Note To Self

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It seems like such a simple and obvious notion – to make time for yourself. But how many of us remember to do it or make the effort to rearrange our busy schedules?

I often find myself, at day’s end, not having completed my mental ‘to do’ list. It’s partly my fault by becoming distracted by other obligations. But there are, after all, only 24 hours in a day. Moreover, 6-8 of those hours (if we’re lucky) are spent asleep so that leaves…

See? I almost did it again. I certainly don’t have the time it takes to do math. What matters most is the quality of our time spent – even with family and friends, it’s not so much the minutes or the hours but the actual together time – without preoccupation or interference from any outside sources.

So: “note to self” – I will always be at my best, for others, when I am at my best for my own self. And, sometimes, that means having to take a moment to look up at the stars or to smell the roses or to hear my sons voices on the telephone. Then, and only then, can I be my very best ME!

At The Mall

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I love going to the mall (except around this time of the year).* There, I’ve said it. The very best time to go is first thing in the morning. There are no teenagers skulking about, no loud music coming from the stores** and no lines. The most you will see are the velour-clad mall walkers and the new moms pushing baby carriages.

But all that changed when I decided to take my Dad along with me. First, we needed to find the bathroom (which we needed to do several more times during our venture). Then we needed to avoid every single crying or whining child. Finally, of all the many and varied types of delicious, multi-cultured food found in the food court, we needed to get… a Nathan’s hot dog. I kid you not.

So, next time I think about going to the mall I will slip out, unnoticed, and bring back some small token as a ‘thank you’ for allowing me to have my day at the mall!

*I try to get all my holiday shopping done before the end of October. No sales? Oh well. It’s worth it to avoid the holiday frenzy.

**I’ll take any other loud music over Xmas music, any day – you know, that stuff that plays on endless loops for months before the actual ‘day’ that it’s supposed to represent. And that’s why you’ll never see me in a store (even the grocery store), from now until the middle of January, without my handy-dandy, sanity-preserving earbuds.

 

Giving Thanks Day

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Once a year on Thanksgiving, we sit around a large table filled with an abundance of food. I won’t even bother mentioning how gluttonous that is. But what I’d like to focus on is the custom of giving thanks. It’s not a custom in every home and it shouldn’t only happen once a year. But it usually does. And it goes something like this:

I’m thankful for…

  • My family
  • My health
  • This food

But what we’re really thinking is:

I’m thankful for…

  • The big screen tv we’re about to watch the football game on
  • The yelling and screaming around the table that is ‘expected’ and somehow okay on the holidays
  • The weight I will enjoy putting on today because I can always go back to dieting tomorrow 

Like most holidays, we’ve lost sight of their true meaning. They’ve become commercialized, money-oriented and largely NOT having much at all to do with why we’re supposed to be gathering to celebrate in the first place. One day observances have now stretched into months-long events. Between over-advertising and decorations, it’s all a bit nauseating. And, instead of spending ‘that’ special day with friends and family, we’re more apt to spend it out shopping for the next ‘big’ day.

So, what’s the solution? I’m not sure there is one. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate canned goods at any number of locations to ease your conscience. But, at the end of the day, your thanks ‘giving’ is really a self-giving of yet another year of excess!

Finding Your Match

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Stripes or solids? Plaids or polka-dots? Finding the right match can be difficult. Some things and some people are just meant to be together. Others, not so much.

Whether you like peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone willing to challenge your taste in food preparedness. That said I, personally, can’t see why anybody would put ketchup on their hot dog instead of mustard but, then, I also don’t find the need for ketchup on my fries… so there’s that.

Black coffee or coffee with lots of milk and sugar? This, too, is a seemingly debateable issue between caffeine drinkers. I prefer tea so it matters not to me but stop in at any Starbucks, any time of the day, and you’ll see not only long wait lines but lines of predilection as well.

Finding your match can involve anything from your taste buds to your heart’s desire. Preferences in food, music, art and clothing can change as often as the days of the week. Traits we like about our friends and even about ourselves sometimes change as we get older. Love, on the other hand, is a many splendored thing and should always shine as radiantly as a struck match!

Piece Of Mind

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Did you know that when you live with your parents, later in life, you actually start to lose large pieces of your mind on a daily basis? It’s not like when you temporarily lose your keys or forget someone’s phone number. Or when you sit in traffic because it was decided that rush hour was a convenient time to pave the road or there’s an accident on the other side of the divider and all the drivers in front of you decide to look and take photos and you think, “there are two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”

No, this is something entirely different. 

When my Dad – who has very limited sight and even more limited acceptance of that fact – insists on pouring his own drink and I then spend my few free moments of the day cleaning up the spills that could have been avoided if he would have just allowed me the privilege of doing it for him in the first place… there goes one piece of your mind. 

Then when my Mom thinks she is saving 15 cents (yes, cents) by using a coupon from one particular store that is miles away from where I’m doing their regular shopping – resulting in my having to spend a half hour more of my valuable time, traveling in the car (not to mention about 10x as much in gas as the coupon is worth) – just so I can buy that item that she didn’t really even need but had a coupon for… there goes another piece of mind. 

And, finally, when I spill some yogurt down the front of my new shirt (because I’m so tired from running around doing errands and fixing things around the house) and I realize I’ve witnessed this same scene before but, instead of me, it was with the very people I’m usually helping clean up after – that’s when it occurs to you that it’s not a piece of mind you’ve lost but your peace of mindfulness!*

*Don’t sweat the small stuff… Listen to your heart… Take time for yourself… Set clear boundaries… Give yourself the gift of forgiveness… Go ahead and vent… Remain calm… Make the best of a bad situation… Don’t take it all so seriously… Treasure the journey… And when all else fails – LAUGH!

Get Up, Go

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(Unknown Author)

How do I know that my youth is all spent?
Well, my get up and go has got up and went.
But in spite of it all I am able to grin
When I think of the places my get up has been.

Old age is golden, so I’ve heard said
But sometimes I wonder, as I get into bed.
With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup
And my eyes on the table until I wake up.

Ere sleep dims my eyes I say to myself
“Is there anything else I can put on the shelf?”
And I’m happy to say as I close the door
“My friends are the same, perhaps even more.”

When I was a young thing my slippers were red
I could kick my heels high as my head.
Then when I was older, my slippers were blue
But still I could walk the whole day through.

Now I’m still older, my slippers are black
I walk to the store and puff my way back.
The reason I know my youth is all spent
My get up and go has got up and went.

But really, I don’t mind when I think with a grin
Of all the grand places my get up has been.
Since I have retired from life’s competition
I busy myself with complete repetition.

I get up each morning and dust off my wits
Pick up the paper and read the ‘obits.’
If my name is missing I know I’m not dead
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed.