Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives. Grateful people also have higher levels of control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and self acceptance. Grateful people have more positive ways of coping with the difficulties they experience in life.
The longest lasting effects are caused by the act of writing “gratitude journals” every day, coupled with reviewing what you are grateful for, at the beginning of each day.
For fifty years, I have been chasing this day, sometimes thinking I would reach the decision earlier, embrace it or pass on it altogether and work until I dropped behind the plow. June 28 (6/28/): the only day of the year where the month and the day are perfect numbers.
Alarm is set today for 6:05a. It is 5:10 a. I am wide awake and feeling a bit anxious. Although I am starting a 10 day road trip with the first stop Disneyland tomorrow...I don't think that is it.
What is the 'it'?
Last day to set the alarm to get ready for work.
Last day at work.
Last day for setting out suit/tie combo to meet clients.
Last day of the day choosing me vs. me choosing the day.
There will be appointments and deadlines and schedules in the future...but I don't HAVE to if I don't WANT to.
10 suits/sports coats.
15 pair dress shoes
50 dress shirts.
100 snazzy ties.
******* Faded Levis.
Tennis shoes (with paint splatters)
Black 'Fender' tee shirt
Raggedy Grey sweatshirt with washed out 'WELTON' in marker pen on the back (my son Nick's old high school PE sweatshirt).
My, how the dress code will change in 7 hours 21 minutes and 35 seconds.
I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE TIME AND OPPORTUNITY FOR ADVENTURE AGAIN.
I traveled the world in the mid to late 1960's and 1970's and had multiple grand adventures. The 80's forward were kids, mortgages, jobs. No regrets, great kids, nice homes and fantastic job experiences.
Living on Greek Isle
Living in Jamaica
There was, however, a magical aspect to the lifestyle that sported long hair, motorcycles, world travel, living in Mexico, Jamaica, a little hut on a Greek island, traveling down the Nile, camel rides in the Egyptian desert, etc.
So, here I am about to pop (partially) out the other side, with the opportunity to experience an updated version of 'The Adventure Continued', part 2.
My 66 year old brother-n-law hiking Zion
Up and away
After Cancer treatment, the magical hot-air balloon ride over Napa re-opened that door. Last year, we did the helicopter flight and trek on the Glacier in Alaska. Kind of woke me up about possibilities. Hiking in Zion and Bryce National Parks is coming up this Saturday for a week plus...now that the retirement countdown has moved into the last few hours (15 hours, 15 minutes 15 seconds)...the grand adventure train is pulling into the station. Looking at the itinerary, I see, clearly marked, highlighted in yellow, in 2013, a two week trip to Italy - Florence (the best of the best) and eating ourselves silly from Milan to Sicily.
Late 70's Europe adventure
Perhaps a more mellow version this time around...fewer motorcycle rides and more magical adventures with a new rock band and getting published...perfecting the perfect minestrone, building a huge redwood greenhouse for year-round gardening and being there full-time for the last bird in the nest, until she & her cello fly off to Brown, Yale or Julliard (at 13, she has her goals set fairly high - which is a good thing)...next countdown: 1460 days - starting........NOW.
Life IS what you make it. I choose to make mine Another Day in Paradise.
rlw (Now 14 hours 35 minutes 25 seconds to retirement)
I have known her for sixty years (the longest relationship with another living soul I have).
We have been friends for most of our lives, (aside from the time she bit me on the shoulder when she was 1 and I was 5 for trying - unsuccessfully - to stop her from pushing onions through a hole in the kitchen pantry into the crawl space under the house...it took years of therapy to finally let that go).
I should has suspected the "blood is thicker than water" family protection thing over an incident when I was a senior in high school. That memory has been dormant for many, many years and just popped back up - like a great memory retrieval tool with your mind's computer.
I was on a "date" that I was suffering angst over because my Mom "made" me take my little sister along with us to the State Fair. There are not many situations that are lower than a seventeen year old boy having to have his thirteen year old sister tag along on the first date with a new "girlfriend". As it turned out, she came to my rescue when no one else did. I was probably crappy to her all evening for "ruining" my personal time with whatever-her-name-was...maybe it was Cindy or something like that....
I apologize profusely. Seventeen year old-boys aren't big on apologizing, especially to little sisters, but fast forward 47 years and I am now ready to make amends and say thank you and I am sorry I was a %$#@ to you that night...I don't remember that I was, but I probably was.
