it is tough to figure out. You will have to ride your personal elevator to find your endurance level.
- Start with a dream.
- Listen to your emotions.
- Let your emotions roll in and out like the tide.
Darling, climbing the stairs is filled with trial and error. You will succeed if you stick with your quest.
HOW TO CLIMB THE STAIRS
My e-workbook will educate you — it is your guide. If you want to succeed, try try try. You must do your due diligence by practicing emotional endurance; by remaining positive and hopeful. And, you must dream.
Ask yourself when you become frustrated and worn out, “Now what?”
I have found the best prescription — continue your climb.
When a challenge occurs, and, it certainly will take time to consider the reasons, and reflect. This will require patience.
I am not the most patient woman. I get excited and want to leap! This type of pattern ignites false hope. I have learned to take my time and live into my answer.
What spurs me on? Hope. Daydreams. Dreams light the fire. They are the driving force. Hope helps you climb the stairs. When you have high hopes, you get a positive adrenaline rush, a yearning of optimism to make a plan to achieve the dream. Climb, darling, climb. I promise you your dreams can become a reality. Amen.
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