After visiting for a few days, my daughter drove back to her home in Cleveland this afternoon, with her dogs. Although the drive takes a few hours, that doesn’t bother her at all. She often comes to visit; and even when she’s busy working and can’t be here in person, she keeps in touch by calling and texting.

My husband pointed out that we set a good example when she was in school and we always drove to her soccer games. Because of that, she considers it perfectly normal to take road trips and spend a lot of time visiting with family. Although it felt hectic for us at the time, always having to carefully plan our vacation time around the soccer schedule, it definitely turned out for the best.

Word-art that says "Some days will look like diamonds, some days will look like coal. But diamonds don't always sparkle and rocks aren't always dull. Each day is what we make of it; it holds no guarantee. So choose to make the best of it since what will be will be." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Just in time for warm and sunny weather, I have a new Fitbit, which I haven’t worn before. After what seemed like a very long winter, I definitely feel like I need to get outdoors and start moving around more. Though I’m not planning to obsess about counting my steps, a device that reminds the wearer to get up from the desk and go walk around is at least somewhat useful.

And it’s a lovely day here, just right for opening the windows to let in the spring breeze and freshen up the house, and then going out for a walk and enjoying that rarely seen and mysterious object known as the sun. Wishing my readers a wonderful Thursday too!

Motivational image with words like "Fit" and "Powerful." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

April 10, 2018 · 4 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

When I went to bed on Sunday night, I was feeling very drained of energy after having had a cold for a week; and no matter what I did, it seemed like I just couldn’t break out of that run-down feeling. I decided to give my subconscious mind a little prod to shift gears by way of dreaming, so I asked myself what needed to happen for me to feel healthier and happier in general.

Asking myself a question just before falling asleep has resulted in some interesting dream-answers on occasion. I wasn’t expecting the weirdness that showed up this time, though. I dreamed that my husband (who, in real life, is a software developer in Ohio) was a real estate mogul in New York making a deal that involved a penthouse party, a hot tub, and several women in very skimpy bikinis. I felt uneasy, but my husband told me not to worry because negotiating was the easiest money to make.

When I woke up, all I could do was shake my head and say “Seriously?” to my subconscious mind. That was also how I felt when I looked out the window at the backyard and saw that there had been snow overnight—again.

Snow on my deck in April, with trees still bare. 

As wacky as that dream was, though, it did feel like there was something it wanted to tell me. The scenario, while it was ridiculously exaggerated in soap-opera fashion, clearly had to do with cultural notions of being successful and confident. So I decided that the message was pretty close to what I was actually told in the dream—there’s no reason to worry, life is easy.

I’ve been slowly getting back my energy since then, while looking forward to warm weather finally showing up. And if I start feeling blah again, I’ll just imagine myself in a hot tub at a New York penthouse party and have a good laugh!

I haven’t been much inclined to blog because I caught a nasty cold. For my Nurturing Thursday post, though, I want to mention that my husband has been very considerate and nurturing while I’ve been sick. Yesterday he bought groceries and cooked dinner, both of which are usually my chores. So I’d say that he deserves recognition for brightening up my blah week with a bit of kindness glitter!

Word-art that says "Everywhere you go, leave a glitter trail of kindness behind you. Someone who needs it may just pick it up." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Today was another dark, rainy early spring day after what seemed like too many of them already. To be honest, when I woke up this morning, all I wanted to do was crawl back in bed and hibernate till summer. That wasn’t an option, however, so I sat at my desk drinking coffee because I felt like I needed to keep myself warm and awake, even though the indoor temperature hadn’t changed.

Then I got a sudden impulse to go outside and walk in the rain around midday, for no apparent reason. It was so strong that I had already put on my coat and stepped outside before I started to wonder what the heck I was doing. The rain came down steadily as I walked across the grass, and my coat and shoes soon got very wet; but the birds were chirping enthusiastically, and the world felt full of life. Nothing had really changed—but all at once it felt very different.

