It’s a proven fact that my mind takes many uncharted detours.
As my fellow ADD and ADHD types know, the mind, when not securely leashed, takes many side trips. As mine is typically off leash these days, the possibilities are pretty endless…and very random. Tonight as I hurried to get the trash cans to the curb before the sky decide to deliver another deluge, I found myself actually feeling grateful for the chores I need to do every week. Whether it’s scooping the sand boxes, cleaning up the kitchen, carting the trash to the curb, or any number of other things which keep my house from being completely disgusting, it all boils down to one thing. When I’m doing chores, I’m moving, and when I’m moving those achy, cranky parts of my are getting a little action to keep them from stiffening up.
I’ve discovered, of late, that regardless of when I go to bed at night (and there are times when it’s 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning more often than not), I’m still waking up by about 8 or 8:30. Why? Because parts of my body take issue with prolonged inactivity, even if it’s something kind of necessary like, say, sleeping. Last night, after hitting the pillows well after 2 and much closer to 3, I was awake by 6:30, locking cats out by 7:30, and finally giving in to the stitch in my back and the ache in my knees by 8:30. When I check the sleep pattern on my Fitbit lately, I’m seeing something less than 6 hours a night. Of course, that includes the multiple times I get up to drink and get rid of all of the water I consume during the day, but still, I’m amazed at how little sleep allows me to function somewhat normally.
I remember when I was younger hearing that older people sleep less hours per night. But am I really “older people” now? Say it isn’t so! Though if you were to ask my daughter, according to the calendar, I really am old, even if I refuse to act like it! Frankly, I feel very blessed that I can still do my own chores and dance the night away at my advanced age. A lot of the twenty-somethings have trouble keeping up with my older friends and I. Which brings me to another gratitude. I have had friends, over the last few decades, who were old by the time they were in their forties. They had limited mobility and a laundry list of ailments to hinder them even further. I do find myself wondering, though, if they had, like me, refused to allow themselves to be limited, would they have continued to suffer as much?
Do we magnify our aches and pains by paying attention to them?
What it boils down to is that I believe we have choices. If I wake up with my knees aching or my back twinging, I start out by doing some stretches, then grab the glucosamine, fish oil and turmeric to help keep everything moving more freely. And do you know what? Once I get moving, the aches typically subside. If not, I grab a heating pad, a rice bag or an ice pack along with the glucosamine cream and give things an extra boost. Rarely does it require more.
So, without meaning to sound insensitive, would my former friends who essentially immobilized themselves have fared better had they worked through the pain? OK, granted, my pain threshold is off the charts so things which would bring an average person to their knees are simply a petty annoyance to me, and maybe that has worked in my favor. Or maybe sitting around watching TV, unable to do the simplest of chores annoys the crap out of me so I tell my body to suck it up. Whatever the reason for my better quality of life, I can only be grateful that it is so.
Learning to love and appreciate our limitations too.
We all have our challenges, no matter who we are. For me, it’s getting rid of all of the excess weight. I know I’m in charge and shoot myself in the foot much of the time, but something I finally learned is that whatever our limitations are, they do not define us. They may slow us down or keep us from doing every single thing we’d like to do but they are not us. I am not that 60 or 70 pounds overweight body. I am the person inside of that less-than-perfect packaging who makes choices about whether or not I’ll allow it to slow me down every single day. Because of that, I’ve learned to be a lot less judgmental about what others choose to wear or do or eat because, frankly, if what they are wearing or doing or eating makes them feel good, who am I to tell them differently? If I determine that it is unattractive or unhealthy, what I’m really doing is applying my own personal set of standards to someone else’s behavior. I wouldn’t wear something like that on my overweight body or eat that cafe mocha with a cinnabon, so they shouldn’t either.
I’ve finally learned that rather than judging someone, I feel a huge wave of respect when I see someone who is not concerned about what others think at all, but simply does what makes them happy. I can’t always do that and I admire those who can. Just as I admire women who can walk up to a man and just chat casually, engaging him without any emotional angst going on. I strive to have that feeling of comfort in my own skin which allows me to just feel good about me no matter what.
