Monday, August 7, 2023

On Marshmallows, Mushrooms, and Monotasking

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πŸ„

'It's amazing how many marshmallows there are,' I enthused as Tim and I tromped over the damp woodchipped lawn.  I had just kicked a great big mushroom right off its hinges as we headed off for a morning walk.

I caught myself.  'MUSHROOMS!,' I shouted, 'MUSHROOMS!'  And started laughing as he rolled his eyes.

He's gotten used this.  Those closest to me have.  They might patiently wait for me to figure out the missing word, ignore my misnomer, or decide to fill in the blank.  If I say, 'you know, ol' what's his name' or 'what's her face' they're usually able to track with me.  

Kind of like a game of charades.  But this is no game.  And it doesn't end after a 20 minute round or two.

πŸ„

Before the month ends, there'll be more candles than ever on my cake.  68 is looming and I don't mind telling you that I'm not a big fan of the aging process.  Physically, mentally.  Truth be told, from time to time it unsettles me.  A whole lot.

YET ...

God hasn't given us a spirit of fear.  But power, love, and a sound mind. 
(2 Timothy 1:7)

Plus a sense of humor.  And the capacity to re-invent ourselves, pivot a bit, and prepare for unknown transitions ahead, knowing with confidence that He's already written the rest of our own uniquely personal story.

πŸ„

Let's face it.  We're all dying daily.  We don't like to hear that, but it's our reality as human beings.  Yet it serves no healthy or holy purpose dwelling on worst case scenarios or getting caught up in the downward spiral of 'what if this' and 'what if that.'

For awhile, I've quietly claimed the desire to live a 'no regrets' lifestyle so that when all is said and done, I can be at peace knowing that I did the best I could do at the time.  For me, that's required the hard work of relinquishing dreams, confessions of sin, changes of attitude, the giving of forgiveness, ability to say 'sorry, no, thanks,' embracing new habits, increased attention to strengthening my faith and my health.  

And now in this season, to gracefully re-invent how I do life, making some major tweaks to well-worn, deeply ingrained routines that don't serve me well anymore.

My goal is to become increasingly mindful and attentive to the conversation, situation, or task right in front of me.

πŸ„

That brings me to monotasking.

I'm embracing it.  Aiming to bring my full attention to one conversation at a time.  Finishing one task at a time.  Reading one book at a time.  Straightening one room before moving to the next.  Batching blogging stuff, bill paying, or information seeking and then shutting down the computer.

The secret is completing the next right thing before moving on to the next right thing.

*  An old fashioned paper checklist is my life saver these days.  There's great satisfaction in listing every must-do (small and big) and then crossing off one item after another, knowing that I'm not wasting time trying to remember something that's totally slipped my over-crowded mind.

*  Silencing my phone and keeping it out of sight is starting to keep me from endless random surfing which I swear has short-circuited my brain.

I used to be able to multi-task with the best of them.  It's not my preference anymore.  And most days there's no need to.  Accepting this reality has lifted remaining self-expectations to juggle a whole bunch of balls at the same time.  And in this new process, my body is calming, my brain is clearing, and my soul is more attentive to hearing the still small Voice of the One I rely on and love best of all.  

In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.
Isaiah 30:15

It's like God is using my need to leave multi-tasking mastery behind so that I can become the best version of my soon-to-be 68 year old self.  And able to focus on what I've always loved best ... meaningful one-on-one conversations.  Reaching out and listening well and responding in ways that will bring some kind of encouragement to the soul right in front of my nose. 

And yes, continuing to write something (hopefully) of value and connect with you right here in this space.

Read more about monotasking here.  These days #4 - #6 hit home for me.

When all is said and done, there's no one-size-fits-all to the aging process (or anything else for that matter).  I'd love to hear what's working for you ... or what you've learned by watching others a few steps ahead of where you find yourself.
Linda


πŸ„

49 comments:

  1. Oh, Linda! I'm up very early this morning with so much of these very things weighing heavy on my over loaded mind. Your words, as they always are, were like a healing balm. Sitting at the feet of Jesus now, absorbing and embracing your wisdom, thanking God for you, my friend. I hope you have a wonderful day.πŸ™❤

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    1. Oh, you are up early, girl. I'm sorry to hear that those burdens are weighing heavy and impacting your sleep. May the daylight hours give you clarity in the challenges and choices that you're facing. And may you sense His loving presence as you lay your weary head down again this evening. He loves you so.
      πŸ›Œ

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  2. I’m learning to “right-size” a task so that I will still be alive and functioning at the end. Six rows of green beans are getting picked and canned 2 rows per day. It’s working!

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    1. And you will be so relieved and grateful when it's done ... and again this winter when you reach into your pantry. Love it.
      πŸ‘©‍🍳

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  3. I don't like to multi-task either. I never have. Sometimes it is inescapable but it's always better to be mindful of one thing at a time. I am thinking similar thoughts about the aging process.

