It Only Takes a Second

I am ready to take the advice of a friend who is dealing with a bit of a tragedy right now. One that occurred in the blink of an eye. One minute everything was rolling along, if not smoothly, at least the ruts in the road were visible.

Then it happens. And changes everything. “It” can be so many things: death, loss, change—but today is not the same as yesterday. This minute is not the same as the minute before.

Her advice? And this is verbatim:

“Live every day to the fullest, have fun, party or whatever makes you happy—life is short and it can change in a split second.”

How many times do we have to hear that before we take it in, use it, and make it our own personal mantra? It has been expressed in so many ways by so many people, yet we forget that life is not a dress rehearsal—this is the only chance we get.

I need to be reminded of this over and over again. But each time I am, I take it in, and it becomes a part of me. So, today—Live your day to the fullest, have fun, party, or do whatever makes you happy. I am going to give it a try.

How about you—do you forget to have fun?

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Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 12:46 pm  Comments (41)  
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A Penny for your thoughts…..

 

Just listened to a Ted Talk and the fellow speaking meandered around his subject for about 17 minutes  before he  finally got down to the essence of his message:  Who we are is ever-changing—we do not stop growing, and we are not static. And we should find this very freeing.

I love this message—we are not who we were ten years ago, ten days ago, or even ten minutes ago. We are ever-evolving and have the ability to change. We are not stagnate pond scum drowning in a puddle created by the ruts of life.

Humans are dynamic beings, and as such we can become today something we were not yesterday. We can leave days of apathy and lethargy in the dust and create from these ashes something that kills soul defying ennui.

I have been guilty of accepting my shortcomings as something I have to live with the rest of my life, but I rail at labels tossed my way that do not fit now, labels I have cast off and are no longer part of me. There are some things true to my essence that are valuable; things I do not want to discard, but there are also aspects of earlier personalities that have grown up, expanded, and hopefully will continue to develop.

Have you ever felt that you are now a square peg but others are still trying to fit you into a round hole?

Published in: on February 12, 2014 at 6:58 pm  Comments (22)  
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Welcome Change

Hidden secrets lie

In gentle change of seasons

Mystery ahead

Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm  Comments (7)  
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Something New

My column for this week’s paper incorporates a couple of blog posts I wrote in the last week or so but in a new way–so thank you for persevering through some repeated “wisdom” slanted a new way:

September

September (Photo credit: Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi)

   The nostalgia that September and the new school year brings is so palatable, you can almost taste it. It is something that probably 98% of us share. Yet we tend to remember school in idealized terms—the new clothes for the first day, the new books and pencils, the sharpened pencil crayons and shiny new math set all meant that we had a new chance to begin again. And beginnings are exciting. Every September during our school age years was another chance to be the brightest and best. I had a spotty academic career—I lost a few years in teenage angst, but I came back, brought my grades up and spent what I look back on now as wonderful years at university.

            I was perhaps an odd duck when it came to school. In grade school I was always in the top 10, usually the top five in my class. But high school changed that and it took me a few years to adapt, to realize that I had to study. I still got by because I could write a mean essay—but that did not bode well for French class, math, science, or an ill-fated attempt to learn shorthand (I thought that would be easier than Latin—but it wasn’t for me). I still regret not putting a little more effort into those classes—but it was history and English, political science and sociology that caught my interest and by grades 12 and 13, I was back to getting good grades, once I got to leave behind those pesky subjects that did not come “naturally”.

                I am again excited come this September—but this time for my youngest son, who will be taking a “graduate” course at college in communications and public relations. He has a business marketing college diploma under his belt, but he was not all that enamoured with the course. His new program looks exciting in the syllabus and I think it is right up his alley—and I am playing the encouraging parent to the hilt—or at least as much as I think he can put up with. He too, though, is pretty happy about the new courses.

            We all need a challenge. When we went to school, each year was a new challenge, but as adults we have to set our own course, find new things to conquer, new things to learn. The latest challenge I have set for myself is to learn to “Let It Be”—those wonderful words of wisdom from the Beatles. And in doing so I am going to put this little exercise to work. It comes from the book, “One Minute Mindfulness” by Donald Altman. His subtitle: “50 simple ways to find peace, clarity, and new possibilities in a stressed-out world,” caught my attention, because let’s face it, who doesn’t want peace and clarity?

            Anyway, the exercise is this: “For one minute during the day, let go of one belief or behaviour that you typically cling to. If you always eat all the food on your plate, leave some and learn how to let it be. If you normally expect your partner to do something in a certain way, try to take on the task yourself or surrender to the way it is even if you don’t feel it’s as it should be. Let it be. Every day, let one more thing be, just for the fun of it.”I do not always eat everything on my plate so it is the second half of his exercise I have to concentrate on: Let it be. Not as simple as it sounds. At all.

