To me this means that we should strive to EXPAND our interests, our knowledge, our activities for as long as we are here. We need to actively try to leave our comfort zone, trying something new every once in awhile, meeting new people, finding new sources of information, and more.
I feel lucky that I can learn new things every day simple by being curious on my computer. I enjoy it SO much I have to be careful not to be sucked into a rabbit hole, reading one thing that leads me to another until a good amount of my day is gone.
I don’t want to color with fewer and fewer crayons, allowing my world to gradually implode around me.
I’ve been having a wonderful time for several weeks now, making Christmas presents for my friends. I got the idea for the theme of the presents several months ago, and ideas have been rattling around in my brain ever since.
I finally ordered the materials I needed and began to play as soon as they arrived. I looked on the net for some reference pictures for some of my ideas, and then began drawing my ideas with pencil. There are two sides to each present and 8 friends, so there was a lot of drawing.
I’ve been painting for about three weeks now, having a truly wonderful time in my art room. I’m not in any hurry. My goal is to make some progress on the project each day, but enjoying every minute of the process. I’m about to finish ‘Side 1″ of the 8 presents.
Making time to have FUN each day is important to your soul, your sense of worth, your outlook. It’s a buffer against whatever challenges with which you are dealing, replenishing strength and resilience you’ll need. A time for JOY gives you peace of mind, if only for a little while each day – a coping mechanism that is priceless.
I used to put time in my art room, time for reading, listening to music, playing in my garden or yard, writing this blog on my to-do list WHEN I COULD MAKE THE TIME – if possible when my work and other obligations are under control. Now I consciously make time to at least ONE of the things I love on a daily basis. I feel stronger, happier, and more alive since I switched my priorities.
NOTE: I have to admit (shhhhh!) I felt guilty when my husband came in for batteries for his remote for the TV this morning and had Amber hair all over the front of his shirt from getting down on the carpet to work in the area under the TV in the entertainment center. Looks like I should make time to vacuum the first floor carpet today…. :0)
My parents were both only children. They had my brother and me so we “could keep each other company,” but then unconsciously fostered intense competition and rivalry between us. The end result was that we were never close, and got the strong idea that our worth depended on what we had accomplished lately and how that compared to each other. We both knew they loved us. That was never a question. But the competition lasted throughout our lives.
My parents wanted us to do well in school. This meant ‘grades’ to them. I learned to value what I had actually LEARNED and the fact that I knew how to learn more throughout my life, but I guess that was the easiest way to measure how we were doing THEN. My brother brought home almost straight A’s throughout his schooling. I brought home a “C” in math one quarter. There was a distinct coldness and withdrawal of affection until the next grading period (9 weeks) when I was able to bring my grade up. When I went to college, earning enough for my first semester each year teaching swimming during the summers from the time I was 14 through the end of college, by brother got a full scholarship to the University of Colorado and was a Rhodes scholarship finalist. He ended up with a doctorate, of course. :0)
I have always felt that my worth depended on what good I had done lately, rather than any idea that I was ‘enough’ just as I was. I was eager to please my parents, and that meant grades, honors, accomplishments. I was eager to please my husband, too, and wasn’t happy unless he was noticing what I was doing. The only area where I dropped the self-doubt was when I was teaching.
I taught in the public schools on the north side of Tulsa OK for eight years. I fell in love with my students. Since my kids there lived pretty tough lives, totally different that I had enjoyed, they didn’t see the need to learn to read or do math, or write, or think. I had to get really ‘creative’ to come up with ways to show them why they would be happier, stronger, and more in control of their lives if they would give me a chance to work with them. Every day I forgot who I was, immersed in trying to take them from where they were, give them what they needed to move forward, and listen to their concerns. I never felt I was ‘enough,’ but I felt good about what I did.
Now that I’m older than dirt, I realize that each person brings a package to the table. Each of us has a different set of skills, hopes, dreams. And each of us is valuable because of it. THAT is enough.
