The Quotidian Scribe

Ordinary Thoughts, Essays and Short Stories

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Time for a Break

When I started this blog, its main purpose was to provide an outlet for writing. I wanted a place where I could not only get the words on paper, so to speak, but also share them with anyone who might want to read them. For over a year now, that’s just what the blog has offered. It’s been fun to crank out essays and short stories and set them free, and it’s been even more fun to hear that some of them have actually entertained a few people here and there.

With that fun, though, comes the responsibility of sticking to a set schedule. Even though it’s a schedule I came up with on my own, it’s one I take seriously. There have been a few instances where I’ve been penning something right up to the last minute, but I haven’t missed any of those every-other-Sunday deadlines. Some of the essays and short stories may not have been stellar examples of creativity, but they were posted nonetheless…right on time. Lately, though, hitting that mark has become a challenge because I have other things vying for my attention.

In order to prioritize all that needs to be done, those blog deadlines have to change. Lucky for me, I operate on a self-imposed schedule that I have the power to alter. If you’d like to see what I’m talking about, just click the button below.

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Shifting Priorities

It’s Mother’s Day. Well, it is if you’re reading this post the same day it goes live. If you’re not, then it isn’t Mother’s Day. Unless you waited a year to read it. Then it is. Mother’s Day, I mean. A year later.

Okay, now that I’ve got you thoroughly confused, I’ll get on to the subject at hand…mothers. Today is that special day set aside each year to honor them. And they deserve it. Without mothers, none of us would be here.

Yeah. Let that sink in. Even if you had a mom who wasn’t all she was cracked up to be, she still brought you into this world, so there’s that. Love her or not, she did do you that one solid.

When I think about moms, it’s natural to reminisce about my own. She was, in my mind, inarguably wonderful. She wasn’t a perfect individual, of course, but she was the perfect mom for me. Not everyone gets to have that sort of experience with their own mother, so I know how extremely lucky I was to have her…and how lucky I still am to have all of my treasured memories of her.

As time goes on, I see more of my mom in myself than I did when I was younger. Sometimes it’s in the things I catch myself saying, and sometimes it’s the reflection staring back at me from the mirror. I used to cringe at the thought of turning into my mother but, the more I acknowledge it, the more okay I am with it. Pleased, even. I may not be the extraordinary woman she was, but I’m content with being a half-way decent replica.

In addition to timeworn phrases and a head full of gray hair, I also inherited my mom’s inclination to write. Now that I’ve gotten that first novel out there in front of God and everybody – and I’ve begun the process of editing the next one – it occurs to me that the whole “mom” gig isn’t necessarily limited to rearing little humans.

There’s no doubt about the fact that my daughters will forever be my crowning glories. But my books, stories, and essays also fall into the category of beloved babes I brought into this world. Clearly, they’re nowhere near the same level as my flesh-and-bone offspring, but they’re still a part of me. Not only that, but nurturing them requires a fair amount of devotion…just like real kids. And that devotion takes a lot of time and effort. It’s just a different kind of balancing act.

With real kids, especially if you have more than one, you have to find a way to spread yourself as evenly as possible so none of their needs go unmet. Each child is just as important as the other. But there’s more leeway when it comes to writing. It’s okay to backburner some things so the lion’s share of the attention can go to the project requiring the most work. And that’s what I’m setting in motion now.

This is my long-winded way of saying I won’t be posting essays or short stories every other week anymore…at least not until I get this second book finalized and on the market. My plan is to publish it before the end of the year so, if I stand a chance of making that happen, that’s where I need to focus most of my mental energy. While I realize no one out there will lose any sleep over this little announcement, I felt I should explain up front why future essays and stories will be fewer and far between. The book has to take precedence.

I’m not putting the blog on pause completely, though. I’ll continue to post something once a month or so and, if you’re already subscribed to my blog, you’ll still receive emails when that new content goes live. If you haven’t subscribed but are interested, just scroll to the bottom of this page and complete the form. I’ll also put a post on Facebook when new content is available.

Now that I’ve brought you up to date, it’s time to make myself scarce. Mother’s Day has reminded this mama that she has a literary baby in need of some major attention. I can almost hear it caterwauling in the background as I type this.

