How to Navigate Life (through each season of aging)

How to Navigate Life (through each season of aging)

Like sailing from Hawaii to San Francisco, life has some navigational tips for each of us at every stage or season of our life. 

Allow me to quickly define the four seasons of life, generally,

1st season: birth to 25 years of age: growing, school

2nd: 26 to 50: possible marriage, children, teens, career

3rd season: 51-75: empty nesters, second wind

4th season: 76 to the finish line; more obvious changes in physical abilities, mental capacity, health challenges have accumulated and shown up.

I did that sailing trip from Hawaii to San Francisco in the summer of 1980 with a learning curve like much of life.  As rather novice sailors we bought a 32’ sailboat that we loved from friends in Hawaii, flew with a lot of gear, prepped the sadly dilapidated boat 12 hours a day for 3 weeks then pushed off.  Our goal or destination was to hit landfall in San Francisco which we did 23 days later.  That is step one in navigating life. 

Step 1. What is the destination? 

With a partner on board, the three of us traded 2-hour watches every 24-hour period.  Each of us was on watch for 2 hours then off for 4 hours, then repeat. (On a watch you keep looking for any danger in the water like floating cargo containers, or ships approaching on a collision course). We paid attention and were ready to respond quickly to changes. That is step two, pay attention. Be ready for changes.

Step 2.  Pay attention

To reach our destination we needed to know where we were in that big Pacific Ocean so at noon each day the two men each took sightings of the sun to calculate mathematically where we were on the chart. I trusted them and was not interested in learning how to do the math or use a slide rule or calculator.

At this season of my life, that would be nearing the fourth season, with my husband recently diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment or early dementia, new things are showing up that need attention.  His comments let me know he is worried about what will happen to him should I precede him in death; who will take care of him and where will he sleep and eat.  So, at this season of life, we are visiting a variety of senior living communities so he can get a feel now for his choices and make some early decisions.  That way his children will know his desires and early plans will be in place for him.  All this is to give him some peace of mind and assure him he does not have to worry.

In no way am I ready to move into a senior living community, but my health could turn in a moment.  That is my reality after a serious auto accident a year ago that could have been disastrous. So, I am paying attention, being aware, watching and ready for a shift in our weather so I am ready to change sails or reef the main sail for a sudden gale that is approaching. Being ready is step three in navigating life.

Step 3. Be ready

I encourage you to be paying attention to your life, be aware and ready to what might be coming and be prepared.  Live life with intention.

Elisa Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
www.elisahawkinson.com

about

Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson

 

 

Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.

 

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Creating Summer Memories for Children and Grandchildren

Creating Summer Memories for Children and Grandchildren

As a parent or grandparent kids are almost out of school so plans are being made now for summer fun and activities.  It is time to set those goals to create lasting memories.

Being the mom-slave catering to their lazy schedule and whims and moaning two young teen boys was not this mom’s idea of a memorable summer. So, our schedule meant a time to get up each day well before noon.  No sleeping in until whenever they felt like getting up.

There were regular daily chores and some outdoor projects that had to be completed to get to the fun like trips to the beach, zoo, movie or backpacking trips with their dad and sometimes mom too.

To this day 20 years later the guys still groan about the hours they spent digging a ditch between our home and the neighbors. It had springs that caused intermittent flooding in the yard.  The ditch was to direct the water run down the front yard hill and into the gutter.  The construction required a pry bar, a heavy metal pole to break up the soil to shovel aside.  They called their time spent ditch digging as being in the gulag.  They also had to help collect large rocks from a local quarry area and haul home in a truck to line ditch.  They made us parents laugh but it helped build their young muscles and work out their high summer energy.  To this day they now claim their own children will be digging a ditch because they know how good it was for them.

One of the boys had his friend help him dig a huge hole in the yard for koi pond this mom wanted.  Plans changed and it turned into a lovely stream that spilled over well placed rocks for that soothing gurgling sound.  They did enjoy that.

They had plenty of time to romp around the 50 acres of green belt behind out home, playing with friends and taking field trips with friends to parks, beaches and the zoo. 

Each summer included the youth group camping trip with friends. As a youth leader-mom time with deep discussions and laughter helped lead the young women in maturing into womanhood with the fun talks and much laughter.  Twenty years later many of the kids, now adults with their own children, meet over meals and movies in each other’s homes. A few of the guys and gals found life partners within the group.

As a grandparent, summer projects with grandchildren vary with the age of the grandchildren. My sister is planning to have two of her pre-teen granddaughters help build birdhouses to replace old ones for the side of the barn.  Another is doing wide ranging mediums in art projects. My younger grandchildren will be going to the park to play often on the slides, swings and lots of sand building castles at the beach.  Personally, I won’t give up on investing into the children’s lives.  They won’t forget their summers!

Elisa Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
www.elisahawkinson.com

about

Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson

 

 

Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.

 

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3 Steps to Calm the Chaos in your Garage

3 Steps to Calm the Chaos in your Garage

Can you park a car or maybe two in your garage? Can we walk up to the workbench?

Now is the best time of the year to put some order in the garage chaos that you have been living with for too long. Take advantage of the remaining days of good weather left this summer to finally tackle the mass accumulation of stuff in your garage. First: Set a goal for your garage, like park a car in the garage, Second could be walk up to the work bench, not over stuff to get to it. Third, have a cleared off workbench to step up to and work on a project.

