Is it that we feel content?

Enjoy our work?

Have people around us that we enjoy being with?

I am pondering these questions while visiting Stettler – Buffalo Like for July long weekend.

During this time I found out that my uncle on my Dad’s side had passed away. He had pancreatic cancer. And like my Dad, he passed away from complications associated with the cancer.

My uncle Dave & Aunt Shirley at our wedding 2008.

It shook me up hearing this news.

Although I was not particular close to my uncle, he was a constant in my life. When I was little and lived in the west-end of Stettler, he lived next door. And then when I was six we moved to an acreage on the outskirts of town, Dave and my aunt and cousins moved next door.

He was a carpenter and had helped Dad in the building of our house.

A picture of our family house, when it was first built in Stettler. (1971)

And with my Grandma Dennis living down the street, we constantly saw him for coffee time at Gramdma’s house and all the major holidays (Christmas Eve, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.)

Coffee Time at my Grandma Dennis’. I was about 7 years old. (1971)

With his passing, so many childhood memories came flooding back. It seemed like a simpler time. We rode bikes with no helmets, went to neighbour’s yards to play kick-the-can, or went to the 7-11 to get ice-cold slurpies.

Brain freeze anyone?

I feel time passing so quickly. And it makes me stop and reflect upon what I am doing here and now. And is it what I really want to be doing.

It doesn’t mean I do not have a good life, that I am really appreciative of, but is there even more I can do, give back to society and find meaning in this, at times, chaotic life.

‘A’ tells me to embrace the chaos! (From the movie, hot-tub time machine). And enjoy the here and now, which is probably good advice. But I have a mind that questions things.

In my usual daily routine of scanning interesting articles, I read a blog on the topic of ‘what do you want to feel’ versus what do you want to do’. Here is an excerpt from the blog.

Instead of asking, What do you want to do?, I now ask, How do you want to feel?

Craving connection?

Have that backyard barbeque you have been thinking about.

Want to feel grounded?

Go for a walk or bike ride. Feel the sun on your face and smell the flowers coming out.

Biking downtown for lunch to Chinatown, Calgary.

Seeking excitement? Take an impromptu road trip.

Most of us aren’t used to considering how we want to feel. Instead, we default to activities that require minimal effort, like scrolling through Instagram or zoning out in front of the TV. It’s the easy path, but not the most fulfilling one.

The question, How do I want to feel, can jolt you out of your routine and shift your focus from surface-level desires to something deeper.

Once you return to first principles and figure out your true intentions, you can then choose activities that match those intentions. This shift allows you to move from mindless habits to meaningful experiences.[1]

Reading this article struck a chord with me. As I often ask, ‘A’, what do we want to do now or what do you feel like doing? But I never thought about the question of how do I want to feel.

And yes, lately I have been defaulting to playing online solitaire on my phone. Why am I doing this? I do not want to think and I want to relax. Instinctively, I am trying to de-stress, by shutting down my thoughts.

But what if I could set my intent to feel more peace, what activities would I do?

Hmm? I know for me, what really helps is running, biking, canoeing, and walking (especially on beaches).

Enjoying Hahas Lake, BC – canoeing, swimming, lunch July 2023

I think all of this fits in nicely with aging well in becoming more aware of your inner needs and what makes you feel good.

So the next time you are thinking what I am going to do this weekend, ask instead what do I want to feel this weekend. Check it out and see if it shifts your perspective.

The feeling I am looking for this weekend is more summertime fun, so ‘A’ and I are planning to go out to my Mom’s cabin at the lake, take the boat out to the middle of the lake, and jump in! It gets the blood going and I feel like a kid again.

Driving the boat at Buffalo Lake, 2021.

As always, take care, live well, and enjoy!

[1] Ozan Varol, Email, July 4, 2024, How one question transformed my life.

How Do We Know If We Are Living Our Best Life?

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