There is a story about the violinist, Itzhak Perlman, continuing to play during a concert in 1995 after one of his violin strings broke. He had to re-compose as he went. In reply to the audience’s thunderous applause, he said,“You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”
There is some question as to whether the story is true or not, but his reply is a perfect metaphor for this difficult time.
These are very hard times for our residents. The winter is dark and dreary, and Covid-19 has made life more harsh and lonely. It is easy for all of us to give into depression. One resident writes about how she copes, finds interest and joy and is able to smile… making music with what she has left.
Strange and Unsettling Times
A couple of weeks ago I was reading in the Newsletter an article that Darlene had written in relation to one resident’s reflections about living at Northaven. My understanding from Darlene’s comments was that the author of the original message was upset about various issues of living here.As I reflected on my feelings, I realized that for me — Life has changed. And yes, these are difficult and unsettling times when adjustments must be made.
My daily schedule has changed.
I am restricted in where I can go.
I can’t eat in the dining room.
I can’t see my friends and family.
I have to stay in my apartment most of the time.
I can’t even sit in the lobby anymore.
And there are more disruptions to my life — life seems strange and unfamiliar.
But then I realized that these interruptions and changes are following recommended healthful living behaviors during this pandemic. These are not unrealistic requirements designed by Northaven staff,they are recommendations carefully calculated by health professionals to keep folks like us safe from this deadly virus. If I look at these as negative factors, life becomes difficult, or even more difficult and boring than it was.But if I can look at today’s life in a positive light, I can smile, and laugh, and experience some newfound enjoyment.
I can look at life around me in a more detailed way because I have more time. For instance, I can really see the colors that people are wearing in their clothes — beautiful colors that match their eyes or styles of clothes (or hats) that just fit their personality — and telling them about my enjoyment frequently makes them smile. And the lovely fall and winter outdoor colors I see as I look through my beautiful, big window makes me smile and look for ways that I can make my apartment more colorful and fun to be in. And then, of course, I’m slowly getting through that stack of books that I’ve been putting aside for “just the right time.” I’m also really enjoying more time to talk with family and friends on the phone, on Skype, or Zoom — as well as sending email messages and cards to folks, just for fun.
I am also finding that writing can be fun. So, I am gradually filling up my journal and plan to read that later on and have some good laughs as I remember these days in a different light!
We know that optimism and positive thoughts actually improve a person’s ability to enjoy life — no matter what the circumstances are. I am enjoying most of my life in these crazy times especially when I can find ways to smile and laugh and help others do the same.
My life really is more fun when I can find ways to enjoy it.