Life’s ‘Normal’ Moments
Looking out at the lush, green foliage around me, and taking in the beautiful scenery, serene thoughts flooded my mind. I observed numerous geese enjoying moments ranging from peacefully resting atop the serene water in the pond, then gliding majestically across the pond with little or no effort, and eventually frolicking playfully in the water.
Red-winged Blackbirds singing sweetly in the trees, occasionally flitting from one place to another, getting up from their perch to fly around, or to enjoy a different kind of experience and perspective perched atop one of the slender reeds embanking the pond.
I thought about how often we tend to treat ‘normal’ as something bad. We believe, incorrectly, that unless we are on an emotional high, or out somewhere having fun, or doing something we actually enjoy doing, then we must be having a bad day or at best a ‘so-so’ day and at worst.
We pine after things that are NOT happening at the moment, forgetting to make the most of whatever our current situation might allow. We mistakenly believe that real happiness and contentment comes from something – whatever that ‘something’ happens to be at this particular moment- that we do not have.
Who said we cannot enjoy the normal things of life, like having some quiet peace around us. Or having an opportunity to recharge, or taking time to pay some attention to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being? It is in the normal, or even mundane, times, that we have the opportunity to benefit from the things that matter.
Yes working is important; having fun is important; being actively engaged in physical or recreational activities is important to our overall wellbeing. However, it is the beautiful tapestry of the whole, consisting the ‘normal,’ the ‘mundane’ and the ‘boring’, that provides us with an optimal experience in this journey through life.O. N. Rowe
So pursue your dreams; seek after the things you believe can build you into the best version of yourself. But in the process bear in mind that the ‘normal’ things play their vital roles. YES – Embrace the normal!
LIFE LESSON #10
Life is like a Road-trip; if it is only about the destination for you, it can be a long and painful journey!
Road trip – Such an amazing and fun adventure, right!? Well I would not know because I have not experienced it myself. At least not the type where you set out on some long drive across provinces or States, or both. Or in the case of my home country Jamaica, where ‘road trip’ means driving from Morant Point to Negril Point, a whopping 300km or so distance. I haven’t actually done that one either.
There’s a popular expression that goes “Live fast – die young,” and in my mind it reflects the exact opposite of how life was meant to be lived. Like on a highway, there is an exponential increase in the risk of having an accident, and the law of momentum dictates that the faster you are going, the more severe the impact of a sudden stop.
Rather than like being on a speedway, therefore, going through life should be more like going on a road trip…a road trip to somewhere really far away but somewhere you depart for with great anticipation.
So with that in mind, here are 5 guidelines for tackling the highway of life:
I) It is a long journey – so make sure you pack the right things. This can be hard to do, because we often do not know exactly what we will need for such a journey until we actually need them. We might ‘Google’ suggestions to help us plan for the trip, but this will be just a guide as requirements will vary according to your specific circumstances and needs.
At the same time you want to avoid taking along with you excess baggage. It is easy to hold on to the past. The past hurt; the past failures; the heartbreaks; the disappointments; events that set you back and that threaten your future progress. Forgive those you need to forgive; not because they deserve it, but rather, because YOU do!
Along with everything else ensure you pack a healthy dose of faith. This is critical for those moments when you question your journey; when you question whether or not you have what it takes to succeed; when you face circumstances that would seek to break you. Faith in God helps you to trust in a Power greater than yourself; greater than your circumstances; greater that anyone else you might look up to for support and encouragement.
II) Pace yourself. Of vital importance is observing the speed limit. However, being on a highway that allows 110km per hour speeds does not mean you are obligated to that fast! Take it easy; make sure you are comfortable so that you save your energy and minimize fatigue. Take your mental breaks when you need them, while paying attention to your surroundings.
Burnout is a real risk when you seek to go through life without pacing yourself. As you work to earn and build your life, do not neglect your health. Do not neglect your family. Do not neglect the friends you will very likely need to help you along the way.
Life is meant to be lived in community. That is, with the support of others around you. Do not neglect this important facet of your journey. Having the right people around to support you is a great means of avoiding burnout, because you are then able to share the load.O. N. Rowe
III) Set Targets. One cannot remain focused after driving for too long non-stop. You cannot afford to become so exhausted that your driving is compromised. This can have a catastrophic impact. Allow yourself time to rest, to stretch, to have your meal.
You might want to set specific distances to travel in between breaks based on where rest stops/motels are located. Get a good night’s sleep and be refreshed for the next phase of the journey.
Milestones are important. They help you keep track of progress, and allow you opportunities to stop and take stock of what is going right, what needs to be changed, and helps to plan for the next steps. When you do your assessment, celebrate your victories. Life is best viewed in little chunks of time, stacked in such a manner that when taken as a whole, lead to a deliberate outcome.
IV) Enjoy the scenery (stop and smell the roses along the way). Sometimes taking the shortest route between two points is not necessarily the best way to go. There are sometimes scenic routes which can make the journey less stressful.
