Here’s your life…what’s your hurry?

Spring is in the air, that musty grass smell after being covered by snow.  The birds are chirping (quite loudly, I must admit) and there is this noise in the neighbourhood of children laughing and giggling and riding around on their bikes.  Spring is about renewal as everyone knows.  When others create their “New Year’s resolutions” in January, I wait until springtime to unveil to myself what my New Year’s persona is going to include.  After careful planning, intense deliberation, and weighing all the pros and cons I have decided that this is the year I will learn to slooooooooooooooow dooooooooooooooooown.  I am welcoming in my Year of the Snail.  How did I come upon this fascinating conclusion?  Sit back and relax while I tell you story.

Our tale begins with a middle-aged female, who, after years of dreaming and looking at pictures and requesting travelers to bring her postcards from their various vacationing destinations…finally got to travel to this place they all called “SOUTH”.  It was a wondrous place that this lady had heard about, where the sun continually shines, the water is pure majestic blue, the sand is soft, and there is nothing to do but smile and nap and do this bizarre action called “relaxing”.  Yes, so many very strange terms that the woman had never experienced before and yet here she was, ready to take this indiscriminate journey SOUTH.

Many tips and tricks were shared with the naïve female and her Wiseguy husband.  What to pack, how much to pack, where to go, what to do, where to eat, what to eat, health measures, first aid measures…her mind was overflowing with worry about this travel and if they would really be prepared for this overwhelming adventure.  After packing (over-packing truly), they spent a sleepless night and more tiresome day venturing before sunlight to the place where the metal birds fly you to this SOUTH place.  As tires touched ground at the destination, a tear slipped down her warm cheek.  She was SOUTH and it was like heaven on earth.

They stepped out of the plane into warm air.  No hail or snow, just glorious sunshine and palm trees.  She stared in amazement at the beauty of it all and had a hard time absorbing everything she was seeing.  “So this is SOUTH,” she thought and a calmness washed over her.  There was no fear of the unknown.  There was no more worry about what was packed.  For some strange reason, she knew everything would be wonderful here.  THE END.

THE BEACH

Yes, it’s all true.  I, the victorious lady in the story, was treated to a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic (Thank you Most Awesomest Wiseguy husband).  One of many hot places that we here from the North call SOUTH.  Truly a great experience with wonderful people to meet and also lots of quiet time to relax.  No thinking about shoveling snow.  No thinking about work.  No thinking about cleaning or chores.  Really, somehow your brain gets re-set to think about what is really important in life:  remember to have fun and enjoy this ride called life!

Life should not centre on work and bills.  We always make those our priority and they usually lead us to fret and stress and sleepless nights.  Breathing in and out (which we are very lucky to do on a daily basis) and actually taking in and appreciating beauty and the good things we have around us are what makes us happy and makes this “life” thing worth living.

I officially welcome you to the Year of the Snail!  Try it!  Live with less rush!  (Factoid:  a garden snail travels approximately 1.3 cm per second).  Breathe…in…breathe…out… and appreciate what you have.   Don’t overthink or overplan everything.  There may not be any roses to stop and smell, but sometimes just listening to your breath, and knowing your alive is oftentimes the most valuable gift you will have today.  Here’s your life…what’s your hurry?

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”  ~Lily Tomlin

Agitated, aggravated, annoyed, exasperated, irked, irritated…aaaahhhh!

Ever had one of those days when, for some reason, everything just seems to annoy you.  I mean everything.  The sun is too bright.  You hit every red light.  Your hot lunch gets cold.  Your phone rings too often.  You get phone hang ups.  You get everyone asking for something and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  Worst of all, every question that anyone asks you just seems irrelevant (basically stupid).  Well, my day started like that and I was getting really angry and I had no idea why?

I slept wonderfully.  Last night I was baking banana bran muffins and blueberry muffins and they turned out fantastic.  So good and moist.  A miracle really!  I woke up well rested because I slept with the window open and there had been a nice, cool breeze.  No humidity whatsoever.  I had wonderful, happy dreams too.  Just super!  I had pre-made my breakfast the day before, so no need to rush to scarf down food before work. I even had all green lights driving in.  Got to work seven minutes early.  So why oh why, was I feeling so agitated?

My phone was ringing and, really, it’s my job to pleasantly answer it, but I felt like everyone calling today was just calling to irk me.  I had two hang ups within 20 minutes.  I had two from non-existent people…they said, not a word.  People coming to the office were looking for people who were either on holidays or on lunch, and they felt like hanging around and chit-chatting.  Grrrrrrrr…I was NOT in a chit-chat mood!  What the heck was my problem today?

