Insomnia

For a long time I had insomnia. Even though I was physically exhausted, I couldn’t sleep and kept tossing and turning in bed. When sleep finally came to me, there was probably only an hour before the alarm had to go off.

Family and friends told me to stop drinking coffee, but I wouldn’t hear of it — how could I function without my morning coffee?

But then it got to a point that I was so desperate for sleep that I finally decided to switch to decaf in the morning. Surprisingly, I was fine! I didn’t feel any different; I’m a morning person and even without my regular blend, I went to work full of energy. And I had a really good sleep that night as well.

That’s how I was convinced to make the switch to decaf.

However, what I want to understand is why did my body all of a sudden become overly sensitive to my beloved coffee?

Is it because I have changed my diet? I seldom eat red meat or drink soda or sugary drinks now. I haven’t had red meat in almost a year, soda in over a year!

Is it because of age?

I am still searching for the answer but grateful that now I can sleep again.

If you’re reading this because you have trouble sleeping, perhaps you can try changing something in your diet. Or habit.😉

Good luck!

T.

Responsibility, Emotional Maturity and Heartbreak

When someone I am genuinely close to (like one of my best friends or my sisters) makes what I think is a poor decision or does something I find childish, I tend to say, “Jeez, how old are you?” Of course, they are free to say the same thing to me when they think I’m being silly. But they have “nicer” words to say!

How old are you really?

We, humans, have three types of ages: chronological, biological and psychological age.

Our chronological age is the number of years we have been alive. Our biological age refers to the age of our body’s systems. Some people who are 50 years old may have the body (health) of a 40-year old. One who is 25 years old may have a biological age of 50. Finally our psychological age refers to our cognitive functioning and emotional maturity. Some people may be 50 but have the cognitive ability and emotional maturity of a teenager! ( Like someone I know who thinks he has the emotional maturity of a 13-year-old! Self-awareness is important though!)

This is just my observation: if a person does not like or fears becoming responsible for another person, it will be difficult for that person to reach emotional maturity. Being in a relationship where you are committed to one person whose happiness means more to you than your own happiness is a stepping stone to reaching emotional maturity. I think this is why most of us in our youth go through that period of becoming head over heels in love with somebody who later breaks our heart into tiny pieces that we feel can never be put back together again. But the truth is, as we find out, our hearts are only as resilient as we want them to be.

If we have gone through heartbreak and are mindful of our experiences, we can prevent ourselves from going through the same heartbreak again. Mindfulness is necessary in achieving emotional maturity. Something I learned in my early twenties as a young woman trying to become a nun which I value to this day is how we sometimes fall into a pattern of behavior, and I witnessed myself several times over the past decade almost getting suck into a pattern again. Fortunately for me, I have more responsibilities and commitments; I know my priorities, and I am much more aware of myself and my weaknesses.

My point is, one does not have to suffer so many heartbreaks if one truly endeavors to learn something from the experience.

You can extricate yourself from the pattern if you sincerely want to free yourself of it. But you have to want it. If you do not have other responsibilities and commitments you can anchor yourself into, it will be even more difficult to disentangle yourself from this pattern.

Are you stuck in a pattern? Does the same story of heartache keep playing out in your life?

Look within.

On Age, Music and Chemicals in the Brain

music

A few days ago, I came across this interesting post on serotonin and dopamine and was reminded of it yesterday as I was listening to the songs of Barry Manilow. (OK. Please. Just be patient with me. I do have a point I want to share.)

When I was younger (“…so much younger than today…”) whenever I heard Barry Manilow’s songs, I would sing along until I cried (Yeah, I was that disgustingly dramatic.) I would think of the guys that I liked but didn’t even know I existed, or the guys that I liked but were not free, or the only one that broke my heart to pieces. (Who would not cry listening to “Even Now” and “Somewhere down the Road”???)

Now that I’m in my 40’s and in a stable, loving relationship with my husband of 10 years, and together raising a child, I feel absolutely nothing when I hear the songs that used to make me cry and later make me smile. When I listened to those same songs yesterday, there was not even a sigh. Nada. It seemed like that part of my mind or my heart just disappeared!

My husband thinks it’s just because I’m over that time in my life. Well, I have been over that period in my life for years now. But I used to have fond memories of that time. Now, even that fondness is gone.

So I wonder if those chemicals in my brain are up to something, or I am just getting old or already old.

Do old songs still make you cry or smile or angry? Do they have any effect on you at all? 

On Living to be 100

image

A few weeks ago, a friend and I exchanged thoughts about living to be 100, and this was my reply: “Nah. I really don’t want to live that long. Not even if I’m healthy. I’m curious about what’s on the other side. If there’s nothing, then at least I won’t be disappointed. ” 

And my friend replied: “Consciousness is probably overrated. “

For Christians and other believers of an afterlife, death is not scary as it means reunion with the Creator. It means eternal life of happiness. (I came across this post about death a few weeks ago, and the writer beautifully expresses, not exactly the same but similar, thoughts that I have about life and death.)

