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Samhain 2018

Brugmansia&Irisene26.4.2018

A glorious display. Claret-coloured leaves of Irisene,
beneath the prolifically flowering Brugmansia.
I wish you could hear the bees! and smell the perfume.


Rainbow

It was in August 2015 that I last made a seasons page
since when I've confined my news & opinions to the update page
The reason I explained there, in January 2016

A Full Moon at Samhain, & my recent 80th.Birthday
led me to think deeply about the issues I spoke of then.
I think they are worth the effort of making a new page.
And Samhain, when we reach the end (& beginning) of Nature's annual cycle,
is an appropriate time to consider the subject of ageing.
But first you might find it interesting to look at some
previous Samhain pages.
Samhain 2010
Samhain 2011
Samhain 2015

Rainbow

They are a stark reminder of how much & how rapidly things are changing.
At 80 one expects things to have changed considerably, but my friends still in their 60s & 70s are having to cope with multiple age-related problems.
Friends & family have died, gone into care, or become a greater responsibilty, while they themselves are struggling with ageism in the society of which they remain a very active part.
Retirement brings it's own stresses, not least the re-discovering of an identity long over-shadowed by the persona created during a successful career.
Rising property prices bring higher rates & taxes, while income has not kept pace.
Houses & vehicles, as well as bodies, become high maintenance.
Well-loved neighbourhoods are rapidly being built up. New residents seldom appreciate the very real suffering (solastalgia) caused by the rapid changes, & often prefer to remain aloof rather than become neighbours.
Long-established gardens have suffered from adjacent building works, tree removal
& displaced wildlife.
We are painfully aware of the ongoing effects of climate change & the failure to address it.
We fear for our grandchildren & great-grandchildren.

What can we do?

Rainbow

It is counter-productive is to let sorrow, anger, & resentment undermine our ability to cope. These are all natural & normal reactions, but if allowed to dominate will use up our remaining energy, leaving us feeling overwhelmed.
It takes a huge effort of will to discover where we can take control, & focus on those areas.
Most people need help to do this, but you don't necessarily need a professional. Just talking to, & being heard by friends, or writing it all down, really does clear the mind,
so that we begin to see a way through.
Listen to music of your choice. Do some familiar craft or art work. Re-read a favourite book. When going for a walk, focus on the things that lift the spirits, rather than the ones that make the heart sink. Talk to people you meet - a mutual grumble can help put things in perspective.
Understanding those who are causing the problems is harder, but all the same it can help us to see them as just people with a valid, if different, point of view.
For the sake of our own mental health we must not turn our neighbours into monsters.
Think about how we might appear to them.

Rainbow

As I've struggled with the foregoing challenges, I've found all these approaches helpful at one time or another.
None is a permanent fix, but using them when possible - and even when I feel it isn't! - nudges the mind into the habit of looking for different ways of seeing things.
Permaculture trained me to see solutions rather than problems, & to think laterally. But as I age, as change speeds up, & restrictions of all kinds surround me, it becomes harder & harder.
Just when I'm prepared to become less self-reliant & ask for help, those to whom I would turn are themselves beset, so that I feel unwilling to impose.
But there are always unlooked for joys, small unexpected delights, that stop me from totally giving in to depression & anxiety.

I will not let myself be dragooned by anyone into doing something I dislike, or don't feel comfortable with, by someone who thinks they know what is good for me!
I find walking to the shops or library & carrying home the books or shopping is far more satisfying than exercising with machines & weights.
As for medical treatment, I decided when I reached 70 that I would not waste any of the rest of my life in waiting rooms, spending money on endless tests & unpleasant treatments.
I have to die of something, & I am fully prepared.

Rainbow

Meanwhile, the Moon still sails on her complex courses; the tides still rise & fall; sunrises & sunsets still fill the sky with glorious colour; the wind still sings through the trees; when rain falls the damp earth still smells glorious.
Birds still sing; Rainbows surprise us at random times & places.
The Earth remains, & life will continue to evolve,
no matter what our species does to the biosphere.
I am grateful!

Rainbow

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URL - http://www.users.on.net/~arachne/samhain2018.html