Are you Tethered to old habits or a usual way of doing things? I would venture to say that most of us have certain routines that we covet, especially on work/school days. That predictable sense of doing often provides comfort and likely helps us to keep our infamous ‘to-do’ lists in check. If we go about our business in the same order, we are less likely to forget things, which at middle-age, seems to be more of a problem than in our younger years. Speaking for myself at present, I know that if my morning work routine gets changed up (i.e. my husband is at home vs. gone to work) it really seems to throw me off of my game because it’s not what I am used to. I think it would be fair to say that on average the older we get, the more set in our ways we become (partly out of necessity, as I am learning.). However, it’s important to remember that changing things up every now and again can keep us on our toes and expose us to new, even better ways that we might not have otherwise considered.
The other day, when I was reading a blogpost on a fellow bloggers’ site, he was talking about his retirement years (20+ now) and how he and his wife wake up each day and say, “What can we do that is interesting today?”. Irwin, my WordPress friend, attributes their willingness to try new things and keep active to their seven plus decades of happiness. What a great way to start out each day and certainly food for thought if you find yourself stuck in a rut, as he alludes to in his post.
While routines serve their purpose and we tend to rely on them in our daily lives (i.e. taking medication, catching the train, lunchtime, brushing our teeth, etc.), it is also good to keep things fresh and exciting by trying different ideas. Sometimes, changing the smallest of things can elicit a new-found, unexpected appreciation for a once mundane habit. For example, taking a different route to/from work might lead you to discover a more scenic landscape or less traffic lights to have to stop at, thereby making the trip faster.
So today/tonight, I would like to challenge myself and others to follow Irwin’s advice, and ask what it is that WE can do to make each day special/unique/different. Here is how my challenge has gone over the past two days (I got a bit of a headstart):
Day one, yesterday, I bought supplies and tried painting a beach scene. Now, that is something very new for me, as I have only ever completed one painting as an adult and it was an easy step-by-step one for our bedroom wall. While the palm tree that I included on my blue-hued canvas is a little Charlie Brown-like, it surely resembles one (perhaps a meager one, but a coconut palm nonetheless). Personally, I think the tree trunk turned out the best.
Today, day two, I jogged one minute and walked for three during my morning exercise routine. While I have taken to jogging before now, I haven’t done so in quite some time. I must say that it felt good to break free from my boring winter treadmill routine and hit the gravel roads outside at a decent pace! I automatically felt lighter. Then again, it could have been the sheer humidity in today’s air that helped melt off an eighth of a pound.
Tomorrow, I am thinking about trying an apple pancake recipe that I’ve wanted to try for a while now, but haven’t had the time to make. After all, who can go wrong with apples and cinnamon for breakfast, or any given time, for that matter?!
So, what is it that you plan to do to tomorrow to create some added variety in your life? Or, maybe your daily motto has always been to delve into something different? Either way, enjoy! I’ll let you know how the pancakes turn out:-).
Smooth sailing? Not always.
Worth the ride? Of course!
Lessons learned? Without a doubt.
Twists and turns? Hopefully.
A one-time journey? Yup.
Make the most of it? One should.
Write about it? You could;-).
Share with others? Highly recommended!!
Count your blessings? Indeed.
How many times have we found ourselves in situations wherein we wish we could take something back? A few choice words, a scornful look, an awkward handshake, a wrong name, a bad lane change, a premature text, a distasteful joke and the list goes on. What’s interesting, of course, is how we all choose to deal with it once it ‘comes out’, so to speak? Do we Scamper, make excuses, own it, hide, turn red-faced, apologize or simply ignore/disregard that it even happened? We did a lot of ignoring in my family and not a lot of apologies were ever given that I remember, anyway. Not surprisingly then, the same pattern of ‘ignorance is bliss’ would follow me into young adulthood. Also, not surprisingly, it turns out that ‘sweeping things under the carpet’ does NOT work well. Especially in relationships. And so, I have worked hard over the past couple of decades to recognize and avoid this self-defeating behaviour. Here’s the lesson that I have learned when my words/actions don’t always reflect well: Own it, apologize if necessary and/or if the situation warrants it, and move on. Not always easy, though. right?