Even if I had read this years ago, when I was in junior high, I wouldn’t have been smart enough to heed the wisdom of it.
I’ve spent most of my life waiting. When I was in junior high (14 years old) I met my husband-to-be just before he joined the Marine Corps. I waited for a letter each day. I would watch out the window for the mailman. He knew I was in love – and was a wonderful guy – so he would break the rules and put the red flag on the mailbox up if there were a letter from him for me. He would grin ear to ear as I came flying out of the house, running down the driveway to get the mail.
I waited for my husband-to-be to get leave from the Marines, when I could start to live again. We were inseparable, of course, watched carefully by both sets of parents, until he had to leave again. I remember one leaving-taking in particular, when my mother-in-law-to-be allowed me to ride to the airport with them and see him off. I cried my heart out, nose against the glass as his plane went down the runway.
When he got out of the Marine Corps, I went to Oklahoma State University. He went to the University of Tulsa, so I waited for weekends and holidays. My parents said I had to finish school before we could marry. They finally compromised when a program opened up where I could do my practice teaching in Tulsa, and we were married. I waited so long to marry him that I cried on the way back down the aisle that we were finally together and I could begin to live.
I feel stupid typing this. I wasted so much of my life ignoring what was around me, focused on the next time my life ‘would start.’ How much I missed, marking days off the calendar until the next “big thing” in my life. I’ve spent a lot of my working life wishing Mondays away, waiting for Fridays. Waiting for vacations. Wishing days, weeks, months and years away.
So, even though I was too stupid to realize what I was doing, or unable or unwilling to change my behavior if I DID realize, I think living in the moment is THE most important thing I have ever learned. Better late than never. Better some than none.
NOW is what is important – the people you are lucky enough to know and love – what is happening right – this – minute.
Wring every drop of joy out of whatever you are lucky enough to have.
“It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay If you’re lost, we’re all a little lost and it’s alright It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay If you’re lost, we’re all a little lost and it’s alright”
Our weather is yo-yo-ing, not sure whether we’re still in the fall or at the beginning of winter. Storms are due this evening into tomorrow, with record high temperatures here today and a cold front coming though. Mother Nature is really in a snit lately. We will hopefully have a quiet day with a very wet evening. Right now it’s really beautiful outside. I’ll try to get out to play today.
One of my dear friends from Lunch Bunch fell last week. Our medical community is giving her the run-around on giving her some real help. She needs an MRI to find the extent of the damage, but it isn’t scheduled until NEXT Monday. Meanwhile, she’s in pain and can’t keep pain medicine down. Her husband took her to Ft. Smith yesterday to see if they could get some help. I will call her later to find out if they were successful. I want to FIX her, help her to quit hurting, help her to feel sassy again.
I’m now waiting to schedule another health test. My ‘adult’ side peaks her head out, mainly during the day. At night, I’m at the inner child’s mercy. I came down in the middle of the night and read for about an hour to chase away scary and dark thoughts. Happily, during the daytime, I’m MUCH better able to find joy.
I had a nice chat with our son this morning, who lives and works in Thailand. We are so lucky to be so close to him, even though we’re physically across the world from each other. We can talk about anything, help each other handle what life gives us, encourage each other, even giving virtual hugs.
I’m having such a hard time lately getting things done. My list is down to ‘have-to’s,’ and I’m really having trouble getting one of them accomplished each day. The reason? ‘The Voice’ and ‘____’s Got Talent.‘ Why? I’m fighting feeling down. When I sit at my computer and listen to super-talented people singing their hearts out and being appreciated by ‘experts’ and people in the audience, my heart just fills up. The sad feelings don’t have room to stay.
Yesterday I did bookkeeping – my have-to for the day. I put in my ear buds, chose a “Voice” compilation at random and did my work while my heart healed. By the time the bookkeeping was up to date, I was smiling, filled with awe at the amazing talent all around us.
I may be procrastinating on things that are waiting for my attention, but I’m a happier person for it.