Somewhere Over The RainbowI have been unsettled for the last couple weeks. I haven’t really been able to put my finger on what’s bothering me. As I drove around Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota (all a part of the job of being an RVP that manages 6 states) I had plenty of windshield time to think about what’s making me a little sad and anxious. It wasn’t making any sense, work has been going well. I had spent a great couple of days in Sioux Falls brainstorming with a great team. Problems had been working themselves out and I was experiencing win, win, win solutions. On my way home from South Dakota I chased a summer thunderstorm across western Iowa. It has been extremely dry and watching the storm bounce through the hills and around the huge wind mills in western Iowa was refreshing. Then there it was … a double rainbow! I hadn’t seen a double rainbow in years, it was gorgeous shining against the grey background and I felt lucky to experience it. (Speaking of rainbows, tell me if you’ve seen this beautiful photo collage of rainbows set to “Over The Rainbow” on YouTube.)

At home things were a bit different. Change was in front of me. Monday a tree trimming service showed up and began cutting down some huge trees in my yard. One of the reasons I bought my house was because of the park-like setting. The folks that built the house roughly 70 years ago carefully designed the landscape and planted trees that grew to shade the house from the afternoon sun and provide nesting for all kinds of birds and shelter for squirrels. Now, the trees were dying and it wouldn’t be long before Mother Nature would be bringing them down on top of my house. My friends and I have  enjoyed many a Friday night glass of wine on my patio shaded by those beautiful trees. Sadly, last Friday,  I informed them the trees were coming down. One of my friends is a master gardener and she expressed  a sadness that all of us were feeling, and we took a moment to say goodbye.  I know it sounds a little weird,  but those trees were at least 60 years old and  I hated cutting them down. Change had come for my lovely trees and back yard and I was sad about that change.

In the house where I grew up change was not seen as a good thing. In on of my earlier posts I mentioned that  my parents immigrated to the USA following WWII.  My folks, who had experienced too much change in their lives, craved steadiness and routine;  the known. That’s not how life is today, change is constant and the only way to deal with all the change is to embrace it, go with it, and shape it. Sometimes we just need to listen to the Serenity Prayer  (song) and let go.

On my way to Minneapolis I chatted with my sister about a major change coming for her mother-in-law. Her husband’s family is faced with moving his mother into a continuing care facility. As you might expect grandma is somewhat resistant and this is causing great stress to the family. As I listened to my sister describe the family conversation I was thinking about how grandma must feel with this impending change. We didn’t go through this with my parents as both passed away before they were faced with moving out of their house. We all believe this move will be what’s best for grandma if she stays open to the change. There are people she knows that live at the facility and it’s only a few blocks from where she raised her family and the neighborhood where some of them live now.

As we grow older how do we stay open to this kind of change? Is there a way to prepare ourselves and family so when the time comes we embrace this stage of life and the change?Clouds

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Heidi Grant Halvorson writes that older bloggers are more inclined to describe happy experiences as moments of feeling peaceful, relaxed, calm, or relieved – the way you feel when you are getting along with your spouse, staying healthy, and able to make your mortgage payments. This kind of happiness is less about what lies ahead, and more about being content in your current circumstances.

Are my recent unsettled feelings how I’m processing the changes happening in my life and around me?  If I decide to embrace and shape them,  will I find that peaceful place where change and life are balanced?  I guess that’s what we call life.