Word-art showing Calvin and Hobbes that says "It's funny how day by day, nothing changes. But when you look back everything is different." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Spring rowing season is getting started, although it was too cold for anyone to get out on the river today. This year we can’t row as far as usual because of bridge construction, which also impacted our course last year; one bridge recently got finished, and now another project is underway.

That’s all right, though, because we can still get as much exercise by doing more laps on a shorter course. And although the distance does not come out exactly the same, going a bit farther won’t take much longer. That’s often true of many things in life!

Word-art that says "Go the extra mile, it's never crowded." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I opened a few windows in the house on Monday to enjoy the sunshine and a pleasant breeze blowing over the spring grass (which was buried under snow by Tuesday evening). That got me thinking about how my blog entries in which I gave advice to my younger selves had let “fresh air” into my memories. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, if instead of always being focused on the past, I could invite an older self for an occasional visit to share her wisdom and encouragement with me in the present.

What I had in mind wasn’t the same as my recent post about having coffee with the Crone. Although I envisioned the Crone as kind and helpful, she was a cultural archetype and not a potential future self. I’ve never had a clear mental picture of what I might be like many years from now because, well, nobody really has much of a clue about the future.

The closest I ever came to imagining a future self was a post last summer about my adventures in 2083, which was intended chiefly as an antidote to stereotyped views of aging and wasn’t meant to be realistic. But then, given the fact that nobody knows what the future holds, who’s to say that my goofy sci-fi take on Future Me was necessarily any less realistic than anything else?

So I decided to invite my Fantastically Adventurous Imaginary Future Self—or Fannie, for short—to stop by for a visit. Fannie was healthy and active at age 119, due in part to taking good care of herself and in part to advances in medical science. She arrived in a small flying car, which landed on the street and tucked in its wings neatly before parking itself in my driveway.

Flying car with ocean in background.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Her shoulder-length hair sparkled in the sunlight as she got out of the vehicle. The base color of her hair was a deep ocean blue, and she had elaborate highlights in various metallic hues that shimmered and changed color when the sun fell on them.

“Nice hair,” I said.

“Thanks.” She took a step toward me, and the car door smoothly closed itself with a soft whir. “In 2083 they still haven’t figured out how to reverse gray hair, but nobody really cares because we have so many options for hair color. It’s very safe too—not toxic like the primitive stuff you’re using now.”

I must have frowned without realizing it, because she quickly added, “But there’s no need to worry—after all, you’re a past me, so it obviously didn’t kill you!”

She stretched like a cat enjoying the warmth of a sunny day and glanced around the yard, where crocuses were blooming in the front garden and the grass was brightening toward a nice spring green. Without asking my permission—which I supposed was fair enough, since she was another version of me—Fannie opened the gate and sauntered into the backyard, while I followed along.

“So,” she inquired in a cheerful tone, “what’s on your mind?”

“Well, lately I’ve been working on—that is, I’ve been considering how I can shift my mindset toward thinking of my everyday activities as play, rather than as work. It seems like that will take a lot of conscious effort because our language just isn’t structured to describe what we do as adults in terms of play. Just now, I caught myself saying that I was working! I suppose it can’t really be as hard as all that, but what’s making it feel like so much awkward effort?”

Rather than answering right away, Fannie took a few steps along the line of willows that I had spent so much time pruning over the past few years. She reached out to touch one of the branches that I had cut back close to the ground. Thin new growth extended from it, still leafless, with a few catkins dangling.

“It took a lot of effort to cut back these willows,” she observed, “and right now, I’d say they look a bit awkward—all bare and chopped off. But after the leaves open and the new growth fills in, they’ll look lovely, and you won’t need to do much with them. Change always seems awkward before enough time has passed to grow into it.”

A cloud passed over the sun. The highlights in Fannie’s hair went from sparkling green and gold to mostly silver and purple. The breeze started to feel a bit chilly.

“And everything is different from one moment to the next anyway,” I said, “so there’s no reason to overthink any of it. I can choose to look at it as playing with the words I use to describe what I’m doing, instead of always having to make an effort to be precise.”