Ciao for now.

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It’s All a Balancing Act

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A long while back, I posted an essay about finding ways to tolerate doing certain things that, frankly, I simply dislike doing. The target irritant in that post was dusting. While it’s still not a favorite chore, I’ve been surprised by how much more palatable it’s become since I adjusted my outlook. Instead of viewing the chore as a necessary evil, I’ve been doing my best to consider it an opportunity to appreciate the items I’m dusting. I let myself think about their history and what that history means to me. Simplistic, I know…but it seems to do the trick.

While dusting recently, I started fiddling around with a whimsical toy my husband got back when we were dating. At least, I think we were dating. We might have already been married, and I may or may not have been the one who got it for him. That was about a hundred years ago, so you’ll have to forgive my lack of accuracy.

Anyway, the toy consists of a clown or a jester — or maybe just some guy in his pajamas — that’s suspended on curved wooden bars. When you tap his head or foot just right, he twirls delightfully back and forth from one end of the bars to the other. But if you’re off even a tiny bit when you tap him, he goes all wonky and can twirl himself right off his platform.

Noticing how easy it is to throw this little guy off course got me thinking about the importance of balance for us real people…both physically and mentally.

From a physical standpoint, personal experience has proven I can get knocked off balance in the blink of an eye. I’ve always had a special talent for falling up steps and tripping on air. As I age, that gift just keeps on giving. Fortunately, good bone density has prevented any disasters. Fingers crossed that doesn’t change.

In an attempt to stay as upright as possible for as long as possible, I make sure to incorporate some balance work when I exercise each morning. It’s not a lot, but it seems to help me feel steadier as I go through my day. As a matter of fact, even though I know my klutziness can rear its ugly head at any moment, I have to say that I haven’t tripped on air or fallen up (or down) any steps in quite a while. I attribute that monumental feat to those balance moves. Of course, just to be on the safe side, it might not hurt to throw some salt over my shoulder to keep up the good juju.

From a mental standpoint, the whole concept of staying on track gets trickier because I don’t always know exactly what needs to be balanced…let alone how to go about doing it. This generally occurs during conversations. Sometimes I’m not even aware it’s happening until I’m a mile down the road of some unintended brain tangent. By then, it takes major recalibrating to get back to the present. It’s particularly off-putting when it happens during a discussion that suddenly requires my input. I start off focusing on what’s being said and, without warning, my mind flits to something totally unrelated…and often completely insignificant.

I’ve got ADHD and realize it affects the way I think, but I’m pretty sure this can happen to almost anyone, regardless of their mental fortitude. I’m not talking about technological distractions, although there’s no argument that those are annoying little devilments. I’m talking about more innocuous attention thieves. Sometimes the least little thing can send us twirling off-kilter just enough to make our thoughts wind up somewhere we didn’t expect or want them to be.

My above-referenced diagnosis is fairly mild and, since it doesn’t terribly disrupt my life, I don’t take medication for it. I’m not crazy about pharmaceutical side effects so, for the time being, I’m content to manage my condition on my own. Sometimes it works…sometimes it doesn’t. But even people who don’t share my specific disorder can occasionally find their minds wandering off unattended. It’s like trying to restrain a toddler who just spotted the monkey cage at the zoo.

So what can we do to stop these cerebral jaunts from jacking up our thought processes? I don’t have any solid answers, but I’ve been giving it a lot of thought lately. My usual methods of staying on track require tactical exercises inside my head…like silently repeating what someone says so I can keep a grasp on it, or throwing a lasso over each fugitive thought and then mentally dragging it back where it belongs. Sometimes, these are just occasional hiccups. Other times, they seem to happen nonstop and leave me utterly exhausted by the end of the day. It would be nice to find simpler, less cumbersome, ways to tame the wandering beast.

A quick Google search gave credence to at least one of my tried-and-true practices – that of mentally repeating people’s statements in order to ground them in my head. But I came across other suggestions, too.

