Worry

In a movie about an accused spy facing the death penalty, his attorney asked him several times, aren’t you worried?  He responded with a question each time, would it help?  No response needed because the answer is obviously no.  Worrying about something that is out of our control makes absolutely no sense because it doesn’t have any effect on the outcome.  I taught my kids about drunk driving and drugs, sent them to parties in our car, and worried they wouldn’t make it home unscathed.  I did all I could to prevent an undesired result and that should have prevented me from worrying, but it didn’t.  I still worried about what they would do at that party, which was an exercise in futility because worry didn’t alter their evening, it altered mine.  Whenever I’ve gotten seriously ill I immediately worried it might be cancer.  It never changed the results of any test, just the acid level in my stomach.  Since worrying about such things is a learned behavior, it can be unlearned, so here’s my plan.  Every time I start down the path to worry I will ask myself, would it help, and if the answer’s no, let it go.

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Why? How?

One of my sisters came to visit recently.  She’s one of my best friends, which is more important to me than being my sister.  We hiked, kayaked, shared a few meals and ice cream cones, and talked and talked.  We talked about what’s normal when it comes to grieving and concluded why can’t everything about it be considered normal?  Who’s to say it’s not?  Is there such a thing as an expert on grieving when everything about grief is unique to each person?  We asked other why questions and didn’t really come up with any solid answers except it’s OK they stay unanswered; what other option is there that lets you keep your sanity?  We talked about our experiences with sadness so great we no longer wanted to live and how that sadness buried every logical reason to live so deep they were no longer heard.  Even so they kept calling and somehow finally woke us up and we questioned how it was even possible to entertain such terrible thoughts.  It’s amazing what understanding, trust, and concern can accomplish in each of us as we continue to make our way through different, and yet in many ways similar, experiences.

Memories

We had our kids when we were young, but not too young, in our 20’s.  Our parents became grandparents in their 40’s and great grandparents in their 60’s.  They went to their grandchildren’s high school and college graduations and weddings.  Today couples aren’t becoming parents until they’re mid 30’s or later and then grandparent are in their 60’s and great grandparents in their 90’s.  I think in the near future, there will be very few great grandparents.  The sad thing for families is the leaving factor – kids leaving the place where they grew up and moving away.  Parents might see their kids once a year or have everyone all together every 3 or 4 years if they’re spread across the country or continents.  It’s even harder for grandparents.  When my father-in-law came to visit the other day he said he came because he wants his great grandchildren to remember him.  We took a short walk and my grandson held his hand; I wish I had taken a photo.  I did get a photo of him with both his great grandchildren on his lap and after he left my grandson said, I miss grand-poppop already.  Don’t forget to capture memories.

Moments

I am so sick of people walking down the sidewalk staring at their phones, especially traveling in groups.  It’s like there’s no one else using the sidewalk for what it’s there for; walking.  It takes about 15 minutes to walk down one side of main street and you can’t help looking at your phone?  Part of the joy when we walked main street years ago, before the invention of cell phones, was not being bothered by normal life distractions.  When we got back home, we might hear, we tried to get in touch with you, where were you?  We were away – the key word being away – away from normal life, experiencing something different.  Of course, this is all coming from a person who still owns a flip phone because it does what I need it to do when I’m not home; receive and place necessary calls and texts.  Everything else I can do at home and it can wait.  Days are made of moments, moments you can never get back, so all of me will be present for those that are ordinary and those that are special, taking in the wonder of them and those around me.

Time Takes

The time it takes to do many common tasks, like household chores, travel, and communicating, has gotten shorter and shorter and yet the world demands shorter still.  I used to complain about how slow the new credit card chip reader is until a customer pointed out that when the process becomes instantaneous I’ll be wishing I still had that little bit of time to breath between sales.  The shorter time needed for household tasks has made it possible for both husband and wife to work outside the home but I wouldn’t call, a full day’s work plus times two, progress.  What do I do with the time not needed to bake bread or hand wash laundry every day?  The only option is redirect it since it’s not possible to add more or save it up.  Time ticks away at the same pace every day driving people to speed up the pace of their tasks to fit in more and more.  Interesting question – how would I spend an additional 2.5 hours a day if there were a sleeping pill that would let me get my required 7.5 hours of sleep in 5 hours?  Would I work it away or play?

Effort

There’s lots of things in my life I should change, the hardest being what I need to get rid of.  I struggle with exercise, but that’s something to add, not subtract.  It’s pretty easy to discover what’s missing, but much harder for the things that need to go, because they’ve become a habit and incorrectly accepted.  Things like unjustified fear of what I need to do when the outcome is uncertain, where there’s a chance I’ll mess up or something will get messed up.  A fear so ingrained in me it took a good 15 minutes to put into words.  What else has been erroneously allowed to take up permanent residence?  How long will it take to kick them all out?  Whatever it takes, it’ll be worth the effort.

  • Rocks / Effort
  • This rock has been hit by the lawn mower many times.
  • It can stay in this spot no longer.  Does it matter to a rock where it ends up?
  • I start to dig, only to discover the rock is larger than it looks.
  • It spreads out deep and wide.  It’ll take more effort than I thought.
  • But it will be worth it.  My lawn mower will thank me.

Change

Driving home last night, with traffic moving at a snail’s pace, I had time to admire the high peaks of the Adirondacks; a massive blanket of green with the highest peaks in the clouds.  Yesterday morning on Middle Saranac Lake, before the fog lifted, I was treated to breathtaking views of the small islands peeking through the mist.  I am in awe of the beauty here and amazed that I live in such a place.  We used to visit here in the late 80’s and 90’s but never thought my life would end up here.  The Alpine Mall, where my daughter and son’s stores are, looks and smells exactly the same, only the stores have changed.  It’s great to have things that don’t change, things you can count on and hold on to.  It’s also great to have things that do change because change has the ability to either spice things up or make it possible to survive.  Whether scary or exciting, unavoidable or by choice, long and difficult or quick and easy, change is the one sure way for me not only to become what I need to be, but more than I ever thought I could be.