Posts tagged ‘Possibility’

Step Away From the Alarm Clock and No One Gets Hurt

 

Morning People

You know who you are.  You’re the ones that in a scant few hours will be bounding happily from bed, a smile on your collective delusional faces, ready to face the new day with unbridled enthusiasm. You actually look forward to what the morning hours will bring.  You delight in the dawning of a new day and in watching the sun rise..of hearing the birds begin to chirp as they herald in the new morn.  You greet everyone you meet, without any regard for some of our suffering, with a cheery hello and say things like “Isn’t it a beautiful morning?”  or “Did you SEE that sunrise this morning?”. NO, we didn’t see it, we were too busy trying to pry our eyelids open so we could go out and play in traffic while still trying to wake up.

You people are the scourge of my existence.

I’m a night owl living in a morning person‘s world.  Trust me, even with the rising popularity of all things vampire themed, it’s still not easy to function in a society that is still selfishly geared to people who spring out of bed, eager to greet the day each new morning.  We all know the ones.  They actually smile when their feet hit the floor.  They grab a cup of coffee and appreciate the sunrise with enthusiasm as they ready themselves to effortlessly slide into the ebb and flow of another day. They even look FORWARD to it!  I have it on good authority, that some of them actually hum their way through the dawn hours and greet a new day with a spring in their step. It’s HORRIFYING!!! I didn’t believe it for years either, but trust me..these people are everywhere!

Then there’s me and my kind.

While the above mentioned anomalies emerge eagerly from their warm beds, I’m still blindly swatting toward the offensively obnoxious sound squawking at me from the direction of my alarm clock, in a desperate effort to hit the snooze alarm button for the first time.  Somewhere in my sleep fogged brain, I delude myself into believing that if I can just go back to dreamland for another 9 minutes, I’ll be more ready to face the coming dawn.  Alas, therein lies the problem.  Whether I’ve had 2 hours of sleep or 10, I am never a happy camper when forced to wake up in the morning.

Try as it might, my brain just refuses to function at full capacity when a new day is dawning.  It’s as if a switch has been thrown and the mind that was so active and productive from midnight to 3 am is now a totally different creature.  To say I drag myself out of bed is probably being generous. It’s not pretty.  I do a slow slide out of bed (or off the couch where I fell asleep around 3am) and then stumble toward the bathroom, usually stepping on a bone my dog has so thoughtfully left for me to find.  As I start to hop on one foot and utter things that would make my Mama wash my mouth out with soap, I manage to stub the toe on my other foot against the door frame.  Now that I’m limping, whimpering, and still bleary eyed, I somehow manage to navigate my way toward yet another morning in paradise to begin my day.

In an ever-increasing politically correct world where it’s considered rude to say or do anything that might offend anyone, I want to know where is the concern and compassion for those of us that hate mornings.  Where is the justice and equality??  Where is the outrage for a good half of the population that is suffering?? Why are we, ones that thrive when the sun goes down, being discriminated against in such a cruel, cruel manner?  I think I have an excellent case if I wanted to make the argument for discrimination against night owls.

Trust me, I know.  All you chipper morning people are shaking your heads and thinking..”Why don’t all the non-morning people just get jobs that require working at night?”  Problem solved! Right??  Wrong!  Since the entire world basically functions on the insane scheduling of daytime hours, that just wouldn’t work.  When we’re up and ready to go, you’re asleep and visa versa.  Chaos would ensue, hell would surely freeze over if all the people who prefer the night and do their best work then tried to adjust their working hours around the time when they are most productive.

I’ve done a lot of thinking when I’m up and lucid in the middle of the night.  I could be persuaded not to raise a ruckus and keep things civil if we all had a little more equity. So, I have a proposal to make.

Let’s split the difference.

Every six months, just like daylight savings time (and we know how well THAT works out), society switches schedules.  Instead of everyone working 9-5, for half the year, everyone will work 9 PM until 5 AM.  It’s only fair.  Actually it’s more than fair.  Think about it.  Not only would the people who thrive at night be able to make up for their lack of sweetness and light when forced to get up early with enhanced productivity, but the morning people would STILL get to see their sunrise, it would just be at the END of the workday rather than at the beginning!! 

I know, I know..I’m brilliant! You’re asking yourself why I didn’t come with this idea sooner. 

We’ll blame it on the mornings.  Just imagine what I could up with when I’m actually awake!!

Advertisements

To Resolve NOT To Resolve, It’s Not a Question At All

The dawning of a new year and this year, a new decade, is once again upon us. I could swear it was just yesterday we were all anxiously anticipating with trepidation the arrival of the dreaded Y2K virus that would accompany the new millennium. A new century full of potential and pitfalls at our doorsteps was a daunting, yet exciting, prospect. Now here we are knocking on the door of the next decade with the first 10 years already written. Those years have been ones of immense change that no one could have predicted with a crystal ball, not even the famed Ms. Cleo.

No matter how long the previous year seems as we navigate our way through it, looking back, it seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye, good times and challenging ones alike. Perhaps that perception is accelerated when viewed through the prism of age. I can’t swear by this theory, although in my case, it seems to be true. Time does indeed seem to fly when looking back on it.