I decided to Google my question:  “Why am I angry today?  Well, it seems that many, many, many people have searched this question before.  There are links to numerous websites that are really just dedicated to anger management.

I checked out a few of them.  Some explained that I was suffering from depression.  That was more for the “you wake up and feel angry all day, everyday” people.  Mine was just one angry morning.  Most had various forms of this advice:  feel your anger and then let it go.  That sounded silly….so I decided to try it.  I cursed (inwardly) and asked myself why I was angry and since there didn’t seem to be a good answer, I dropped it…like a hot potato  (good advice I found on Tiny Buddha).  Anyway, I oftentimes find that when I am frustrated I just let the powers that be take over for me and I will receive my answer in one strange way or another.  Today it was via Google.  Sounds crazy, but not as crazy as being stuck in a funk for no apparent reason. 

The most interesting thing was that, after I had dropped it, I did feel better.  Suddenly I remembered all the good things about today.  The sun was shining, brightly, and beautifully.  I remembered that my drive in to work was beyond fantastic.  It was like all the cars had moved out of my way to let me get through those green lights.  My breakfast was delicious, and eaten without interruption, so I got to enjoy a nice, hot meal.  Even lunch was great.  I had volatile spaghetti.  (Volatile because I usually end up with spaghetti splatter somewhere on my person.)  Yet, today, not even a speck of red and I was wearing a white sweater!  Miracle?  Maybe.  Changing my attitude actually changed everything around me (or maybe just my perception of it) but same happy result.

Oddly, the phone ended up ringing less and the callers were legit…no more hangups.  The favour asking, for some reason, had dissipated.  I was having a happy, feel good day.  I will have to remember the Hot Potato of Anger trick next time I’m ready to lose my mind and freak out on some unsuspecting soul asking for a favour. 

Either that or my favourite backup plan.  I read the children’s book Alexander, and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  (Maybe I’ll move to Australia.)

World of Wonder

The weather we have been having lately has been damp and chilly and wet. I myself need sunshine to flourish on a daily basis.  Without my vitamin D I feel like a slug under a rock.  Sluggish (ouch..bad joke).  I do find that on cloudy, cold days everyone around me also gets into a slump and the world just seems wrong.  Traffic is heavier.  Road rage is at its peak.  Comfort foods are definitely more desirable.  Sadly, the happy smiles of yesterdays are gone.  How does one get out of a weather funk?  In my case, it’s having the privilege of watching my granddaughter love everything about life.

It is amazing how we, as adults, forget the simples joys of life. Here is the perfect example of what I am referring to.

Our granddaughter Kennie (short for Mackenzie according to Wiseguy) came to our house yesterday.  I told Wiseguy that for a snack she would probably like a banana.  Now, when Wiseguy cut big chunks of this simple banana and gave little Kennie one of the pieces, well let me tell you how wonderful life was for her!  Her hands were opening and closing.  Her feet were doing the happy dance.  She smiled the biggest happiest smile.  Why?  Well, it’s a banana!  How can you NOT see how amazing and wonderful a banana is? 

Yup, after watching her eat that banana and smile after eating each piece, I couldn’t help but be reminded about how beautiful life really is.  Sure having a beautiful home, nice cars, stylish wardrobe are all nice to have, but sometimes the having and the appreciation of them are two different things. 

We have many things (as mentioned previously in my spring cleaning blog about hoarding).  Oftentimes, after the initial excitement of the purchase and the owning of the item, the ecstasy and happiness fades.  There seems to be a need to purchase something else in order to get that happy high.  Watching Kennie puts life into perspective for me.  There are so many simples joys all around us and it really isn’t until you actually stop and think that you really DO take time to smell the roses instead of just buying them to make your home more esthetically pleasing.

My goal for today is to actually stop, watch, listen, smell.  I will take in all the beauty that is surrounding me.  I will look at and appreciate that amazingly green grass.  I will take a deep breath and enjoy the aroma from the blooms on the blossoming lilac trees.  I will  turn my head up and enjoy that bright, warm sunshine on my face.  I will not get upset when I get stuck in traffic because this will give me more time to enjoy the scenery surrounding me.  It might not be an easy task, but if I make a conscious effort, I believe I can do this and I will definitely be a happier person for it.

I recommend that today, if only for one day, you give it a try and see how different you feel for the rest of the day.  It might sound easy, but you will be surprised how our typical day revolves around rushing and worrying about how we are going to get everything done.  I challenge you to one day of life appreciation! 

Good luck with your Appreciation Day!  I myself have some important business to attend to. 

Now where is that banana ?