Last day on Earth…

PostivitethinkingImagine today was your last day on earth, and you were being asked to write your obituary that the entire world would read- what would your obituary look like?  Would it speak of the great friends that you’ve made, the loving family you were leaving behind and/ or crazy adventures that you’ve experienced.   Would it tell the story of a survivor, a warrior, a caring friend, or maybe the trials you had to endure to accomplish your many goals?  Perhaps it would speak of a horrifying moment that made you the person you are today, or a scary illness that forever changed the direction of your life.

For many, being asked to write their obituary would be a scary and daunting task that they would rather not do.  It’s asking a person to reflect on their life and put onto paper what they have accomplished and describe the type of person that they have grown to be.  Not a task for the faint of heart.  We all have positive and negative attributes that we battle with on a daily basis, as well as embarrassing moments that we wish we could erase.  Things we wish we had or had not done, things we have been planning to do for years, but just have never actually put into motion.  Thinking of your obituary allows you to reflect on the life that you are currently living and make the nefearcessary changes to live the life you’ve always wanted.

For me, this task was both scary and enlightening.  After sitting down and making a list of the things that I have accomplished in life, and a list of things that have guided me to become the person I am today, I decided to go further and expand this thinking by creating an obituary of the person I want to be. Although I can’t change my past decisions or events, I do have the power to create an amazing future for myself.

I began by first deciding what elements in life were most important to me and decided that I wanted my life to revolve around the exploration of different cultures, adventure, happiness, personal growth and challenges.  I then moved on to listing the qualities that I’d like to be known for as well as the areas of my life that I wanted to create change in; career, family, financial, activism, travel and fitness.  By setting up a list under each of these headings, I was able to put together a plan to achieve the life that I was looking for and focus on how to make these goals come to light.

I believe that positivity attracts positivity, and light attracts light.  In a world filled with uncertainty and quite often despair, it is easy to lose sight of our own personal goals, and instead, get caught up in the rat race that dictates exactly how your life should be and what you should be doing.  To me, this doesn’t make any sense.  Life is a story, each year a new chapter, each day a new sentence, and we should be entitled to write the book of our choosing.  Using this obituary concept, I was able to take a deeper look into my existence and create a plan towards a new, refreshing lifestyle. adventure-1836596_1920 copy

Want to know if my plan worked? Stay tuned for weekly updates!

A Leap of Faith- RetroScripts

fearI’ve had many people ask me how RetroScripts came to be. I can honestly say that it was my frustration and anger towards not being able to help ease the fear that people encounter in life, my need to find a purpose in the world and personal soul searching that lead me to create this business.

During my time working at Long Term Care Facilities, I cared for many elderly residents who were often confused and scared due to Alzheimer’s and Dementia. More often than not it was a terrifying experience for both the resident and their families.

The anxiety attacks, frustration, and outbursts of anger that I witnessed struck deep in my heart.  The people whom I was caring for would often wake up scared, crying and searching for reminders of the person they once were.  I can remember several nights driving home from work with tears streaming down my face because I just didn’t know what to do or how to help. I began daydreaming on these drives, trying to come up with things that I could do to make life more manageable for these people.  On a particularly stressful day shift, I met a lady who was 98 years old and suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease.  She would often wake up in the morning and lash out at the people who were caring for her.  She would hit, scratch, and kick at us, but from looking in her eyes, I knew that this behaviour didn’t come from a place of hatred, but instead a place of fear.  That shift I sat and I wrote a short story for her that included a synopsis of her morning routine, who her family was, random facts about her personality, as well as her likes and dislikes. Although this didn’t help to retrieve any memories that were tucked behind her fog, it seemed to calm her down, and the reading of this book became a part of her agonymorning routine.  She no longer kicked, scratched or hit us, and instead would listen to the book and attempt to follow the instructions within it or just sit in a calm state.

I currently work at a Hospice in the GTA and a lot of my time is spent trying to make people as comfortable and as peaceful as possible in their final weeks, days or hours of their lives.  I love this job and have learned a lot from the people that I work with.  Not only is it rewarding to care for someone before they have a peaceful death, but it also is enriching to see the number of volunteers, caregivers, and professionals who come together during such a delicate time. I have witnessed all kinds of deaths, and I’m happy to report that most are peaceful, but there are those that are more difficult.  After speaking to many of the patients before they passed on, I learned that it wasn’t the fear of death itself that caused stress and anxiety, but instead, it was the fear of being forgotten.  The idea of leaving behind family, friends and loved ones who don’t know their life stories or who they truly were was what created a rift in their death experience.  One lady in particular shared with me her feelings on the idea that she would one day cease to exist.  She was excited for her journey into the unknown, and to relieve the pain that she felt, but was grief-stricken at the prospect of becoming just another obituary.  She found it hard to handle the thought that her grandchildren would never know her history or the adventures that she had taken.

All of these experiences, conversations and moments left me feeling determined and excited to launch a new path in my life.  I sat down and brainstormed ways to blend my English Degree, my Post Graduate Journalism Diploma with my PSW Diploma. I decided to take a leap of faith by starting my own business, and after many hours of deliberation decided to remain on at the Hospice, but quit my part time reception position at a Howretroblog1Physiotherapy Clinic.

RetroScripts began as a book writing business that records the stories of people living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia and those in End of Life Care.  After sitting down with each client and their families to voice record their life stories, and messages, the voice recording is then transcribed into a hardcover book complete with images and quotes.  I believe that these memory books are the perfect reference for someone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia during episodes of panic and stress. The messages from their caretakers, families, and friends can help ease them into a place of familiarity and calmness.  A person who is coming to the end of their life at home, in hospice or the hospital could benefit immensely with the opportunity to leave behind a special message for their friends and family. Their books could speak of their dreams, their past adventures, stories, secrets and reminders of who they are and who they wanted to be.

The idea behind RetroScripts led me to think that we shouldn’t wait for a tragedy to strike before recording these memories. A few months after it was launched, I expanded RetroScripts to include people looking to memorialise their weddings, anniversaries, births, milestones and family history.

I’m proud to say that RetroScripts continues to develop and grow as time goes by.  After speaking with a colleague at the hospice Christmas party about how much motivation boards have changed my life, I decided to create two workshops.  The first is a Motivation Board Workshop which uses boards with motivational images, quotes, and blurbs to curb the feeling of worthlessness and break down the circle of self-defeat that people with chronic illness or injuries often encounter.  The second is a vision board workshop that uses words, pictures, and quotes to create a clear path towards specific goals. Both of these workshops use visualisation to create the life people want and encourage others to network with like-minded individuals to work towards their goals.

I look forward to further expanding RetroScripts and spreading positivity, strength, and courage to my community and hopefully one day the world. As it continues to grow, so does my knowledge of people, specific illnesses and how to make life what you want it to be.  I look forward to working with and helping all of my future clients!      aspire.jpeg