I don’t usually tend to wax nostalgic, but the past year has been one of immense change, both for myself personally and for the world at large. Change, while sometimes welcome, is not always something that I embrace willingly. I’ve found though, that it comes along whether we are ready for it or not and you better be willing and able to hold on and roll with all that comes with it. The phrase coined by Thomas Paine “Lead, follow or get out of the way”, springs to mind when dealing with life’s twists and turns. Life marches on and you can either find a way to cope and enjoy it, or you’ll be left behind. It’s a powerful force that will not be stopped in favor our of inability to keep up.

In my life, I have the opportunity to interact with a broad spectrum of people. From the very young to those that have weathered many decades, one thing is clear. The world is definitely a very different place with very different mindsets from the one I grew up in. I know that this revelation isn’t something that is new amongst the generations that have come before mine. One thing that has changed drastically however, is the way the world views the future and the potential contained in it. Our willingness and eagerness to succeed and the coping skills that used to be fostered into our childhood lessons aren’t there anymore. I see faces with eyes that seem angry or worried or resigned to life rather than excited by it. The eyes are sometimes in the faces of those that are too young to have so much worry or no hope and drive for the future. So many divert those weary eyes and don’t know how to interact with everyone around them anymore. More and more people don’t look others in the eye anymore for fear of what they might see or give away in themselves.

I don’t mean to sound full of gloom and doom. Like it or not, and I don’t at times, I have never been able to fully extinguish that light at the end of the tunnel belief in my thoughts or in my own life. I’ve always known that every day is different and full of new possibilities. Some of those days will be worse than the one that came before it, and some will be so much better, you feel as if you are floating on air. That is the wonder of living itself. I will confess to wishing at times that life was not quite so colorful or full of the all the things that make me grow, while at the same time making me squirm from the lessons they try to teach me along the way.

The past year and particularly the last 5 months, have seen great changes in my life, some positive and some things that I would not have picked if given the choice. I lost a parent, moved to a new home from one that had been a refuge for the past 21 years and have faced a betrayal that I didn’t see until it rose up out of the blue. The past year has also seen the deepening of friendships that I didn’t know I needed, the memories made with children that are no longer small and constantly surprise and make me proud as they continue to grow into adults and precious times spent with my Dad that are priceless. I’ve learned to bend, learned to adapt. I had no choice and in doing so, have as always, learned about myself, my inner strengths and my resolve. Some things I handled well, others I’d probably do over and in a better manner, but that just isn’t something that we are afforded in life. You live and learn if you’re smart and use those lessons for the rest of your days.

Thomas Paine also said, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” I believe he was right in this assertion. We all have within us the ability to make the best of whatever crosses our particular life path. We can make a difference in the lives of those around us if we put the effort into it, but at the same time, the sooner we realize that there are some things that are simply out of our control, the happier we will be. It’s a hard lesson to learn, particularly for me. I’m a nurturer by nature and at times a controller. It’s hard to let go and realize that you can only control your own path and hope that by example and deeds, your life will positively affect those whose paths you cross. I tend to want the best for those around me and to lessen the unnecessary pain of lessons that test the resolve of those I care for when it’s possible or when they will let me.

There’s that word again, resolve.

To me, it’s not something that can be done on the first day of a brand new year. It’s not something to pledge to blindly and stubbornly adhere to when you have no idea what the future may hold. Resolve, to me, is the backbone and strength to weather whatever storms and rainbows that appear along our journey on the road less traveled when they occur. In order to do that, you can’t lock yourself into a particular path or behavior in anticipation of things and events unknown.

This new year of 2011, as usual, instead of making resolutions, I intend to be resolute. To not just proclaim loudly or even privately to myself on a day that is meant to be full of hope and promise and without the constraints of a year yet lived, things that in a few weeks will be left by the wayside. Instead, I want to be resolute in the decisions I make throughout the year and see them through. To be firm and unwavering, yet not inflexible, and to make things happen that will benefit my life and the lives I touch daily. To do and follow through on the things I can actually accomplish right along with the occasional reaching for the stars and to not spin my wheels endlessly on lost causes. I’m resolute in my determination to screw up as little as humanly possible (screw-ups will occur) and to instead progress in positive ways, great and small.

So, once again, on the eve of the brand new year and brand new decade facing us, I resolve not to resolve anything. I’ll take things as they come and adapt, learn and hopefully grow from them as I enjoy all the nuances of life, both the good and the challenging.

To paraphrase the faux-wisdom that I not only have to say on airplanes, but also from a famous movie..fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night, ride and year. They all are, that is the only guarantee in life that we receive. Such is life, it is here to be lived and not observed.

The alternative is simply unacceptable.

Happy New Year!

Easter Ain’t What it Used To Be

easterbaskets

I was raised to respect traditions.  I went through my childhood relishing in the fact that while the world around me was changing at a rapid, sometimes scary pace, some things in life would always stay the same.  Some things were so important, they always took precedent over any other in my life.  You could always depend on their very essence and the spirit of thought behind them.