One recommendation was to maintain eye contact during a conversation. Not constant, unblinking eye contact, of course. That’s just creepy. But creating a sort of eye-to-eye relationship may help a person stay focused on what the other one is saying. I must confess that this is something I struggle with because introverts aren’t generally all that keen on eye contact. But, if doing so can strengthen the connection, it’s worth that little bit of discomfort.

Another tip was to ask questions related to what the person has said. Not only does that show interest, but it can help to mentally cement the conversation. And that makes sense. If our thoughts have concrete feet, they’re a lot less likely to stumble off on their own.

It was also suggested to find a way to surreptitiously make some notes about what was just discussed. If you’re like me and have trouble remembering, jotting it down can serve as both a memory anchor and future reference…just in case that “anchor” somehow gets cut loose. Lord only knows how many anchors are rusting at the bottom of my cranial ocean. Luckily, I’m no stranger to sticky notes.

Although the above ideas aren’t earth-shattering – or even all that original – they’re doable, and I believe they can be effective. I’m actually looking forward to seeing if they’ll help me stay in the here and now when I’m talking to someone. It would be amazing to stop getting mentally waylaid so much.

When it comes to successfully navigating conversations, what I really want is to be like that wooden guy in his PJs. All I have to do is figure out how to perfectly tap myself so I can twirl back and forth along my own little track without the constant worry of falling off.

Right. No pressure.

 

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How to Make a Brain Stay Put

If you’ve met me — or have simply read some of my essays — you know I have a habit of slipping off the rails from time to time. Digression is one of my most honed skills, but it’s not a talent I’ve deliberately fostered. I just happen to be one of those lucky ducks that comes by it naturally.

I’m fully aware that getting easily distracted is a trait that can frustrate those around me. It frustrates me, too. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for simple techniques to prevent myself from ruminating along some weird path to never-never land.

I know there are other folks out there who can totally relate to dealing with this peccadillo. Click the button below to find out what I’ve learned about wrangling runaway thoughts. (Oh, who am I kidding? You’ll read what I’m still trying to learn. It’s pretty much a never-ending battle.)

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My (Brief) Life as a Carnivore

I’m a meat eater. Steaks, burgers, pork chops, bacon, chicken, turkey…you name it, I eat it (although I do draw the line at seafood and organ meats). Considering this, I thought following the carnivore diet would be a piece of cake. No pun intended. Except now I want cake. 

Anyway, even though I’ve been eating pretty low carb for years now, I came to the realization that I needed to make some changes. The weight I’d lost a few years ago started to creep back on, and my aches and pains returned full-throttle. Thinking something in my diet was causing a lot of inflammation, I decided some sort of elimination diet was in order. 

Enter that carnivore thingy. I figured a couple of weeks away from carbohydrates would be long enough to get it all out of my system. Afterward, I would gradually add my favorite foods back in to see what it is that doesn’t agree with me. 

The first week went by quickly and easily. I barely had to think about what I’d fix for meals because my choices were so limited:  beef, pork, bacon, eggs, and butter. I took the hint from other carnivore dieters and also included black coffee, even though it’s technically a plant food. Oh, and I could have salt and pepper. Woohoo! I did have tuna once, mixed up with chopped boiled eggs. I ate it, but it didn’t make me happy. What it did do was teach me a lesson. Tuna “salad” without mayonnaise is just tuna in eggs…and it lands rather dismally on the palate. 

Most of my other meals were fine, though. I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting for a while now, so my first meal isn’t until at least noon. During the time I was eating carnivore, that meal was eggs with either bacon or sausage. A few hours later I’d have some rotisserie chicken. For dinner, I’d have pork chops or beef patties. And I had butter with absolutely everything…even my coffee. 

While that first week was a breeze, the second week seemed to last a freaking eternity. Not because I was hungry or craving junk, but because I was getting so bloody bored. I missed a lot of simple things like green beans, peppers, onions, apples, cheese, mayonnaise and – perhaps most of all – cream in my coffee. I knew I’d eventually be able to have most of those things again, but the boredom made the days drag by. 

