It’s been years since I have bothered with New Years Resolutions. Or goals or a focus word for that matter.
It’s not that I’m against resolutions, goals or focus, though I must confess that focus isn’t my strong suit. Rather, choosing one time a year to suddenly concentrate on personal development doesn’t resonate with me. And choosing one thing or a list of things to spend a year working on? Fuggedabahdit. It might work for others, but as for me, I choose serendipity.
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
“a fortunate stroke of serendipity”
synonyms: (happy) chance, (happy) accident, fluke;
Serendipity I believe is putting yourself into the world in a benevolent fashion and receiving what comes back to you. It’s how I roll.
But I also believe strongly in constant, deliberate personal development. I believe in continuously creating and evolving goals. I believe there are many wonderful words worthy of focus, but have long since chosen my life focus as Micah 6:8 in the Bible.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
As long as I have breath in my body my focus will be the trifecta of justice, mercy and humility.
Alas, with the year ending and another one emerging, I will simply continue to put one foot in front of the other on my ever-changing path.
See that, under the cable box?
I thought it was a tumbleweed and I was pretty darn impressed that I had a tumbleweed stuck under my cable box in December.
I’m sitting in my chair (my happy place) with a sleepy puppy on my lap and fiddling around with the new tablet I got for Christmas. It’s sunny, I’ve gone for a run today and cleaned the house (not very well evidently). When I saw said tumbleweed my only inclination was to photograph it. The photograph proved that it is just a common cobweb, not a tumbleweed.
Instead of cleaning it I blogged about it.
I feel a little bad for my persnickety neatnick husband at moments like this. Just a little bad.
I do my best thinking with coffee. The soothing aroma and warmth combined with the stimulating impact of caffeine has a synergistic effect and my gears turn a bit more efficiently with a cuppa joe nearby.
A seed was planted a few days ago when my sister sent a group text to the family pronouncing that she had, at least momentarily, achieved contentment.
It’s been eons since I’ve felt content. For a few years now I always, always have an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with my life.
After cancer treatment ended for Ben things were supposed to steadily improve. Life after leukemia was supposed to be a “new normal” that was distinctly better than life with cancer.
It didn’t happen.
I had it in my head that we would endure a dark night and that joy would come in the morning, and “morning” was determined to be in April of 2013, after Ben took his last chemo.
I don’t know if my morning failed to come or if it just failed to produce better circumstances, but post-cancer life has been harder than I ever anticipated. I’ve been creeping toward bitterness over it.
Nobody likes bitter.
I don’t want to be bitter.
Thus a single word in a ripe moment ricocheted in my mind. Since when do I allow circumstances to dictate my contentment? Am I not able to choose to be content instead of sinking ever deeper into bitterness? Won’t I and all whom I love be better if my choice is contentment?
I know all those answers. I know that I can choose to be content. I know that it’s better to be content. I know that I will choose to be content.
I don’t regret grieving the loss of my expected “new normal”. The grief is legitimate and real. But the grief will not be allowed to become bitterness. Now or ever.
Abbi and Meg are animals, but they are family members. We welcome them into all aspects of our lives, and in turn, they enrich many moments in every day. We lavish them with love as part of our family, and I believe they receive it, and return it to us tenfold. My dogs have taught me some secrets about living well, lessons I’ve been eager to learn and pass on.
- Love with abandon. Give of yourself freely to those whom you treasure, without worry about what’s in it for you. You’ll find that the act of loving is reward in itself.
- Live in the moment. I often rehash the past and worry about the future, and I rob myself of present joy. My dogs, by their nature lack the capacity to dwell on yesterday or fuss over tomorrow, and as such, their every moment is fully present and fully lived. I cannot and would not forsake my higher thinking ability, but can learn to be more simply in the present, and mindful of the moment.
- Forgive and seek forgiveness. Dogs hold no grudges. They are eager to reconcile, and quick to show remorse for their wrong. It’s simple but not easy to quickly repent for wrongdoing or to dismiss the wrongdoing of others. But if we learn from our four-legged friends we can see the benefits of seeking harmony at our first opportunity, and learn how to do it ourselves.
