Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mindfulness: Are You Present in Your Own Life?" (Rosy the Reviewer's "Happiness Trilogy, #3)

I warned you that I was going to get around to this one.

It's Tuesday, rant time, and here is Part 3 in Rosy the Reviewer's "Happiness Trilogy."

If you have been following me, you know that Part 1 was about self-awareness ("How Self Aware Are You...Really?) and Part 2 was about thoughtfulness ("Some Thoughts on Thoughtfulness").

"Mindfulness" completes the trilogy and comprises the three things I think are essential to our own happiness and the happiness of those around us.

You might think that self-awareness and mindfulness are the same thing but, if you did, and I don't mean to be rude, you would be wrong.

As I discussed in my blog post about it, self-awareness is basically noticing how you are acting.  It's being conscious of yourself, your feelings and what your motives are.  It's basically a conversation you should be having with yourself all of the time. "Should I blast my horn at that pedestrian?"  "Should I correct my friend's bad English?" Go ahead and do those not very nice things, but at least be aware that you are doing them.  But basically we all walk around in a fog, saying and doing stuff that we barely think about and often causing drama and not being very nice and then wondering why our lives aren't very much fun.

Mindfulness is more about consciousness, being in the present moment and acknowledging and accepting our feelings, thoughts, and sensations.

I believe that self-awareness, thoughtfulness and mindfulness all work together to create happiness.  When we are self-aware about what we are doing and saying, when we are thoughtful to others and when we are mindful of our own lives we will be happier and so will those who interact with us.

The reason mindfulness is on my mind right now is that when I look down the road, the road ahead is much shorter than the road I have already traveled.  I hadn't really thought about that very much until David Bowie and Glen Frey both died unexpectedly, both not yet 70.  If my fate is to go at the same age as they, then I only have a couple of years left.

That gives one pause...contemplating the end of the road.

We just had a new roof put on the house last year.  I can't help but think, that's probably the last roof I will ever buy. Since it cost a bunch, I guess I could say that was also a good thing.

I am having some chairs that belonged to my parents reupholstered.  The chairs are almost 100 years old and have great significance for me because I remember sitting in one of those chairs as a young girl, one leg hanging over the arm, watching TV with my Dad. My parents always sat in those chairs.  I had them reupholstered about 12 years ago and now, I think, this will be the last time. 

And I wonder, when my older dog passes, do I get another one?

When we are young, it seems like a long life awaits us.  We have a world of time ahead of us.  We don't think in terms of time. But as we age, we start measuring time by what we may not do again or what we won't live to see.  Is this the last time I will see the Grand Canal in Venice?  Will I see my grandchild graduate from high school? 

We Baby Boomers have witnessed an interesting and exciting era from the beginning of rock & roll to the British Invasion to the Vietnam War and its subsequent protests, the women's and civil rights movements, AIDS... We have arguably experienced more social change than earlier generations and all the while thinking we would live forever.  Most of our parents were products of the Great Depression, so when prosperity returned, they didn't want us to experience that suffering.  In short, they spoiled us and we grew up thinking we had the world by the tail.  We thought we would live forever.  I mean, when an article about Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath going on tour again appears in the AARP Magazine, you know we just think we will go on and on.

The average age of death for men in the United States is 76 and for women 81.  So if I live to my average expected age, that means I have 14 years left.  If I was sitting in a doctor's office and was diagnosed with a disease and he said I only had 14 years left, I would be devastated.  But since I have so far not had such a diagnosis, the days just tick by and I live my life as if I am going to live forever.

In true Baby Boomer fashion I want to think, "That's not going to happen to me.  I am going to beat the odds."
And then I remember my Dad.  He thought he was going to live to be a 100.  And he should have.  His Dad lived to 92, his diabetic mother made it to 89.  He did almost everything right.  He didn't drink or smoke, he was active, he ate well but there was one little thing.  He got cancer, but it was a curable one.  But he didn't have it treated.  He thought he could beat the odds.  He didn't.

The truth of the matter is, our icons dying off is going to start to be a regular thing.  The truth is, though there is probably a bit of Peter Pan in all of us Baby Boomers, we too will have to face the inevitable.

I remember my Grandmother and Grandfather, both of whom, as I mentioned lived longer than the average, reading the obituaries in the town newspaper, a town they had lived in most of their long lives, and seeing their friends dying off, and I remember one of them saying, "Pretty soon we will have outlived everyone we knew and there will be no one left."

