Saturday, August 28, 2010

August and Everything After

I decided to borrow the name of a Counting Crows album for this post because it seemed like a fitting title for it. As the month of August winds down and the end of summer draws near, my thoughts turn to the change that is in the air. The cooler days, the leaves turning color. I can already feel the autumn, the way you can sense that someone is standing behind you. I can recall how, as a child, at this time of year I would be anticipating the start of a new school year with a combination of nervousness and excitement.

Sure, it's a drag to have the summer fun end and to have to hunker down at school again, or to start getting ready for the inevitable onset of winter. Or maybe deal with times of uncertainty and feeling blue. But autumn is still a good time of the year.

While there are things to be missed (for now), the fall brings with it its own set of simple pleasures. The flowers may be gone, but they are replaced with the brilliant, colorful fall foliage unfolding and seeing the leaves drop from the trees, and drift slowly to the ground. Going barefoot outside gives way to hearing the crunch of leaves under your feet. I love that sound, as well as the swishing sound of the leaves being raked. And soon my cat will have a whole new pile of crisp, fragrant leaves in which to curl up and nap.

Things will change. It's inevitable. Maybe they will be good, maybe they will be rough. And then maybe they will get better.

Though sometimes we wish we could, we can't stop time from moving forward. Much as we may want to go back in life, to happier days or better times, we can't. We can try to fight it, we can cling to August with all our might, not wanting the summer to end, not wanting things to change. Grabbing every good moment we can and holding on to it for as long as we can.

But August has to end, and we have to move forward. There will be changes, and hopefully, there will be more good moments and happy days.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Wish List for Life

It's an age-old, thought-provoking question - "If you could have one wish, what would it be?" Some might say a million dollars. A child might say a pony.

Of course, one wish is hard to pin down. Like a child making a list for Santa, one could easily fill a sheet of paper with a list of things one dreams of having.

A wish list should be more than just a list of what shiny new toys we'd like, however. At some point, it becomes more about making a wish list for life - a list of the things we'd like to do with the rest of our lives and the way we would like things to be. A list of "wishes" that, in some cases, we just might be able to make come true, without any help from a genie and a magic lamp, if we work hard enough at it.

A wish list can be more of a list of goals, of hopes and dreams we'd like to see realized, a sort of to-do list or motivational tool. Making a "wish list" for life means looking at what needs changing and what we'd like to work toward. A better job, a new house. A million dollars.

I wish I were debt-free. Financial security tops my wish list right now. Sure it is a practical thing, but it can lead to bigger and better things. That's one of my goals right now - to work on the financial situation. And there are still places I wish I could travel to. (Sigh), someday.

Of course there will always be those wishes we'll need a little help with, circumstances we can't bring about on our own. Such as world peace or a better government. There are things I wish I were physically able to do again - like running- that I can't make happen because of my health, but maybe someday that will change.

For some things, we just have to keep on wishing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Finding Good Fortune

It's hard to feel fortunate sometimes. When life hits us with problems, or we are brought down by the state of affairs around us, feelings of hopelessness and "woe is me" can begin to creep in. The only way to stay positive is to focus on the good stuff and the things in life that we're fortunate to have.

Even if money and possessions are lacking (and those aren't the most important things anyway), when you take stock of things, fortune can be found in the form of friends and family, and any positive circumstances in your life, like a good job, an opportunity that comes along when you least expect it, or the helping hand that is there just when you need it.

Sometimes we worry too much about the things we don't have, and we feel less fortunate. Every once in a while I feel that way because I have MS and it slows me down. But I consider myself lucky to still be otherwise healthy and strong, despite not being able to walk as fast as I'd like. I've also been fortunate to have caring people around me who have helped me to deal with the troubles this condition has presented me with.

I am fortunate to have great friends, especially my very best friend, who is always there for me. And when I think of all the good things that have come my way in the past, it makes me feel more positive about the future.

It's true what they say - life is a gift. And no matter how down on your luck you may feel, there is always good fortune to be found in your life if you look for it.