Christina Bruni is the author of the new book Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health.
Those skeletons dancing around in our closets deserve our attention.
On the cusp of 58 I had the urge to tidy up all over again. Packing up two sets of dinnerware that each was service for four. Who needs three sets of dinnerware.
What remains is service for six in one set that I bought with a gift card I was given for Christmas decades ago.
The older I’ve gotten I’m aware my life is getting shorter. Hence the reckoning with then-and-now. The sifting through the contents of my apartment that brought on memories of the past. Of the Christina who shopped with abandon.
Others have written about Not Buying Anything for a year. About editing out their seasonal wardrobes to 33 items.
As a person who used to buy whatever caught her eye I realize now that retail therapy isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
The authors of the book Happy Money wrote that the fewer items you have the more you’ll enjoy those things. This has proved to be true in my life. People who engage in consumerism have more financial worries and are less happy.
Who has the wherewithal to spend all our time attending to organizing vast collections. Having the Salvation Army truck drivers come again to cart off seven tote bags is Salvation for me. Not just hope and help for the Army’s recipients.
In our fifties it’s wise to let go of the things people and thoughts that are holding us back. Far better to do this today than to turn 60 and be weighed down with “stuff” of any kind.
58 is great. I’ve learned the life lesson that it’s now or not ever to be your authentic self. That who you were ten years ago or five months ago or yesterday can change when you wake up this morning.
I’m not that girl who bought whatever she wanted. I’m two years shy of what I call the “This is It!” decade. The skeletons are here in our lives to tell us something.
Those rattling bones demanded that I change my tune. Does inflation ring a bell as a probable cause for why any of us would want to buy one or two tee shirts instead of twenty-three.
The material objects crowding our homes can be painful reminders of the person we used to be who is not here any longer.
Far better to live in the present moment. To be optimistic that the future can be better.
To know that we are enough. We have enough.
That freeing up the space in our homes can clear our heads to see new possibilities.
Marie Kondo was at it again with the book above that she published one year ago.
Kurashi is Japanese for “way of life” or “lifestyle.”
The way you live in your home can enable you to achieve your ideal life. Marie Kondo said that after doing the work her clients often were happy in their current home and stayed there. Or were able to move into their dream home a couple of years later.
Toying with using the word ideal has been hard. Then I realized that the ideal life is an authentic life. In this regard it IS possible to live your ideal life when you’re true to who you are and what your purpose is.
Each of us can thrive when we find our “kurashi” at home where we can be our authentic selves (and have beloved books on the shelves).
A tidying tip I recommend is to line up the spines of books right to the edge of the bookshelf. Refrain from placing objects in front of books. Presto–instant order joy and calm.
My intuition tells me that when we don’t like our living space it’s because we’re out of sync with ourselves.
Even in a bedroom in a halfway house a person can decorate with a poster of The Cure or listen to music or buy a colorful bedspread. We can make our homes our own wherever we live at any time in our life.
Right after turning 58 I started to embark on a new routine with atomic habits.
Was it the start of drinking water or the burst of spring cleaning that gave me more energy. On an odyssey I’ve been to create my own sustainable “kurashi” at home as I near 60.
In the new Marie Kondo book she has worksheets you can photocopy to write on to plan your day.
More in future blog entries about how I–a real person not a celebrity–changed her life for the better.
A Health Coach told me to drink 60 ounces of water each day. I’m willing to trust that she is right that “Water flushes out toxins.”
Years ago I read a book an M.D. author wrote who claimed the health advice people are given is bad. At first I thought she could be right. Her confession that she drinks Naked Juice all the time killed her credibility.
This ENT doctor for kids in a hospital claimed you didn’t need to drink water throughout the day. That most of us get enough water from the food we eat. What about people who chow down on a Big Mac for dinner.
The more sensational your claim (the Medical Medium anyone?) the more likely you are to get a book contract to peddle your “knowledge” / “information” (often along with a product or pill for sale).
I’m not a licensed professional. What I write and speak about is to show readers and audience members things they can know to have a better life.
The truth is I practice what I preach–or else I too would be a charlatan selling modern-day snake oil.
My Health Coach is the one I turn to for solid advice. Right away after drinking 53 ounces of water for 7 days I saw a a difference.
Drinking water throughout the day helps you maintain energy. At least I feel lighter and more clear-headed when I drink water.
There’s a trick to make this easier. The Health Coach told me my idea was great to fill a water bottle before I go to bed and keep it on the night table. Quick and easy it is to drink the water first thing on waking in the morning.
In the drugstore I bought a 23-ounce double-walled stainless steel water bottle. As well I have a 10-ounce ceramic Venti mug of water with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The analogy is that you need to fuel up at the start of the day to feel and see the best benefit. It’s like filling up your gas tank before you take a road trip. Either way if you don’t do this in advance you’ll be running on empty for the rest of the day or the trip.
I’ll end here with this: wanting to be happy and healthy isn’t something to be ashamed of. Each of us deserves to feel good and be well. Even if our devotion to wellness threatens others who are miserable because they don’t like their own life.
The reality is you and I can live our ideal lives. Define “ideal”–it isn’t perfect or flawless. Ideal=authentic. That’s the difference.
I’m in cahoots with Marie Kondo on this one: Tidying up is the gateway to creating a happier and healthier life for ourselves. I’ll talk in the coming blog entry about how reading Kondo’s latest book sparked health as well as joy.
In it esteemed dancer choreographer Tharp refers to how in her fifties she started to work out at the gym.
Not before she turned fifty mind you. She wrote that she could dead lift 225 pounds after starting to go to the gym.
What each of us earns through our own effort no one can take away from us.
In 2011 when I was 46 years old I decided that I must start lifting weights.
Before then I hadn’t lifted one 5-pound dumbbell.
In January 2014 three years later I could dead lift 205 pounds with the trap bar.
I’m 5’0″ tall and weighed only 115 pounds then.
Of everything I’ve ever done in my life I’m the proudest of having been able to dead lift 205 pounds.
This is not to spook readers. Not all of us will be able to do this or likely would want to do this.
The moral of this story is that it’s not ever too late in life to try to achieve a goal.
My intent when I started lifting weights was to to become able to power through a hard time.
I doubt when most people are facing a trial their first response is to tell themselves: “I’m going to lift weights.”
Only this points to the fact that the enormity or severity of a challenge doesn’t determine our fate.
It’s how we respond to the obstacle that makes the difference.
Unlike other disability rights Advocates who frown on using the words “suffers from” to talk about a person’s condition I’m acutely aware that life is not a bed of roses for anyone–whether we live with a disability or are what’s called “able-bodied.”
No–I don’t like tossing around the word “able-bodied”: to describe people.
It’s because everyone struggles. Like the REM song title of the 1990s: “Everybody Hurts.”
The question is are you going to wallow in self-pity or be jealous of others who seem to have it better than you.
Are you going to give up the fight because the odds are against you?
Are you going to turn fifty and think your glory days are behind you? That becoming frail and infirm is the natural and only trajectory of aging?
I hope in my humble words I can empower readers to risk doing new things. For the joy of doing them as well as being a method to cope with a hard time.