We know the bookends of life. We know we are born and we know we die. We also know there’s a great opportunity for life stories in between.
Everything starts at the beginning. How babies are cared for determines their self-esteem in the years that follow, including adulthood. How toddlers and preschoolers are encouraged to explore and learn through play determines risk-taking and self-confidence in the years that follow, including adulthood.
How babies grow through love sets the direction for their development and how they’ll enjoy and spread love themselves. Their treatment early on also determines how well they will love themselves.
There are different schools of thought about how to best discipline and raise our future. Our way of life allows us to blend cultures and evolving practices. Fortunately, our civilized way of life insists that we respect and give regard to those who are similar and those who are diverse.
Our society has standards that insist every person is safe – physically, socially and emotionally.
This includes those of us in our sunset years.
Living life has become exhausting, mostly due to the Covid challenge. Still, the hope for joy and peace surrounds us. How we live our sunset years is influenced by our earlier years.
Healthy habits, such as eating, exercising, stress releasing and being in good company, accompany decades of birthdays.
Respectful relationships, such as caring for family and friends, may determine degrees of loving support further down the road.
Retirement planning from our work life will affect the extent of joy and merriment in our later years.
We’ve all come to realize there are some tasks that are hard to compensate for.
Like carrying in the 50-lb bag of rice. I can’t do that anymore. So, I buy lighter bags.
Like putting on bracelets or necklaces with clasps. It’s hard to see the really small stuff and it’s hard to manipulate the tiny mechanics. So, I wear stuff without clasps.
Like manipulating the dish detergent bottle. When my arthritis decides to be the queen, my digits freeze at attention. So, I’ve put detergent into small liquid soap dispensers that I can push with my palm and access the soap that way.
Like remembering the time I put the chicken in the oven. So, I write the time on a piece of paper, then, I try hard to remember where I put the paper.
Like remembering people’s names. Actually, I’ve never been good with names so that’s not a severe decline. I’m grateful I continue to recognize eyes. I’m even more grateful they remember mine.
As we age, there are behaviors we become more appreciative of.
Like people listening. When something needs to be explained, I appreciate folks stopping and really listening. It’s even better if they address the issue I’m raising—without rolling their eyes.
Like people remembering their manners. Especially when my hands are full, I greatly appreciate the person holding the door open for me.
Like people sharing a smile, especially amid the stress. A smile can really put a bounce in your step.
Like people not passing judgment. When my son Eric is having a hard time, it helps when people help with their eyes. “It’s OK” has been an anchor a million times.
Like drivers being good drivers. If you’re going to merge, merge. Do not merge and step on your brakes.
Frankly, all of those appreciative behaviors are ageless.
No matter the age or stage, it’s decent human behavior to treat another with human kindness. Remembering that we are human help.
Being human means we make mistakes. Being human means we need each other. Being human means every person is inherently good. Being human means we can learn. Being human means while we may not forget, we can forgive.
As we welcome 2022, sprinkle on some laughter for good measure. Wishing you a blessed 2022!
Aline Yamashita is a mom, a teacher and former senator. She served in the 31st and 32nd Guam Legislatures. You may write to her at email@example.com.