Sunday, June 21, 2020

'Sun-Stopping' Reflections

When my father moved in with my husband and I, he spent his days connecting with our large, extended family (using Skype), and doing jigsaw puzzles. He'd never had any interest in doing something so mundane in his earlier years, but for the 3 years that he was with us, he finally became what I would call properly retired. In a wheelchair, no longer able to drive, and no longer independent, he learned to make the most of it.

It surprised me to see how well he managed jigsaw puzzle pieces with his not-very-dexterous arthritic fingers. It also surprised me at how engaged and focused he was in completing his puzzles. He'd become totally absorbed in his quest to find the piece that would fit ... and couldn't end the search until he was satisfied that he'd done enough. I always smiled to hear him scold himself for going to bed late, or 'forgetting' to take his shower, because he was "busy." He simply couldn't tear himself away! He always said it with humor, as if it were a fond prod at himself. If I reminded him that he'd forgotten to take his pill before dinner, he'd say, with laughter in his voice, "... but I'm too busy, man!" He knew completing jigsaws wasn't important or life-changing, but it seemed as if he was finally allowing himself time to enjoy some indulgent leisure time in his life. And he had fun with it, laughing at himself about his commitment to something so trivial. He was definitely entitled to it.

Thinking about this resonates with how I feel about my COVID-19 isolation. I have learned to view this 'sabbatical' from real life as a chance to re-frame my outlook, to step back from a world directed by outside determinants, and remember to make time for the things I love. I'm in a situation and place in my life where I can afford to do that more easily than most. My Dad's end-of-life experience has highlighted that I too, can adapt, and make the best of each and every day, and of every situation.

Whether it be your life's metaphorical sun-stopping, or nature's actual solstice, how have you filled your time at this turning point? Is it full of woes and complaints? Or have you been able to spend some time busying yourself with the enjoyment of life? 

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