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    1. I knew I couldn't be the only one. We're in good company, yes?
      πŸ˜‰

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  4. Oh that is too funny! I often think one thing and another comes out of my mouth... totally unintentional but I am definitely always multi-tasking (and probably not well).

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    1. You're so right, Joanne ... it's all totally unintentional. I feel completely blindsided by this.
      πŸ€ͺ

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  5. I've beat you to the 68 mark by several months, Linda. And, the older I get, the more I long to be focused fully on the task at hand, not drawn to every shiny object that comes across my path. I treasure time spent with intention and purpose at any moment and any time. It most certainly has uncluttered my brain process, and that's such an important boon, especially as we age. Maybe, that's really what it means to age gracefully!
    Let us listen more intently to the Voice that truly matters.
    Blessings, my friend!

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    1. Aging gracefully. Yeah, that's a goal to embrace. Maybe it looks different for each one of us. And that can be a very good thing.
      🀷‍♀️

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  6. Happy early birthday !! My 60th is right around the corner !!!

    * subscriber email response

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    1. You're just way too young to be 60, girl!
      🧁

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  7. I do want to age gracefully and enjoy the journey. I will hit the big 70 in October. I have those same issue, can’t remember a name or a word, and I am often frustrated by it. Happy early birthday, Linda!

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    1. Frustrated is a good word. But it doesn't have to be a scary one. And that I'm trying to keep in mind. We've still got a whole lotta living yet to do! And our creative energies are still going full force, aren't they.
      πŸ¦‹

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  8. As many have posted, we all are going through the same blank moments! Just give yourself a break and keep your sense of humor. Marshmallows vs. Mushrooms????!

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    1. What can I say? Thanks for continuing to cut me a break. You're quite patient! And we still know how to laugh. And in the end that'll be what God uses to get us through. Hopefully.
      πŸ˜‚

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  9. this is a 3-pronged reply. First, I have never been fond of marshmallows. Second, I like fried or sauteed mushrooms but have never been hunting. Third, I never heard of monotasking but that seems to be my mo. I have never been good at multi-tasking. They say men are terrible at it. count me as one.

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    1. This overrides the gender issue, doesn't it, Bill ... sounds like you're way ahead of many of us who used to pride ourselves on doing a million and a half things at once.
      πŸ„

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  10. Oh sweet Linda, how I have enjoyed reading your post this afternoon. Touched my heart to be honest with your honesty! We as women I think all struggle in different areas of our lives and each one has a different view or thought when it comes to aging gracefully. I believe it might just be the season of life that we are in at that season of life. *If that makes sense* Oh girl, once upon a time I could multi-task with the best. NO MORE and you know? It's not important to me at this stage of life or my season of life to even try. My goal now is to try and do what is most important in a day and if it doesn't get accomplished that day then God willing, tomorrow is another day. I too am a paper check list person and always have been. I doubt that much will ever change about me! However, I have learned that if my items are not always checked off then that's okay because much of life my expectations of ME was way to high to begin with. Another aging with grace tip! LOL! Enjoyed this so much Linda and I am always moved in some way or another by your words. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Cindy, oh this right here is worth its weight in gold --> ' I have learned that if my items are not always checked off then that's okay because much of life my expectations of ME was way to high to begin with.'

      Absolutely amen to this, girl. Absolutely!
      πŸ“‹

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  11. Thank you Linda that was so close to me it's scary. Lots of comfort in knowing I'm not alone in my trip to old age although I'm a bit older than you my friend . Thank you for sharing ❤️

    * via text

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    1. Scary good, right?! We're all in this together and we keep on learning from each other. So grateful we don't travel this road in isolation.
      πŸ₯ΎπŸ₯Ύ

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  12. Frustrated from feeling time-crunched this morning (which seems to be my normal state lately), I felt my heart and mind calm while reading your post. Mono-tasking is something I do strive for, and you've given me hope that it is possible! And also that it's okay (and possible) to let go of even those long-term habits that are no longer serving us. Keep being mindful, my friend. I sense what a blessing it is for you, and it inspires me to be better (especially hearing His way....)

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    1. I hear you about those overwhelming feelings of frustration, Lynn. You're right, we're in process, we're letting go of those things that don't serve our health or spiritual growth anymore (if they ever did, right?)

      One step at a time, listening for His whisper, 'this is the way, walk ye in it.'
      Isaiah 30:21.
      πŸ‘‰

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  13. I'd never heard of mono-tasking but I do it all the time. I can only read one book at a time (well), though on occasion when pressed, I can pull off a fiction and a non-fiction but I get too antsy doing it! I could use a little more work on the cleaning thing though! Love those mushrooms!

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    1. It does my soul good to hear that I'm not alone in reading one book at a time! I keep hearing about other book-lovers who usually have a handful or two going at any given moment and just the thought of it is overwhelming.

