Visiting Janet

I recently volunteered at a skilled nursing facility here in Logan. I joined the " "adopt a grandparent" program (click here to get more information on that :), where I get to go visit a new elderly friend a few times each month.
To be honest, I have been terrible at visiting so far. At the start of summer I thought I'd have so much free time. But then Carter starting working grave shifts all week so our time together has been very limited. And of course the trip to Yellowstone, as well as smaller weekend excursions. Life is crazy. But I'm pretty sure it will never be less so. I keep thinking I just need to get past this busy time in life. Then I'll have time to do more of the things I want to. But visiting my new friend Janet has made realize the importance of living now. And already, I'm so grateful for our few little visits.

I visited Janet for the first time in June. Life had been crazy, but I came by and we went outside and chatted for a bit. Just getting to know each other, she told me about all the wonderful things she loved to do in live (or at least those things she could still remember. It is hard for her to remember when her brain gets fuzzy). We talked about reading, playing instruments, singing, gardening... so many things she has loved in life. I told her about myself and what I do. But I also told her about my aspirations. "You played the piano? I have always wanted to get back into playing the piano! I love music, I have a ukulele. I just never seem to have time to play it."  Someday, when there's more time. I would say. Painting, reading, singing. All things she had loved, but is unable to do now. Her eyes are failing her, her comprehension is slower, her hands don't work the way they did, and her voice is a bit more shaky.

As we were sitting there outside, the obvious kind of clicked. This is the least busy point of your life. Until, perhaps, you find yourself in Janet's situation- alone in a nursing home, lacking the ability to do all you once hoped to do, spending each day wondering how on earth to fill it. Maybe you sit there listening to music, or watch TV episode after episode, or perhaps you just sleep your days away. But at the point when you finally have time, the ability to use it has been taken from you.

This truth hit me pretty hard. Yes, I am working full time with crazy hours. I am a full-time student, even doing classes over the summer. It feels hard enough to keep our small apartment clean and the dishes done. Keeping up on my scripture study and prayer is a strain at times.

But I realized that things are only going to get crazier from here on out. I will graduate soon, but Carter will still be in school for quite some time as he prepares for med school. Whether or not I am still working, babies will soon be on the way. The roller coaster of life will hit us full force. I will find myself, again, saying I'll start this when the kids get older, or maybe when they start school. But the kids will keep coming. Maybe they'll get older, but with older children will come a whole new wave of responsibility and stresses. More stability may mean more activities or trips, more planning... and before we know it, wedding planning for our own youngsters. Basically, life is going to keep being crazy.

So as this all came to life in my head, while sitting there with Janet, I realized I need to embrace those hopes and dreams now. If I am ever going to master the ukulele, the time is now. If I am ever going to get back into sketching and painting, the time is now. If I am ever going to have a clean home, now is the time to master it ;)

So I came away with a new perspective and determination to make time. The amazing thing is, this isn't one of those new years resolutions that is forgotten after one day. I didn't realize the impact Janet had had on me until I came back to visit her yesterday.

I have started playing my ukulele all the time. Far from a master, I have actually started learning new chords and songs. I bring it with me to work and play while the girls are asleep, even playing for them sometimes. Amazing.
I also read a book! Despite doing online coursework while working grave shifts, I somehow found time to read a new book and practice the Ukulele! This is a big deal, seeing as it's been ages since I read a book for myself.

So yes, the changes are small. But to me they are monumental. I get so overcome by school, focusing everything I have on getting As. But I'm working to remember how much there is to life. And that passing through college with flying colors isn't the only thing I want defining my life.

So here's to making more of each day. To finding what you love, or hope to someday love, and DOING IT. Just do it. Sometimes the house will be a mess, but that mess can wait another hour. Sometimes some much needed me-time is the only thing that can give you the boost to do all you need to do. So with that being said, I challenge whoever may read this to do just that. What do you want to do? What have you always wanted to learn? What do you think it's too late to master? What do you love?
Find it and do it. Set aside those few moments of time to make it happen. Maybe find others who share the dream and do it together. Do it with your spouse or kids. But just do it :) Life is for living, and there's no better time to start than today!

Here are some things I want to include in my day more often...

REAL scripture study. Devoted and heartfelt. It's small, but makes such a difference.
Ukulele- keep it going!
Painting. I love it so much, but never get around to doing it. I pulled out some pastels yesterday for the first time ever! Feels good.... I just need to keep it up. Anyone want to come paint with me in Logan?
Reading- next on the list, Anne of Green Gables. So excited :)
Exercise. Yoga. Bike rides. Soccer (lately Carter and I have been having fun playing together... he is a good teacher). I'm also taking a swimming class on campus this fall!
Rock climbing... this is one of those things we keep talking about but just don't do. Need to make it happen.

I want the list to grow. But I need to eat the elephant one bite at a time... I'd love to learn to sew better, work on my blog, learn fancy cooking, keep our cute family scrapbook going, and get more sporty in general, backpacking, photography. But one bite at a time. And for now, I think this should keep me rounded.

Let me know what you're working on! What lifelong dreams are you ready to fulfill??
Go out and do it :)


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