            I have come to the realization that just because something purports to be simple, it does not mean it is easy. Simple and easy are not synonyms even if my thesaurus disagrees with me.  Simple and wise concepts are sometimes the hardest things to apply. They seem straightforward. How much more straightforward could something be than to “Let it be”? But how many of us can actually incorporate this into our lives?

            While I will not be returning to a school of mortar and bricks this September, I will be continuing my education in an ongoing effort to improve myself, my situation in life, and my endeavour to do what Oscar Wilde calls the rarest thing in life: to live. Here he says it in his own inimitable way: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

            I don’t think Wilde was having a good day when he said this, although I do not think he was known for his sunny disposition as he had challenges of his own. So I will take his words and combine it with the Beatles’ sage advice, and learn to: “Live and let it be”, rather than take the James Bond attitude, “Live and let die.”

Published in: on August 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm  Comments (14)  
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New Day

English: Narcissus "Golden Dawn" gro...

 “Golden Dawn”  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new day, a new dawn

Time pristine lies before me

Change in perspective.

Published in: on August 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm  Comments (25)  
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Good to Know

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”

                                                                  ~ Deepak Chopra

Published in: on June 12, 2013 at 11:47 am  Comments (21)  
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Good-Bye

I'll Be Back

I’ll Be Back (Photo credit: wstera2)

“A change is as good as a rest.”
Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

I will be taking a bit of a sabbatical for the month of May — not resting, but changing my focus. In the words of the past governor of California: “I’ll be back.” Enjoy the month.

Published in: on May 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm  Comments (54)  
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Is Bliss the Whole Truth?

Holkham Hall - the rooms inside - The Old Kitc...

The Old Kitchen clock (Photo credit: ell brown)

Cause to celebrate: we change the clocks this weekend and “spring forward” to satisfy our urge to save daylight. We have no control over this—it is ordained.

Why This is Cause to Celebrate: my kitchen clock will now not be an hour ahead—for the next six months it will be the right time. Even if something is ordained it does not mean that we cannot rebel just a little bit. By not changing the time on the kitchen wall clock, I am not being controlled by that effervescent Big Brother.

The Truth of the Matter: The kitchen clock is really high up on the wall in the kitchen – you need a ladder, or at the very least a chair to reach it, take it down, and change the time. In the last six months I did not have the will to change it. And no, not once did it fool me into thinking I was late for something.

My little rebellion was really just laziness. And Seinfeld is right, everyday life is all about nothing.

Bliss is somewhere between the truth and a good story. What do you think?

Published in: on March 7, 2013 at 11:01 am  Comments (60)  
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~ K is for ~

An animated GIF of a kaleidoscope.

An animated GIF of a kaleidoscope. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kaleidoscope is the first word I thought of that begins with K. I do not know why. I remember having a kaleidoscope as a kid and being totally fascinated by the colours and changing patterns. I could get all deep here and say that a kaleidoscope is a great metaphor for life and that constant phenomenon we all have to put up with: CHANGE.  I have read that the only thing we can really rely on in life is change, so I guess we should enjoy it in all its glory.

Did you know that a synonym for kaleidoscope is phantasmagoria? What a great word! Its synonyms (thanks to that handy-dandy thesaurus someone thought to put in my computer—I know it is part of my word program, but I would rather think of it as a more magical force) are dream, hallucination, mirage or fantasy.

A kaleidoscope does show us a kind of dreamy fantasy world–and an ever-changing one at that. Gail Sheehy I think said it best, when she stated:  “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”

My favourite definition of change from the Encarta Dictionary is the word “deepen”. I think change gives us the opportunity to “deepen” and “to become”.

“To become” means we are not stagnating, or as Ms. Sheehy said more eloquently: not growing.

If I were honest, sometimes I don’t want to grow. Sometimes I get tired of change. Sometimes I just want to be comfortable and stable and content. But that gets old. I was asked recently if I am retired, and  my response (after being exceedingly surprised to be asked this as I think of myself as youthful—although it could just be immaturity in disguise) was to say a simple “no”. But I thought to myself: I am just getting started.

Now, I know that people retire young from some professions, and they too are just getting started on their next life. Personally I think the term “retired” should be re-tired. I have lots of tread left.

A toy kaleidoscope tube

A toy kaleidoscope tube (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Published in: on September 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm  Comments (33)  
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Comforts ~ Day 7

Creature Comforts (album)

For a change I am going to provide a quote that I am grateful for and that makes me think:

“Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.” ~ Robert Allen

Published in: on August 19, 2012 at 1:31 am  Comments (42)  
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