I write, because sometimes I need to give myself a pep talk. I do it through writing, and I feel much better when I get to the end of a piece.
We all need reassurance, and writing is that outlet for me. It reassures me that there is a lot right with the world even though there are days when it doesn't seem that way. There are beautiful pieces of evidence of it in our own backyards. If we just look for it, it's there.
No, really, it's there. I was picking tomatoes and peppers today, and I saw my neighbor Phoebe across the alley working with her herbs. I hollered over and asked if she wanted any of the tomatoes or peppers I just picked. We did some trading, but more importantly I just had a chance to talk with one of my neighbors.
When we parted ways, she said, "Don't be a stranger."
We all need that human contact. We need to feel a connection to others.
I write because of that connection. By blogging on my website, Medium, The Ascent, Billfold Notes, and Fit Yourself Club, I've been able to connect with people all over the world. Some of them have subscribed to GTI Wednesday, my weekly newsletter. When you get to connect with people near and far, it's humbling and overwhelming, but it also shrinks the world. It doesn't seem so big.
I write, because if my words resonate with even one person, then that's enough. My writing has done its job. It allows me to think and feel and love. My words typed say it so much better than the words that stumble out of my mouth. If I can't show my gratitude, appreciation, and heart in person, writing is the next best thing.
I write when I feel my highest highs, lowest lows, and all points in between. Sharing with others brings out their highs and lows. We laugh, we cry, we vent, and we sigh. All because writing opens the door and lets us walk through.
I think I hear a knock right now.
Another Sunday means another day to be grateful. This is what I'm thankful for today:
1. Even though I have a headache, I'm healthy and alive. Therefore, life is good.
2. The first week of school went really well, and I'm glad I have a job I enjoy going to each day.
3. It was nice to get caught up around the house with cleaning and doing some laundry today.
4. I'm thankful I had some extra money to buy new running shoes. Now all I need to do is get back out there to run. :)
5. I have a wonderful husband who understands that my headaches knock me for a loop and he takes care of me.
6. Having conversations with different people allows me to connect with them. I tried to do more listening than talking today.
7. Lightning is really cool to look at during the evening hours.
8. The smell of eucalyptus is relaxing.
9. I have enough pasta salad leftover to make lunches for a majority of the week.
10. I'm set enough for the start of the week that I can go to bed early tonight.
I hope you have taken some time to think or write down what you're thankful for today. It's a great exercise and it helps me to appreciate the details in my life I often take for granted. I hope doing something like this does the same for you.
There have been some events the last few days that have tested my thoughts and feelings. While the specifics aren't especially relevant and could quite possibly result in a rant, one word comes to mind:
We live in a negative and angry world.
I went to the Green Day concert in Omaha (NE) recently, and frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said it best: "Look on your phone and what you're going to see is a mad, mad world. But not tonight. We're leaving it at the door. Tonight we're gonna have a good time together. We're gonna sing together. We're gonna dance together. We're gonna cry together. Because we're in this together."
And I choose not to engage in the mad and angry world. While some people might look at me and say I'm burying my head in the sand, these are the choices I make instead:
I choose to be kind, and I work to spread kindness. One of my passions is elementary school counseling, and we have a lot of angry little ones coming through our doors. Kids who have seen way too much tragedy in their young lives. And yet we expect them to walk into classrooms ready to learn.
My desire is to teach them to be kind to themselves first and then to spread that kindness to others. I often show this video to the third and fourth graders to get them to see how random acts of kindness often come back to them when they least expect it.
The best part of this video is it wasn't something I found. One of my former 4th grade students (who is about to start 7th grade this year) happened to come across it on YouTube and thought it would be good to show other kids. I now show it every year.
I choose to be positive, because it's so much easier and healthier than the alternative of being negative. Being negative is exhausting. On the rare occasions I get in a funk and am rather snarky, I end up being alone. I basically put myself in a self-imposed timeout. Who wants to be around someone who is being such a downer?
By choosing a positive attitude, I'm happier, I'm more content, and I have so much more energy. Plus, others feed off a positive person.
Rather than engaging in what's wrong in the world, I focus on what's right in it and am grateful for it. Each morning I write down three gratitudes using my Five Minute Journal App. It helps keep me centered and I'm in a great frame of mind to begin the day.
Sometimes I think people are reluctant to write down what they are grateful for, because they feel as if their gratitudes need to be earth-shattering. Some days I'm grateful for a bowl of ice cream. Other days I'm grateful for a friend being in remission from cancer.
It doesn't matter what you write down as long as it has meaning to you. It's so incredibly powerful.
So, there you have it. My alternatives to engaging in a mad world: be kind, be positive, and be grateful. Going to a Green Day concert doesn't hurt either.
No one likes being sick.
You feel awful. You might be throwing up, having diarrhea, or both. It could be accompanied by a headache, fever, or both.
However, there are some benefits when you’re down for the count.
You’re forced to slow down.
When you’re on the go constantly, being sick forces you to slow down. You don’t have a choice. And that’s a good thing. We all need to do a better job of slowing down, so when we’re sick we’re reminded of that.
Instead of feeling rushed and overwhelmed, we need to stop and take a break. That break can have different looks, but it needs to center around not going in a bunch of directions at once.
"You can move one step in 20 directions or 20 steps in one direction."
I like the above saying, because it’s a great reminder that when we have too much going on at once we don’t get anywhere. We’re lucky if we’re able to tread water.
When we’re sick, we are forced to go in one direction and that’s staying in bed.
Your body does a natural cleanse.
When you’re sick, your body does a cleanse all on its own. Think about it. You usually get rid of everything that was in your body one way or another, you don’t feel like eating, and you only drink water so you don’t dehydrate.
It’s great, because you don’t spend money on the newest cleanse fad out there. Being sick does it for you.
Then you get a fresh start on changing your eating habits. You start to slowly add back what you can handle and it’s a good time to add in only what is beneficial for you.
You get much needed sleep.
Many times when you’re sick you sleep. A lot. And that’s exactly what your body needs. Often being sick is our body’s way of telling you that you’ve run out of steam. You’re done. Finished.
Again, this is a positive, because when you’re run down you can’t function effectively. Getting more sleep gives you a chance to get caught back up and you can then work on being more consistent. Your body needs 7–8 hours of sleep each night. Start adhering to it.
You appreciate being healthy.
You have a deeper appreciation for being healthy. It makes you want to make changes for the better, because you feel pretty much handcuffed when you’re sick. You can’t do anything, because you don’t feel like it.
It’s time to stop taking health for granted. Sure, there are times when you’re going to get sick. It’s inevitable. But, there are steps everyone can take to lessen the duration, intensity, and length of illness.
It’s basic common sense: eat whole foods, drink water, get the proper amount of sleep, exercise, and engage in healthy relationships.
Being sick sucks.
Yes, being sick sucks big time. We all hate it, but we can choose to take a different approach to it. We can choose to see the benefits.
(And yes, I wrote this on the heels of being sick.)
**This article first appeared on Medium.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.