- Joy should be expressed openly. I’m inclined to suppress joy for fear of the other shoe dropping, so to speak. So often in life we hesitate to savor joy because we know that heartache can strike at any moment. And really, isn’t wriggling with excitement a bit silly anyway? But why shouldn’t we? How blessed would we be to allow ourselves to immerse ourselves in delight when it strikes? I’m quite convinced that this would be entirely contagious if we just let down our guard and did it.
- Life is short. We know that we outlive our pets by many years. We watch them graduate from infancy to adulthood in just a couple of years. This abbreviated lifespan forces us to recognize the brevity of our existence, and the importance of the time we are given.
- Family is our top priority. As humans our work, aspirations, and success can easily become our primary focus. Attaining status is prioritized over loved ones far too often. Our canine friends show us a better way. Their pack is everything. At the end of our lives our legacy is in how well we have loved, and our dogs are the perfect example of leaving a stellar legacy of loving well.
- Sleep is important. Dogs work hard, play hard, and sleep hard. They never fudge on their sleep. I think it’s why they are so highly effective.
- Treats rock. This one needs no explanation.
There is so much more. Every day my sweet girls show me how to live with simplicity and abandon, and I live in awe and gratitude for their simple, sweet, sincere example of living well.
Prior to Meg, I never had a small dog. I’ve done my share of laughing and eye rolling at other small dog owners over the years, but now it appears I’m the butt of my own joke. In the 3 months since she came home, I’ve already done almost all the things I’ve found silly when others do them. Like these:
- I swore I’d never dress a dog. Dogs have fur, they don’t need clothes. I had obviously never held a shivering 8.1 pound doxie whose belly rubs the snow before.
- I never actually swore I’d never do it, but I would never have believed I’d snowblow a potty spot in my back yard. I shiver just watching her trying to find a spot to squat. How could I make her potty in snow that’s over her head?!
- Put a bell on her collar. It started out so we wouldn’t step on her, but it’s darn cute, like the darn cutest thing ever. Especially when she scampers. Have I mention how adorable scampering is? If I’d have known about that scampering was the most joyful mode of movement ever I would have gotten a small dog decades ago! Alas, even though she’s big enough not to need it now, Meg has a bell.
- Constantly post photos to social media. Ah, who am I kidding, I do that with Abbi too!
- Take her with me to everyone’s house. After all, everyone needs to meet my darling angel, right? And she’s so portable!
I swear I won’t let her become an annoying yapper, that is absolutely verboten, and at least I don’t have a stroller or dog carrier for her…yet.
Yep. We sure did. We got our flu shots because:
- Ben is immune compromised
- We haven’t had influenza since 2009 (we had it in August, before shots were available).
- They don’t make you sick.
- They don’t shed.
- I get pneumonia or bronchitis easily
- My neurologist says that the flu shot is safer than the flu for someone who has had Guillain-Barré Syndrome
- Ain’t nobody got time for this:
And so much more.
But really it boils down to Ben.
My boy who can get a good bout of pneumonia in July.
My boy who is on antibiotics years round because otherwise he has sinus infections more often than not, and twice the infection has gone into his mastoid process (the bone behind his ear).
My boy whose own immune system doesn’t process immunizations properly, so he needs others to get them do he won’t be exposed.
My boy who is overdue for a year without a hospitalization.
Yep. We all suck it up and get poked for Ben. But I really don’t mind not getting influenza either.
That’s my answer when my husband asks why I am totally spent, killing brain cells by crushing candy with a glazed over catatonic appearance.
It’s been a peopley week.
I’m pretty sure the peopley-ness has exceeded my threshold. Because when that happens I turn into a pile of oxygen recycling warmth on my chair. And that’s where I am right now.
I have dinner to make, Christmas stuff to organize, and a giant to-do list that I’m ignoring.
Peopling sucks me dry. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s just that the the stimulation of people requires enormous energy from me in a fundamental way. Every noise, every sight, every smell, every sensation, they all take little nibbles from me (especially the noise, exponentially the noise). I don’t even notice them they’re so small, but the cumulative impact is dramatic. Before I know it I’m but a shell.
And now that I’m home, it’s time to pull out my charger and plug in.
My chair is my charger, and quiet is my outlet. I’m plugged in and trickle charging.
It might take all night.