Tag Archives: journaling

Caregiving and the holidays …

Greek Kourembiedes CookiesFor many Americans, the period from Thanksgiving through the New Year is fraught with tensions and anxieties, coupled with moments of exuberance and joy. if you are a caregiver, it can add yet another level of complexity in the ever evolving landscape of illness whether physical or lodged in the recesses of the brain.

I will say things have been fairly smooth so far and actually seemingly less fraught than prior years because the fact is so much of our lives is now lived in the moment. After all, when one’s loved one can’t really remember that tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, or even what Thanksgiving is, the celebration gets quite easy. So my daughter and I set it up such that we’d spend lunch with my sister and other members of our family, and afterwards came home to celebrate “Thanksgiving” with Jed.  Thanksgiving 2021It was fairly simple, consisting of his favorite roasted veggies, a lovely dressing, fresh orange cranberry relish plus a yummy French Apple Cake and voila, we were done. No fuss, no muss. And no hurt feelings because Izzi and I had spent part of the day with my sister.

Our six-week run usually consists of Thanksgiving, the anniversary of when Jed and I met, his birthday, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s.As it happened December 6th marked 25 years since Jed and I first got together.

I admit to sadness at the fact that he didn’t really understand it, but did enjoy the pizza I brought in and otherwise marked it in my own way.

And no. No stroll through Tribeca to Puffy’s on Hudson and Harrison where we met, or any particular reminiscence, though he did recall that I’d gone there with two of my oldest friends. Still, it remains wistful. Speaking of another place and time where our senses had felt so heightened and together.

His birthday comes up next … which will also be low key no doubt. Yes to family cake and a visit from Izzi, plus a few presents, but it doesn’t really register, except as a big surprise each time I bring it up.

As for the rest … well, Hanukkah has come and gone, along with a wonderful visit from Jed’s oldest friend. And after Jed’s birthday, we’ll have Christmas, and maybe even a small tree because he seems to associate it, and then lovely chocolate truffles and a split of champaign for New Year’s Eve.

The lesson of it all to myself is to remain in the moment.Boxing at Gleason's Gym

To stay calm.

To give myself the self care I need to feel contained whether that means ensuring I get to Gleason’s Gym to box or to take an hour to sit in the cafe across the street tarrying over a cappuccino as I write in my journal.

And yes, I’m making the events as special as I can, without overtaxing myself or attaching to the idea that it will remain as “that time at Christmas when …” because, the fact is he won’t particularly remember.

The best I can ask for is see to his sense of happiness from moment to moment. And really, what better gift is there than that.

And please, if you are caring for a loved one … know that you are not alone and can always, always reach out.

Guilting you into it

Guilting you into it

Ever have one of those mornings when even the cat has her hooks into you?  I mean it’s not even 6:00 in the morning and the day is already all about getting stuff done, and done fast.

“Raining outside?  Oh, that’s okay, use an umbrella to go out and get me my latte!,” say’s he who wants desperately to be obeyed.

Yep, one of *those* mornings where only the premium flaked cat food will do.

My answer other than to take care of the “damn” nonsense of life including lattes in the rain and the last round of studying for my daughter’s make-up science test, always goes back to freezing time for my morning something.  Today that means the daily write and sun salutations and the occasional foray into a tap dance, say in the elevator of where I work where the acoustics make my taps sound perfect.

And later, say at lunch time, I’ll tune out for a few on my iPad and have a think about something other than coming home to sort the laundry.

P.S. – Nothing like the vision of a Starbucks barista in a Santa hat to make the day seems sunny after all!

Writing it down

Writing it down

When I first started boxing I kept a punch journal.  There was something very cathartic about keeping a record of my activities.  I was able to measure my progress and relive the nuances of unspoken emotions.

What I was most struck by was my own vulnerability.  When had I ever let anyone give me water to sip or tenderly mop my brow of sweat.  There isn’t much one can do for oneself in oversized puffy gloves – and yet, when I first started I did try to do it all.

Writing down my punch log also led me to write down other things.  How I was feeling that day.  The things that were bothering me.  The things that crossed my mind during the parts of my day’s training when I was on my own.

What you have is the chance to let your feelings flow in the same way that they can in the ring.  And whether those feelings flow out in short punches, or in staccato stats on a notebook page, what you end up with is an abundance of self-expression, that once started is like a floodgate.

I’ve been journaling in one form or another since I was twelve years old, but the focus of my boxing journal has led to a self-awareness I had not encountered before.  The truth is if you’re not honest in the ring, you’re going to get “clocked”.  And what that means is you must put 100% of yourself into what you do – call it being 100% present.  Without that, you will be so busy running in your head between what you think the experience is and the actual experience, that there will be no time to react.  And by then you’ll be on the canvas.  The same can be said of your journaling.  You can be present with what you write down, and find some truths you may not have been aware of or been ready to face.

What I love about boxing is that I never know where it is going to take me.  And whether it is finding a comfort zone for my jab or more self awareness stemming from what I’ve written down in my journal, it makes every day a little happier and more joyous, and that is a very good thing.