And that brings me back to mindfulness (you are probably thinking FINALLY...let's get off this death kick.  I want her to get to the point so I can get back to listening to my Black Sabbath album!).

I didn't mean to be morbid or make you feel bad.  In fact, my intent is just the opposite.  Remember, this is Rosy the Reviewer's HAPPINESS trilogy, right?

The point of all of this is to strive to make what years we have left really count.  When we realize our time is finite, to make those minutes, hours and days mean something, and the way to do that is to be mindful, to try not to get caught up in the petty problems of life and relationships, but rather to stop and smell the roses.  Yes, I know.  What a cliché, but have you smelled a rose lately?  Roses smell lovely and transport you.  They bring you to the moment and make you feel alive.

I know we all have money problems, children who need our help, illness, all kinds of issues that occupy our minds, but in the course of all of that, it is important to stop and take the time to be in touch with ourselves and say to ourselves, "Here I am, right now, standing in my garden.  The outlines of the trees are beautiful against the sky.  I am alive, I am here, I am me" or "Here I am with my grandchildren.  I am feeling such love for them right now.  I am savoring this moment."

Hubby used to have a job that took him to England regularly.  I was fortunate enough to be able to go with him on many of his trips.  His work was in a town about an hour outside of London. While he worked, I would take the train into London and walk around for five hours straight until it was time to catch the train back in time for tea (I don't think I could do that today - the five hours of walking part, not the tea part)! 

I remember one time going to the food court at Harrod's and getting a tuna salad.


I walked over to Hyde Park to eat it. For some reason, they didn't have a fork in the food court.  Must have been a British thing - that it would be gauche to eat the salad out of the container.  Anyway, I went into the park, sat on the grass and ate the salad with my fingers.  Then I laid down on the grass and looked up at the sky and thought to myself, "Stop this moment.  I am here right now.  Savor it.  I am lying on the grass in Hyde Park in London, England."  And I felt so happy.  I decided that I would always do that at least once a day while I was traveling (I make Hubby do it too).  It was like pinching myself...a mental pinch. And writing that right now makes me remember that moment and I feel happy.

Now I don't just do that when I am traveling.  I try to do "mental pinches" throughout every day.

So, my fellow Baby Boomers, and anyone else reading this little post, meditation is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness (and I have written about that before) but practicing mindfulness can also be as easy as stopping yourself every so often during the day and noticing, really noticing, how you are feeling, what you are doing, how you are talking and reacting to your fellow man and woman, what your world looks like right at that moment and reminding yourself where you are, who you are and that you are alive.

Mindfulness will help you REALLY live your life for as long as you have it to live.

Thanks for Reading!


See you Friday

for my review of the new movie 

"Zoolander 2"
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."


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  1. You are bringing up so many things I have been thinking about lately and getting myself upset about. I go thru the same exercises...will I be here to see my goddaughter married with children....will I see some of the little kids in the block grow up and be married...the list goes on and on. Certainly NEVER thought of any of this until a couple of years ago.

    Right now the issue is my 15 year old dogs that I adopted just a few short years sgo. When I start getting nervous about losing them I do get into the mindfulness mode and start thinking N. Korea could send a missile tomorrow and wipe California out (dramatic right?) so I only have today and this moment to enjoy. I am trying to do that as much as possible for many reasons but I find it immediately makes me feel better thinking about the NOW.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    Is that you in the doorway behind your grandparents?


    1. I knew someone would ask that! No that is my niece, my older sister's daughter who today is 55!

    2. What is so interesting about that foto is how clear and vibrant she is and your grandparents are in the sun and fading...almost an allegory. They are leaving the picture soon and she is just starting her life. I found that foto fascinating.


    3. That didn't occur to me, sazzy, but now that you mention it, you are right. How downright poetic of you! :) Rosy

    4. Nah...not poetic...I just like fotos. Another documentary I saw a million years ago was about the psychology surrounding fotos and how to analyze relationships according to people placement and expressions. I also was pretty active on Flickr at one time so that's part of it. BUT this reminds me of another movie recommendation...one moment please while I look it up ;)

      "Shooting The Past" Stephen Poliakoff film. Brit. One of my all time favs.