It didn’t occur to me until the 12th day that I could probably have pork rinds. I know a lot of people think they’re gross — my husband being one of those people — but I’ve always liked those fried-up little pork skins. I had some on hand and, once I confirmed the ingredients were carnivore-friendly, I dumped a bunch on a napkin and went to town. They tasted so good! That little bit of variety was like a party in my mouth. 

Even with the addition of those pork rinds, I still couldn’t wait for the two weeks to be over. I wasn’t noticing any reduction in pain, and my weight loss was minimal. The idea that there are people who have been eating this way for years – and loving it – is just lost on me. It’s not that I think they’re lying, it’s just that I know I could never join their club. And truth be told…I don’t think I want to.

On the 15th day, I had cream in my coffee. It was wonderful. What was even better was the fact that, as the day wore on, I experienced no ill effects. I had some veggies and cheese later in the day, and those settled fine as well.

After watching some YouTube videos about elimination diets, I determined I’m apparently not cut out to follow that sort of protocol. Everything I heard indicated you need to stick with the diet for four to six weeks before reintroducing other foods and condiments. I was dreaming of dragging my bacon through a plate full of mayonnaise after less than two weeks. You’re also supposed to add potential problem foods back in one at a time over the course of several days. I was not blessed with that kind of patience. 

With the whole carnivore experience behind me, I can look back on it more objectively than I could during that second week. Deprivation and lack of benefits aside, I’m glad I went through with it. One of the things I’d hoped to accomplish was to stop snacking on processed foods. I didn’t miss eating them during those carnivore weeks, so that proved it wasn’t going to kill me to do without them altogether. I honestly feel that I can now satisfy my snack urges with nuts, cheese, veggies, and fruit. And instead of buying prepackaged “healthy” treats, I’ll make my own. I’m no pro in the kitchen but when push comes to shove, even I can whip up a batch of tasty sugar-free brownies.

Discipline has never been my strong suit, but I feel like my food brain is finally growing up. I wouldn’t have believed it possible if I wasn’t right smack dab in the middle of it.

Sometimes life is weird…in a good way.

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Look What I Did!

So…two big things happened in my little universe since the last post, and I’m proud as a peacock! One was this:

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It took a long, long time to bring this book to fruition, but it’s finally out in the world for all to see. That reality is equal parts thrilling and frightening and, like it or not, there’s no turning back.

The other big thing that happened may seem trivial by comparison, but it was still big to me. I finished up a self-imposed elimination diet and discovered two things: It wasn’t nearly as long as it should have been to be truly effective, and I’m no good when it comes to deprivation. Strand me on a deserted island, and I’ll still find my way to a mini-mart for snacks.

Hit the button below to see how I fared on this little exercise in minimalistic eating.

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Don’t Let the Awful Overpower You

We live in a world that seems to be filled with angst, sadness, and hostility. You can’t turn on the news without being bombarded with tragedy, inequality, and distress. While it’s important to pay attention and not turn a blind eye to what’s happening around us, it’s also important to find a way to exist without letting the bad drown out the good. Because there is good out there. You might have to dig for it, but it’s there.

Finding ways to navigate life in a manner that allows us to smile and laugh and find joy isn’t always easy. But like I said, there’s good amidst the bad, and we definitely don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Learning how to be okay with our lives is essential because, even though not everything in this world is sunshine and roses, each one of us deserves to be happy.

The essay you’re about to read is my take on how to make that happen. It’s certainly not foolproof because we’re all works in progress, but it can be a place to begin. Just click below to read Pursuit of Happiness.

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Pursuit of Happiness

People are different as snowflakes. We have different dreams, different interests, and different goals. Ultimately, though, we’re all searching for the same end result…happiness. But what, exactly, does it take to make us happy?

Some people swear it’s money…that age-old myth that the more you have, the happier you’ll be. No one can deny it’s a lot less stressful to know you can pay your bills than it is to constantly dodge your creditors, but more isn’t necessarily better. I used to work with a guy who had quite the enviable bank account, and he wouldn’t know happiness if it waltzed up and smacked him on the forehead. On the flip side, I know people who live paycheck to paycheck and seem quite content.

