Monday, August 31, 2015

Ageless Wisdom from the Birthday Girl

 Just about 6 years ago, my friend Helen Vanderkooi mischievously invited me to come and "just have a look" at the puppies she had on her farm. So, we took a little ride out to the farm just to have a look and then shockingly, we were hooked. I mean, it's lucky we didn't end up with four. Thankfully, they weren't ready to come home so we left the farm without one. But, as the boys' birthdays approached in October and the time for these little ones to find homes was falling in line with that, Helen offered us a free female because she was able to sell the males easily. So, we drove out to the farm, just Jason and I and picked up our little fur ball, who promptly nosed her way into my elbow and fell asleep on the way home.


How can you choose just one?


She's grown into the loveliest, goofiest, laziest, most loyal friend (unless offered a snack or a car ride by a perfect stranger...) that we could have imagined for our household. She's taught us a lot about family and love and life...and in honour of her birthday today, we give you the best lessons of a 6 year old (or a 42 year old...) starting with the fact that age really is only a number.  She has taught me a lot about living with depression and been the best medicine for the worst days. 


There's no reason to feel shame in caring for yourself. 


Good health requires sacrifice. Good self care is essential but sometimes you have to let those around you who you love and trust, make good decisions on your behalf. 


Some days are just hard.


There are days when you can only get out of bed to make it to the couch. This too shall pass.

Some days are much better and you feel nearly normal again.

There will be those days that you feel like yourself again...nearly. You wake up early, you go outside, you find joy in the beauty around you. Take advantage of those days. Store them up in your memory for the days that don't feel so good.
Sunlight, pillows and a long morning stretching out is sometimes the best medicine.
Get rest when you need it. Healing takes time. 


Sometimes there are things that make you feel alive, that maybe aren't SO good for you...like catching rocks...do those in moderation. 
Don't put off the things you really enjoy doing. 
And there are things that bring consistent comfort, like the company of a quiet companion and a good book. Do those things in abundance. 


Take time for quiet reflection, whether in the beauty of the outdoors...




...or in the comfort of your favourite spot at home. 






Allow those who love you to show you...even if sometimes it feels a little smothering. You need this. 

Good nutrition plays an important role in staying healthy and energized. Sometimes you have to rely on those around you to care for you in this way. Sometimes they need reminding that this is a great way to show that they care.



Sometimes, even when you don't feel like it, it's good to get outside and engage in exercise. 
Find people you love that make you feel good about yourself and spend time with them. 


Find activities in every season that you enjoy so that you have a something to look forward to as the seasons change.

And remember, there will be days where just getting your feet wet is all you can muster. 
Do it anyways. 



It doesn't have to be an organized sports team...just choose your teammates well and show up, they're counting on you!
Sometimes you just have to show up for the sake of others. Being selfless can combat the feelings of depression and sadness. 



Even if you have to make an extra effort that feels enormous, sometimes it's worth going the extra mile so that others know you love them. 


Even from the sidelines, you can show your love. You may not be on the sled but they'll remember that you cheered them on every step of the way. 




Cousin Eito from Japan is great at taking me on walks

Remember that new friendships can bring new enthusiasm and discovery - differences in language and culture can enhance your desire for learning new things! 




And when there are days where you just can't seem to pull it together, 



...remember that your very presence is often enough to warm someone's heart. (or feet.)



Take time to yourself when you need it...but don't withdraw from life. 


A dear friend now gone on to doggy heaven...Osaka...you're not forgotten.

Share your best with others, for you never know how long you'll have them in your life. 
Zany and I resting up from a long day at the lake.

Play hard together and get plenty of rest in between.
This old man, Remington,  and I shared a great friendship. RIP buddy.

Celebrate friendships with those younger and older than you, for they bring wisdom and energy you 
can learn from. Even a short time with a wise friend is better than having lived without him. 

Play hard and rest well. Life is about balance. 
This bull seemed very happy to meet me. If I'd listened to all the BS,
I'd have never met him. 
Take chances and veer off the path once in a while. You never know who you might meet.

And remember you have an extended family who loves you nearly as much as your own family does. 


In position for apple season. 

Wait for the next good thing to fall into place. Patience is a discipline.


Remember the dreams of your youth. 


Stay true to who you are and never forget how far you've come. 




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