I am so ready for this year to be over. I was leafing through my diary and came away with a sense that 2020 was akin to boot camp. The reality was nothing like what the recruiter promised!
I have witnessed many struggles in others this year and I have had my own share. I have come to realize that there are those among us who are skilled at accepting what is so and adjusting their thoughts and actions to a different reality. I have been impressed and delighted in how some people I know were able to shake off the gloom and doom and find ways to elicit joy and tap into creativity. I have been inspired by a number of people who have literally lost everything and then continued to put one foot in front of the other and begin rebuilding their lives.
I have also been saddened when my expectations were not met or when others disappointed me. I have been scared and confused where things I took for granted as being one way turned out to be another. I have been grieving over the loss of so many lives to COVID and anticipating longer and longer recovery times for our economy and our way of life.
THIS IS MY YEAR!
This was to have been the year of my bucket-list travels. Instead, I returned from Australia and New Zealand with the virus and kept myself company as the pandemic unfolded. I discovered that I
actually prefer my own company and could easily become a recluse, assuming I have sufficient funds and a safe and comfortable place to sleep. This wish is achievable for me, but not for many aging adults. Too many.
This was a year of reckoning and coming to terms with my privilege. It was a year where I read and learned more about micro-aggressions, marginalization, and have had to come to terms with my own culpability in sustaining a status quo that does not match my values. I am still making awkward attempts to address these in myself. I am committed to finding new ways to express my support of individuals, agencies, and programs that confront systemic racism as well as addressing my own.
BEAUTY IN MY SHELTER
This was a year of appreciating nature. A dear friend and colleague created space on FB and invited folks she knew to share the “beauty in my shelter”. Because of her invitation, I have delighted in “seeing” the everyday in new ways. In similar and equally heartfelt and unique venues, old friends and new have posted the most marvelous pictures of bounty from their veggie gardens, blooms from their floral gardens, and extraordinary pictures of clouds, weather, oceans, deserts, beasts and beings I would never see, along with stories and glimpses of their lives that I would not be privy to otherwise.
Being able to connect virtually has its challenges for sure. I have found, however, that these are easy for me to overcome and I am so much richer for having learned to Zoom. On YouTube, I have enjoyed the extraordinary humor and talent of Randy Rainbow, endless clips of the Graham Norton show and admit to being a sucker for baby animals, Tucker Budson and Charlie the Golden Retriever.
I have attended classes, conferences, and conducted therapy online and honestly find it to be quite enjoyable. I am mastering giphy, Instagram, and Twitter, although I am not a fan of the latter. It feels somehow tainted by a certain former president.
CALL ME DR. FLETT
I came to a realization that my time as a licensed professional psychologist had reached its shelf-life. While it has always been a source of pride and joy to be able to do the work of a psychologist, I was no longer feeling challenged by it. The current state of health care, how it is delivered, and how it has been taken over by financial and risk management values rather than care-centered treatment is not news. What finally tipped the scales for me was seeing how those who needed services the most were unable to get treatment. The inequities are stark. If you have money you can get help. If you don’t, you die.
People have asked what I will do now that I am not practicing any more. I am launching a company that offers online collaborative learning about all things related to aging. While it is targeted to folks who are 50 and older, any age is welcome. It is called Five Pillars of Aging and will have books for sale, videos and self-paced learning materials to download, interviews with exceptional aging adults, as well as opportunities to participate in online small-group experiences focused on the nuts and bolts of aging in the 21st century.
WELCOMING THE NEW YEAR
I am so looking forward to 2021. I have plans for losing my COVID weight and returning to a healthier lifestyle. I am chuffed about my writing and getting my books published. I am all onboard for expanding my spheres of influence and sharing what I have learned about aging with others. I can’t wait for my groups to grow online and start to open up possibilities for others in how they approach growing old and create community.
I will continue to write this blog because it gives me the opportunity to think about things and share my ideas with you. It is a wonderful creative discipline. And lord knows, I can use a bit more discipline in my life!
I WANT MORE
There are things I want more of as 2021 unfolds. I want to hug people again without fear of contracting COVID. I want more opportunities to talk with folks online and in person. I want more travel and more opportunities to speak to others about my passions around aging and creating community. I want more engagement physically, cognitively, spiritually, and emotionally. I want more purpose and meaning in my life. I want to build a legacy of ideas, words, and examples that will inform those who will follow. I want to put my words in front of lots of new eyes and in places where eyes can read them.
There are things I want less of also. I want less anger. I want less conflict. I want less suffering. I want less confusion and fear.
My gratitude is deep and I thank you for participating in my journey. Happy New Year.