Maybe good health is the prerequisite for happiness. As with money, it can help, but it’s no guarantee. The world has its fair share of people whose demeanor screams discontent even though they eat right, exercise, and are rarely ill. At the other end of the spectrum, you find folks with perpetual smiles on their faces while navigating their lives from wheelchairs and hospital beds.

It could be that happiness lies in family…that loving tie that binds parents to children and husbands to wives. No doubt a close-knit family can create immense joy. There’s something wonderful about coming home to a spouse you can cuddle up with and confide in. And having little mini-mes running around can be such a blessing. But if having kids always makes people happy, why do we hear so much yelling in the supermarket? Not from the little ones, mind you, but from the grown-ups. And take a look at some of the married people around you, then make a mental note of how many of them seem to exude the bliss of a death row inmate. In contrast, you may notice a significant number of single, childless people in this world who find their status exactly to their liking.

Okay, so, if all those things aren’t surefire roads to happiness, what about professional success? People who reach the top of the ladder and brandish that coveted sword of authority must surely be ecstatic. Maybe…maybe not. Many are overstressed to the point where being happy falls to the bottom of their “To Do” lists. Who has the energy to be happy when the only emotion you have left is company loyalty? Not to mention all those CEOs who are virtual islands because their employees are terrified of them. If being at the top of the corporate food chain is what’s necessary to be happy, how do we explain the genuine, effervescent grin of a hotel doorman?

Perhaps the golden ticket belongs to clergy…people of the cloth…the faithful followers of the Divine. Surely and undoubtedly, those folks are happy. I’d venture to say that most of them are…but not all. We hear too many stories about ministers-turned-embezzlers or disillusioned priests leaving the church. And what about those everyday zealots who witness out of one side of their mouths and complain about their lot in life from the other? To say that being happy requires Bible-thumping is to unfairly dismiss those who live serene lives without professing any sort of religion at all.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you can’t find real happiness as a rich, healthy, married parent who runs a successful business and faithfully attends church. Some of those things bring a true sense of fulfillment to a great many people. But those things don’t guarantee happiness. And for some folks, they aren’t even on the radar.

As I said before, people are different. That means our paths to happiness are different. And the way we receive external influences can dictate how happy we are. I guess what it really boils down to is this: It’s not so much what’s going on in your life but what’s going on in your head. I firmly believe in the old adage that says, even though we have little to no control over what happens to us, we do have control over our response to it.

Without a doubt, there will be times when we’re cranky and ungrateful and frustrated and sad. Those are valid parts of being human. But it’s important to know that, barring some chemical imbalance, we have the power to choose whether or not to wallow in those emotions. Occasionally, beating our chest or crying our eyes out is a necessary release. We just need to know when to pull the plug on those bad feelings before they have a chance to smother the joy in our lives. After sufficient primal therapy, it’s imperative to suck it up. Feel the feelings and then let them go.

It’s taken me many years and more than a few hardships to get the hang of that. Taking ownership of your emotional destiny doesn’t come without some battle scars. I don’t always find the silver lining…but I’m getting better at it. It’s essential for me, in the long run, to stay positive. Negative energy is an insidious stalker that hangs around in the shadows and molests you when your defenses are weak. But I believe the more time you spend being consciously positive, the more it becomes a natural part of your being. Once that happens, even during troubling times, those negative lapses are easier to overcome.

How a person gets to the point of choosing happiness over discontent is difficult to assess. We each have to devise workable methods to defeat our own particular mood blasters. For me, the following practices have proved to be quite beneficial:

Faith in a power higher than myself. I’m not a churchgoer, but I maintain an ongoing dialogue with God. I’ve worn His patience thin more than a few times, I’m sure. But there’s a lot of comfort to be found in handing my insecurities over to someone who actually knows how to deal with them. My mother taught me long ago to “Let go and let God.”  It’s not that I expect Him to fix my problems, but I trust He’ll guide me in the right direction.

Expecting the best from people. Sure, I’ve been duped and disappointed more than a few times but, generally, this expectation works out pretty well. Sometimes I have to dig really deep, but I believe there’s something good in almost everyone.