      Thanks for the affirmation, Jeanie. I'm thinking we aren't alone in this!
      πŸ“™

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  14. I told a friend that if I can't think of a word, I come out with a synonym. Except I said cinnamon! We both cracked up! Will forever see marshmallows as mushrooms, or vice versa!
    ❤️❤️

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  15. I'm right there with you in searching for words and names, Linda. It helps me to see younger people do it too. :) I'm rediscovering the value of monotasking too. I think we were sold a fallacy that multitasking was the best. While there are some things I can do concurrently, I love the luxury of taking one thing at a time.

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    1. There are seasons we must multitask. And other seasons where mono is the only way forward if we want to be well. I agree this is a luxury and I understand that most people don't have this opportunity. But I am grateful to choose this mindset as much as I can in this season.

      And my heart goes out to those who need to but aren't able to.
      πŸ’—

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  16. Google the question, "Is multi-tasking effective," and many articles will pop up to verify: No, it's not. So those of us who thought we weren't good at it and gave up trying? We've probably accomplished more! 😁

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    1. I like that, Nancy! Makes a whole lotta sense.
      πŸ‘

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  17. My husband loves to replace the word for another or make up his own sometimes. Lol! I really believe God has a good sense of humor too.

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    1. Yes! The Creator of all things and the Author of joy surely must smile at His creation's antics.
      ☀️

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  18. Lieve Linda, I find your blog to be incredibly beautiful, relatable, and insightful (not to mention humorous) 😊. So, I say: I love it. In fact, I'm planning to print it out in Dutch so that I can read it a few more times before I go to sleep. Thank you so much! 🌟

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    1. Thank you for taking that time to translate and print this out, Aritha. I'm touched by your kindness this afternoon ...
      πŸ’

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  19. Good Friday afternoon, Linda!
    I tried a few times to leave a comment on your latest blog post and kept getting error messages. Here is the comment, in case you really didn't get it.

    Oh Linda, I loved this. I've got quite a few projects that need to be resumed/tackled seriously once both daughters are off on their next big adventures. If I hope to get anything done, this idea of monotasking is one I really need to pursue, at least for set chunks of time. (Except for reading one book at a time. Not sure I'm wired for that!) Enjoy the waning days of 67, and may 68 hold bountiful blessings, dear friend.

    * subscriber email response

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    1. Everything changes when the kids head back to school. You'll be missing them for sure, I know. But think of all those projects that await your energetic attention. Check. Check. Check.

      You go, girl.

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  20. Dear Linda,
    I appreciate your honesty and have always loved your humor.

    I catch myself substituting one word for another . Sometimes retrieving words is challenging ! Forgetting where I put things ( in a safe place) is becoming too common. I am looking for a second set of keys I hid before vacation. Biggest adjustment is I can no longer work outside for hours on end! I am learning to set reasonable goals and say that’s enough. It is a battle sometimes .. the mind is still listings things to be done , but the body is saying .., please stop!
    But I am grateful! I am grateful to be healthy and still moving and working part time. I am grateful to still garden and enjoy outdoor activities. As I approach the next decade I realize. Don’t need permission to relax and read a book. It really is ok , in fact it us healthy! So at almost 70 I am still learning! Thankful for each day !

    Please don’t toast the mushrooms over the fire! πŸ˜‚Have a very happy birthday! πŸŽ‰ 🎈 πŸŽ‚

    * subscriber email response

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    1. I'm so happy you're here. I absolutely agree with you about listening to your body instead of focusing on that ever-present list. And not needing permission to relax, to read, or toast marshmallows over the fire!

      Here's to 70! Have a wonderful birthday celebration. You've earned it, girl.
      πŸ₯³

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  21. I am so terrible at monotasking. But as I get older I'm getting a little better.

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    1. It's like slowly but surely, we have no choice. Here's to not beating ourselves up and not getting overwhelmed. All will be well.
      🌻

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  22. As I grow older, I find that multi-tasking overwhelms me, and remembering and recalling words is starting to become a challenge.
    Love those marshmallows...er... mushrooms! πŸ„πŸ„

    Hugs and blessings, Linda

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    1. It's always good to know that we're not the only one, isn't it, friend ...
      😎

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  23. I smiled at marshmallows. so funny. But I am right with you no longer being able to multitask - yet did we ever do that well before?

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  24. Happy Birthday Linda! Your messages are always valuable to me and I love meeting you on tour porch and connecting. I turned 52 earlier this month. I quit dying my hair about a year ago, and have embraced my salt and pepper. For funnzies, I want to tell you that I've had my natural white "skunk strip" since I was sixteen.
    Thank you so very much for sharing marshmallows & mushrooms with Sweet Tea & Friends this month my dear friend.

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    1. I'm liking salt and pepper more and more!
      πŸ§‚πŸŒΆ️

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  25. Oh cool! Thanks, Maree! What a fun surprise.
    🀩

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