A Facebook friend recently posted about thinking about mortality. She asked if others thought about it and how they dealt with those thoughts. The responses varied from those who didn't dwell on it to those who gave it a passing thought every now and again.
I lost a good friend on December 10th, who was only 54. Her death hit me really hard, and I'll admit I started thinking about the brevity of life. Regardless of how long someone lives, it seems like the time goes by so fast. And while I don't dwell on the future or life that will take place after I'm gone, I do have moments of "Wow. One day I'm not going to be here." I think everyone does, and Mark Tyrell, a psychotherapist, advises us to "not try to not think about it." In other words, don't try to put it out of your mind if the thought arises.
But you can't let what the future holds keep you from living, either. I'll admit that, as a Christian, it helps knowing where I'm going, but I still try to live each moment of each day to the fullest. I want to leave a legacy behind, to matter, in essence. Don't we all? It might be easier said than done, but I believe that dwelling on life instead of death can help us live a better life.
Do you think about the end of your life? What helps you when the thoughts come?
Nothing could ever take the place of writing for me, but there are days when I'm lucky to write one or two lines. Those are the days when I know it's time to move on to another creative outlet. I write every day, but I also seek creativity elsewhere every day because balance is important.
As much as I enjoy writing, at times, my muse needs a break. But the need to be creative is still there. Fortunately, that urge is easily satisfied with painting (usually wooden signs like the one above and clay pots), putting together jigsaw puzzles, spray-painting furniture, creating videos, creating graphics, and digital photography. And I'm always on the lookout for other outlets that might interest me.
Just as exercise is important to our bodies, allowing creativity to flow is a necessity. As children, we spent most of our time doing creative things like drawing, painting, coloring, and building sand castles. We needed to express our creative side because we weren't meant to be all about work. As Picasso said, "Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up."
Are you still creative? What do you do to satisfy your urge to create?
I'm working my way through another blogging challenge, and I came across this one—a life lesson I've learned. Since I'm almost fifty, I've learned a lot of them, but there is one in particular that has stuck with me. Just three simple words. Everything's Not Personal.
It can be so easy to take things personally. Someone looks at you, and you think they're thinking something negative about you. The cashier snaps at you, and you take it as a personal affront. Your favorite television show changes in a way you don't like, and you think the writers don't care for their fans, one of which is you. Or you're not invited to a party, and you think it's because the hosts don't like you.
Someone once told me that everyone isn't thinking about me half as much as I think they are. That stuck with me and goes right along with "everything's not personal," or "everything isn't personal" if you prefer.
So as I move through life, I try to remember those words. Sometimes, people are having a bad day, and it has nothing to do with me. If I'm not invited to a party, I don't think twice about it because, it's possible, the hosts are doing me a favor because they know it's not my cup of tea. Overall, this is one life lesson that has really made an impression on me and has helped me look at life differently!
I was reading a Dear Abby post today about a woman who'd been conversing with a man online for a few months. She knew the time was getting closer to meet, and she was concerned the man might not like what he saw because she was overweight and had some dental issues. Abby reminded her that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and advised her to deal with her weight and dental issues if they were affecting her self-esteem.
Of course, after reading this, I started to think about why we think we have to measure up to someone else's beauty standards. We've all looked at the popular magazines that feature glamorous models and perfectly-toned women with flawless makeup, and we feel like we're lacking. Honestly, I used to feel that way myself, but the older I get, the more I realize that beauty on the outside doesn't matter if there's isn't any on the inside.
To me, beauty is the person who'll stand by your side no matter what, the smile you get from a complete stranger when you feel like your world is upside down. Beauty is the hand holding yours, the person applauding you for your accomplishments, and the words of encouragement when you're about to step outside your comfort zone.
Beauty is the voice on the other end of the line when you just feel like chatting, the arms wrapped around you to let you know you are supported, and the kiss on the cheek to say goodnight. It's shared laughter and adventures, exchanging secrets, that sense of urgency to share an important part of your day, and the voice of reason when you're out on the ledge.
Beauty isn't how many dimples a person has or the blindingly-white teeth. Yes, we can all appreciate an attractive person, but the interior is far more important because that's the beauty that will last a lifetime.
I read a blog challenge on Tumblr tonight, and the question was: How would your life change if everyone knew your secrets? I cringed and swallowed hard. Wow. That wouldn't be good.
We all have secrets. Maybe it's something simple like you had a crush on your best friend's boyfriend back in high school, or it could be something more sinister. Either way, can you imagine how your life would change if all your secrets came to light? Could you stand in front of a room full of people while your deepest, darkest secrets were read aloud?
I know my life would definitely change. Even my closest friends don't know all of my secrets because, let's be honest, that's why they're called secrets. Would knowing all of my secrets change how they felt about me? Probably not, but I would wonder, and that would change my relationship with them.
So how about you? How would your life change if everyone knew your secrets?
The past two weeks have been a difficult battle for a family whose beloved daughter, niece, and granddaughter passed away. As they've struggled to obtain the money to bury their loved one, my thoughts have wandered to the brevity of this life.
Whether we like it or not, life is short. It might not seem like it if you hear about the passing of a 90-year-old person, but to them, that life went by so fast, they blinked, and it was gone. That's what happens.
I remember years ago thinking people in their forties were old, and now, I'm in my forties. And it doesn't seem so old. But it does feel like the days are slipping by, and that I'm not focusing on the things that really matter, what's most important in life.
While social media is a great way to get to know people...at least, it used to be...it's not meeting people face to face. It's not getting out into the world and actually talking to people. And looking at beautiful pictures online can be awe-inspiring, but it can't measure up to seeing those same sights in person.
I like to travel, and I spend as much time as possible doing it, but when I'm home, I'm home. Often, too much. That's why I'm challenging myself to do something different each month, whether it's taking a short day trip, visiting a site in my hometown I've never seen, taking pictures of nature, or going for a helicopter ride. I'm going to enjoy this life out from behind a computer screen because, while work is important, so is life. And it's meant to be lived.
First post for a new blog challenge, and I have to be critical of the one thing I really love online, and that's social media. I'm a huge fan of all things social, but I do know there are downsides to it. So I'm going to give this my best shot.
If you need help with budgeting or need to find a way to get your financial house in order, pick up a copy of Nicole Lapin's book, Rich Bitch-A Simple 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together...Finally. While the title might be off-putting to some, and there is some strong language inside, this is the best book I've found to help understand everything from a 401(k) to investing. Nicole uses easy, understandable terms so that you don't have to be a financial planner to understand any of it. With real-life testimony, her advice simply makes sense.
Click on the image, and the link will take you to Amazon where you can get it almost three dollars cheaper than you can in a bookstore where I got my copy!
I love rainy days, but my favorites are rainy nights. So even though this post is supposed to be about days, I'm choosing to share what I do on rainy nights, besides write.
I've previously written about places I wanted to go, but this was a bit of a twist. It's more about things I'd want to do on vacation, well, except for the cruise one. I love cruises and could go on one every six months. There's just something peaceful about sitting on the deck watching the ocean as the ship pushes through the water.
So what are some of your favorite things to do on vacation?
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!