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L.J. Rohan

L.J. Rohan

Gerontologist

Living With Intention

February 24, 2020

I turned sixty last September, and with a packed autumn calendar, I didn’t have too much time to think about it. As I took some time last month to reflect and write down a few New Year’s resolutions, I began thinking more deeply about how it felt, and what it meant, to be sixty. For the first time in my life, I now acknowledge that more sand exists in the bottom of my hourglass, than in the top. I didn’t feel this way when I turned fifty—I just thought– I am at the half-way mark, equal amounts in the top and bottom!  Now, settling in with full force, this realization saddens me in some ways. How will I get to do all the things I want to do before I run out of time?  Assuming I am blessed with living a long life I need to make some firm decisions on how I want to spend the time I have left.

The decision to live with intention now tops my To-Do List every day. What does that mean for me? I see it as living deliberately, to borrow the concept from Henry David Thoreau. My goals are to live each day consciously choosing how I spend each minute, and to hold in my awareness that once that moment is gone, it’s gone forever. Forever. Not to sound morbid, but I want to be cognizant of time and enjoy every delicious thing life offers in every second of every day.

living with intention

How am I doing so far?  As of today, my success rate stands at about fifty percent for the week; some days hover close to zero, others, upward of seventy-five percent.

I haven’t completely worked out how these objectives will show up in all aspects of my life, but I’ve jotted down a few things. Here is a rough draft of my personal list of how I live with intention:

1. Practice better self-care by saying no when I am spent and need recharging, then giving myself permission to recharge.

2. Work every day to make a small difference in the world by helping women be the best they can be as they age.

3. Spend time only with people who love and support me.

4. Commit to spending time in nature every day, rain or shine, to appreciate the natural world and draw in its healing energy.

5. Stop reading and listening to depressing news and instead focus on the good stories, the stories filled with compassion and caring, and love, and all of us being the best we can be.

6. Select from a stack of books by my bed each night, if only to read a few pages. I don’t have to read one entire book before starting the next.

Finally, the big one for me…

7.  Let go of perfection in every facet of my life, and strive for more balance. I’m not compromising my standards, but finding ways to do my best without causing my hair to catch fire when my stress knob is turned too high. (This one still needs a fair amount of work. J )

 My list will grow and evolve as I continue on this journey because even at sixty, I think of myself as a work in progress. I so appreciate this realization of time well spent coming to me when I (hopefully!) have years left to live deliberately. I understand these challenges will take constant vigilance so that I don’t lapse into unconsciously stuffing my day with things that don’t fulfill me on any level. Even hard times and yucky stuff have their place, I know, if we are aware of the lessons to be learned there. What I know now is this: I am excited to see how my life will unfold as I thoughtfully live each day with greater intention.

Have you turned sixty? How did you feel coming up to and living your sixtieth year? Do you have a list of ways you want to live with intention?

Until next time…Be Vibrant!