Living the Golden Rule. Corny, maybe, but it’s one of the easiest things to do to ensure my own happiness. More often than not, if I’m cheerful and considerate of others, I get the same in return. That’s not to say I always manage to be that way. Sometimes my surly side gets the better of me. But when I do interact with kindness, I wind up being the biggest beneficiary.

Smile therapy. I read about this years ago. It sounded absolutely ridiculous, but I figured I might as well give it a try. The basic premise is that when you’re feeling gloomy, you force your face into a big smile and hold it for 60 seconds. The idea is that if your face looks happy, your psyche will follow. Is this going to help during tragic circumstances? No, of course not. But for those day-to-day incidents that threaten to bring me down, I’ve found that it actually works. I don’t understand how or why it works; I just know it does. In the end, that’s really all that matters.

Music: I think this can help bring a lot of people out of the doldrums. If I’m out of sorts and have the time and privacy, I’ll listen to some of my favorite music. For me, that generally boils down to 70s rock. For others, it could be country or classical or jazz or hip-hop. Music really can soothe the savage beast.

Gratitude. This may be the most important practice of all. I’ve been royally blessed with a strong faith, a fabulous family, wonderful friends, a cozy home, good health, all the necessities and some of the luxuries, a sense of humor, compassion for others, etc., etc., etc. Making a conscious effort to acknowledge all of the amazing gifts in my life keeps me grounded, especially during difficult times that threaten to drown me in discontent. I don’t keep a gratitude journal, but each night before falling asleep, I mentally inventory these things in my “Thank You” prayers. I find that I have so much to be grateful for that it’s not uncommon to wake up in the middle of the night and realize I fell asleep before ever getting through the list. It’s next to impossible for me to stay unhappy when I focus on gratitude.

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So, there you have it. I don’t have a huge bank account. I have a bad back. I’m nobody’s boss. I’m overweight. Oh…and I’m happy. Really, truly happy. A lot of folks would look at my life and yawn, thinking, “How utterly mundane.”

I look at my life and say, “How incredibly perfect…for me.”  If there really is a secret to finding happiness, I do believe that’s it.

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Those All-Important Final Words

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I’m not one to wax philosophical – mainly because my brain simply doesn’t run that deep – but I do find myself contemplating various topics now more than I used to. 

 

For instance, I recently saw the obituary for yet another high school classmate. It was a loving tribute highlighting his talents and accomplishments, and it was clear that he’ll be missed by many. It got me thinking because, the older I get, the more these little mortality reminders pop up. My classmates and I are at that age where many of us have lost our parents and are now the patriarchs or matriarchs of our families. Retirement is our new way of life, and the probability of looking sexy in a bathing suit has gone out the window for a good number of us. We may still feel young mentally – I know I do – but our bodies are starting to argue the point. Personally, I’ve redefined the phrase “I’m in the prime of my life” to mean, when I sit down on the floor, I can still maneuver myself into a standing position again without having to call for backup.

 

Thinking about classmates who have essentially moved on reminds me of a song by Paul Simon called The Obvious Child. It became a favorite of mine when it was released over 30 years ago because it was catchy and had an infectious beat. It also told a story although, back then, I didn’t relate to it much. I just liked the way it sounded. But listening to it now elicits more than just the urge to groove to the music. The song highlights a middle-aged man who’s looking through his high school yearbook and thinking about how life has changed from then to now. I don’t consider it a sad song, but it does serve as a testament to the fact that time passes, lives get lived, and things may or may not turn out as we’d hoped or planned.

 

Side Note: Talking about that high school yearbook brings back a less-than-stellar moment in my own young life when, at some point in my twenties, I was humiliated by an incident that involved a former classmate. I didn’t even know the person very well, but my ego was bruised to the point that, on a foolish whim, I vandalized my own senior yearbook by tearing out the page containing her photo. This actually resulted in multiple pages being ripped out because of the way the book was bound, and the whole thing was a rather uncharacteristic tantrum on my part. The offending incident itself isn’t important anymore, and my humiliation is all but forgotten, but I’ll never get those yearbook pages back. And that makes me sad because they contained pictures of a lot of other people who did not deserve to be tossed aside. I’ve only had a few regrets throughout my life, but that is definitely one of them.

