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My gift of jellies to you

Like many of you this past week, I am packaging baked goodies for friends and neighbors, mailing colorful holiday cards, and sending emoji-festooned emails featuring our family’s seasonal newsletter.

This year I’m also gifting several of those in my faraway friendship circle with a copy of the recently published book of Kate Baer poetry titled “I Hope This Finds You Well.” The phrase I said aloud after my first reading of the insightful 75- page tome was, “This book is simply remarkable.” I felt the same way the second time I read it. Consider giving the book to someone you care about. But read it first. This book is not for everyone. But maybe, it should be.

An illustration, the prologue is a quote from Maggie Smith that says, “How fragile it is the world — I almost wrote the word but caught myself. Either one could be erased.”

There is another form of gifting that seems appropriate to the season and to all of us as we try to embrace gracious aging. I offer to you a compilation of the ”Favorite Healthy Habits of 2021,” originally arrayed by Tara Parker-Pope in an opinion piece in the “Science Times” section of the New York Times.

The writer offers ideas that include: “Claim the Best Hours of Your Day,” which requires setting aside the time of the day you feel most energized and alert to “focus on personal goals and values.” It’ presented as “the ultimate form of self-care.”

There are other fresh, worth-considering suggestions, such as “take a gratitude photo,” one which displays something you appreciate and are thankful for — like your new puppy sleeping and snoring in front of a flickering fireplace. We do not have a new puppy in our household, but our neighbors do. I took a smartphone picture of Delilah — grateful, in fact, that the usually rambunctious pooch was in front of their fireplace and not ours.

More gifts include “ideas that heal.” Have you considered creating “a feeling list.” The recommendation is simple. Every day while you’re doing something you always do, such as brushing your teeth or making coffee, ask yourself, “How am I , really?” Think of a word that describes exactly how you’re feeling. Be specific; go for words that precisely fit your mood.

Today, for example, as I write this column, I’m feeling “content, expectant, curious.” The “curious” part comes from the fact I am not sure how I will wrap up (end) this gift/column I am giving you, dear reader.

Before I do that, I have one more self-gifting suggestion. Actually I have several, but this is my favorite. “Watch the jellyfish.” The original reference comes from the Emmy award-winning television writer Cord Jefferson. He attributes his improving emotional state to watching the Jelly Cam, which you can find at www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams/jelly-cam.

I am going there right now. The “gentle pulsing” of the jellies is soothing. I intend to stay watching this for a while.

I hope this finds you well.

Sharon Johnson is a retired health educator. Reach her at sharjohn99@gmail.com.