OK, so you, like me have decided that this dementia thing will not control the writing on your last page. You want there to be more than just sitting around waiting for it to take control. Good for you. That decision not only puts you on the right path but creates a pivot point in your live and also (here the good news) in your diagnosis. Turns out fighting dementia is the critical ingredient to not have the worse things happen so fast. This is really mind over matter or in this case mind over mind.
Living deliberately gives you purpose and hope. Two critical ingredients that contribute to positive living. Most people wait till the end of their life to find the right moment to live authentically, our careers, family obligations, and just plain life get in the way.
Here’s a news flash: I think you like me have come to grips that you are at the end of your life. While you have time, and power of choice, choose to do what makes YOU come alive. That is what living with purpose is. For me, my choice of living with purpose includes helping everyone I can to understand what dementia really is.
For me Living deliberately is about living with purposeful actions – it means choosing how I spend my energy. You may have found that your energy runs out of gas much earlier in the day and fighting depression etc. take energy. So living deliberately when you have dementia means being aware of your choices of action instead of just acting automatically or routinely going through your day.
When living your best life is a goal, you will find there are a few steps that will help you keep it focused.
Pursue your new “True North” – Find your own way in the life you have remaining. If there is something you would like to do make a list. Then after the list done. Sit down and strike through the things you can’t do, either physically, mentally, or financially and narrow down the list. If you were young, my advice would be quite different because you have time, but you don’t. Don’t mope about it, focus on what is left and narrow in on the one or two things that still bring you joy. Then tear up the list and know your new “True North”
Live in the present – Leo Tolstoy said “Remember then: there is only one time that is important – Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time we have power over.”
Life only moves in one direction and you want to control as much of it as you can… until you can’t. Not to scare you, but you have the control right now, but only if you live deliberately and aware of now.
Don’t give up on learning – This should be number one, but you have to know and do the first two items. In the end you know and I know you can’t beat dementia, there is no cure it will overcome you, but my goal every day is to beat the bastard. I know I am waging a war against a foe I can not beat, but I will go down fighting.
So How do I fight, learning new things every day. I tax my mind; I challenge my body I strive not only to learn but to excel. You can do the same no matter what you find is your True North.
Last stop worrying about things you cannot change – This sounds simple but it is critical, worry destroys hope and lack of hope destroys your ability to live positively. So bottom line: don’t worry, what will be, will be. To paraphrase the song “Don’t worry, Be Positive”