We traditionally celebrate Older Americans Month (OAM) each May. OAM is a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons in our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. OAM is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other activities.
During my first year of college, I had a professor in the middle of the adoption process with her partner. I will never forget the day she shared the news that their adoption agency had found them a child & would be meeting them within the next week. Her happiness was contagious, but I couldn’t help but think how hard the process to become parents as an LGBTQ+ couple must be.
While conflict is bound to happen in all family structures, blended families encounter many unique challenges. Knowing what to expect can help address issues before they spiral out of control.
As a new year is upon us, sometimes we say that we hope the new year is better than the last. As the saying goes, are you looking at your glass half-full or half-empty? Our outlook may be grim, or it could be positive. If your tendency is to find the less optimistic view, then you might want to explore ways to add a little happiness or attain some strategies to find an optimistic future.
Every year the adults in my family have a Christmas gift exchange. Around October we draw names with wish lists to prepare for the exchange. A couple of years ago my brother wanted to change it up a little, and suggested we give experiences rather than actual items. We had so much fun that year! Painting and pottery classes, massages and spa treatments, target shooting, bowling and even horseback riding sessions were just a few of the fun experiences that were gifted. We agreed that doing things was much more fun that accumulating more stuff – and was much more meaningful.
“It’s your turn to take the kids to practice after school today,” she says to her husband.
“I can’t take the kids to practice today, I have a late meeting,” he says.
“That’s the second late meeting this week!” she shouts.
“Why are you raising your voice?” he asks as he points towards her.
“Why are you pointing at me? You know it makes me crazy when you point at me!” she shouts.
“Crazy, you think my pointing is what makes you crazy? Ha!” he shouts in a smug tone.
I originally wrote this article a few years ago, but always feel it is worthwhile to share it again periodically as a refresher. People are highly passionate in their beliefs and on behalf of groups they are a part of, and in our current culture, differing beliefs or create quite the stir. Difficult topics can make it a challenge to get our point across the way we intend to - whether we are talking with professionals, supervisors, family members or friends.
As we are now officially in the summer season, it can be very easy to overschedule our children and ourselves. This is especially true this year as COVID restrictions begin to lift and more events are becoming available again. Enjoyable but exhausting family vacations, summer sports leagues, day and overnight camps, 4-H fairs, library and park recreation programs, and the list goes on and on. It is very possible to overcommit family members to the point where they do not get to relax, recharge and really enjoy spending time with each other before another busy school year begins.
Most years, many strive to go home for the holidays. This year, many will spend their holidays in their own home. The home may be a place they live alone, a place with a significant other, a place with children, or a home filled with multi-generations. Whatever home is for you, and however you are spending your time this year, things may be different.
The holidays are fast approaching, and what is usually a fun time of preparation and anticipation for many is now clouded by uncertainty with COVID-19. With the surge in cases and the severity of the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, suggests celebrating Thanksgiving with members of your own household who consistently take measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 or with others virtually to lower the risk of spread.
Things have not been easy for any of us during these past few months – or “unprecedented times.” We may feel like we’ve had many losses: loss of security, loss of contact with others, loss of freedom to come and go where we would like, maybe even loss of health and loved ones, among many more. Many of our blog posts over this time have focused on stress reduction, mindfulness, and finding balance in our lives. I would like to focus this week more on gratitude and looking at the positives that are also going on right now.