It was a comforting thought to hold close.   Precious traditions to look forward to were a safe harbor I could count on regardless of circumstance or location.  While the manner or details of their execution might by necessity vary a bit  in form from year to year, the basic tenant of their existence never changed nor wavered.

As a result, I brought up my children with the same value system from my youth.

Even as parents around me found themselves too busy or too “sophisticated” to bother with silly things like building memories, a few of us still insisted on keeping to the things we knew were important.  Traditions like ensuring Santa always had homemade cookies waiting for him on Christmas Eve or throwing a special birthday party at home for our kids complete with games and/or crafts and handmade goodie bags filled with treasures where much thought had been given to their selection, started to become few and far between in modern day families.  It was easier to let Chucky Cheese or the latest mini-golf adventure park handle all the messy “details” of marking the birth of your child rather than being bothered with all that planning yourself.  Family time was quickly being relegated to whatever bits and pieces that could be crammed in around all the REALLY important stuff.  You know the ones, important things like working 80 hours or more a week for that 3rd or 4th car..for the 4 vacations a year or 2nd little getaway home.

Traditions got lost along the way in the rush to acquire more and more “stuff”.  We sacrificed what we thought were non-consequential little bits of our lives along the way so that we could hurry up and wait for all the “good stuff” to get here.  The only problem with that theory was, those “little bits” start to add up to a lot of time and missed opportunities we can never get back with those around us.  Hey, it was all for the greater good though..right?

Wrong.

Just take a long look around at what is happening in our country and in the world today.  Every day on the news there is yet another tragic story of a person or family suffering directly and personally, or indirectly through the actions of a stranger, from the effect that loss of family and tradition has had on society.  People are slipping through the cracks.  We seem to have lost our way in the rush to “improve” or “re-invent” something that didn’t need replacing in the first place.

Traditions matter.  To have something that can be counted on in some form or another from year to year, makes a huge difference in how we handle life’s little (or big) ups and downs.  We all need a support system or something to depend on as being solid…a foundation to quiet our souls when we need to believe in something.

That’s what a tradition is for.  Whether it be something silly that only you or your loved ones count as important or something as vital as a group we identify with and celebrate our mutual beliefs, traditions give us a place in ourselves that can never be erased.  They provide a warm secret spot within our thoughts where we can retreat to anytime the world seems to be collapsing around us. 

Traditions don’t have to be centered on religious beliefs.  It’s not a matter of money.  Special traditions don’t have to cost a penny, they can be from the heart.  They don’t have to be grand gestures.  They do however, have to be consistent..even in times of strife.

So,  even though traditions have to be changed a bit this year at my house, they will be celebrated nonetheless.  I’ll pull out my grandmother’s recipe for a traditional heavy lemon pound cake and make it to celebrate my Dad’s birthday, simply because it’s what he asked for.  I don’t care about the current trend of low-fat, low taste healthy, only eat what’s good for us, that is in vogue.  Tomorrow, as part of an Easter celebration, we’ll enjoy without guilt, a taste from our past and smile.  In that way, my Grandmother (Nana) will be with us as well.  I have no doubt that stories of past Easter dinners at her house will abound for my children to hear yet again and pass along one day to their children.  Tradition will continue.

I’ll put together Easter baskets with special treats or little gifts for my kids to find when they wake tomorrow morning.  I have never bought a pre-made pre-put-together store bought basket in my life.  No matter that they are going to be 23, 20 and 14 this year, they will be almost as excited as when they were little to see whatever has been “left” for them by a Giant Bunny that has hopped by overnight.  Forget the fact that they all stay up most of the night and that Mom in turn, will have to have little if any sleep in order to make sure a surprise is created..it’s worth it.  Their Grandmother (my mom), even though she’s not in good health, will still have her house filled with special decorations and more treats for her grown children and for the grandchildren.  Tradition will live on and be something they carry on with their families one day because they recognize the importance of something to count on, even if it’s silly.

To start the day I consider Holy, I’ll also fall back to my upbringing.  Even though I rarely attend church regularly anymore, the convictions and beliefs I grew up with are strong within me and are passed on to my family.  There are years I will attend a sunrise Church service at the mountain, other years I feel the need to be amongst a congregation of those I know and respect, and some years I spend the morning in quiet reflection and remembrance of what I believe.  Whatever form the day takes, it comforts me to know that some things never change, in spite of the turmoil in the world around me.  I don’t know the answers as to why things happen the way they do, many times to those most innocent or undeserving of the chaos, but I have an abiding faith that there is a reason for every event that happens and that I don’t have to know the reason.  Tradition of spirit and of your own soul is perhaps the most precious gift of all to nurture and not neglect.

So, Easter ain’t what it used to be anymore for many of us.  It makes me sad to see so many traditions falling by the wayside in society.  The loss of family time as stores remain open in the name of political correctness or convenience is troubling.  The cost to the family from the increasing isolation and loss of human contact in favor of digital ways of interacting…the loss of our very humanity in a way as a result, is a shame and dangerous for some of those amongst us.  Especially for ones with dangerous violent tendencies, such isolation has shown just in the past month with so many tragic shootings, what happens when people cut themselves off from others or when we don’t want to “interfere” in someone else’s business.

