Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pay it Forward

Sometimes in life you have to take that plunge that dive or sudden and unexpected risk. You have to expose yourself to things you had not considered before.

More importantly, you should buy the hazard insurance.

Last week I ran into a bit of a dilemma. I had purchased tires for my car just two and one half months prior, but I came out to my car on a cool and wondrous Monday morning and what did I find?

A flat tire.

No big deal, I just bought new tires two and one half months ago. I should be fine and even if I'm not there is still my spare and maybe I can pay to have it repaired.


Only not. I proceed to make the call to my boss informing work that I will be late - and waking my boss in the process. Oops, she had the day off. Should have been a sign.

Then my car pooler shows up to offer helpful suggestions as my cheering section. The one thing he was spot on about?

My spare was flat too.

So after waiting for a third co-worker to leave our Monday morning meeting and come get us I run the tire to Wally World at lunch and since it's going to take them twelve years to look at it I come back after work.

Mind you of course, I am without a car, so having to bum rides wherever I go.

Turns out it's the sidewall.

No one fixes sidewalls. This I was told with more authority and wisdom than ever anyone before at Wally World had ever before possessed.

What about all the extra things I paid for just two and one half months ago?

Life time balancing.

So I bought a new tire and paid for hazard protection.

I didn't get it the first time, not because of the 10 dollars, but because I was delirious from having waited four hours in wal mart the first time to get the tires changed. So I paid whatever they asked me to.

Don't even get me started on what happens if I need my tires balanced in the future since I only have lifetime balancing on 3 of the tires and hazard on 1.

The message here is two fold -

1) Know what you are paying for
2) If you have a chance to spend 10 now to save you 90 later - that is a cost savings.

Just do it!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Live your life in increments

I found myself bemoaning the lack of excitement in my recent life and then the Universe reminded me that life cannot all be one long drawn out adventure or spiritual awakening.

Sometimes life is just about living day to day. Enjoyed the cool breeze and warm sunny day like today and making the most of it. Sharing your life and laughter with friends and family enjoying the quiet moments between the ruckus.

The big exciting moments like births, weddings, jobs, moves, parties, buying a home. Whatever big event is coming up in your life, it is certainly important to value those, but they aren't everything.

Don't wish away your life waiting for just the big moments otherwise your life will be nothing but a couple of highlights.

Some of the most poignant memories come to mind when I flash back over my time in various places in the country are small things I took time to enjoy. Whether it was smelling the flowers, taking a picture of a sunset, or just sitting outside watching lightning bugs.

Live it up.

But remember to love the small things too. If you find yourself rushing to the next BIG thing, stop yourself again and breathe and look around.

Notice the world you live in, don't treat it like background noise.

Enough lecturing. I'm done. Just smile.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Your Life Belongs to You

You thought I was going to continue numbering the posts forever?

I hope not, just the thought of having to keep track of all those numbers is mind numbing. If I wanted to be a numbers person....oh right...I track numbers all day long. Want to know what the regional average is for doctors compensation by year, hour, and specialty? Me neither, but I do. So no numbers.

I had several ideas for this next lesson, but they didn't feel quite right and between that and life I couldn't quite bring myself to post. And then while I was showering the fully formed idea for this post hit me.

This is why I don't carry a notebook for my thoughts. My thoughts are as inconsiderate as life tends to be occurring to me at times when I surely couldn't stop to write them down. Like in the shower, jogging, exercising in general, sex, right in the middle of someone telling me something that is very pivotal to their lives - wait hold that thought while I write something clever down.

Can you imagine? I don't think it would be pretty.

And it isn't very nice either, so I've trained my brain to have mental post its so I can visualize the thought and tag it for later reminders - like on your Outlook calendar.

So on to the thought.

You owe your life to no one.

Don't start arguing yet - let it sink in for a moment while I explain what I mean.

This isn't meant to be a purely ego driven comment that says damn the man and my parents and I do what I want.

It's a reminder that a life is too much to have to owe anyone, yes I owe my mother a lot for bringing me into this world, but do I owe her living a life I don't want to make her happy?

No. Nor should I, and I don't because my mother only wants for her children to be happy.

Let me give you another example -

You sit around day by day and are frustrated with your life, your job, money, friends, home life, etc. You complain and you are depressed. Or even just mildly dissatisfied by it or something else.

Whether or not you feel powerless.

Whether or not you feel that you are realistically in a place to change some or all of those things.

