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The Caregiver’s Cairn: Seasonal Changes

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Jane Barton

I hope you are doing well and loving life. If you are like me, you are savoring the first few days of the Spring season. What an amazing time of year! As is usually the case, the arrival of Spring is not a smooth process along the Front Range. We were teased this week with temps in the 70’s. However, this evening, snow is back in the forecast. Such is the nature of seasonal changes. Two steps forward and one step back. This stutter-step unfolding merely serves to intensive my itch for warmer temps, blue skies, green grass, and sunshine. All in due time, right?

I am also contemplating a different kind of seasonal change this Spring—an internal transition or shift. Perhaps this internal disquiet is prompted by my upcoming 62nd birthday. I tend to do a bit of self reflection every year at this time. For the past few months, I’ve noticed a stirring in my soul. An itch to simplify my life. An urge to slow down a bit. A need to establish a different, daily rhythm. Granted, I’m not ready (or able) to totally shift into retirement mode. But, I am contemplating future possibilities and discussing ideas with dear friends and trusted colleagues. To be honest, the process of researching and exploring the various options for the next season of my life is fascinating and energizing.

My vision for the next season of life lacks total clarity at this point. However, in order to create a life that I love in the years to come, I choose to:

  • Be proactive in maintaining my physical, cognitive, and emotional well being
  • Be a good friend
  • Be curious about life
  • Be generous to others
  • Be a caring and courageous companion to those I serve
  • Be grateful
  • Be mindful of the moment
  • Be a compassion spirit
  • Be a good listener
  • Be faith-FULL
  • Be loving and kind
  • Be a positive force in the world

In the days, weeks, and years to come, I have the challenge and the opportunity to refine my vision of the future. No doubt, just like the beginning of Spring this year, my next season will unfold in fits and starts. I may encounter a few detours along the way. Or, perhaps my wants and needs will change over time thus mandating a few revisions along the way. Regardless, the seasons will change. And so will I. Brings to mind the sentiment expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:1—“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ultimately, I believe the next season will  provide the opportunity to become the person I long to be. A blessing indeed.

As always, I look forward to the ongoing conversation. Until my next posting, take good care and remember to enjoy the moment. Blessings to you and yours ….Jane W. Barton

Do you have a question for Jane? Please email us at coaarp@aarp.org and we will be in touch soon!

 

Jane W. Barton, MTS, MASM, CSA is a passionate speaker, writer, and listener. Jane is the founder of Cardinal, LLC, a consulting firm that provides educational programs to assist people in confronting the daunting challenges posed by aging,  serious illness and disability. Jane is well-versed in the areas of grief and bereavement, caregiving, hospice and palliative care, change and transition, and spirituality and health. She presents innovative, transformational programs to community members, healthcare providers, pastoral caregivers, clergy, funeral service providers, and national audiences to improve the experience of people and families challenged by serious, advanced, or terminal illnesses. Previously, Jane served as Director of Education for a hospice and palliative care educational institution. She has also served as a hospice chaplain and bereavement facilitator in hospice and palliative care. Jane is a certified Spiritual Director as well as a Certified Senior Advisor. In a former life, she worked as a financial services representative and an exploration petroleum geologist and manager.

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