It feels so good to be back with my blog community! But I must say, taking the break I did was much needed. I think “overdue” is a more accurate term. It’s a hard adjustment and one I always claim to be managing well, but I’m learning a few lessons about being still when my body says so. I tend to regularly operate without an adequate amount of quality sleep, but depriving the mind and body of ample rest and relaxation can present symptoms no one should ignore. I’ve enjoyed traveling and everything else I’ve done this year, but I think I’m going to slow it down for at least the next month or so and enjoy some less stressful activities, like visiting museums, theaters, and sports venues. Hopefully the Spring weather will finally catch up with its season so I can simply bask in the beautiful sunshine at the beach.
This week I tried a little something new. I know I’m late partaking in these popular events but hey – better late than never! It was the perfect therapeutic exercise and something I had no idea I’d enjoy so much. If you have an appreciation for art, paint & sip type events are the way to go. It’s a simple concept – you paint while sipping your drink of choice. I attended one with an instructor that was so encouraging, supportive, and such a blast to be around I felt completely inspired. Not only did I enjoy myself, but I’ve become so interested in painting techniques I may just find a class or someplace where I can learn more about the fine art of canvas painting. I’ve invested in so many other artists’ work over the years, why not invest in my own instead! Who knows, I could be so lucky as to have my series in a Royal Palace. LOL
I trust you all to not be too brutal, so kindly share your thoughts on my first piece.
The day before I entered middle school, I had an accident while playing outside with my brother. I remember running up and down the street trying to escape him in a game of tag. Then I ran up the walkway to our house and jumped over the short hedges down into our driveway. It was only about 6 feet deep and I’d done it hundreds of times up until that point, so imagine my surprise when I landed face first onto the concrete. Oh, it was a bloody mess? My pant leg had gotten caught on one of the branches and I just toppled over. One side of my face was badly bruised, but the worst part was a busted lip and loose tooth. As you can imagine I was most concerned about showing up for my first day at a new school looking like I’d suffered my first fight. OMG!
One of the classes I planned on starting my 7th grade year was band. I was so looking forward to playing the French Horn, knowing most kids my age struggled with such a difficult instrument, but I was going to be an exception. Boy was I disappointed when the band teacher told me it would be close to impossible. Unfortunately, the big fat swelling on my lip interfered with proper placement in the mouthpiece, preventing the correct embouchure. I literally cried, which could’ve also been a disaster for a newbie in middle school.
Well, I persevered and went on the play the trombone for six years, which was probably the best turn of events stemming from what seemed to be so catastrophic to a teenager. I became lead trombone player in high school and enjoyed playing for assemblies, concerts, and graduations. I also went on to become Senior Class Treasurer, but that’s a story for another day.
I suggest in 2019 we forget about resolution(s) for the new year and focus on the goals for each new day instead. I mean why not? We put so much pressure on ourselves to think of some aspect of our life to change for the upcoming year, ignoring the fact that every day is a new beginning and a new opportunity for change. Matter of fact, why wait until a new year to become the better person you desire to be if making the change today could benefit you now? Makes sense to me!
I am amongst those who forced myself to come up with some impressive New Year’s resolution every year just because….well, it was tradition. It was also crazy because I had already made changes throughout the year based on how I wanted to improve my life at the time, so then I’d spend days or weeks trying to come up with some grand personal reboot for the new year; something it may take me beyond a year to accomplish, like losing 30 pounds. If my weight is something I battle with or poses a health risk it requires my immediate attention, right?
Last year I talked about a New Year’s resolution stemming from a conversation with my best friend, during which I continued to overthink things as usual. Now this was no sudden discovery to me; I always knew I was an overthinker because of my need to control situations in my life. After our conversation I declared to resolve that behavior and concentrate on prayer above overthinking. Now notice I said, ‘I always knew I was an overthinker.’ So why was this expressed as some revelation of the day just to have a New Year’s resolution?
