It’s About Time
In the Fall and Spring, I miss my grandparents most of all. It has nothing to do with the holidays or their birthdays, and everything to do with Daylight Savings Time. I'd call them each weekend from college, and at least three weeks before "the big change," they'd remind me to "Spring Ahead" or "Fall Back."
I'm sad to admit feeling twinges of impatience at the time. "After all," I'd think to myself, "I'm aware of what's going on in the world, and I'm not a child. Do they need to remind me every week?"
It turns out that they did indeed need to remind me, and that I was not so wise to the world as I thought. I've come to realize that the generation that birthed the song that could draw looks of ill-concealed teenage disdain from me knew some things about caring, as well as stating the obvious.
Have you ever heard the song "Button Up Your Overcoat?" This popular gem of the 1920's and 30's provides such revolutionary advice as: eat an apple every day, be careful crossing streets, and keep the spoon out of your cup when you're drinking tea. Who knew a song could give so much good advice that just practically listening to it could save your life? Well, it just might, but the key words aren't advice at all, but an affirmation.
It was what my grandparents were telling me when they reminded me about the time change, asked if I had made nice friends, and wanted to know if I was getting enough sleep. They were echoing the heart of the songwriter: "Take good care of yourself. You belong to me!"
In "The Health Benefits of Strong Relationships," an article published in the Harvard Health Newsletter, the author praises the benefits of social connections. "...they also influence our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet, and not smoking. Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer."
It seems that the presence or absence of these health-giving relationships is most keenly felt around the holidays. Some readers are likely feeling a twinge of sadness as they read this. If that is you, I imagine you might be thinking, "I'm alone. The people who cared about me are all gone." Or maybe, "I never had anyone like that in my life."
If this is the situation in which you now find yourself, I encourage you to reach out and foster or rekindle those relationships. You may find that simply being that caring person for another individual brings untold benefits your way: physical, emotional, and social. It's the perfect time of year to say or to hear, "Take good care of yourself. You belong to me!"