This is my Grandma. Ruth Oppermann. She died in 2008, after a long and fulfilled life.
She survived World War II and helped rebuild the economy afterwards. She started as a kindergartener, then raised three children to adulthood. After the marriage fell apart, she called a few old friends and colleagues and immediately got a new job in the German administration for Unemployment Benefits. She was always proud of not being without work a single day of her life.
My Grandma and me were always best friends. Even after I moved to the United States, we would talk every week on the phone.
Then she got a bronchitis. She told me on the phone that this cold was pretty annoying, but we’d talk soon the following weekend. I think she even laughed about it.
Two days later she was dead. Peacefully slipped away over night.
I always imagined somebody would tell her she was really sick, and I would rush to the airport, get a flight just in time to say a proper goodbye on her deathbed. Nope. She just quietly exited the stage as no one watched.
I wasn’t there. Yet – I was able to let her go in peace. That surprised me.
Yet, the more I think about it, the more I realize it was precisely because I had kept in contact with her every week that her death was not a big deal to me in the end. Of course I was sad. And you would think it’d take me a while to get over the loss of one of my dearest friends. Yet, I had this mindset of “she is gone now, and we had great times together – it was nice while it lasted”.
I know people that can never get over the loss of a family member. They blame themselves, because they had a bad relationship with them. They had wished their relatives would just leave them alone.
But once they were gone for good, they realized they did love them after all and had just pushed them away because they did not know how to deal with them. Now the other person is gone for good and there really is no opportunity anymore to get along with the person. After always procrastinating to sort things out with the other person, there is no opportunity left anymore for doing that.
I have loved my mother almost unconditionally until puberty hit. After that, it went downhill. Over the last years, I have never felt much desire to even talk to her. However – one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more in contact with her. Why? Because I still have the opportunity to make ends meet. Now. While she is still here.
I realize that many of you who read this post are probably on good standing with their parents and their family. Maybe you even still live very close to your family. But if you are not – keep in mind: you might miss someone more than you think after he or she is gone.
Here is what I regularly did with my grandma – these activities weren’t a big deal per se. They just formed a habit of regular contact and sharing “normal” activities together.
1. stopping by for lunch with her once a week
2. phone call regularly, once a week
3. listening and sharing personal stories
4. playing board games
5. watching TV together
6. going to the movies or a concert
7. taking a walk
8. talking politics (we were on the same side, so that was easy)
9. doing shopping for her
10.and mostly, we would both just sit in a room and tend to our own activities. We felt comfortable just being in the same room.
While I am writing these points down, I almost feel my grandma is with me right now. Yet, I have never felt there was something I really wanted to still tell her. I believe this is because we shared “everyday” activities – there was nothing hidden or left to be said.
I was grateful about every day I could spend with her, yet I was always very casual in her presence – open and “myself”.
That’s why I have started to establish a habit of regularly contacting my mother (and the rest of my family). Spending time with your friends and family starts now.
While there is still time.
Summary of Day 15
Below you will find
(a) a quick description how I fared on my main goals – losing body fat, working on my blog, installing good habits;
(b) my thoughts for the day;
(c) how the rest of the program went and whether there were any irregularities or other noteworthy points.
Losing body fat
Body fat down to 22.5%. Seems to be stable and even slightly going down.
Breakfast: coffee, eggs and protein shake.
Lunch: Steak and broccoli.
Today’s juice: V8 Juice. Finally. Beets, Lemons, Celery, Apples, Ginger, Parsley, Carrots, Collards. A great mix of fruits and vegetables. Delicious. You can find the recipe here or in Juicing for Power. (*)
37 good form push-ups (one more than yesterday!) + 83 in ok form (half way down). I’m getting there, even though I had to stop for a few seconds multiple times on the way. But I finished them out.
120 squats in good form.
120 sit-ups in good form.
Working on my blog
Done with Franklin’s autobiography, review following soon.
If you already want to check the book out, you can click here. (*)
(a) Emotional Health: Was more social with colleagues. I’m pretty happy that way, since I also get my normal work done.
(b) Spiritual Health: I continued the Happiness Habit. What was I grateful for?
1. My space heater.
2. Becoming better organized.
3. Getting ahead in my research.
(c) Mental Health.
10 ways to spend the day with a loved one.
1. Playing board games.
2. Going for a walk.
3. Visiting a concert or other event.
4. Just talking.
5. Cooking and eating.
6. Watching television.
7. Looking at photos.
8. Visiting friends together.
9. Smoking cigars and drinking cocktails.
10. Participating in sports.
Thoughts for the day
What did I do well?
I went to Happy Hour.
What do I want to improve?
I am still a little bit too much “on my guard” when talking to people. I have gotten used too much to the habit of trying to make the interactions as efficient as possible. I need to let go a bit more.
How will I improve?
(1.) Allowing myself to have fun – focussing only on the person I am talking to and (2.) talking to as many people as possible.
Rest of “30 Days of Discipline” went fine.
Video Summary Day 15
To check the description of the “One Year of Discipline” challenge, click here.
To see yesterday’s post, click here.
To get back to the homepage, click here.
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