Prayer has been my go-to ever since I matured in my faith. That wasn’t the real problem and in hindsight shouldn’t have been my resolution. Oh no! The fundamental issue was my need for control, and most times the things I was attempting to think of ways to control were not within my circle of influence. Now can I change such behavior in a year’s time? Probably not. It certainly won’t be resolved in 2018 but progress began well before the start of this year and will continue in my days to come.
There’s nothing wrong with setting and working towards goals and I understand New Year’s resolutions may help some people attain their goals. The problem usually comes when half the year is gone by and there’s no improvement. Then soon we’re embarking on another new year and new sets of resolutions, upset with ourselves for not accomplishing the old ones before year end. Maybe, just maybe you were trying to improve several years’ worth of change in only 365 days. Often times New Year’s resolutions are so unrealistic a person doesn’t recognize their progress but rather declares what they “failed” to achieve.
I’ve set a goal to travel more, not necessarily in 2019 but in my remaining lifetime. I’ve already begun setting aside funds to make that happen. I actually do have a goal to eat healthier and lose weight, but my new eating habits are already underway. I just removed the added pressure of associating either of these changes with the new year but rather simple goals I wish to accomplish for myself. In both cases I can already see progress now, which is far better than waiting until next year to get started.
The way life works, I’m often nudged in a direction not previously thought of, but one eventually found to be much more beneficial. Being able to adapt to change is not only a good quality to have, but it’s also a very essential one. Changes undoubtedly occur when someone else causes disruption in your life, but often times they happen when life itself just naturally demands a bit of a shift in order to move forward.
There’s a saying “When life gets blurry, adjust your focus.” Life gets blurry many times over, and some people just keep on trying to proceed without vision. Determination is great, but it’s just one of those things that has to be used responsibly. Consistent failure at doing something may be attributed to one’s determination not to fail, yet while continually relying on the same formula. It’s kind of like insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
I remember when my son was young, whether he was attending a new school, going to camp, or joining a team, the number one question people would ask is “How are you fitting in?” He quickly came to hate that question, and for a young teen I found his reasoning for that to be quite mature. To him, standing apart from others was far more important than fitting in.
Does “fitting in” mean assimilating the behaviors of others in that environment? Is it conforming to a certain style of dress, the way you talk, learning in the same manner? When and how do you discover if you “fit in” anyway?
Everyone is different and each of us should embrace our uniqueness, no matter how peculiar some may find it. Perhaps that’s someone’s opportunity for discovery rather than ridicule. I once overheard a coworker comment a person’s name was strange. I guess the name didn’t fit in with her limited cultural exposure. I asked ‘Strange to whom?’, then suggested she learn the origin of that person’s name so she would no longer consider it unusual. Like some say, “If you don’t know you better ask somebody.”
Be yourself and let everyone discover who you are. Standing out [in a good way, of course] makes a more memorable impression. Fitting in really shouldn’t be on anyone’s measuring stick for accomplishments.
This photo challenge took me back several years to when my son and I had a chance to visit Emirates Stadium, the home of our favorite soccer team – ARSENAL!!! We toured the grounds, locker room, fitness area, the Director’s Box, and even took pictures with the FA Cup. Every bit of it was as exciting as we’d hoped, but nothing stopped us in our tracks more than standing in the very tunnel the players exit for every match. My son, who grew up playing competitive soccer in the US, has admired Arsenal most of his life. At this moment, he had the opportunity to stand where they stand waiting to hit the pitch. This is a player’s perspective:
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
– Maya Angelou
Some people aren’t aware of their strength to overcome the feeling of defeat until they’ve experienced tough challenges. It can be daunting the first go around, but it’s important to recognize these moments as character building opportunities. Once the dust settles and you look at what you’ve done to press on, you begin to learn a lot about yourself, making your next challenge seem less critical.
I’ve been down that road many times and at the start of each I immediately question if I can handle yet another trial. Then I pause, pray, and put my faith in God, through whom all things are possible. That’s not to say I don’t have to put in work, but I do so with the comfort of knowing in the end I will have learned something else about myself, and I’ll have yet another story to tell.