How would you live your life if you knew your expiration date?
Would you live differently today if you knew you had 20 years? 10 years? 5 years? 1 year?
After a sudden illness five years ago that I wasn’t supposed to survive, I have a new perspective. I consider it a gift because it pulled me off the treadmill of life and forced me to learn how to be present instead of focusing on the future.
This present circumstance is a reminder to ask the questions I like to avoid:
1. How do I want to be remembered?
2. What memories do I want to make to fuel me when I can't get out and do as much as I can now?
|2012 Family Reunion|
|Fun w/Roman Street Performer|
|Visit with Theas Estelle, Kay & Angie|
3. What is keeping me from being the person I want to be and making the memories I crave?
I have a well-known clutter problem. Paper is my arch-nemesis; it is everywhere!
But it is also difficult to part with certain things because 'someone' may need them 'sometime'. My neighbors call me when they need an odd kitchen gadget, super large mixing bowls, or platters. The kids’ friends come over to borrow wigs, costumes, capes, and all sorts of art supplies for school projects. And then there are books – pick a topic and I’m likely to have at least one book on the subject (I’m not kidding – any topic). To me, it is absolutely terrible to throw books away. Who wants some books?
News flash: the Smithsonian has no interest in my 20 year adventure in creating nonprofits and developing affordable housing. And shockingly, neither are my kids. Ouch! Time for purge mode!
I am less attached to things. Don’t get me wrong, I still like nice things. But I don’t wish for much anymore. For example, I love Waterford crystal. My husband won several beautiful large bowls and vases in golf tournaments over the years. We’ve purchased and received as gifts wine goblets, tumblers, and other pieces over the years. They are beautiful and are rarely used.
Yet, I've hesitated to thin the herd because it would mean my collection wouldn't be as big. Notice the irony -- thinking bigger is better… in the food department!
Who wants some cookbooks?
I’ve decided that as the “every day” items dwindle, due to a hungry garbage disposal, poorly loaded dishwasher, or clumsy food runner, I’m going to switch over to using our “good stuff.”
The practice of gratitude is a constant in my life. It is a spiritual practice as I make note throughout the day and every night of the things, actions, and people for which I am grateful.
But being grateful isn’t enough for me now; I need to express it as I feel it.
I will also demonstrate gratitude by not piling on the negativity in the world – through social media, movies, the "news," gatherings, or other means. I can be sarcastic and snarky with the best of them, and sometimes it feels like a good release (especially when I'm in pain or depressed). But does it do anything to improve the human condition?
From now on, I'm working hard to moderate my expressions with the simple question: will what I say/post/write help or hurt the situation or other person?
The old adage, “if you don’t have something nice to say, keep your mouth shut.” Is my new mantra. Of course, I still like the southern version sometimes: “If you don’t have something nice to say, come sit by me!” (wink, wink)
This imperfect person is focusing on spreading love in hopes that it puts a bit more healing and motivation into the world.