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Parents, especially mothers, tend to be blamed (or praised) for how children turn out, but James Hillman takes issue with this mind set. Of course they have a strong influence, but he claims it is a fantasy that “the primary instrument of our fate is the behaviour of your mother and father.” 

Trouble falling asleep? Hard to stay asleep? Common causes are anxiety and worry (the “ruffled mind” quotation above by Charlotte Brontë), aging, illness and medication, snoring, and sleep apnea. As we get older, we tend to spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep, less time in deep sleep resulting in feeling tired during the day, and less time in dreaming. We may also be sleepier in the early evening and wake up earlier in the morning.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s words above are right on target. When we stop engaging with others, and stop doing things that have meaning and purpose for us, we start to shrivel up. Our elder years can be a time to find new ways of engaging with others, and better aligning who we are on the inside with what we do in the outside world. We can try on other ways of doing and being and becoming.

Feeling sad and weepy at retirement is more common than you might think. Men especially may experience this, because they tend to have just a few roles outside of work other than husband, father, and brother, but women, too, can feel lost without a job.

Who am I when I’m not doing what I used to do?

I can’t think of a worse design than laptops for creating poor posture, aching shoulders, neck and back, sore wrists and fingers, and eye strain, but there are solutions. Using a laptop for an hour or two each day will likely not create problems. Extended use is another matter. The screen is too low, the keyboard is separated from the user by the touch pad and hand rest, and the keyboard is likely sitting on top of a desk, which is too high for shoulders, forearms, and wrists.

Improving the situation

If sitting is so bad for us, how can we easily and reasonably incorporate more standing and walking? For starters, stand at least a little while each day when using a computer. To try it out, stack up books to raise your keyboard and monitor to a comfortable working height. Then consider a standing desk that can be adjusted between sitting and standing.