A woman walks and talks with an older woman. They are emerging from a background full of list items and checkboxes.

There Are Always Lists & Boxes to Check: Taking Time to Slow Down

It’s interesting, that as we grow up, we are in such a hurry. We have so much we want to do. We measure our age in months and then quarters of years. Then it’s by grade, then by hood: childhood, adulthood. Suddenly we are middle-aged. What is that? The middle of what age exactly? I know my hair is no longer in the dark age. We roll over, crawl, cruise, walk, run, then drive! Such a hurry!

Can we slow down?

Now, all I want to do is slow down. My mom is even slower. I watch her, and each day is so like the last, and she’s perfectly content with that. During this pandemic, it’s true for most of us, the sameness part, not necessarily the contentment part. I find myself wondering what all the rush is for.

Now, I want time. I want time to remember. I want time to savor. My kids are in their hurry years, preparing to rush off to begin their adulthoods. I heard someone say recently, that being a parent is about holding on and letting go, constantly. With my mother living with us and living with Alzheimer’s disease, there is a lot of that, too.

Too many to-do lists

I have my to-do lists and boxes to check. Sometimes I write the lists AFTER I do the things, so I can show that I did stuff. The days seem so full. What did I do? I look at my mom, and her to-do list has maybe four things on it, and three of them are meals! She had her hurried time. She was the Cub Scout Den Mother, Officer’s Wives Club president, German-American Women’s Club president. She has a pretty nice resume. I’m not sure she remembers all of it.

Letting go of control

I want to hold on to all of it. But there is also the pain of letting go, because it is not up to me. That is the…frustrating? …sad? …anxious? …part of this disease. What is up to me? I find myself getting most stressed, anxious, unhappy when I try to control or take on things that are not within my power to affect. I can’t make her remember. I can’t teach her not to forget.

I can create an environment where she can be safe from tripping. I learned that the hard way. I can remind her to take her meds, to get her steps, aka get moving and not be so sedentary. I can make healthy meals. I can help her with her TV remote, her phone and iPad. I can talk and laugh with her.

There don’t have to be so many boxes to check. She isn’t asking for much. I can slow down and appreciate what I do have. To hold up a while, so I can hold on and let go of some expectations.

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