One contractor I worked with had those three goals in mind but his garage was so crammed full of stuff there was literally no more room. So he set a goal to only keep what he needed to complete three remaining projects. He wanted to park a car in the garage and be able to walk up to his workbench. This is how we helped him reach his goals:

1st We spread a tarp on the driveway and brought out all the extra electrical wire, and there was lots of it, then all the plumbing supplies. We consolidated all the somewhat white latex paint into one 5-gallon bucket. All the scraps of metal were sold. We continued to bring things out to the tarp for the gentleman to go through and select what he would keep. Remember, his goal was to keep only what he would need for the final three projects.

2nd Each category of supplies was groups and placed on racks stacked floor to ceiling along all the walls of the garage. So we had all the electrical supplies grouped, all the plumbing, all the paints and painting supplies, all the medium sized tools then all the large tools. In front of the workbench on the wall we placed a pegboard to hold the tools he most often needed for his projects, so he had at his fingertips what he used and needed. We also had a row of racks in the area between the where the cars would be parked. Every inch of wall space was used so nothing rested on the floors which made for easy cleaning. A blower could make quick work of cleanup.

Elisa Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
www.elisahawkinson.com

about

Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson

 

 

Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.

 

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Host a Gifting Party

Host a Gifting Party

Goal/Purpose of a Gifting Party

First Step in downsizing is to reduce what you have collected and accumulated over the years that you no longer need or use or is taking up too much space.

The Stuff needs a new home.

How to do a Gifting Party

Invite all your friends over. 

Have everything you would like to give away gathered on the dining room table or the kitchen island counter top or a table(s) on the patio if weather allows or the garage. 

Reassure your guests there is no pressure to take anything. Your goal is to bless your friends before blessing people at the thrift store. What remains will be taken to a thrift store that has a great mission behind it.

As your guests sip a beverage, pick up each item and tell them the story behind the item i.e. “Aunt Eva always served the best green bean casserole in this dish at family gatherings or when she entertained.  She was precious to me and I want you or someone you know to have this in memory of Aunt Eva.”

Then hand the item to your friend.  It now has a loving new home and you won’t just be storing it any longer.

End of Party

Box or bag up the items left that have not been taken and drive them to your favorite thrift store.

Feel the blessing of giving and sleep well that night.

Elisa Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
www.elisahawkinson.com

about

Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson

 

 

Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.

 

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Putting Your Home on Market in 30 Days

Putting Your Home on Market in 30 Days

If, for some unexpected reason, something came up and you had to put your home on the market in 30 days, would that cause you to panic?  Or would you feel calm? Here are 8 tips to help you be calm.

Let’s plan now to feel calm if that situation should arise by

  1. starting the plan now.  Set up a budget for your time and financial expenditures that will be needed to get top dollar for your home by hitting the market when it is hot.  It may take you a year or two to get to the goal of being ready if needed for the 30-day alert, but don’t get caught with a huge list of items that need addressing before you can list your home.

Every and any good realtor would tell you the first thing to do is

2. get rid of the clutter and quite probably 50% of the contents of your home.  Start with one room and go through each room putting everything you do not currently need or use in a box or bag to be donated to your favorite charity.  You set your schedule as to how long it will take you, then begin to work your plan weekly until you have reduced the contents of your home down to what you currently use and need.

With all the clutter gone, what is next?  Here is a check list to consider:

  1. What is the unique feature that makes your home more appealing than those around you?

That will be a highlight for strategic marketing so make sure the view is unblocked and clean, or that patio looks stellar, or highlight that shady backyard, do wildlife often visit, or do you get a great view of the moon each month.  Think about what sets your home apart.  In our case it is the two 140-year old Maple trees in the backyard with a hammock on a small deck between the trees.  We just transplanted about 50 plants in the yard to create a forested look under the trees.

  1. In addition to the unique feature of your home, every home needs to be spotless, eat off the floor kind of clean, as my mother would say.  So get to it or hire it to be done.  Address every cobweb, dust-bunny, dirty wall, wood that needs polishing and have closets super clean and uncluttered (that should have been included in the declutter piece earlier).  Carpets shampooed.  Fresh paint if the whole interior has not been painted in the last year. Faux may have been fantastic in the 80’s but a neutral color throughout is the best for the ‘looking’ buyers (gray, beige, off-white, white are best).  A basement bedroom may be a lime green but most of the living space should be neutral ready for the new home owner.
  2. Is the hardware looking good and is the color up do date?  The Gold finish passed years ago as has much of the polished silver so check with your realtor for the best current advice.
  3. Do moderate and practical updates! Inexpensive updates could include new toilet seats, cabinets painted, replace bathroom sink, replace grout in the backsplash, floors, and tub surrounds.

You cannot make your home brand new but it can be well updated and sparkling clean.

  1. Is your home visually appealing from the curb?  Lookers take about 8 seconds to decide if they care enough to look further so make your place sparkle.  Make a plan to upgrade the curb appeal with shrubs, trees trimmed and flowers looking good.  No debris in the yard.  In the NW we put down fresh bark.
  2. Entrance to home may need revamping.  How are the door knobs, the color of the door? Ask your neighbors and family for curb appeal and of course your realtor can help you with all your decisions.

Now, relax and enjoy your lovely home.  Staying ready for that 30-day-to-list alert does not have to be worrisome if you have given time and effort on a consistent basis to your home.  It is probably the largest investment of your money so stay on top of your investment.  In all my days of sailing experience, we hauled our boats out every year for a thorough inside and out cleaning, repainting and decluttering.  It is a good habit to do on land too.  Waiting 30-40 years for repairs and regular maintenance can cause larger repair issues and have added costs. 

Elisa Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
www.elisahawkinson.com

about

Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson

 

 

Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.

 

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