Traditions are important.  So go hide an egg or two, have a meal with your family or a neighbor that is alone, go to church..heck go to a baseball game.  Start your own tradition if you didn’t grow up with one and cherish it from this point forward.  Give yourself and those around you a glimmer of something to look forward to in years to come.

Give the gift of something solid to hold on to, of something to count on, to yourself.  In these uncertain times, it’s vital…whether we realize it or not.

Recognize the value of small things around you.  Small things are the ones that make the most difference to us all.

These Are The Good Ole Days

anticipation

 

Anticipation.

 

Function: noun
1 the act of looking forward; especially : pleasurable expectation
2 visualization of a future event or state

 

These are just a couple of the benign definitions of the word “anticipation”, the clinical version of the word. We learn from an early age to anticipate events in our lives, both good and bad. We start to look forward in life and not backward. Some indications you’re anticipating something special are universal.  That sensation when you feel butterflies in your stomach, the feeling of being on pins and needles..unable to sit still without thought or movement, hoping that time will hurry and pass so that we can get to the “good” stuff, while at the same time praying that time will stand still…we all know the symptoms. I love to enjoy that time and find ways to heighten and savor the curve ahead of a special time.  In doing so, when what I’ve been yearning for so intently is finally happening, it’s not merely good, but spectacular…memorable.

When we are young, we learn to look forward to special treats. Remember the feeling of waking up on a summer’s day and knowing that “sometime” during the course of the afternoon, the ice cream truck might make a trip through your neighborhood? You prepared for it. Made sure that you alerted Mom to the possibility that you’d need money at a moment’s notice. You stayed almost on point, listening for the bell that heralded it’s arrival. You looked forward when you were young to any special treat promised for good behavior. Vacations or trips were planned and before you ever loaded up the car to head out, there had been weeks of preparation and sleepless nights when you absolutely couldn’t wait to leave and get started on your adventure.

If we are really clever, as we get older and travel along life’s paths, we learn how to use anticipation to draw out the time prior to good events we know are upcoming. We use anticipation almost as foreplay in the days leading up to special times we hope to cherish and remember always. We think about what special unexpected things might happen. We ponder the variables that could either enhance or detract from our experience. We dream of what might be, both when we are awake and sleeping. The time seems to crawl, but by the same token…that in itself can be delicious in piquing the senses if done correctly. We anticipate…we feel fully alive. It’s exciting, it’s vital to life itself to look forward to things.

We look forward to our first love, our first kiss. We look forward (hopefully) to our wedding. The birth of our first child is a time of worry, joy and hope.  Those feelings don’t diminish with all the children that follow, they are simply enhanced. We look forward to special vacations, to graduations. We anticipate with excitement and sometimes nervousness our new jobs, new relationships, anniversaries and the promise of a new home .

There are so many things, large and small, in life to look forward to and absolutely savor if we pay attention.  So many events to anticipate if we don’t wish our lives away by hoping that the time we have flies by rather than enjoying the journey to get there.  We need to learn to look at the paths we travel as part of the joy of living, even when times are hard.  Those lessons in anticipating our future and the possibilities it holds are valuable as well.

Some of us remember when Carly Simon brought the word to life in a song. She gave it texture and locked it in our minds, it was a theme song for many teenagers and 20 somethings as to what our lives would hold. (Of course, this was BEFORE the song was forever linked to ketchup slowly oozing it’s way out to give us something thick and tasty to eat…hmmmm, cum to think of it, that IS a great imagery of anticipation! Never mind. *batting my eyes*) Okay, back to my basic point…learn to feel anticipation again.

There are no guarantees in life of how something will turn out, learn to look forward to the possibilities anyway. Keep that childlike magic alive of wanting and yearning for something that is to come so that you don’t grow old and stagnant in your life. Don’t over plan or try to regiment every detail of life as we tend to do as adults.  Instead, try going with the flow and letting your dreams guide you. Take chances and go after the things that are important to you or rare in their occurrence without fear or second guessing.  Even in these difficult times, trust your intuition.

LET yourself feel the butterflies. Be on pins and needles, laugh out loud or share secrets with someone. Beforehand, daydream and “feel” whatever you’re most looking forward to in your most private thoughts. Want it, need it,  and embrace the special time before something special is about to happen, then enjoy the heck out of the actual event. Learn to live in the moment when you can…when the times allow for it, take a few chances. Let go and give yourself permission to reach out and grab what you need or want.

Take time for yourself.  It’s vitally important for both mental and physical health, especially in these trying times.

I know I always will. It’s amazing how time really does fly and the events in life you look forward to, do indeed arrive. Spectacularly.

 

************************************
 
 

Anticipation

Carly Simon

 

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I’m really with you now
Or just chasing after some finer day

Anticipation, Anticipation
Is making me late
Is keeping me waiting

And I tell you how easy it is to be with you
And how right your arms feel around me.
But I rehearsed those words just late last night
When I was thinking about how right tonight might be

Anticipation, Anticipation
Is making me late
Is keeping me waiting

And tomorrow we might not be together
I’m no prophet and I don’t know natures way
But I’ll try to see into your eyes right now
And stay right here
‘Cause these are the good old days.

