Intentional is for the I in holIstic aging

Holistic aging is a comprehensive way of approaching the aging process and the I for Intentional makes certain I am getting the most out of life.

Vincent van Gogh - Dr

Behind every great work of art there is a message.

~ Karen Esbenshade

Portrait by Vincent Van Gogh – Dr. Gachet

Time is a valuable commodity. In my past I wasted too much time.

I have spent fifty-two years, five months and twenty-five days and counting on this planet. For thirty-one of those years I have had periods of binging on alcohol, which leaves me with twenty-three years in sobriety.

And, apparently a fifty-year-old woman’s longevity is thirty-two more years, so I’m looking at thirty more years on this planet, which leaves me with fifty-three years hangover free!

Why am I wasting so much of my precious time telling you this?

From the looks of it, it appears my days are numbered. I have decided to start being intentional on aging and how I spend my remaining days. I am choosing to holistically age and being intentional is a key element.

Being intentional with my friendships has been therapeutic.

Last week I spent five days vacationing alone with my husband. He had my undivided attention. Following our vacation we needed a vacation from each other, so for three nights I left to spend quality time with a close girlfriend and visited with several other women in my life.

When I return to my home town for a visit, it is my girlfriends who are the highlight of my visit. Unfortunately, I do not have an overabundance of time so it takes true intention to see my people. My book group friends are a prime example of intentional friendship. This group of ladies I have known since my daughters were in elementary school and participated in a summer swim program. The women put forth extra effort to plan our get togethers when I am in town. I am grateful for their friendship.

Something happens when you remove alcohol from the core of a relationship.

The relationship blossoms.

Being intentional I will be able to live my life to the fullest as I age.
Being intentional I will be able to live my life to the fullest as I age.

Part of being intentional with my friendships is I need to be present. To be present I need to show up with a clear head, not polluted with excess alcohol. Although there is usually always alcohol present, my focus is placed on my relationships.

Being intentional with my passion fills me up.

Prior to recovery I did not drink 24/7, but binge drinking with friends on a weekend night, led to the following day being unproductive and one glass of wine in the evening, zapped my energy for a productive evening. Now my focus can be on pursuing my passion of writing or spending time with women who struggle as I do without the interruption of alcohol.

Pre-recovery I lacked purpose. I had a void in my life and used alcohol in the evenings to fill that void. Now I have a focus. Writing, reading, and learning are all an active part of my intentional aging.

Being intentional has caused contention in our marriage.

Moving away from our friends has caused problems within our marriage. We spend our time divided, warm months in Maryland and cold months in Florida. I have forged strong female friendships in Maryland, but it has been a struggle in Florida. I need to be more intentional in meeting couples so my husband and I can spend time together with others.

When someone chooses recovery it is a personal journey. I need to be mindful that I have a partner I committed to do life with. While in recovery I haven’t been fully present in our marriage or being a mother. It takes true intention on a daily basis to be the woman my husband needs. The truth is being married while in recovery is difficult.

The problem with marriages during retirement.

It is very common for marriages to dissolve following the child rearing years. In 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data indicating that the divorce rate in America is approximately 34%. Notably, adults between the ages of 55 and 64 have the highest divorce rate of any age group at 43%. Don’t be a statistic. Evidence shows marriage is good for your health.

For many retirement is the first time they spend a significant amount of time with their spouse. They find themselves doing life side by side, not together. They lack the connection they once had. It is the perfect time to reinvent yourself and pursue new interest. Just make certain to balance your personal passions with your existing relationships.

Being intentional for Christ.

Living life with intention I am living life with a purpose. I am pursuing a life Christ has called for me to live. Each day I start with intention. Following coffee with my husband I take a few minutes to be intentional for Christ. Meditating on His word, Waking Up in the Word, offers me the quiet time to offer gratitude and set the tone of my day.

God didn’t just know who Jeremiah would be, he planned it. Likewise, God has a plan for your life and he wants you to be intentional about it.

Jeremiah 1:5 ESV

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