Friday, December 17, 2010

Random Thoughts Volume XI

This past Sunday was a good day to stay indoors. Much of the day my granddaughter was with me and my son is home from the seminary for Christmas break. I enjoyed watching the snow fall throughout the day and occasionally having a cup of Cafe Mocha. In my mind it was a perfect day for being at home. It occurred to me that it is still officially fall and we have already had three measurable snowfalls. What will happen when winter really gets here?

The Elf is still on the loose....

In general God has blessed me with an optimistic and positive attitude about life. I can usually see the sunny side of everything. I admit there are occasions when I am cynical. It doesn't take any special skill to be cynical. The world is full of liars and charlatans who try their best to manipulate us regular folks. Sometimes these people are well disguised and we don't always immediately recognize their insincerity. When people or leaders turn out to be less than I thought they were, my cynicism rears it's ugly head. In spite of the existence of such people, I usually see life as a glass half full or over flowing rather than half empty. Because of my generally positive attitude I am usually able to make the best of most situations. The ability to be flexible and adaptable are great life skills. I know I am a creature of habit and routine and I can get stuck in them. Sometimes I am slow to change but more often than not, I am happy when I do so. One of my favorite sayings these days is "It is what it is". I try to avoid perceptions whether they are my own or other's. I try to deal with reality in a positive and optimistic way. It's too easy to be cynical and negative and both are life draining. If you are positive and optimistic you are filled with hope and hope is always life giving.

Last summer I went to Chicago and attended an all day rock, jazz, and blues music festival. That particular day the heat index was 105 degrees and I thought I was going to die of a heat stroke. I remember thinking, "I'll be so glad when colder weather gets here". Now the colder weather is here and the last few mornings I thought I was going to die walking from the parking garage. Autumn is my favorite time of the year and technically we are still in autumn. Why then have we had three measurable snowfalls, single digit temperatures, and below zero wind chills? I guess one should be careful what you ask for! I actually like winter with it's snowfalls and exquisite sunrises. Summer is a time of long days and much activity. Winter days are short and many of our outdoor activities are on hiatus. Winter is a time to get cozy, stay indoors, read books, watch movies, drink hot chocolate, and take naps. During winter I usually get into hibernation mode and I am happy to withdraw and slow down. Some people think I do this all the time. Of course we can't really hibernate or wait until spring before reappearing in public. At this time of year life is also anything but slow. There's lots of work and holiday demands. I still like it but I do hibernate as much as possible and after the holidays I always enjoy the nothingness of January.

On top of all the other winter weather there was an ice storm last night. When I was outside cleaning off my cars I did a triple backwards double axle in my driveway that probably qualifies me for the Olympics.

This is a time of year when I really try to be grateful for how blessed I am but the holidays are a strange time of year. There is so much material excess in terms of the commercial side of the holidays but there is also a much greater awareness of the poor and those in need. People's spending is usually out of control, and although this is good for the economy, it is usually bad for people's bank accounts. Regardless, at this time of the year people are more giving than at any other time of the year. As I sit here typing these thoughts I am grateful for many things. In general, I am grateful that I have a good life. Now a "good life" is a relative thing and what is a good life is often in the eye of the beholder. I think I am "middle class" yet the news would have me believe the middle class is disappearing. The last time I looked I was still here. I certainly don't think I am poor but I am also a long way from wealthy. However, when compared to much of the world I am wealthy and I live like a King. At this time of my life I have everything I need and most of what I want. I have food, shelter, employment, and enough creature comforts to satisfy me. More important than my material possessions are the people in my life. I have family and friends who are important to me and who care about me. Life is good and I am blessed with many good people and things in my life while also being spared many bad things. Sometimes we must also be grateful for what we don't have.

I was also grateful for the extra sleep I got this morning since my employer had a delayed opening and for the wonderful pumpkin bread that one of my co-workers brought to the office.

Most people are passionate about something. It might be their work or a hobby that gives them a creative outlet. Anyone who is truly artistic must be passionate about their art. A true artist would never be complacent about what they create. Some people are passionate about a political or spiritual cause. They will be activists for a political point of view or some social need they see in our society. Sometimes, however, our passions are just for things we enjoy. In my life there have been a few things I am passionate about. From my youth I have been passionate about books and music. I suppose I should be thankful to good teachers for giving me a love of books. Even though I was a typical boy who loved sports and riding my bike, I also loved when the bookmobile came through my neighborhood. I have also always loved music. I can still remember how thrilled I was to get my first transistor radio. It was the 1960's equivalent of today's ipod. I loved listening to the "Top 40" hits of the day and I went a little crazy when I went to my first rock concert and saw the original Beach Boys. I have been rocking and rolling for nearly 50 years now. I have seen most of the great musicians of my generation and I have the bad hearing to prove it. When I got about 50 years old I realized I had a talent for writing so now writing is a creative outlet that I must allow to happen. I started out writing for friends and co-workers. Eventually I created a blog. At this time over 15,000 people from all over the world have visited it. Because of this I've made several friends in foreign countries. The point of all this is to encourage all of you to find your passion and follow your bliss. It's who you are.

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