Written by Annie Laskey, Events Director, Pasadena Senior Center
It has been a wild and woolly few weeks. As the world swirls in uncertainty, I’m almost afraid to look at a newspaper or listen to the news. Between COVID and politics (not to mention everything else going on in the city, the country, and the world), the horrible and hopeful are chaotically jumbled and can’t be untangled. Parties and dance and travel seem like they might finally be again within reach – if only we can hang on long enough. Contemplating the future through the fog of uncertainty is exhausting, if not downright frightening.
“Mindfulness, ” the practice of staying in the moment, is more important than ever during this turbulent time. As some people get vaccinated and others can’t even get on a list, as some things open up and others don’t, as patterns we’ve reluctantly settled into over the last ten months get disrupted but not replaced, it is vital that we find ways to stay as sane as we can. The future (whether exciting or scary) shouldn’t be ignored or dismissed, but there are times when being in the present is what is called for.
Call it mindFULness or mindLESSness, allowing yourself to completely unplug for a day – or at least an afternoon - can be restorative. Unplug not only from news, but from tasks and to-do lists, from Zoom and email and smartphone. Give yourself permission to take a break from what you are doing – or not doing – every day. Try revisiting an old hobby. That’s what I did this past weekend, and it was like taking a vacation.
I spent hours last Saturday stringing beads for a necklace. I have always loved jewelry, and at various times over the years have tried my hand at making it. Some people have a talent for design - but I am not one of them. Long ago I discovered my talents lie in curating objects, not creating them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try my hand at crafting from time to time. I never got rid of the bead and beading materials from my youth, and every few years I get them out and play. This was one of those times.
I’m a big fan of ancient Egyptian art, and I have a pair of museum-reproduction earrings I bought at an Egyptian exhibit in New Orleans pre-Katrina. I decided it was finally time to make a necklace to match. I spent hours happily pairing crystal beads, acquired on a trip to Egypt in 2005, with agate and turquoise and lapis from discarded necklaces I’d unstrung over the years. It was a pleasure to enjoy the color, beauty, and texture of the beads, but also to recall the happy memories of past travel and friends that the beads carry with them. For at least a few hours, I was relieved of the strain of worrying about the future, and as a bonus I have an Egyptian-style necklace to wear the next time I watch “The Mummy.” And I call that a win-win situation.