Words of wisdom?

Here are a few random things I have learned over the years:

Just because a car has its turn signal on doesn’t mean it’s going to turn; just because the turn signal isn’t on doesn’t mean it won’t.

People who fall on hard times do one of two things; they either give up or fight.

Being kind is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.

The older you get, the easier it is to speak your mind.

It’s no fun being around people with closed minds.

Laughter is the best exercise for body, mind, and soul.

Wearing a smile does more for your looks than wearing makeup.

Inner beauty is more lasting and more important than outer beauty.

Freedom and liberty are not the same thing.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

You can’t have freedom and security – pick one.

It’s becoming harder and harder to have a rational discussion with someone whose mind is made up.

A day without laughter is like a day without sunshine.

Gratitude shouldn’t just be for the good things in life; we should be grateful for the bad, too, because those are the times that refine us and make us think about who we are and what is important to us.

Life isn’t fair

So we can all agree that life isn’t fair; otherwise we would all be rich, famous, and gorgeous, right? And if life isn’t fair how can we get through it? We get through it by plodding along, putting one foot in front of the other, and keep going. Sometimes it’s really, really hard. And sometimes it flows smoothly and good things happen.

My life has been hard for the last few weeks. The tenant we had moved out in May – terrible timing – and we have had very few nibbles. We owe way more on our property than what it’s worth, just like so many right now. Work here is non-existent for my partner who is having to spend weeks at a time away from home just to earn enough money to pay the mortgage. I had a very sick dog and spent several hundred dollars I couldn’t afford to spend on medical care for him. Terrible disasters are all over the news, and although they don’t affect my life directly, it hurts to see the devastation to people’s lives and to the environment in places I used to live and that still have a place in my heart. It angers me that public figures don’t seem to be affected by all this and just blithely continue collecting their huge paychecks and bonuses and make inane comments about the oil spill being a ‘natural phenomenon’.

But through it all I have tried to keep a positive attitude. When I feel particularly down, I tell myself I can have this pity party for one day only, then I have to get on with my life. The fact that others have a harder time than I do doesn’t make me feel better; it tends to make me more depressed that there are those worse off than I am. I try to count my blessings and be grateful for what I do have.

But it’s hard; and life isn’t fair.

Gratitude

It is so difficult to be grateful when times are hard. But as I look around, I see those who are worse off than I am. It doesn’t make my trials any easier to bear, but it does make me grateful for the things I have: good health, a home, a vehicle, furry four-legged friends who will do anything for love and who love me no matter what, a best friend and partner who is there to listen, a job where I am appreciated. So the hard times maybe aren’t so hard. I see animals being turned in to our shelter every day whose owners are being foreclosed; I see animals who are abused, neglected, yet still have love to give. Who am I to complain?

Giving Thanks Part 2

Thanksgiving is over, but that doesn’t mean we can stop giving thanks. There is so much to be thankful for, even if you can’t see it right now.

I can remember one of the darkest periods in my life: I had moved to a new place by myself and was recently divorced. For a period of about 2 months, I felt totally alone, depressed, had nobody to discuss things with. I became withdrawn, didn’t go out except to walk the dog and shop for groceries. Gradually, I began to notice my surroundings and began to appreciate where I was. I began a gratitude journal and resolved I would find at least 3 things every day to be thankful for. At first, it was so difficult to find even one. But with practice, I found much more than 3 things every day; some days I had a hard time picking only 3. And so on to today.

I still have so much to be thankful for; even things that seem negative at the time. Yes, there are days where it is difficult to find one thing to be grateful for, but when I persist, the grace begins to pour.

What do you take for granted?

I was watching a show on PBS the other night about a family in Turkey that had children who were incapable of walking upright; they walked on their hands and feet. The children ranged in age from the early 20s to the mid 30s and had never had a medical evaluation until the researchers showed up to learn about them. My partner and I started talking about how access to medical care for them could have made a world of difference to their walking ability. Here in the US, if a child wasn’t walking by say, 18 months, there would have been all kinds of tests, physical therapy, etc. (provided the parents could afford it or had good health insurance.) But that also started me thinking about so many things we take for granted in most of the country. (There are parts of the US that are like Third World countries: no running water, no electricity, no access to medical care. But if you have the ability to read this, you probably don’t live in one of those areas. ) We have reliable electricity; clean water; reasonably inexpensive ways to heat and cool our homes; dependable access to food; relatively inexpensive fuel for our cars. Well, I think you get the picture. There have been so many times I didn’t even think about how electricity gets to my home when I flipped on a light switch; or I have turned on the faucet without ever thinking about how my water is cleaned and sent to my house. There are so many things I take for granted; that my partner will be here waiting for me when I get home from work; my pets will be happy to see me; my kids and grandkids will call me often just to say hi, and on and on.

What do you take for granted?