Concluding, for now, the last in the series of posts on lessons I’ve learned as a caregiver, it’s important to emphasize that a good, healthy and happy life is about balance, meaning not going about life with a lot of unnecessary baggage – emotional or otherwise. While it may sound simple, it can be a challenge to consistently make it happen, but try we must!
Remaining in balance often requires us to let go of the things that aren’t working for us and that take far too much of our time without being one of our top priorities or providing a substantial enough positive benefit. To further explain what I mean, I’ll jump into the next thing I learned as a caregiver.
Principle 3: Travel light
I realized that I had to unpack some old habits, ways of doing things and thought processes that did not benefit me or my journey with mom. In a previous post, I mentioned the importance of knowing your audience and communicating so your audience gets your point. Well, my old way of communicating and interacting with my mom, a dementia patient, no longer worked. And I was stuck because my mom had changed since being sick, but I had not changed my approach with her, which made things more difficult for me.
To fix this problem, I had to unpack some baggage in the form of old ways of being and relating to mom that were weighing me down, causing more conflict and preventing me from having positive interactions with her. I had to learn to travel light without all the baggage, and it’s still a work in progress.
However, for me, letting go and traveling light is necessary for staying afloat and improving the situation with my mom and my quality of life. It is possible to literally drown in our situation if we don’t learn to let go of baggage such as stress, negativity, worry, anxiety, self-doubt, procrastination, impatience, discontent, complaining or whatever our vice might be. These things do not profit us but serve to hinder, distract, slow us down, and keep us stuck in a vicious cycle that goes nowhere and does a body no good.
Traveling light requires being selective, picking and choosing what’s working for us and what’s hurting us, what’s helping us accomplish our most important goals and priorities and what’s pulling us away from the things we want to do and the people we love. Once we identify what’s what, then it’s time to clean house and get rid of some things so we can travel light, and be free to be our best selves without all the drama, emotional clutter and negativity.
Being a caregiver can be both daunting and a blessing, depending on how we travel with it. The same probably could be said of many situations in which we find ourselves, and traveling light can have a profound impact on how we experience those situations, and life in general, for the better.
Situations are temporary, and if we travel light, we can endure the temporary inconveniences of life with more joy, peace, contentment and purpose than every before.