Through The Eyes Of A Child

eyesofachild 

One of my careers is that of being a school teacher. While I no longer teach full time with a single class for the entire year, I get to interact now instead with many more children each and every school year. Instead of teaching a single class the entire year with only 25-30 children, I now get to know 1200+, most of them by name. I see them grow from fresh faced kindergartners to 5th graders that think they are on top of the world and full of attitude when headed for middle school. In doing this, I receive a benefit that is more precious than any other that could be offered…I get to see the world through their eyes that aren’t clouded yet with all the weight of the world. Those eyes have seen things at young ages and have worries these days that children just shouldn’t have to cope with or even know about, yet they are still full of hope.

Over the years, I’ve written about a few of my special students. While I genuinely enjoy the majority of the kids, there are some that manage to get closer to me than others and will sneak right into your heart. I have one child as a student who is the son of a pilot I fly with. Ben is cute as a button and has had a crush on me since he was five. His face literally lights up when he sees me in his classroom or in the hall. He never fails to run up and squeeze me in a bear hug with a huge smile on his face. It always brightens my day. He’s one of many that I have a special relationship with throughout the school.

As I walk down the hall and constantly hear someone telling me hello, giving me a hug or a wave, I never fail to smile. They want to tell me their latest news or ask me a question. They make me laugh and at times my heart breaks for them when they are hurting or sad. It never fails to amaze me when I get to the end of a long day and feel like I have fussed all day at some of the same students, when they still go out of the door hugging me or with a smile on their face.

Children respect consistency. They know who loves them.  They know who wants to be there and who doesn’t, even when you’ve had to give them extra work or time out of recess. They also know they need boundaries. While they don’t always like the rules they must follow, they are glad those rules are there. Most grown-ups could take some lessons from their kids in that regard.

There are the kids in the EIP classes (early intervention), that have varying degrees of challenges in learning. These children have a huge span of personalities and abilities. They are not physically challenged, but have home situations or learning delays that make it trying for them to sit in school and process information as some others do. These kids will worm their way into your heart and while you hope like holy heck they will be successes in life, you know that some have the odds stacked against them. Regardless of that fact, you have to realize that you are affecting this part of their life and hope it has some impact, even if it’s a small one. These kids are usually charmers and sweet and usually precocious. They also are brutally honest and will make you feel like Superwoman when they share their thoughts or emotions with you.

There are also many kids that are physically challenged as well as being learning delayed. These children are generally bright, always have a smile on their faces and try their best to learn and behave. With inclusion becoming more and more the norm, these kids are looked upon by the other students as just one more friend in their class.  Most of the time their disability becomes something that is not even noticed.

Now, FINALLY the reason for writing today. (I can get a bit wordy when it’s about something I’m passionate about…teaching and children are near or at the top of the list) I was in a 1st grade EIP class today, one of my favorite classes. There is a student in this particular class that I have spent a lot of time with over the past 2 years. His name is Ade. He’s a precious little boy that last year came in shy and bewildered and pretty much stayed that way all year. This year has seen him begin to come out of his shell. He smiles much more. He’s finally “getting it” in the classroom, his work has improved more than I can tell you…it’s starting to click for him. He talked my ear off today, something he never would have done last year beyond random words here and there.

Ade is moving to Illinois tomorrow. The move came unexpectedly and for some reason, finding out yesterday that this would be his last day here in our school made me sad. While I was glad to get to teach and spend his last day with him…when his mom and brothers came to pick him up, it hit me harder than most. Children move in and out of the school with increasing frequency in our current fluid society, but this one got through to me and I’m not sure I even realized it until I knew he was leaving. I do have his phone # and address in Illinois to keep in touch with him, and will.

While I was losing one student today, I met a brand new one that transferred into the school last week. Jamal is in the same class. He’s a bright kid and has a huge smile. He whizzed through his work ahead of everyone else and I had to wonder why he had been placed in the EIPclass. I soon found out. Everyone was working. Jamal had finished and had asked to write a story on the back of his paper while everyone else finished. I told him that would be great. I watched as he wrote for about 10 minutes, his face intense with concentration. He came up to me in the back of the room wanting to read his masterpiece to me. He started to read the words expressing how much he missed his mother. The sentences told of the special things mom did for him and how he wishes she were here.

Not yet knowing his history, I thought perhaps mom might travel or that he had a family that had experienced divorce. I wasn’t going to ask Jamal, but when he finished reading, he looked up at me and more words starting spilling out. He was very matter of fact, but you knew those words had been bottled up for a while. He told me of a sibling that had died, I didn’t ask how. He told me that “they” had taken his sister and him out of their home and away from their mom to keep them safe. He paused, waiting for my response. Quite frankly, for someone that is rarely at a loss for words, I had to stop and think. I tried to reassure him that things would work out as they should. I told him how very glad I am that he’s with us now and how glad I am that he and his sister are indeed safe. I felt like I was bumbling through my rambling words, but he was listening. As I finished all I could say, a smile burst out on his face and he hugged me. This child just met me today and already he gave ME a gift.

