Saturday, January 23, 2010

Twenty Reasons to be Happy Right Now

I have been feeling kind of down lately, so today I decided to come up with a list of twenty reasons to be happy right now. Big or small (the little things are important too), no matter how trite, I wanted to include as much as I could.

  1. The weather's been nice and most of the snow has melted - for now. (Right after I busted my hump shoveling the driveway - isn't that typical:))

  2. I was able to shovel the driveway all by myself. (accomplishment!)

  3. I have two great cats.

  4. I live in a free country - let's hear it for democracy!

  5. I have lost five pounds.

  6. My new shower curtain is here and ready to be put up.

  7. I just ate a Nestle Crunch heart (may have to cancel #5).

  8. I made a donation for earthquake relief in Haiti, and last month I made a donation to the City Mission. Doing a little good makes you feel good.

  9. I have some really great friends.

  10. Oooh - instant message just doinked - Facebook friend request just confirmed.

  11. I finally got transferring pictures from my digital camera onto my computer to work.

  12. I'm not hating the way my hair looks right now.

  13. I have both feet on the ground.

  14. I have two awesome nephews.

  15. I have many fond memories.

  16. I haven't made a lot of mistakes, and the ones I've made I learned from.

  17. My pantry and fridge are full and the kitties have plenty of food - I am ready if we have a blizzard!

  18. I like myself, and I know that others like me.

  19. The world is a beautiful place, and the news has had some very uplifting stories lately - like the rescue in Haiti. Restores your faith in mankind.

  20. I have hope that this year will be great!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

When You Move at a Snail's Pace, But the Rest of the World Doesn't

I am sure I have probably said before that ever since being slowed down by MS, I have noticed more just how fast the rest of the world is moving. A perfect example occurred in the parking lot of my grocery recently. I came out of the store, dragging myself to my car, laboriously pushing my full shopping cart. After what seemed like several minutes, I got to the car, opened the trunk and started putting the bags of groceries in. Then a woman came barreling toward the car parked next to me, also pushing a full cart.

As I stood at my car, slowly placing the bags into the trunk and moving items around to more evenly distribute the weight of those bags, I noticed the woman tossing her bags into her car as if they weighed nothing. Then she sped past me to put her shopping cart in the cart return, like she was practicing for a new TV show called The Great American Grocery Race. She took off as I finally closed the trunk and headed to the cart return (which I was parked next to - a little strategy I use these days.) I kind of jealously glanced at the now empty parking spot on the other side of my car. These days, it just feels like everyone else is racing past me, leaving me standing in their dust.

Oh, swiftly moving society, how I miss walking among you and being able to keep up!

I recently read a letter by a woman with MS in a magazine. She wrote about how she had found a certain joy in being slowed down by MS, that it had given her time to focus on things she loved to do and a greater appreciation for things.

(Sigh) I guess that's a good way of looking at it. I do agree with that. Still, I can't help but miss the days when I could walk briskly, and get more done in a day.

There are times when moving slowly is a good thing. A quiet walk in the park, a leisurely stroll through an art museum. Taking time to take in one's surroundings and really see the beauty of them.

There isn't much to notice or appreciate about a grocery store parking lot. Except how quickly everyone else is moving. And I've realized that the fact that they are rushing about is probably indicative of having lots to do and being stressed out. And it's also made me realize that I probably was stressed out when I was moving at their speed, too.

So for me the joy of moving slower is that it has afforded me a less stressful lifestyle, which is nice. I still wouldn't mind being able to move a little faster when I have errands to get out of the way. But I have found ways to deal with getting things done. I give myself more time now to do them, and I don't overburden myself with my to-do list.

I know I am always going to be envious of the folks who can move faster than I - to a degree. But I do like knowing that I am not under pressure to get things done, and I like that I don't have to race around and I don't feel compelled to jam more stuff to do into my day. I can see the advantages of a slower pace now, and I do appreciate them.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter's Good Side

Winter definitely has a bad reputation. And for good reason. Between the snow, ice and relentless cold, it bullies us, ruins our plans, causes damage and often makes us feel depressed.

Yeah, winter can be downright scary, but it can be an enjoyable time of year though. It is after all the only time one can enjoy tobogganing or skiing, or just a good old snowball fight.

Winter isn't easy on me these days because of the MS. I find myself having to go into major survival mode to get through it. Plodding through the snow, brushing off the car, trying to shovel by myself before finally calling in reinforcements - it all gets to be a bit much. But I like to use the strength and determination I have, even in the frigid cold, just to let Old Man Winter and MS know what I think of them and where they both can go!

Depression definitely does set in when the snow piles up, and keeps piling up. But I find that a steaming cup of hot cocoa helps take the edge off, along with the pretty frost patterns on the windows or the sound of neighborhood kids enjoying their "snow day" off school. And of course I don't let the snow stop me from my year-round task of feeding the birds and squirrels!

Winter can be a very trying time, but it does possess a certain beauty in spite of all the obstacles it creates. It's hard not to see it in a perfect snow-covered landscape, or the way the sunlight makes the snow sparkle.

So when I have to shovel a path to get to the birdfeeder, or when I take off my wet boots after having to trudge through the snow, I find myself feeling grateful - for two different reasons- for the opportunity to do these things.

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's Resolution Time Again

"Resolution of happiness. Things have been dark for too long." - INXS

This year I resolve to... When a new year begins, we are always compelled to set out to do things differently or to set goals to accomplish during the year.

We always seem to be a work in progress. Wanting each new year to be better than the last. How will we ever catch up to where we want to be? This year is exceptional because for many of us, recent events have set us back, so now we're just trying to get back to where we were before.

The typical New Year's resolution just doesn't seem adequate right now. Sure I want to lose weight, be more fit, but it's just not really high on my priority list. I know what I would like to see change in my life, and I also know that things are pretty complicated. And right now, more than anything, I just want to be happy. I think we all could use some more of that.

Wouldn't it be great to get to the end of a year and say, "There is nothing I want to change this year. I am happy with the way things are"? To have your only resolution be to maintain things?

I think instead of a New Year's resolution, I need a life resolution. Something that will last beyond the scope of this year. It may be harder to stick to, but I think a life resolution could produce better results.

I want to resolve to be happier by enjoying myself more and finding something meaningful and fulfilling to do with my life. It's a pretty tall order I know, but this is a life resolution after all.

This goes beyond the simple getting organized and de-cluttering resolution. When you want to clean up your life, not just your house, it takes a lot more work. There are problems to be addressed, solutions to be researched. Courses of action to be decided.

It's not going to be easy. A major positive attitude is needed to turn things around. And some hopefulness that things will get better for everyone is definitely needed as well. When we're trying to make things happen, sometimes all we can do is hope for the best.

Maybe next year I can resolve to lose twenty pounds.

Happy New Year!