Fannie grinned. “Yup, there you go. Words do matter, of course—but it’s not the end of the world if they could use a bit of editing.”

Although I started writing this post as the sun was going down, the birds are still happily chirping away outside the window. They can sense springtime in the air, the world feels right to them, and they believe that everything they do is naturally going to work out well.

I’m also feeling cheerful today because I got new glasses, which always leaves me literally looking at the world with fresh eyes because I am so nearsighted that I wear them all the time. I found some cute frames that suit my face well. So I’m in a mood for a bit of virtual chirping too!

Word-art that says "Believe you can and you're halfway there." -Theodore Roosevelt

(Word-art courtesy of Shari’s Berries)

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Chilly weather kept me indoors the past week, but that was all right because I stayed cozy while rereading the classic children’s book “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which is set in 1900 or thereabouts. A disagreeable and selfish girl named Mary, who always had servants to wait on her and never learned to do anything for herself, is sent to live with her uncle in Yorkshire after her parents’ sudden deaths. The local children befriend her, although at first she does not even know how to play with other children. She finds a secret garden that has been neglected for ten years and decides to make it beautiful again by weeding, planting seeds, and pruning overgrown roses.

Red and white roses blooming.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Mary discovers that her uncle has a son, Colin, whose mother died when he was very young and who is even more selfish and spoiled than Mary herself. Colin was sickly as a small boy and overheard adults saying that he would not live to grow up, which caused him to worry obsessively about his health. He became afraid to go outside because he worried about catching some disease or being stared at by pitying passers-by. Staying in his bedroom all the time and being a very picky eater made him so weak that everyone thought he was unable to walk. He did not go to school, and a servant pushed him in a wheelchair on the rare occasions that he left the house.

After Mary interrupts one of Colin’s frequent self-pitying tantrums by shouting at him that there is really nothing wrong with his health—which none of the servants had ever dared to say—she tells him about the secret garden and how happy she feels being out there in the sunshine. She persuades him to let one of the local boys push his chair to the garden, where he feels so much better that he embarks on what he calls a “Scientific Experiment” to become stronger with the help of the same “Magic” that makes the plants grow. After months of exercise in the garden and good nourishing meals, Colin feels perfectly healthy. His father is very surprised, upon returning from a long trip abroad, to find a much better-tempered Colin and Mary running and playing happily in the garden that Colin’s mother once loved.

The story is chiefly about the power of thoughts to change the course of people’s lives, for better or worse. It left me pondering whether the occasional aches and pains that I’ve noticed in recent years might have to do with feelings of being too busy. Although I am not really all that busy compared to many people, or even to myself in the past, I have spent a lot of time in the backyard the past few years, pruning shrubs and small willows that got damaged by recent cold winters and dry summers. Maybe that contributed to aches in my arms (from “pushing” to get things done) and my feet (from being “run ragged” by the to-do list).

So, like Colin, I’ve decided to make this year’s gardening season into a “Scientific Experiment” to test the hypothesis that the random aches and pains will naturally go away in a few months if I don’t feel overly busy. Instead of thinking in terms of always having “yard work” to do, I plan to look at it as playing in the garden and to be cheerful about going out to play. I am even going to look at myself in the mirror before going outdoors and imitate the country Yorkshire accent of some characters in the story, telling my reflection, “Eh, lass, get you gone an’ play you!”

Of course, I don’t really have any idea what a country Yorkshire accent sounds like, even in modern times, much less what it would have been like a century ago; so, needless to say, I’ll sound quite ridiculous. That is all right, though, because play is not supposed to be serious, so it will just add to the fun!

The word of intention I chose for this year is Presence, and I’ve been reminding myself to pause and mindfully appreciate the moment. What I had in mind, for the most part, was to reduce stress by diverting my attention away from pointless worries; but, of course, there are other benefits as well.

When we become more aware of what is going on around us in the here and now, we notice incremental changes that we otherwise might have overlooked. That in turn gives us more appreciation not only of the present moment, but also of what we can discover and enjoy as time passes.

Word-art that says "The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time." -James Taylor 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.