Sharpen the focus

In my youth (roughly 15-55), I was blessed with an abundance of energy, like a dog I knew that was very large and always very happy to see me (or anyone else). What he lacked in intelligence he made up for with enthusiasm.

Now in middle-age (roughly ten years either side of now), lights aren’t as bright, hills seem steeper, sounds are more muffled, and my memory is no longer “on call,” but rather “on break.” Fortunately, there’s intentionality.

When my mom began chemotherapy, her oncologist said she would lose her hair. She took cancer in stride but she was determined not to lose her hair. I humored her stubbornness and she tolerated my skepticism. She died months later without losing one follicle. I’m just sayin’.

Another word for intentionality is focus. Focus is life’s lesson for middle age. When tasks overwhelm, when bad news comes in waves, when things don’t work out, when ignorance or injustice abound … I tell myself: focus. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other.

Harry Denman’s intentionality (yesterday’s post) reminded me of John Wesley and Wesley’s mentor William Law, who taught Wesley the importance of intention, or will. Law showed Wesley how to sharpen his focus. Tomorrow’s post will focus on William Law.

From “How to Sharpen Your Focus This Year,” by Annie Zelm, Writer’s Guild at, January 22, 2021 (photo of Haddie, Zelm’s dog)

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