I’m very aware of the problems with education. In fact, if you crossed my path, you’d hear me regularly giving my opinion of what we’re doing to our kids in the name of “progress” both from a teacher stand point and  as a parent. That isn’t something I can change right now, it requires time and legislation and common sense that I’m not sure some powers that be even have. Regardless of this though, I can make a difference and try to do just that in my little corner of the world with the children I have the privilege of interacting with.

So, I do what I can.

I try to show up each day I’m at school excited to be there. I give the children parts of myself.  I tell them stories about my kids and my life and make myself a little more human. I let them know about teachers I had that changed my life or gave me little tricks to make learning easier that have stayed with me. I smile and outright laugh often and easily. I make a fool of myself in assemblies or at dances…I don’t take myself so seriously and it breaks through to them. I wear funky outfits or jewelry that gives them something to talk about and smile.

I listen when they are excited or upset, knowing that sometimes no one else in their life takes the time. I always hug anyone back that gives me one. My classes are loud and interactive and they LEARN and remember. I thoroughly enjoy what I’m doing, I’m good at it and it’s my niche. When you find something that makes you happy, it shows…whether professionally or personally. I’m not the perfect teacher, I have many faults, but one of them will never be that I don’t care and give them my best even when I’m tired. My Connecticut Yankee would tell you that my face absolutely lights up when I talk about “my” kids.

What those kids give to me however, is absolutely priceless…and they do it without even trying..just by being themselves.

Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?

time

 

Time…such a funny thing when you stop to think about it…

It can march on or stand still. You can squander it or take your sweet time getting things done.

Time is money, but money doesn’t give you more time.

Time flies, but at the same time can crawl.

We always need more of it, then complain when we have too much time in situations that make us uncomfortable.

You can’t buy time, but you can make time with someone.

We save time AND waste it. We take time for granted, then complain mightily about it’s loss…

Life can be the best of times, or the worst of times in the same sentence…

We can’t save time in a bottle for when it’s more convenient for us to pull it out and experience it or have it back when we want it.

I’ve been thinking a good bit about time in the past few months. As I watch the kids grow up and they are increasingly on the go, I sit and wonder where the time and years have gone. Now don’t get me wrong, there were and are STILL days that seem to go on forever! You know the ones…where everyone is in a pissy mood or thing after thing seems as if Murphy is sitting in your house writing his next installment of laws and you look up and actually mutter the words that you can’t wait until the day is over or until the kids are grown and gone.

Then poof, one day you look up and get your wish. Not only are the kids starting to turn into adults, but you’re a bit farther along in the adult process than you ever imagined yourself being. You still FEEL like a teenager with your thoughts or in the way you play your music.  Then one look in the mirror and you start to wonder where in the hell did those wrinkles come from? You’re slowly turning into your parents…and if you’re lucky enough to still have your parents here…you look at them and wonder how they suddenly got so old without you noticing.

That’s when it hits you (or should). WHAT are you doing with your life? I’m not talking about career or keeping up with the Jones…or even getting ready for retirement. Are you ready for the changes that are coming at light speed? Are you really using and appreciating all the little things in your life RIGHT now that might be overlooked in favor of letting the challenges over-shadow the good things that happen each and every day?

Are you courageous enough to reach out and not let things or people slip through your fingers that you hadn’t anticipated, to not let go even when it all might scare you with the feelings or implications involved? Can you give yourself permission to reach out for something, with no guarantees? Can you trust that whatever happens, it’s important not to take something special for granted and enjoy it to the fullest?  Can you trust yourself enough to let it happen and see what might happen, even if it wasn’t in your plans or ever anticipated?

Time isn’t an unlimited commodity to be traded like a stock. Life changes as we go along, as does our direction, no matter how much we try to keep to the path we had imagined for ourselves, and that’s okay.  The passage of time works things out for the best, even when we take detours we hadn’t planned. Do not take things for granted or throw them away.  Make time for simple pleasures and relax…trust that things are happening by a grand design that we aren’t always privy to.

I’m definitely not a polly-anna type of person. Anyone that knows me or that I let see that part of myself, knows I approach life with a realistic, cynical, sarcastic view of a lot of things. I’m opinionated and outspoken, and these days can be a full strength, un-diluted ME with those I trust. This alone makes me happy when I feel free enough to be myself. (I’m not sure about everyone around me gets the same warm fuzzies from my unfettered views as I do *grin*) What I do make sure that I accomplish each day, even on the days that would make Barney the Purple Dinosaur break down and cry, is to find SOMETHING in the day that was good or to smile over. Many times the things to smile over in today’s society might be minuscule, but there is always something to cause a grin if one looks for it.  Some days there is full bodied laughter and joy.  You have to take the time to enjoy the subtle nuances and ebb and flow of life in unexpected ways and places.

I enjoy life. Period.

