I can remember sitting around the table and my sister-in-law asking everyone for their highs and lows of the day. She wanted to know the high point and the low point of each persons day. It was a great way to connect with each other, to share some important aspects of what happened that day and how you were feeling about it. On Thanksgiving, she would ask each of us to state what we were grateful for that day. She was ahead of her time in terms of understanding the benefits of expressing gratitude.
I’ve read about a gratitude exercise where every day you write down on a slip of paper something for which you are grateful. At the end of the year you can pull out those slips of paper and review them. Right here in My Little Blue Kayak, I have written about gratitude many times, including here and here. It seems that being grateful is all the rage!
When I was a kid we celebrated Thanksgiving in the traditional American way. Our family got together and prepared a delicious turkey dinner with all of the fixings. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but thinking back it was a complicated process that all of us engaged in. Think of an orchestra where every musician brings their special talents; knows what to play and when to play it in order to create a masterpiece!
My honey is not a complainer. When the going gets tough she doesn’t whine or moan; she just keeps plodding along until the task is done. She has missed 3 weeks of playing tennis due to a shoulder injury and now is sick with a cold. She still isn’t really complaining but I know she is hurting and feels crappy.
Last week I wanted to plant the seed that maybe she should go see her doctor about the shoulder. We chatted for a few minutes and then moved on. Before I left the room, I asked if she was ok and she just looked at me like I was a bit crazy. “No, I’m not ok, I am hurting.”
I just wrapped up my tough month of work that I wrote about early last month. In that blog post I detailed some of the things I planned to do to stay sane. I am happy to report I finished the month without pulling out my hair, losing my cool or having any type of breakdown. But I didn’t do it alone! I had lots of help to stay sane while working a lot of hours in an environment that doesn’t nourish my soul.
By definition, shouldn’t common sense be common? From my experience it is really not all that common and those that have it are blessed. When you use common sense you are able to identify problems in advance, solve simple issues that arise, go with the flow and deal with interruptions.
According to the dictionary, common sense is “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts”.
Some situations I have come across that make me go HUH?
You know that feeling when you buy something that you have coveted for a really long time? There can be immense satisfaction in owning something shiny and new. In 2010 I purchased a Mini Cooper Clubman with 10,000 miles on it and I was in love. It was a deep brown color and it caught my eye the minute I saw it.
I nicknamed that car “Hot Chocolate” and it looked amazing with my little blue kayak perched on its roof. I loved that car from the moment I laid eyes on it until this week when I gently patted its hood and said good-bye. “Hot Chocolate hit 112,000 miles last month, was burning oil, sounded rough and was started to look her age!
Last night my honey and I went to a wedding for one of my co-workers. It was a short, sweet ceremony followed by an hour-long cocktail hour, buffet dinner and wrapped up with some dancing. The night was a lot of fun and it was good to let loose a bit!
Now this freshly married co-worker is getting ready for her honeymoon and I am going to cover her shifts for the next 2 weeks. Then another co-worker is taking the following 2 weeks off and I am covering for her too. During this time I will also have a few yardwork jobs lined up.
Yup 4 weeks of essentially full-time work. I can’t believe I agreed to this. When I get stressed I lose my composure, I get off track and life gets chaotic. I don’t want this to happen this time so I thought I would do some planning in advance to ensure I stay sane for the next month!
I have been negligent in my posting responsibilities! Sorry but I have been busy leading what I like to think is a simple life. Overall it is simple but when something comes along to rock my boat it gets a bit tippy for a while! No worries though, all is good. Even now I don’t have time to write anything major, but I thought I would give a quick update regarding life in my little blue kayak!
Do you want to increase your happiness? There is more than enough to go around and it is free to make more and more. One could argue the supply of happiness is endless.
Then why are people so unhappy all of the time?
I think we live such busy, hectic lives that we are stressed out most of the time. We don’t spend time doing things we love and eventually we forget the joy we once derived from simple pleasures. We get caught up in daily chores, work, responsibilities, and commitments and forget to do the little things that bring us joy.
I would argue that if you want to increase your happiness, if you want to be a better person, if you want to be the best YOU possible; that it takes work. It takes some introspection and quiet time. But all of the time and effort is worth it once you can find ways to maximize your happiness, reduce your stress and spend time with the people who bring out the best in you.
I love to cook. I usually have a main ingredient in mind and then start perusing the fridge and the cabinets to see what else is on hand that I can toss in the pot. I think about what protein I want, what fresh vegetables I have and the spices that will bring it all alive.
Preparing dinner is my down time at the end of the work day. I usually drink a glass of wine or an ice cold IPA while cooking and sing along to my favorite tunes. I start a meal while still thinking about what else to add to it and the final product is often nothing like what I had in mind when I started. I will stop what I am doing to run out to the garden to pick some fresh basil, parsley and tomatoes or at the last minute prepare some type of sauce or salsa to top it all off.
You see, I am not a perfectionist when I cook in the kitchen. I am more of a creator or a sculptor.
Laughing out Loud!!! Ok, Ok. That is a stretch. No one has ever accused me of being an Artist in any way, shape or form.