Defining Quality of Life (c) October 17, 2019

October 17, 2019
landscape nature africa boy

Photo by Julian Jagtenberg on Pexels.com

How do you define the term “Quality of Life” for yourself? That is the challenge I posed to my nursing students today. I originally gave them just 3 minutes to write down their answers. The three minutes turned to 5 which then turned into 10. They were so quiet while contemplating their answers to such a serious question. Then, I asked them to think about a patient that they had cared for during one of their clinical days. I challenged them to define “Quality of Life” for that patient. Again, the room went quiet and another 10 minutes went by.

The purpose of the exercise had many objectives.  First, they needed to examine the similarities and then the differences in definitions. Secondly, they needed to understand their own definition and the bias that can occur. Lastly, they needed to understand how frequently we impose that term on others. As healthcare providers, we frequently throw around the term “Quality of Life” like we know what is the best thing for others.

We examined that there are things that everyone has in common when we discussed the quality of life. We want to be independent. We want to keep our cognitive and physical abilities. We still wanted to interact with friends and loved ones. Lastly, we wanted to be pain free or at least have our pain controlled. The differences had to do with physical decline. Was there an acceptable level as long as we met the aforementioned criteria? Mainly yes was the answer.

You would think that since I am in my 50s my definition would have been different than the 20 somethings in my class. It really wasn’t. One difference for me was this. I don’t want to be alone. But really, who does? By being social, we humans want to have quality time with each other. Another difference is my health status. That would aid in my definition.

Define your quality of life? Are you living the best life you can to sustain that quality? Thoughts for you. For me… They are to be answered at a later date.

Advertisements

Do I exist? I think I Do, But Do I Live? (c) October 16, 2019

October 16, 2019
person standing on hand rails with arms wide open facing the mountains and clouds

Photo by Nina Uhlíková on Pexels.com

 

I believe I exist…do you? This was a question posed by What an interesting question loaded with philosophical undertones was my initial reply. It is true though. We are living breathing humans. As Descartes said,  “I think therefore I am.” So, yes philosophically, we exist. Hereclitus, the Greek philosopher, said, “You can not step into the same river twice.” These on their surface seem to be 2 different ideas. But, let us examine them a little bit deeper. We do think. We think throughout the day to live. We have rational thought. But, is that an existence?

Hereclitus was pointing out that life and the world we live in is always in a state of flux. A river changes with the flow of water. It is not the same water and new deposits in the river make it change. This is also a metaphor for our life. My life, I believe exists on two planes of existence. There is the physical plane. I exist by having a job, caring for my loved ones and providing them with the love and support that I know they deserve.

The second plane of existence is the spiritual plane. I do believe in the afterlife and a spiritual life. I think taking care of the spiritual side is part of living. It is where the joy comes from. It is the self-care of mind and spirit that leads to my belief that I can exist on the spiritual plane.

I am talking that I am existing on a physical and spiritual plane but, AM I EXISTING? That is the philosophical question that I guess I still haven’t answered. I am existing and have a life. But, what is the definition of existing? I am not sure I can answer that just yet.

Looking at a deeper meaning to existing as a human being, goes beyond living day to day. It goes beyond the recognition that we are spiritual beings. So, what is my existence? What am I doing in the physical world to improve my afterworld so that I can really exist? Right now, I think I need to evaluate that. Is my existence leading to living?

Doing it for me! (c) October 16, 2019

October 16, 2019

What do you do for yourself? Sometimes this is a hard question to answer. Think about it for a moment……………………………………………………………………………………………………. What have you done besides take in nourishment and excrete waste as Sheldon Cooper would say on “The Big Bang Theory.”? I guess fixing myself healthy food and working everyday is something I do for myself but I do it for others as well.

As I look back on my life I did what many of us do. I pursued goals because my friends had those goals and convinced me it was the best for me. I pursued family goals. Most of the men in my family were in the military. It became an expectation of me as well. However, all I ever wanted to be was a combat medic in the Marines. That was going to be something for me, but a broken leg at the age of 16 ended that possibility. The same thing occurred with nursing school. It took me three attempts. However, I found success when I was no longer doing it for a job. I was no longer doing it for my wife and children. I finally found success when I did it for me. My life goal was to help people the best I could. The third and successful trip into nursing school happened when it was about me fulfilling my purpose in life and doing what I want to do.

That sums up what doing it for me is about. It is not the selfish and forget everyone approach. I am talking about doing what you need to fulfill your life purpose. The one thing I have learned along the way is part of succeeding is learning to say no. Learning to say no to negative people and to people who want you to live your life according to their standards. I have found my joy and my happiness living for me and doing the things that make me happy. What it took the time for me to learn was doing what makes me happy helps fulfill the role I have within my family unit. It helps me fulfill it successfully.

What else have I done for me? I talked about living this life. But, what about the afterlife. What have you done to take care of and for yourself in the next life? I am not going to preach. I will say this. When you reach a peace with the next life. You will have peace in this life. There will still be challenges, but there will be peace in your heart.