Whether it’s challenging or exciting or ho-hum, I enjoy the simple fact that I’m breathing each and every day.  That fact alone leaves me with endless possibilities in front of me and another chance to make a change or a difference.

The challenges, the colors, the tastes, the smells, the experiences that let me know I’m living life and not just wandering blindly through life, all are precious.  Missing most of the flavors of life or making those around me miserable would be such a waste of the time granted to each of us since it is all too important to ever take for granted. 

We all start out each day with 24 hours. The same 60 minutes in each of those hours. The same 60 seconds in each minute. It’s time that can never be reclaimed once it passes.  You cannot bank it for later when you have the “time” to experience it. You can’t turn back the clock.

Will all things in life be pleasant or good? Heck no!!  I do know one thing though…you better live while you’ve got the chance. Life truly is TOO short to waste too many seconds of it. You should never look back and have to wonder “what if”.  Take a chance.

What matters most in life is what we do with our time here and if we make sure that at least PART of each day has something in it that you find to smile over. I don’t care if it’s as simple as the fact that your dog didn’t crap in the neighbor’s yard for once, that a cloud had an interesting shape or if you DIDN’T hear from that pain in the butt friend who makes you crazy. There is something in those 24 hours, EACH AND EVERY DAY, that can be smiled over. It may be something little, find it anyway and make the conscience decision to realize that it happened.

Life is truly how you face it and what you make of it. If you want to be miserable and make those around you feel the same way, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. You’ll wake up one day and wonder what happened to your life, why no one comes to see you, why you’re so lonely, so alone.

Don’t blame anyone else, fix yourself and get happy with yourself FIRST…don’t wait on someone else to do it for you. Accept what life hands you and find a way to make it work for you or to improve the areas where its needed. You’ll find when you are comfortable with yourself, others will be as well and will want to be around you.

Now, as often happens when I start typing…this didn’t start out to be a general pep talk about life. I was looking at old pictures and at the kids sitting around the house one night with their friends, and my mind wandered to time and it’s value. I’m making memories still and will always. I’m also savoring the memories already made and making sure to pass them along to future generations or friends so that they are never forgotten.

I’m also looking forward to finding many things for myself in the coming years. I’m not speaking of material possessions, although those are nice, but of the things that I’ve learned that are truly important to life and happiness. The things that I truly need or want for myself on other levels will not be neglected or taken for granted. None of us has a crystal ball to predict what those things will be or where we’ll be a year from now or with whom. TIME will tell, we can’t totally script our lives and be happy.

The past year has been a bit of a roller coaster, full of the highest highs and a couple of lows I hadn’t expected or foreseen amongst the good things happening to me. I’ve had relationship challenges and a family health scare, but over “time” and by sharing with someone special, everything works out…perhaps not perfectly, but in ways that have amazed me and have given me joy in the way those things are progressing.

It takes hard work, communication and at times blind faith in something or someone. Living your life takes courage and realizing there are some things that just are.  Situations unexplainable by logic or reason.  The things that are inexplicably and unexpectedly wonderful. Experiences that are needed to continue to grow, whether we planned them or not. Enjoy each one thoroughly and cherish each day.

Time, such a funny wonderful thing. It’s the ultimate gamble in life. We know we have a finite amount and yet we take a chance on how much time has been dealt us. It’s a question not one of us can answer with any certainty…don’t let your time pass you by.

 

 

~Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff that life is made of.~ Benjamin Franklin

You Can’t Hurry Love

canthurrylove1

 

As the song says, “Will you still love me tomorrow?”

The answer to that question will always be a resounding NO if you insist on hurrying through the process of failing in love or settle for less than what trips your trigger.

What do you want?  Easy and sleezy or long and lasting?  It’s up to you.

I know this will come as a great shock, but I’m no expert on love. Lord knows, even at my age, I still find I have much to learn when it comes to something that is, according to the powers that be, supposed to be naturally occurring phenomenon.

Visit any bookstore and you’ll find there are aisles and aisles of books devoted to love and all its possible outcomes and consequences. Books that tell you how to find your soul mate, how to make sure you’re irresistible to them by re-inventing yourself, how you should feel and how to manipulate a potential mate into acting the way you think they should act…crowd each aisle.

Then there are the myriad of books that tell you how to have every sort of sex act imaginable, a few of which are actually possible, and also contain do-it-yourself-er advice for the “handy” men and women amongst us (wouldn’t that be the epitome a “self-help” manual? Just a thought. *batting my eyes*) 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t physical pleasures be something that is effortless with a true mate or someone you love and trust?  WHY do we spend so much money attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole, metaphorically speaking. *wink* If you need a little “pick-me-up”, your own imagination should do just fine without someone else instructing you step by step on how to make a chocolate mold of your stud muffin’s willie simply in order to spice up a love life.  Rely on your own intuition. 

As you progress on to the next aisle, you’ll discover books and advice on how to fix the relationship you’ve already managed to break, neglect or screw up.  You can  continue on and pursue books that also tell you how to find out if the love of your life is cheating on you by putting on your detective hat and trench coat.  Heaven knows, trust is a bygone character trait in our society today. 

