Denise McLauchlin shares her tips on not stagnating but about renewal and change -making the most of what you have.
A little background to put things in perspective. When you are single (and perhaps not completely happy about it); a reluctant pensioner with the relevant change in income ; the spectre of old age creeping up on you, and you very few family members for support plus a slight tendency to depression/anxiety, then you could just give up or withdraw from society or get bitter and twisted!
Or you could embrace the changes, find renewal in new interests and re-think what you still have. Arthur Ashe once said,” Begin where you are, Use what you have, Do what you can!”
When I realised it is up to me to make my life happy and to make some of my dreams come true, I decided to renew my life – and yes to make it festive!!
I have always loved writing, I regularly journal and take stock of my life, my talents and skills. I joined the wonderful senior group – the University of the Third Age –U3A – which is active all over the world – and not only did several computer courses learning about the amazing mystery of the Internet and social media but I started writing a blog called Denise’s Festive Journey through Life , I also attended a creative writing group for a while. The U3A offered me groups on History, classical music, play reading, Armchair Travel and a monthly speaker on an interesting topic, besides also meeting new people.
I took my natural creativity to another level by decorating and rearranging my house regularly and on a shoestring budget. Amazing what a difference some hand-sewn cushion covers and framing the results of my other new interest in colouring-in books, make. When I feel lonely on a Sunday afternoon, It is time to make some changes – moving furniture, re-hanging pictures – whatever it takes!
To get out to new areas, and with my love of animals I started house-and pet sitting all over the Cape Peninsular, living in and enjoying the benefits of a swimming pool or the Premium package for TV. Instead of feeling alone in a relatively strange house, I would get onto the big double bed and surround myself with a few of the pleasures in my life: a cup of tea, something to nibble, perhaps listen to my favourite radio station, browse through some new magazines and finally and lovingly turning to my all-time book friends ( by which I mean the books I am currently enjoying). All the while stroking and enjoying the comfort of the cats or dogs around me.
It is invigorating to walk the pets, enjoy a fireplace in winter, change your everyday routine ,not to mention the extra earnings which is always a toss- up between using it for maintenance on my old house, or using it for a weekend getaway ( my substitute for travel).Of course nowadays my laptop and smartphone and the house’s Wi-Fi is part of the enjoyment. I use my smart phone photos to make power point collages on the laptop- for use as birthday cards or to share on Facebook. Found myself thinking what more could an ageing single woman want?
This brings to me to renewal and enjoying change. Other than the Internet opening a whole world to one, I find that if one goes with the flow of life – accepting changes- rather than to reject anything new or different – it gives one a feeling of well-being and still being part of the mainstream life which one might still be missing. Besides, I found keeping tabs on your teenage grandchildren on Instagram is can be so enlightening and gratifying.
I have realized that one doesn’t need outside things to make you content and happy. You can make yourself happy by finding things you enjoy –The thing is not to sit around and wait for old age or better days!