Whether or not you feel like it was really your decision to end up where you are.

Doesn't matter.

You have a choice - they are not always pretty, but there are always options. So you have to decide - if you are going to continue doing what you are doing - in this case lets say a job - then you have to recognize that is your choice.

You don't owe the responsibility of the choice or the resulting actions to anyone but you.

It is easy to be angry and frustrated at others and even ourselves, but it is much harder to simply recognize that life is full of hard choices and sometimes we have to make do with the shitty option until something better comes along.

So your life is - always - in your hands. And if you choose to spend it doing something you don't life - think about this -

You get one chance to live today - to be the age you are today and it will be gone like a spring tulip. Never to return.

So are you going to spend it - crying, laughing, worrying, alone, lonely, in despair?

Or will you choose something different as you consider your options?

Take a walk and think about it. Maybe you will have an inspiring moment or conversation that will lead to a new life.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lesson Two: And most importantly ------relax!

Today I was sitting down to hummus and shish kabobs with a friend. As we poo-pooed on life, men, and work my friend pointed out just how bitter and angry I sounded. I used to sound like that all the time before I made up my mind to live a happier and more carefree life. So as the conversation continued and we circled back around to another topic that got my hackles up I stopped myself.

Use the stop sign - seriously it helps.

I hit the mental breaks on that thought and closed my eyes. I took a deep breath and I pictured the ocean. I find the constant in and out of the water lapping at the beach is the most calming sensation. So I took a moment and when I had released enough of the tension from my body and anger from my voice I opened my eyes.

My friend asked, "Where did you go?"

"Away for a moment. I meditated and let go of some of the anger and bitterness. I don't like sounding like that."

And I certainly don't like feeling it. Whether it is a mental image, rocking out to some music, taking a walk, smoking a cigarette.

Whatever it takes you to let go - and relax. Remember it. Do it.

It's easy to get wrapped up in your own anger and feelings, but it won't get you anywhere. Maybe by letting go though you make the rest of your day/dinner/evening that much nicer.

Maybe, just maybe, you are more able to laugh or smile - it's good for your health.

So....we all have something we can do to let something go. Keep it in mind and practice, practice, practice.

Do it with me now - ---

Breathe in...

Breathe out...

Breathe in...







Ha! Hope you remembered to breathe out and keep on breathing.

Life is sometimes that simple.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lesson One

Life is...full of new beginnings.

The old adage we have here in Missouri about the weather is as true for life over all. If you don't like it, stick around, it will change.

This beginning is like many of the ones that have gone before, but not without merit for that, a way to reinvent. Before I get ahead of myself let me tell you why you are here.

You are sometimes lost, lonely, despairing, confused, bored, or any other endless array of emotions both dismal and hurtful. I once dreamed that I was a superhero. Want to know what my superpower was?

Me too. I don't remember. I know I could fly, but really who can't? But what I do remember is that I helped people and that was really why I woke up with a smile. I do not claim to be a counselor, priest, teacher, or yogi, but what I can do is listen, think, and share.

So if you will pardon the arrogance of it I think I can help, but not because I know better. I think I can help because I have been there. I have been homeless 3 times in my life, near bankrupt more than once, have more degrees than I get any use of, been alone, been in an abusive relationship...etc.etc. If you want all the sordid details you will need to stick around.

Back to today's lesson though.

Scarlett said, "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

This is sound advice, and do you know why?

That's right, lesson number one - life changes. Let it.

Don't always worry about making all the changes today, sorting out all the problems, paying all the bills, finding the right lover, friend, or job. Let it go for today and let yourself fly off in a dream to save the world.

I am not saying put it off forever, but when you find yourself worrying incessantly over something ask yourself a simple question - Can I do something about that now?

If the answer is no - simple - then picture a stop sign, listen to some music, watch a movie, or sleep and dream to fight another day. Not every battle is won by rushing in.

There are people hemming and hawing and saying yes, well maybe there is something I could do, but what if I don't want to?

That's okay.

You thought I was going to tell you, "Bad reader. No cookie!" didn't you?

I don't believe in that. If you really don't have the energy to do it then don't. Don't punish yourself for not being perfect - no one is. But after you take a day, week, month - come back to it.

It took me 26 years before I really worked up the energy to lose the weight I had been promising myself I'd lose and I'm still not done.

Sometimes you need to wait for the right alignment of motivation, will, and hope to break through.

So smile, take a deep breath, and let the changes life brings roll past you.

I know you can do it.