 

New Writer Friends (c) October 08, 2019

October 8, 2019
blur business coffee commerce

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Good morning world! Well, As a result of writing this blog and my 3 books that are in progress, I decided to join a writing community online. What a please it has been to network with writers, poets, publishers, and editors!! I have not seen a more, excuse me my hashtag friends, friendly and outgoing group of people.

Although a family member is editing my work, it has been great to get feedback from others. Just the support for the topic, genre, and outline of the books has been great! It has only been two weeks and hopefully nothing will change that will color my opinions of this group.

That is it for now. Just a happy blog post about a happy situation!

Ghosts Around The Bed: Potential Unfulfilled (c) October 04, 2019

October 4, 2019
art fingers foggy hand

Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

I read a piece that had a quote from motivational speaker Les Brown. He stated that imagine being on your deathbed that you are surrounded by all the ghosts of your unfulfilled potential. All the ideas and all the talents you never acted on. They are standing around the bed angry and upset that you gave them life but never acted on them. They are also angry and sad that they have to go to the grave with you.

He then asks, ” How many ghosts are going to be around your bed?” As I read the work, all I could think was “How many of my ghosts are going to the grave with me?”

Really, how many? I don’t know. How many things have a tried and gave up on out of time constraints or laziness.? Are we artificially using time as a constraint? I think that I have. I think many of my ghosts will tell me that I had 24 hours a day; 8 for sleeping and 8 for work. What did I do doing the other 8 hours a day. What did I waste them on?

I can rationalize them. I get up around 4:30. Leave for work at 5:30. After my train ride to and from work my work day is roughly 12+  hours. But, that is 4 hours unaccounted for. So, an hour for dinner, still leaves me 3 hours a day. Hmmm… Makes me wonder can I give life to these dreams and aspirations so that they are not ghosts when I am on my deathbed?

Answering those questions is certainly a challenge. It will take some reflection to honestly examine the ghosts of my past. I have obtained some of my childhood dreams. I worked as a journalist for a short period of time. I was a firefighter/EMT for nearly 10 years. I have coached football but not above the middle school ranks. So, some dreams and talents have been put to the test but not fulfilled to the capacity that I wanted. I do not feel any regret though. I still have some academic goals that I have yet to fulfill which makes me wonder about pursuing them at my age. I had a desire for my PhD. The goal was obtainable and yet still distant. Being a novelist is also something I have wanted to fulfill. I am writing three books. However, writing and achieving the goals that I want are not one in the same.

So, yes I believe there will be ghosts that I will need to ask for forgiveness and there are ghosts that will gladly pass on when I pass on.

Morning Inspiration (c) October 04, 2019

October 4, 2019

I looked to the mountains for their beauty and inspiration.

Realizing that I would not see them today.

The rain and clouds obstructed my view.

But, a profound calmness came over me.

I take solace in their permanence.

 

The Fire (c) October 02, 2019

October 2, 2019

No, I not writing about my 10 years in the fire service. I am writing about the fires in life. Not the obstacles and barriers, but those individuals who come and go. Those that do damage and those that lift us up.

There are many fires that come and go in life. When they come, they burn everything in their path and when they leave, we can feel deflated, defeated and tired. They seem to suck the life out of everything. Even after they leave, the destructive embers remain behind in the form of memories that still cause damage and leave us filled with self-doubt. The ego gets to feel the pain the longest. The longer that pain remains, the more difficult it is to feel inspired.

I know I have written about inspiration before and the whole previous paragraph was about the negative fires. But, now I want to talk about the positive ones. The fires that come into our lives. They burn out or consume us and leave us lying on the floor as burnt rubble. But, unlike the bad fires, these fires leave us ready to rise above the challenges just like a Phoenix rising above the ashes to be reborn.

I have come across a few of those people lately. I know I should say my family should fuel my passion and inspiration and that is true. However, sometimes we need external validation. It’s those people that provide the fire I am talking about. The one’s I have come across are in a writing community online. It’s not the feedback but being around other writers in this virtual world. Hearing their stories, their struggles etc… make you feel like you are not alone on this wonderful journey to the places that only exist in our minds and eventually on our computers. Each has a character that they can identify with. The character needs built and developed and as the character develops so we in a way. So to them, I want to say, “Thank you”. You have me rooted in the ground and reaching for the stars!

Defining Myself (c) October 1, 2019

October 1, 2019

I have a tendency to ask questions that even I have a difficult time answering. Here lately, I have been having a difficult time being inspired and finding questions to answer. As many of you know this blog asks some philosophical questions and then I give my take on them. But between work and some life circumstances, my inspiration has been lacking. The 50 hours I am putting in at work make it difficult to write when I feel so darn tired.

