November 24th: Thanksgiving
I want to share a poem the Fitness Director at my gym sent out in his Thanksgiving posting. I believe it is very appropriate and reflects how I feel at this stage in my life. I hope it resonates with you too.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
November 17th: Changes
I have always been one who is able and willing to accept change in my life. I like the thrill of learning about new places, building new homes, remodeling existing homes, meeting new people, new jobs and companies and everything that goes along with new beginnings.
However, there are some things I like to be constant in my life. I love having my fur babies around me; long-term friends who know and understand my quirkiness but love me anyway; a stable partnership; a steadiness in values and morals that dictate my actions. These things balance me with all the change I crave.
When one of these stabilizing influences disappears it is a change that I have a hard time accepting. I said goodbye to another fur baby today. She was special in so many ways. Brandi came to us so damaged from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her prior owners. I like to think that we made her life better, happier and easier. I spent lots of time on the floor with Brandi just letting her sniff me, snort on me, rub her eyes all over my clothes and lay on top of me. These are the things that made her feel safe, loved and secure. I learned so much about how to let another being just be and not force her to be what I wanted her to be. Brandi came to us as a damaged senior citizen. I like to think she left us happy, content, at peace and feeling very loved.
This type of change is not one I like. It is hard. But, it is also a part of the circle of life. My life will continue with fond memories of Brandi’s time here. When I feel sad I will draw on the strength I get from my other constants in life – friends, activities, and the knowledge that there is another fur baby out there waiting for me.
November 10th: Pay It Forward
I have taken up the game of Pickleball. I am not a great player but I am an experienced and fun player. I don’t take it so seriously that I get upset if my partner misses a shot. I like to be inclusive and invite others who may not otherwise have a partner to play with me regardless whether it is their first time playing or they are an experienced player. I am happy to introduce people to the game and explain the rules. I believe it is my responsibility as a player to help others.
I also believe it is the responsibility of those who are better than other players to spend some time playing with less experienced people to offer insight, pointers, and create a cadre of excellent players who will ultimately challenge them in future games. Alas, this does not happen as a matter of course. In fact, the opposite is true most of the time.
When a player attains a certain level in a sport it seems to me that they isolate themselves to playing only with those as good as they are or better. They don’t want to play with those whose skill level is below theirs thinking it will drag them down resulting in a less than enjoyable playing experience.
I have experienced this first hand. I don’t like players implying that I will hold them back if they play with me. I do not like seeing other players left on the sidelines waiting for someone to play with because the “really good” players don’t want to play with them. What is this high school? It sure reminds me of the clichés that existed back then.
Why as adults do we still feel the need to create and perpetuate that mindset? It makes no sense to me. As adults we are expected to be mature, act it and pay it forward. We are role models for those coming behind us. We should always be aware of opportunities for us to be inclusive not exclusive.
Please, remember how you felt when you were new at a sport, in a new neighborhood or in a new job. Who helped you learn the ropes, meet people and improve your station? I am sure you did not do it alone; if you did do it alone, kudos to you. You are the exception. Most of us require the help of others to grow. Please take some time and “Pay It Forward.”
November 3rd: Conserve Your Energy for the Marathon of Life
Age and experience have provided me with a powerful sense of being comfortable with who I am and where I am in life. This was not always the case. Sadly, I see and engage with young people who did what I did “back in the day.” They worry excessively about everything, just as I did.
The worry wart in me didn’t stress over one single thing but everything. Work, home, friendships, family were all laid out on the worry menu. Reflecting back on all of the time I spent worrying about anything and everything I realize most of the worry was based in my own insecurities. Would my work measure up? Would I be good enough as a friend, companion, life partner, sister, employee, supervisor and a valued contributor in life?
Headaches, stomach aches, intestinal issues, cancer, ulcers, and numerous other maladies afflicted me during these “worry times.” I had such a difficult time accepting who and where I was that I felt lacking in every aspect of life.
If I have learned anything over these years it is that Life is a Marathon not a sprint. Marathon runners learn how to conserve their energy by moving at a smo0th and steady pace allowing them to finish the race. The same is true in life. If we are to survive we must conserve our energy, always moving forward but at a pace that ensures we make it the distance.
How do we conserve? Easier said than done, that is for sure. Research has proven that stress is a killer. I believe many of the medical issues I experienced were the result of a body worn frail from worry. Life is filled with tumultuous situations we may not be able to avoid. But, as I have said in other posts, how we respond to those challenges is what is important. Will we be responsive through careful thought and planning or will we be reactive with anger, frustration and knee jerk responses?
Guess which one creates more stress on your mind and body, relationships and your life in general? Indeed, the reactionary response does.
As I engage with younger people today I feel it is my duty to help them see, if they are willing, that logic and thoughtful analyses of the curveballs life throws their way if the best approach to dealing with them. If we apply calm and logic to situations, and not immediate emotionally charged reactions, we are on our way to conserving the energy required for this marathon life we are all running.