Each of us is a wonderful, beautiful, amazing work in progress
I think that’s why I find it easy to be grateful for things both large and small. Each thing which makes me feel that gratitude means I’m making progress in growing and redefining myself according to kinder standards. Over the years, each of us has a mental blueprint of what we should look like, work for, accomplish, and be, but as time passes, that blueprint should evolve. I suspect it does for many of us, but what if it doesn’t? Would we be stuck trying to be the person we envisioned when we were twenty? If so, we’d find ourselves very frustrated and wrought with repeated failures by the time we hit our forties. A twenty year old can’t possibly understand the life lessons we gain as we continue along our personal life path. My twenty year old self, in particular, was a very insecure, uncertain, poorly motivated individual who strove to follow the proper path which society expected: go to college, get a job, support yourself, get married, have kids, buy a house, pay your bills…yadda yadda yadda.
I much prefer the self I am now, lazing around more than I should, keeping weird hours, following my heart instead of the side of me which is boring, stuck up and filled with responsibility. Are there aspects of my current life I’d like to change? Of course! If there weren’t, what would be the point of trying new things, taking classes, meeting with other like-minded people and stretching my boundaries. Am I making those changes right now? Not necessarily, but I’m doing a lot of work internally and know that needs to happen before I can successfully navigate the next set of changes I decide to implement. But I’m grateful for the chance to take my time and figure it all out. I’m grateful for the days when I just work a lot of puzzles while my mind churns away in the background. I’m grateful for the nights I write until 3 in the morning only to get up and start my day again at 8 or 8:30. Because it is all part of the process. Whether I see progress or not, what I’m doing is moving me forward even if the progress is, to the naked eye, imperceptible.
Self abuse is never attractive
Be honest now. What would you rather listen to? Someone ranting and raving about how miserable their life is, or someone who gets excited over something small and seemingly silly? I know which one I’d choose! Even if the only thing I can think of is that my clothes stayed where they belonged instead of chafing and binding, at least I can take it and not only make it amusing, but allow you to relate to a common problem. Look at what someone did with the annual bathing suit shopping trip. I laughed so hard at the way she described it, and yet, someone else might have looked at that and been either critical or sad about trying to squeeze a less than perfect body into a piece of spandex. It’s all in how you allow yourself to see the world.
A friend recently shared a post about being too positive (though the woman attributed excess positivity to Mary Poppins rather than Pollyanna). I said then, and repeat it now that I don’t believe that you can be too positive. If your life is in the toilet but you still manage to put a positive spin on things, is that really so bad? If you refuse to wallow in the setbacks, but instead find something funny about them, set them aside and move on, I find that a lot healthier and, in the long run, I believe the setbacks will be fewer and less gut wrenching. We all have a choice, every single day. We can choose to be happy and to avoid allowing some of the curveballs life throws us to kick our butts, or we can take each imperfection we experience and blow it up to the size of Mount Saint Helen’s complete with billowing smoke and scorching molten rock. Burning in a self-imposed hell has never really been my style, even at my lowest point.
I’ve wandered from hither to yon and back again for long enough this evening, but I hope I’ve given you reason to find the small things in life which make you happy and to focus on those. To find gratitude in odd places and to allow it to bring a smile to your face, even in the midst of adversity. I’ll leave you with one last thought: Will whatever you might be going through right now matter in five years? In ten?
My gratitudes tonight are;
1. I am grateful for the small stuff.
2. I am grateful that I am responsible for my own chores as it keeps my body moving even when it would prefer to be a lazy lump.
3. I am grateful for evolution: I would not want to remain my twenty year old self for eternity.
4. I am grateful for a mind that runs amok most of the time as I get to tilt my head several times a day and think: “Now where did that come from?”
5. I am grateful for abundance: opportunities, friendship, chores, movement, joy, love, responsibility and detours, hope, health, peace, harmony and prosperity.
And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my website at www.shericonaway.com which contains a link to this blog and my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created both page and website as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!