However, this morning I came across a post by @MissMandyHale the famous author. She mentioned how others will no longer define her. This got me thinking. What defines me? Who defines me? Am I defined by my job? Am I defined by my family role? Interesting questions… They are not the metaphors that I normally write about. But, let’s take a look and see what I can come up with today.

I believe in some ways that our roles help define who we are. We take on certain characteristics that match those roles. Or do we? Do we accept roles that require the characteristics that we already have? Not really the point of this blog today, but it is something to consider. Back to the questions at hand:

Who defines me? I believe if I have control over my life then I am the one who defines me. I am loving, caring and empathetic. I am spiritual and believe that my strength comes from a higher power and comes from my in agne and determination. Being a good father is a role that I gladly accepted and being a father figure to those who need one is just as important. Being a father is a defining part of me. I am the writer of my future. I cannot change my past or past experiences. Those experiences help define who I am as well.

Am I defined by my job? No! It is just how I make a living. My students see who I really am. They have described me as empathetic and fair even though they describe my classes as difficult. I challenge them to succeed and be better than who they are. But, that is not necessarily my job as a faculty member. I can always walk away from my job. My life would be a struggle but I do not let this job define me. I will not let it compromise my principles and my character.

So, how do I define myself? I define myself as a father figure, a leader, an empath, fair, reasonable, spiritual, strong, determined, and a role model. Are there cracks in the foundation? After 53 years probably. But that is ok. Those cracks don’t change me.

 

God: What Is Your Concept? Sept. 26, 2019

September 26, 2019

What is your concept of a deity? I am not asking for you to discuss your religious faith or argue with others. Too often, discussions on religion, faith and God devolve into my concept is better than yours etc… We want to be unified but sow the seeds of division by discussing who’s right and who is wrong. I offer a different reflection. How about what we have in common in our faiths. Yes, the positive attributes of mankind are found in our commonalities.

Most of the world’s religions teaches us to be good people. Many of them even consider the Jewish torah to be a holy text and the ten commandments as a basis for morality. Surprising isn’t it? The various religious texts tell us to teach the cause of God and to teach God’s goodness and light.

But which God? Which Deity? I offer this. What if we all worship and serve the same God. Each prophet is a messenger of God. Angels stand guard over everything in nature. That would make the Druids correct in their beliefs. They worshipped nature and nature was created by God. Hmmm…. Just some thoughts.

However, I did not answer my question did I? My concept of God is……. Well let me talk about my history first. I was raised in a very religious home. We attended church multiple days a week. I even wanted to be a minister at one time. As I got older, I became agnostic. Without going into to details, I think it was a combination of being a rebellious teen and other life experiences. Funny thing, in times of stress, I returned to my faith to pray.

I also struggle with my analytical and scientific side. My hobbies are quantum physics, human consciousness, and education psychology. These interests tell me that God really doesn’t exist. The big bang created the universe. Not God! What a conundrum?

My concept of God is the loving, caring and forgiving supreme being. The God who is always with me regardless. Is God made of matter? Interesting… All things are made of matter in the universe. This would lead me to believe that God is made up of matter and that God can change form to take on the roles that are needed. This contributes to the omniscience of God. Is God male or female? Good question.. I think God is who you need he or she to be. A cop out answer? Maybe. But, I believe people, male and female are put into our lives for a reason. Those people could be representing God and the direction that our lives need to go.

Pushing Boundaries (c) Sept. 25, 2019

September 25, 2019

I was talking with someone today. She pushed her personal boundaries and stepped out of her comfort zone to paint a picture of her sister. My thought was “Wow! How often does any of us do that?” What are your personal limits? What are your boundaries? Do you need to step out of your comfort zone and think outside of your normal box?

I ask all these questions and I am unsure of the answers myself. LOL!!! I know that I probably need to step out of my comfort zone more. The few times that I have tried, some worked out and others ended up being huge mistakes. One cost me my job and another cost me a relationship.

A boundary that I am currently pushing, is finally writing my book. I know! How is that pushing a boundary. Well part of it is pushing me to accomplish a goal that I have put off for too long. Writing a book takes time, effort and research. It is not an immediate reward. In some ways, I am patient in other ways, I want results yesterday. As the world has become high tech and time frames for accomplishing things has gotten shorter, our patience becomes shorter. We want results as soon as yesterday. I am learning to return to my slower life. Push the boundary set by current standards. I am taking my time to write something that I am proud of.

Another boundary that I am pushing is my desire to push my body and mind to their limits. I know I am not 16. But, do you remember when you felt the most joy? We have a tendency to feel it when we are young. I am attempting to recapture that joy. No, it’s not a midlife crisis. It’s a moment of joy. When dreams are within reach and all goals seem attainable, we live our lives to their fullest. My dreams have included running a marathon, competing in a triathlon and writing books. These are obtainable. They are not bucket list items that I will cross off after accomplishing each one. They take sustainability, enthusiasm for living and desire.

So, I am going to push my limits. Stretch and cross those boundaries. Make my life joyful. And make my life worth living.