As older people like me travel down the path of aging, there are many twists and turns, obstacles that slow us down, changes that must be made and challenges that must be reckoned with.
Some of the happenings occur unexpectedly and without warning. And so it has been with me recently. I have found myself affected by “Horizontal Life Pauses”!
Sometimes they only affect me for a few minutes, other times longer. I totally miss the ending to the old western movie I am watching or I have no idea “who done it” in the mystery they are trying to solve. I am left wondering the outcome until the rerun comes along and then I will have to watch it all over again. I may be reading a book and it affects my vision and causes my eyes to become blurry and sometimes they begin to water.
I have to quickly grab something to mark my place until the Horizontal Life Pause is over. They can just sneak up on you and the next thing you know the beans have boiled dry and scorched on the bottom of the pan! No ham and bean soup for supper tonight!
I fail to understand why this happens to me. I try to eat healthy, get lots of rest either at night or late morning (I do some of my best work during the very early morning hours), and I exercise….some. Perhaps if I did more work it would help me to become more immune to Horizontal Life Pauses.
I have been mowing two lawns and the barnyard all summer. I will admit there are some weeds that I could have cut down. However, this summer I found out that in a couple places where I thought weeds were growing they were actually flowers, Moonflowers or English Primrose. They were pretty and I was glad I never got around to cutting them down. Maybe that is why I didn’t cut some of the other weeds down….I was subconsciously hoping for flowers!
And, of course, there is always housework I could be doing…. my favorite thing! Yes, there are things in my house that really need to be dusted. Once you dust everything it just gets dusty all over again! “A clean house is a waste of time” is a quote I once read.
There are so many other things you can do besides cleaning! You can be educating yourself by reading lots of books. You can be checking on the well-being of friends by calling them on the phone. Does it really matter if you talk for an hour or more?
You can sit on the front porch, the deck, or under a shade tree and watch for wildlife or just watch the world go by. You can be volunteering to help an organization or someone that needs help. The busier you are, the fewer attacks of HLP!
Some people can stop HLP from happening by drinking lots of black coffee. I can be holding a big mug of coffee (with cream, milk or vanilla creamer) in my hand and sipping at it and I still fall victim to HLP!
One of the best ways to stop Horizontal Life Pauses is to babysit young children. They are guaranteed to prevent it from happening! It can also give parents a much needed break, however they might have to be alert to the possibility of an attack of HLP while their house is quiet! The time with the children will be filled with joy, laughter and cookie crumbs and will create special memories for everyone involved.
No one seems to be looking for a cure for Horizontal Life Pauses as it isn’t considered a serious health issue. I recently read that HLP can lead to inspiration. Thomas Edison, well-known inventor, invited an attack of HLP when he was seeking inspiration. He would hold a small object in his hand, then allow a Horizontal Life Pause to take over. When he dropped the object to the floor he would come out of it with a new idea. There is a scientific basis for his method!
It seems that the best thing to do is to just relax and allow the Horizontal Life Pauses to occur. Just be careful and don’t allow them to interfere with appointments or happen while eating. As for me, I am always looking for ideas and inspiration for my column, so perhaps I will try holding something in my hand if I think I might have an attack. Perhaps my pen with the Holstein cow on it. My column for the Ohio Holstein News is due!
A columnist whose work appears in newspapers great and small, Barb Lumley can be reached at email@example.com