Taking time out to do fun things, to unwind, to rejuvenate and reinvigorate, can add tremendous value to the experience of the journey. Make time for other important people in your life – your family, relatives, friends. Do not neglect the human element of your journey through life.O. N. Rowe
As you travel along life’s journey, be on the lookout for traffic jams called delays; speed bumps called illness and other disappointments; changes in speed limits which caution you to slow down and rest a while. There will be setbacks, but you can always bounce back. Do not fall into the trap of feeling you are competing with anyone else. This is a journey towards attaining YOUR best self. Do not lose sight of that important fact.
V) Enjoy the destination. Our journey is not over until we have reached our destination. Make sure that the final destination is of such value that it makes the long journey worthwhile. Make sure it is somewhere you would want to stay a while, and enjoy.
Your career is a means to an end. Make sure you give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the ‘fruits of your labour.’ Protect your health. Take time to reflect on the journey and celebrate the completion. Do not neglect to recognize those who helped you along the way – that helping hand; those words of encouragement; or those prayer warriors who were constantly praying for you!
Make your highway experience the best years of your life.
There is room for everyone on the highway of life. Be reasonable; be patient; play by the rules. The highway can be daunting; it can be challenging; it can be intimidating. However, there are some destinations that you can never reach unless you are prepared to muster up the courage, prepare yourself, draw on your faith, and join the traffic on the highway.
Sometimes you have to rely on other motorists to help you out. Perhaps other motorists give you a pass so that you can get ahead.
Often times we find ourselves needing support or assistance from someone else, even strangers. The saying ‘no man is an island’ provides a succinct representation of the truth of the interdependence of humanity.
Sometimes we find ourselves on our face, broke and helpless. Without someone stepping in we could find the struggle too hard for us to bear, or ‘late for the party’ and missing out on opportunities that we might have been pursuing and so badly need. Maybe we have some emergency and need to get somewhere FAST!
Despite our best planning and precautions, we never know when that time will come, and from whom that help will come. One thing I find doesn’t work well: trying to force someone to give us a pass. On the roads we are often at the mercy of other motorists, and a polite ‘request’ is sometimes all it takes to get that assistance we need to get ahead.
Similarly, we need to respectfully and politely seek help, knowing that it is the prerogative of the person or organization we have reached out to for this help, to extend such help or to deny it. Sometimes, being polite, even after apparently being refused, can cause a change of mind thus securing the help we need.
Oh, and let’s not forget to acknowledge, and appreciate, the help we get. We might not get the chance to return the favour to the source of our help, but we can definitely ‘pay it forward’ by offering helping hands to someone else.
Let us not forget the hands that have fed us, lifted us, or shoved us out of the way of danger, but be willing to do the same for others.
Life = The Unexpected
This eloquent metaphor of life shows us that things are not always going to be the way conventional wisdom would have us expect them to be!
How many times have we experienced situations where an outcome is all but assured. We put in the hard work, do our research, crossed all our “T’s” and dotted all our “i’s” and yet end up missing our target, or not getting that job, or failing our course.
Life is like that, you know?
We sometimes believe that if we do all that we consider necessary to accomplish a specific outcome, then that’s the outcome we will have. Or that if we work hard enough at our job then we will definitely get that promotion. Or that if we invest enough time and resources in someone we can ensure their success, or even change them!
Or perhaps your build-up to a certain event has gone so badly that you expect to be a disaster, but here comes the unexpected success! Just like preparing for an exam; sometimes you stress yourself out because you feel you will just not be ready…but then comes the resounding ‘A’ grade! That’s an unexpected outcome that just about anyone can get behind!
Life is a combination of good and bad, success and failure, ups and downs. But whatever comes our way, we don’t need to let it derail our journey. We can take them as they come, look for the positives, and I am confident this will allow us to recognize that the blend of outcomes we experience serve to make life less mundane.
By the way, the beautiful downpour of snow we are having today, even if on the dawn of spring, sets us up for a lush, green start to what might otherwise have been a struggle for the plants to take root. Farmers in our part of the country are no doubt loving it!
Life indeed serves up a good dose of the expected. Embrace it.
Life = Renewal
Great things can happen when someone is alive!
Yes – life sometimes throws us many curve balls. Sometimes they come when we are at the peak of our prowess, whether it be in business, sports, or Academia. Bad things happen.
BUT…how can we get beyond them? How can we move along when the odds are so stacked against us? How can we begin to pick up the pieces?
Being alive provides all the evidence we need. Yes we sometimes need encouragement from others; we might need physical, emotional and material support … lots of it. But one thing is certain: Life provides the opportunity for renewal. It provides the opportunity for restoration. It provides opportunity for us to harness the indomitable spirit that is deep within us, and which can provide the impetus we need to achieve great things.
Things might not be the way we want; our circumstances might not allow us to enjoy the things we dream of. Nevertheless life always provides us with a promise of hope. Life provides the opportunity for Renewal!
We might not see a way out, nor through, nor over, nor around, but if we believe in our strength and our capacity to overcome; if we see being alive as a demonstration of the endless possibilities that are there to be attained; and above all if we place our faith and confidence in the One who promises to never leave us nor forsake us, then we certainly will NOT go under.
Celebrate being alive, and make the most of it.
#Alive #overcome #confidence #Life #Renewal