Just recently, I had a discussion with a group of children who found themselves cast into the role of this everyday life debacle, wherein hurtful things were said to another and the situation needed to be resolved. The truth is that some kids were not even aware that there was an issue, that it had affected another person in a negative way and that it had to be addressed appropriately. Let’s face it, even as adults, we don’t always discern how our words/actions may have impacted others. This is how our talk went….
We all have the ability to think for ourselves, to make decisions, to process, to problem-solve, to question, to consider, etc. This complicated, discreet gift, the gift of thought, is definitely a characteristic that separates us from others in the animal kingdom and it has served and will continue to serve a great purpose for us as humans. Because it is a gift and because it is private, no one EVER knows exactly what another is thinking. Pretty cool since it allows us to inwardly explore a wide spectrum of thoughts and emotions, as we navigate our way through life. But with that realization comes a sense of responsibility, as only WE can be accountable to ourselves for what goes on in our minds. On the other hand, what we say aloud and what we do also makes us accountable to others, whether we like it or not. Therefore, it is extremely important to remember a few simple steps to ensure that what we put out in the world reflects the best possible ‘us’, as that will be the same form of energy that comes back to ‘us’.
Interestingly enough, my sense post-discussion was that some children became more aware of what had happened and the far-reaching effects, which is all that I can ask for as awareness means, in turn, that there is the possibility of acknowledgement and we all know that simple acknowledgement is often half the battle that we fight with others and more importantly, ourselves. A powerful life lesson for us all, without a doubt.
The decision was unbearable, the reality inconceivable. What would I do now? How would I go on? My world was/would be forever changed…
The tearful drive home was a blur. It was 5AM, three years ago to this day. I didn’t know if I was coming or going. The rain didn’t seem to either. I really just wanted to curl up and hope for a miracle such that all would be well and he would come back to me again. But, I knew better and that’s what hurt the most. He and I were finally separated after spending nearly seventeen years together–he was always “Two Steps Behind“, my buddy, my companion, my lifelong friend through it all–it just wasn’t right. It would NEVER be right again.
While I wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and hide from the world forever, I dreaded the idea of opening up our garage door that led inside. Inside to what? It wouldn’t be home anymore. And, it was exactly as I had feared. After hanging up my coat, I slumped down on the stool by our front door. It was the loudest silence EVER and I hated it! No jingling sound, no panting…no Duke. The ensuing feeling of literal and figurative emptiness took me aback and suddenly the saying, “The life was sucked out of me” was all too real. The walls, the floor, the ceiling used to come alive with his energy, even for an old fella, and now everything seemed limp, barren and soooo eerily quiet. Too quiet. I’ve never known quiet like that before. I wept even harder. More than the sheets of rain outside. ‘See?’ Even the world knew that it was a day for mourning the passing of my dear shepherd cross pup lovingly named Duke.
I tried sleeping, but I couldn’t. How could I rest when he wasn’t here anymore? So, I did what I am doing now. I wrote. It was the only solace I knew. I wrote a tribute to him. He needed to know how much I loved him and how much he meant to me and how much I would miss him and still do. That story became our book. The book about how him and I grew up together. The book about the ‘bestest doggy’ ever that a blonde girl could want for. The dog with the softest ears and the biggest heart–the heart that opened me up to the notion of what unconditional love really meant. The dog that brought me to our home out in the country and to a husband who, like him, loves me unconditionally. For that, I am fur-ever grateful to him:-).
After writing all day, recounting some of our countless memories together leaving some of them off of the paper for just him and I to have and to hold, the daylong rain stopped. A Reprieve. And, sure enough…out came the sun, along with most vivid double rainbow that either my husband or I have ever witnessed. It was a sign. It had to be. We both felt it. With it, the silence softened, the emptiness lifted and the world seemed okay again. He had made his journey. He was okay. We would be okay. I would be okay, thanks to him once again:-).
“Bye, Dukie. Love you! Have a good day. See you when I get home.”