 

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Long ago, I used to make fun of my parents because so many of their conversations seemed to center around which of their friends was sick, in the hospital, or on a slab. Okay, they weren’t quite as indelicate as that, but you get my drift. It’s not that they didn’t have less macabre topics to discuss – they certainly had other interests – but my folks didn’t turn a blind eye to what was happening around them. Their circle of friends and acquaintances had begun to slowly get smaller and, as time went on, that sense of dwindling picked up speed. They were at that not-so-magical age where slipping from this realm to the next was becoming more and more common.

 

These days, when I see obituaries for my classmates, it hits me – yet again – that I really am turning into my parents. They were probably about the age I am now when I first noticed how often they talked about the decline – or demise – of someone they knew. Hearing about the passing of my own classmates now is like being initiated into the club my parents belonged to 30 years ago. I won’t be so crass as to call it the One Foot in the Grave, the Other on a Banana Peel Club – mainly because the majority of my peers aren’t anywhere near the end of the line – but we can’t hide from the fact that none of us is getting any younger, and the inevitable is…well…inevitable.

 

As sad as I am for the families of my friends who have passed away, there is something almost joyful in reading about the lives their loved ones led. No matter what or how much was accomplished during that person’s time on earth, the tributes are generally heartwarming and full of love. That doesn’t happen simply because the grieving family feels compelled to say something nice. It happens because the one who died left something miraculous behind. They left a part of themselves in everyone they crossed paths with. And unless the deceased was a downright-dirty-lowlife-curmudgeon, the part they left behind was a sort of gift…a way to always be around even after they’d gone.

 

When I think about those beautiful tributes, I can’t help but wonder what sort of sentiments I’ll leave behind. My introverted self isn’t always comfortable engaging with others but, more often than not, it’s a social necessity. When I find myself in those situations, I try to be connected and kind and, yes, even humorous. That’s because it’s important to me to make some sort of tiny, positive impact if I can. Nothing pleases me more than the idea that, on occasion, I may have had a hand in making someone smile. It isn’t a monumental thing, but it is something.

 

As far as what might be said about me in remembrance, I know I won’t be hailed for any major accomplishments because, in the grand scheme of things, I haven’t accomplished anything particularly major. And that’s okay. Lots of us have managed to be quite useful and significant even if we’ve lived our lives under the radar.

 

So, when the time presents itself – hopefully very far off in the future – I figure my obituary will be simple and succinct. Perhaps something along the lines of:

 

She made people laugh.

Sometimes on purpose.

 

Yeah. I could live with that. Well…maybe not live exactly but, again, you get my drift.

 

Here’s a little rhythmic gift. Enjoy!

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A Year Under the Belt

I think a lot about the passage of time. Not in a maudlin way – I’ve learned not to dwell on lost opportunities – but in that wistful “Where did the time go?” fashion. One day you’re going about your business, doing this or feeling that, and then you blink and it’s 5, 10…20 years later.

 

Even though I retired in 2020, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. Those years have really flown by. When I look at my little girls, I wonder how on earth they became middle-aged women. (No offense, sweeties.) And it recently dawned on me that this blog has been live for a full year. Seems like only yesterday I was cursing all those online gurus who prattled on about how easy it was to create a website and start a blog. The first thing I learned during that whole process was that the concept of “easy” is definitely in the eye of the beholder. Or, in this case…the be-doer.

 

But I did manage to do it, so…Happy Birthday to The Quotidian Scribe! This has been the outlet for writing that I’d hoped it would be and, even when I stress myself out by putting things off until right before the deadline, I’m still enjoying the ride. In the beginning, there was a part of me that figured it wouldn’t last half this long. Turns out I apparently don’t know when to rein myself in, so it’s still going. The following essay is proof of that.

 

Like I said earlier, my thoughts about the fleeting aspect of time aren’t usually downers, but I suppose the essay you’re about to read might be construed as a bit maudlin by some. It’s not intended to be that at all, though. It’s just a reflection of where my thoughts sometimes take me when it comes to this current phase of life.

 

Click the button below to read Those All-Important Final Words.

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