My great grandfather, William Malrose Spencer I, was a hard working man, who had a lot of stress in his life. It is my understanding that he was a stern man, which was probably common for the times, but my guess is that he was a Type A personality. These days, we know that high stress and a Type A personality are sure fire ways to an early grave. I can’t say that my great grandfather died what would be considered an early death in 1922, but these days, it certainly would be considered young. He was 64 years old, when he dropped dead of a heart attack right after hauling a bunch of logs up to a fence so they could be used for repairs around the farm.
On first glance at the picture of him with his cows, I saw a strong man taking care of his animals. But this picture was taken just a short time before Great Grandpa’s death. How could a man look so strong one day, and be dead of a heart attack just a short time later. Upon closer examination, I noticed that he was smoking a pipe. I suppose that his smoking could have contributed to a heart attack…especially when added to his Type A personality and high stress lifestyle. So many things that can contribute to an early death, were virtually unknown to people just a few years ago.
These days, while we don’t always pay attention to the experts on health issues, we are told what things can be detrimental to our health. Quite possibly, if my great grandfather had known what things he was doing that were likely to lead to a heart attack, he would have lived his life a little differently. These days too, we know about things like CPR, aspirin, blood thinners, and heart medications. Any one of those things could have prolonged his life…even after the heart attack. Unfortunately, none of these things was available…or at least not in the current forms that we have these days. So when the heart attack happened, Great Grandpa was simply gone in the blink of an eye. It is entirely possible that when the attack happened, he was alone, and that nothing could have been done when he was discovered, but just as many people in those days have had their heart stop and no one knew what to do, so they died even though there were people with them. While mouth to mouth resuscitation was first introduced in 1740 to save a drowning victim, CPR was not developed until 1960. Before that, if there was no heartbeat, it was all over.
It seems so sad to me that people back then died when there was often a simple way to resuscitate them and save their life. People simply didn’t know it. Those techniques had not come about yet. I’m sure that when people learned of those things later, they felt a twinge of sadness over the loss of a loved one who might have been saved has they lived in a different day and age. I know that as new technology comes about now, I feel sad for those who could have been helped by it, but there is nothing that can be done now. It was how things were in that time.
My brother-in-law, Chris and sister, Allyn wanted a place on the mountain for quite some time now, and a few years ago they finally bought a place. Every year they spend as much time up there as they can, in both summer and winter. In fact, most of their Christmases are spent skiing…as soon as the more traditional things are over that is. The mountain has become the family’s getaway…a place of refuge, which is just what Chris had always hoped for.
The plan is to eventually build a cabin there. I don’t know if they plan to live up there full time, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all. I’m sure that when the cabin is built, it will be beautiful. I have seen some of Chris’ work, and it is amazing. Chris does beautiful stairways, and also does chain saw carving, so you don’t know what the post might look like. It might be a bear or a pine cone. It’s just hard to say, but it will be beautiful. About that, I have no doubt.
Chris has a job that is stressful in many ways, so being able to get away and enjoy some peace and quiet is very important. Maybe we all need that at times…stressful job or not. We all have different ideas of what is the best way to relax, and I suppose that is best too, or we would all be doing the same things. I can relate to the way Chris feels about the mountains, however. We may like different activities when we are in the mountains, but the mountains are a relaxing place for both of us, and our families.
Another thing that is high on Chris’ list of important things…being a grandpa. Chris, like most grandpas, loves those grandkids. They bring him so much joy and happiness. I know how that feels, and I know that as his family grows and new babies are added, the joy of being a husband, grandpa, dad, and father-in-law, will grow right along with it. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We Love you!!
I have never thought of myself as a Type A personality, and in reality I’m probably not even close, but as is the case with many people, I can find myself having trouble relaxing. There is just so much to get done in a day, and not enough hours to do it all.
Sometimes, I just can’t seem to give myself permission to slow down, until I drop. And of course, when I do sit down, I usually doze off. It’s like the minute my body isn’t in motion, it is just done. And yet, after 20 or 30 minutes, I feel like I need to do more. So, I often find myself still up at midnight or later. Probably because I tried to fit too much into my day…again.
People today, especially those who, like me, are cramming too much into a day, really need to learn to relax. I know how hard that is, believe me, but it is so important. Being overworked leads to stress, which leads to a multitude of health issues, so I am working, not on getting caught up, but on better planning of my day. And maybe, just maybe, on taking the occasional moment to do something just for me. Learning to relax…at least a little.
When everything around me is in chaos, and I feel like I am being pulled in several different directions at once, I find the need as I’m sure most of you do, to escape to a place of peace. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could just fly off to somewhere exotic every time life got a little stressful? Unfortunately for most of us, that isn’t feasible, and well…how many Calgone bubble baths can a person really take? And yet, we can all relate to the woman in the commercial with all the screaming kids, barking dogs, and broken dishes, holding her aching head and begging to be magically taken to a peaceful place where she can be alone.
Sometimes, when life gets too stressful, we really do need to find a place to have some alone time. A great peaceful place can be as simple as a quiet room, just you and a good book…or in my case, my Kindle. Curling up with a good book, especially in the Winter cold, a warm blanket, and a nice fire, can be very soothing to the soul.
The great outdoors is another great place to find a peaceful place. A quiet walk on a trail near my home is so peaceful to me. My husband and I walk almost every day, and when we can be outside, well that’s perfect. We love to hike, and the mountain is the perfect get away without having to go far. Some people, like my cousin Greg and my brother-in-law, Chris, love to fish. Now being on the lake or by a river is quite relaxing to me, but that whole waiting for the fish to bite, not to mention the worm issue, puts fishing in the “I don’t think so” catagory for me, but, that’s what makes people unique. You guys are welcome to the fishing thing…I’ll just soak up the sun, thanks.
When I was a little girl, and still today, one of our family’s favorite things to do was to go up on the mountain for a picnic, and stay there into the evening sitting around the campfire roasting marshmellows and laughing about any funny stories we could think of, and believe me, there were quite a few. This was one of my Dad’s favorite things to do. Just the smell of the fire, and the comfortable companionship of family puts everyone in a relaxed mood. Now you can buy a fire ring to use in your back yard, and many people find that to be a geeat get away. In fact, Bob and I just bought one at the end of the summer, and I look forward to using it this summer.
In the hectic world we live in, if you don’t find a way to unwind, you will find yourself moody and depressed. But if you can unlock the secret to your own peaceful place, you can rejuvenate your spirit, and be ready to take on the world.