Stop The Shrinkage

Stop The Shrinkage

Once born, we are receptive to everything. Through our school days we are taught day after day to increase our knowledge. We grow with every new experience and life event. All our lives we are urged and supported to grow and improve. A funny thing happened when I became a family caregiver. I began to shrink.

Not physically but in all other ways that count. As weeks became months and years, my worldview narrowed. My social circle shriveled to my immediate family. Moving back home from another state did not help. Any ambition I had wilted in the face of daily care challenges. Desire and time for hobbies withered away to nothing.

Did I feel this shrinkage happening? No and I suspect many caregivers don't. We're too busy coping. That's all we do. We cope.

Until one day you catch yourself thinking, "Is this all there is? Is this all I'm meant to be?"

I remember spending a whole day thinking about this. Nothing like a bit of self examination to (cattle) prod yourself into action.

The first year of caregiving was my unintended Walden Pond experiment. There was certainly solitude, simplicity, and intentional living. I learned a lot about life and myself. But after adjusting to the caregiving life, what then?

Caregiving tired my body but left my mind to vegetate untended and static. I dived into online courses. Whatever piqued my curiosity was fair game. The more I learned the more optimistic I felt. I was learning and growing again. The shrinkage had been halted!

We are fortunate to live in the Internet age. I took courses on Coursera, Open University, EDX, Udemy, ITunes U, and Open Culture.

If you feel like the hamster toiling away in his exercise track getting nowhere, explore online courses. They're a good way to switch your mind away from caregiving tedium, learn a new skill, and - most importantly - keep yourself ever-growing.

Like this article? Share on social