June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
Being new at blogging, I just dived right in and started writing. I really know better than that having authored a couple of books and several articles during my life. What I should have known better is that I really needed more of a plan to correctly lay out what I wanted to do and say and how I would go about doing it.
But I didn’t, so now I need to go back and fill it some holes and patch a few things up.
It seems clear that I should have begun with a post to explain the reasons for creating the blog in the first place. So I’ll attempt to do that in this post and in the next one.
It started with my getting an urge to write. I’ve done quite a bit of writing in my life but it’s been about seven years since I’ve published my last book and the desire to write again has been building for quite a while.
I didn’t want to write a book and I wasn’t interested in doing academic articles anymore, those days are long gone.
What had been on my mind for quite a while was a feeling that I wanted to say something about things I’ve learned over the years. Well, maybe not so much “things” as where my thinking about life brought me over the 73 years I’ve been bumming around in this life.
Eventually I thought a blog, with it’s relatively short entries and with its unfolding over time might be a good vehicle for getting these thoughts out. The odds are pretty certain that very few people are going to read this – given that there are literally millions of blogs out there. I’d be less than truthful were I to say that it made no difference to me whether anyone read this or not. Of course I hope some people will read it.
But I do believe that it is more important for me just to get these thoughts out, to try and solidify my thinking as I get closer to the end of life.
So in my next post, I’ll explain the ideas I considered before settling on Senior Contentment and why I rejected the others and decided to go the Senior Contentment route.
June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
Perhaps the biggest obstacle I encountered on my path to leading a more contented life was dealing with anger. And I’m not what you would call a particularly angry guy. But life seems to be full of things, both big and small, that cause you to get angry. When you’re angry your emotional state is anything but contented and happy.
The causes of our anger seem to be infinite. They can include things as small and as insignificant as spilling our coffee; or our anger can result from the injustice and corruption we seem to encounter at our every turn.
The consequences of our anger can be profound and wide ranging. Even if we don’t consider how anger interferes with our relationships with our loved ones, our colleagues, and all the other people we constantly interact with (something we will consider later), the effects of anger on our own health and well being are disturbing to consider.
I doubt if there’s anyone who hasn’t read about or heard about the negative effects of stress on our health. And we’re rarely more stressed than we are when we’re in the throes of anger. Here is one precise statement about the way anger damages our health:
“The connection between stress and heart disease is widely known, but there is also evidence linking high levels of anger and hostility to various types of heart problems such as increased hypertension, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease and heart failure. In otherwise healthy people, high levels of anger and hostility have been associated with increased risk of developing coronary artery disease and heart attacks, especially among men. Angry patients with existing heart problems appear to be more likely to have poorer prognoses.” Read the entire article here: http://www.councilforrelationships.org/resources/articles/physical-toll-of-anger.shtml
If you Google “anger” you’ll find thousands of links to articles and books on the subject. But I don’t want to explicate on anger as such here. Rather I’d like to say something about one way to try to deal with your anger. It might seem simplistic but it’s not, really. Rather it’s simple. Try saying “So what?” to yourself. I think you’ll find it amazing at how often you’ll answer that question by thinking, “So nothing,” that is, the cause of your anger is really pretty meaningless in the scheme of things.
As luck would have it, about 30 minutes ago my wife and I were watching the evening news as we usually do and she was enjoying her evening glass of wine. All of a sudden there was a crash — she had knocked her glass off the table. The glass shattered on the floor, wine soaked the arms of the easy chairs we sit in and was all over the floor, too. The three dogs were barking and sniffing the spilled wine. A real mess. But the point is that she let out a loud expletive, a rather very harsh one for her, and her expression was pure fury. She looked as though she were about to burst with anger. I immediately said something to the effect that it’s no big thing, it’s just an accident, we’ll have it cleaned up in 10 minutes, etc., etc.
And that’s the point. There are so many incidents in our lives that result in responses such as that of my wife that are simply not worth the stress that results from such reactions. The incident was, indeed, “a pain,” but so what? It didn’t deserve such upset and anger. More appropriate would have been a guffaw, perhaps a shake of the head, maybe a self-disparaging remark like “what a klutz I am.” Certainly it wasn’t worth her making herself feel so badly about something she had no control over and which, in the larger scheme of things meant absolutely nothing.
We’ll continue taking about anger and contentment in the next post.
June 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
DEFINITION OF CONTENTMENT
NOUN: a state of happiness and satisfaction : he found contentment in living a simple life in the country.
SYNONYMS: contentedness, content, satisfaction, gratification, fulfillment, happiness, pleasure, cheerfulness; ease, comfort, well-being, peace, equanimity, serenity, tranquility.
As I get older and older, I’m struck by how many “senior” people I meet who are not content with what is going on in their lives, which is the same as saying unhappy. For that matter, I’m struck by how many people are unhappy regardless of their age. There are so many reasons for unhappiness or discontent that it would be a futile exercise to try and list them all.
By the same token, however, I also believe that many of us could attain a greater degree of happiness were we to focus more on the the things that help us to feel more contented. These things are both physical/material and psychological.
The postings in Senior Contentment will be aimed a discussing ways to gain contentment (and all the synonyms listed above) gradually and consistently until we have improved our state of being in terms of mental equanimity.
I also hope that we’ll be able to have discussions through the comments so that all will be able to profit through the knowledge and experience of all. I also hope that younger people, that is, not only seniors, will participate as well. Contentment isn’t something available only to the older people among us.