I have no idea how many there are like me , but I am one of those who are more curious about what’s on the other side, rather than prolonging our earthly life. I am not saying though that I would willingly abandon my responsibilities as a mother, daughter, wife, sister, aunt. My point is, I simply prefer not to live too long.

However, I have thought about the possibility of living a longer life. I once met an 86-year old medical doctor, who was quite spry — travellling back and forth from the US to Asia, attending medical conferences, seeing patients, doing Zumba. She’s enjoying her life at 86. Would I want to be able to do that at 86?

With discoveries and inventions in the fields of science and technology, people are living longer and healthier lives.  Not only that, it probably won’t be long before immortality ceases to be mere imagination and becomes reality with the ability of human beings to create cyborgs.

If I could stay fit till I’m 100, perhaps I would be able to do all the things I would like to do but in which at the moment I am unable to indulge. I have talked about this with a friend. We both could not understand how people could be at a loss as to what to do when there’s so many interesting things to do when you have the time and health to do them

I’m not sporty nor sociable, so I do not need to be with so many people all the time. If I could live to be 100, I would spend my time reading all the books I’ve been meaning to read. I would take photographs of beautiful flowers and landscapes, learn more about the human brain, study astronomy, volunteer to help children with special needs and starving children, go.out for morning walks, watch the sunset, and write down my thoughts about all these things.

So does this mean I want to live to be 100?

No. Not at this time when humanity’s mortality is still very real, when one can still witness the human body aging, when you can still hear people groaning in pain and watch them suffer emotionally , as they struggle to remember dates and names of people they used to love so passionately,  and suffer physically as they can no longer move what used to be nimble limbs that made them jump, run, throw or catch or hit a ball.

Having a body that slowly stops functioning one part at a time is torture. Seeing it happen to others is a scary enough reminder that it can happen to you too.

So, no. I do not want to live to be 100. “Consciousness is overrated.”

How about you?

On Growing Old

“I grow old… I grow old…                                                                                                                                                             I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.”

-T.S. Eliot

I have a lot on my plate lately, and don’t have the time to be quiet nor to have a good conversation with people I can really talk with, so yesterday as I sat down to rest for a few minutes I thought about how many strands of white hair could be growing out of my head. I decided to just laugh about life instead of worrying about it. I’m not ready to dye my hair.

Beautiful winter afternoon sun in Jimei

Winter afternoon sun in Jimei

With every misfortune,
And every disappointment,
And angry and hurtful words,

With every neglect
And every apathy
And unwelcome silence,

I can feel white hair
Growing out of my scalp.
I swear I can hear each strand
As it wriggles its way out.

And I look at myself in the mirror
And I look for those strands of white
There’s one close to the right ear
And another one by the hairline,

And then there’s none.

Perhaps those two came out
Because I worried
That because I worried,
I would grow old.

Aging and Memories

IMG_0857

Iligan City, Philippines

 

I like being in my 40’s. Of course people will say it’s because I have no choice, but it’s more than that. I have embraced being 40 something, and am loving myself more and becoming more confident than I have ever been about myself. It’s great not to worry about what others think about what I’m wearing. I think that’s the biggest and silliest thing I ever worried about before. I still worry about whether people think I’m stupid. I know I can be stupid sometimes, I just don’t like it when other people say it. I’ve never really worried about what people think about what I do for as long as I enjoy what I’m doing. Especially now that I’ve been living in another country for the past 11 years, I’m not really bothered by what people back home or even in the country I’m in, think about my actions. Being a foreigner has given me the freedom to be what I want to be without hurting the sensibilities of those I care about back home. (Look, mom, I’m 42, happily married to a good man and have a cute little son! I can take care of myself.)

With age people tend to become forgetful. Sometimes I find myself forgetting what I did just a few minutes ago. I have to pause and think (usually aloud!) “What was I doing earlier?” I find that scary. But with age, too, some memories become even more vivid.

A few days ago I had early morning coffee with a friend. It was a beautiful, clear and breezy Monday morning, and the coolness of the air brought back memories of a certain bittersweet feeling that was so strong back then when I was feeling it, and seemed just as strong as I was recalling it. For a few seconds I was back in that spot where I stood 15 years ago, hearing the rustling of the leaves of the tall, thin trees as they swayed toward each other, the crackling of dried leaves as they were stepped on, and the tiny voice inside of me that was saying, “This is all so beautiful, I don’t want it to end”;and then the voice that ended it all when it said — “You know why this is so beautiful? It’s because we know it’s not gonna last.”

There are memories that we wish we could just forget, memories we wish we would remember forever, and memories that just appear when we least expect them. As we live each day we are creating new memories. We have no way of knowing whether they’ll be forgettable or unforgettable ones, but we can try to make good ones as we create them. October 16