Last but not least, comes the section on how to take the person to which you pledged your heart and soul, to the cleaners or exact revenge for whatever pain you’re now experiencing. Who said that romance is dead?? Heck, you can buy the magic spells for guaranteed romance for the bargain price of $19.95 at Books a Million. What a deal!!

Is it any wonder we’re floundering and confused?  If we so called adults are acting like irresponsible teenagers in heat without a clue, heaven help the teenagers we’re responsible for raising and teaching such things.

When I wander around on online, it seems that there are so many people that are determined, come hell or high water, to fall in love. They plan for it. They advertise for it. They bemoan the fact that no one is falling under their spell. They finally decide, after a whole week or two of looking, to settle on something close to what they might actually want in a mate.

We want everything in our lives to be quick and easy..shake and bake. Women hear their clock ticking or don’t want to be labeled as an Old Maid or spinster..and men want to be taken care of or take care of someone to feel vital and not be labeled as “funny” by great aunt Marge when she discusses with the family why you can’t find a bride or have a woman stay with you.

Now keeping in mind that I’ve already confessed to not being Dr. Laura or Dear Abby or Dr. Phil, real love just isn’t that easy to find and can’t be forced into your time frame or specifications. IF you feel the urge coming over you to rationalize what you’re willing to do so that you’re not lonely anymore…get a grip. LOVE shouldn’t be rational. It can’t be arranged or planned for, and if it can be…then again, it’s not LOVE. 

Love is also messy and emotional (isn’t that the point?). You WILL cry over someone that you love. It is guaranteed we will all say or do the wrong thing at some time in a relationship. Ladies, all the platitudes we’re fed like…”No man worthwhile will make you cry” is bunk. Of COURSE worthwhile men will occasionally make us cry (or we’ll do it to ourselves by over-thinking or over-reacting)…if you don’t ever cry or fight or get upset in a relationship, then one or both of you just isn’t fully involved emotionally in said relationship. It’s benign and stagnant and will ultimately leave you bored and dissatisfied or as lonely as when you really were by yourself and alone.  The only difference being, you’re now alone where it counts, on the inside, while pretending to be part of a couple.

There are so many people rushing into real life meetings or falling in love after a couple of long conversations online with a total stranger. I hate to burst your bubble, but that’s not love. It might be the first stirrings of lust or interest, but it sure as hell isn’t love and if you rush into things, it will end badly. What’s the hurry anyway? IF it’s something destined to be important to you both and lasting, time will enhance the connection, not diminish it. You need to learn about the other person, experience them, make sure they are who they say they are. By the same token, you have to learn to not hold back as well…to give them even the parts of yourself you might not be proud of, rather than only showing your good side or what you think they are looking for.

If you don’t know their middle name, their birthday…the names of their children if they have them, where they were born or have heard about their parents or siblings, you don’t know them. Do you know their favorite movies, who gave them their first kiss, the foods they hate or summer jobs they had growing up? Little details that aren’t only lust or physically related, start to round out a person. You need long conversations on the phone so you can hear their voice, the pitch of their laugh…talking about all sorts of subjects from politics to nonsense. You need to not only be focused on finding out what turns them on or the size of their ummm…attributes, but instead find out if you really like the person as well as lust after them.

Yes, attraction is key to a relationship, but it’s just the icebreaker. If you’re looking for more than a quick roll in the hay that hopefully ONLY leaves you upset when it’s over (and without complications such as disease or a stalker or a new addition to the family), dare to look deeper and take your time if you want any chance at a lasting friendship with someone that is also your lover and one day maybe a lifelong partner.

None of us wants or likes to be lonely, it sucks to deal with things on our own all the time, be the fixer, or feel as if the weight of the world is always on our shoulders. We’re all searching for contact with someone that understands us, makes us feel wanted and needed. It doesn’t get any easier with maturity and age, in fact..I think it gets tougher. The players have refined their game by then and it’s hard to tell the good humans from the ones that talk a good game, male or female. Most of us have had relationships that have changed us in some way, at times hurtful ways that leave behind emotional scars that anyone new in our lives will have to understand and find ways over walls we may have built to protect ourselves. We’re more scared to fail or get hurt again. None of this is insurmountable.

Listen to your head and heart, not only your “happy spots” of bodily lust, when you meet someone that makes you take notice. Sex is easy, love takes effort and thought.  Use your brain, but at the same time, let yourself dream of possibilities. When you’ve been hurt, let yourself heal…but don’t close yourself off, none of us can live our lives in a vacuum.

It’s best to wait for the one you want than to settle for the one who’s available. Best to wait for the one you love than settle for the one who’s around. Best to wait for the right one because life is too short to be wasted with the wrong person, hoping they will change into what you want or need…hoping that magic pixie dust will make you happy.

Live, Learn, Love…and have fun doing it.

 

***********************************************

~True love cannot be defined by any means. It is a cluster of adjectives. It’s crazy, passionate, complicated, painful, but most importantly, true love is real. It’s that feeling of being inexplicably drawn to another person. Love isn’t finding someone who you can escape reality with, it’s finding someone who makes reality worthwhile.~