The fair was over (way too soon when you are babysitting a pre-teen sister along on a date) and we were walking back to the car (bright yellow, 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne...see, the 60's and 70's did not suck all the memory brain cells out). The California State Fair Grounds were in the old location off 40th & Broadway in Sacramento and the parking lot was huge, with not much light. We came late and left late, so my car was way the hell-and-gone out on the fringes of the dirt lot. I am walking along with "Cindy?" and my sister and we were approached by a couple of tough guys (called them "hoods" back in the day). They wanted my date and sister to ride home with them and I exercised my 115 lb skinny little frame presence to defend the honor of the girls. It didn't go so well, which is probably why the memory has been suppressed for 40+ years. While I was dealing with one guy the other came up from behind and "sucker punched" me to the head and knocked me on my butt into the dirt. Skinny, but tough, I jumped up and prepared to do battle in a scarily, over-matched situation, as I dizzily swayed back and forth on unstable feet.
My "whatever-her-name-was" date just stood there. My 80 lb., 5'1" Hell-Cat, under appreciated, baby sister lit into them like a a mother wolverine, screaming and whacking them with that stupid-old-big (but damn handy that night) purse she insisted on carrying. Saved my butt. I instantly knew who was the better friend and it wasn't Cindy what's-her-name.
Fast forward 43 years and I get the big "You have Cancer" verdict. Once again, the mother wolverine came to my defense against the demon Cancer (much bigger threat than the two tough-guys with duck-tail hair do's and a pack of cigarettes rolled up inside their rolled up white tee-shirt sleeves in a dark parking lot).
The purse is probably adorning the arm of some homeless woman in L.A. now, but in this battle she used the magic of an upbeat greeting card mailed to me EVERY DAY for seven weeks as I endured chemo and daily radiation treatments (yes, I still have all the cards).
By now she had her own family and the stress of raising three girls (now that I have a thirteen year old daughter - after three boys - I can't comprehend that experience times three). She still MADE the time to find, fill out and mail in an uncanny timely manner, a new card daily. It worked. This time she was aided by the other great women in my life, my loving, supporting wife, my female Radiology expert and female Head and Neck Cancer Oncologist in chasing the Cancer demons out of the dark parking lot.
Forever appreciative to strong, intelligent, aggressively pro-active women. Don't mess with them.
Four years post Cancer diagnosis, I am still here and preparing to retire (1 day - 23 hours - 57 minutes and 13 seconds...but who's counting). Smart woman that she is, my baby sister beat me to that Nirvana and retired early last year and is standing on the shore on the other side of work-a-day life, waving a lantern and holding a latte in her outstretched hand. She reads my blogs every day. I get thousands of hits on my blogs and I am grateful for the 15 seconds of "internet fame". But she and my wife are the only ones that comment regularly. Without that, I would feel that I am speaking to a rock.
This past week I have been getting the 2012 version of a greeting card every day.
Today's text was simple, but powerful.
I am very lucky and definitely thankful to be graced with not only a fabulous companion wife, but a sister that has had my back (except for when she bit me and in spite of the fact I set her hair on fire camping in Yosemite) for 60 years. Pretty cool, don't ya think?
There is a good news version and a not so good version.
I dropped my 13 going-on 18 year-old daughter at a membership club pool to meet two other girlfriends her same age, to go swimming today, with strict instructions to pick her up a 5:30 pm. Traffic was horrible and I was running a few minutes late. I turned on the speaker/hands-free aspect of my cell phone, as I am winding my way through traffic to get to the pool. I knew that if I wasn't there right on time, she would call me and ask where I was.
So 5:30pm arrived...I'm not there and she isn't calling.
5:35pm - I am almost there, but she still isn't calling.
Now I'm nervous, but it is a public place with lots of people, so I know nothing too bad was happening.
5:36pm - I pull into the circular driveway and there is my beautiful daughter, safely sitting on the bench outside the clubhouse.
THE GOOD NEWS VERSION: On her left is a 6'3", muscular, blond, lifeguard.
On her right is a 5'10 dark-haired,very buff and tan, lifeguard.
THE NOT SO GOOD NEWS VERSION:
On her left is a 6'3", muscular, blond, lifeguard.
On her right is a 5'10 dark-haired,very buff and tan, lifeguard.
Now I know why she wasn't calling. Now I know why she didn't berate me for being late when she reluctantly pulled herself off the bench and got into my car.
Now I am debating whether I should have thanked the young men for watching out for my daughter and keeping her safe until my arrival or tell them she is just 13 years old and they are looking at 20 to life if they sat any closer....or should I just have her three, older, 6'+ brothers pick her up at the pool next time...a picture is worth a thousand words.
One of those hectic days, overly full with the daily tasks we can't even remember the next day. Go to work (ha ha ha), leave early, go to the pharmacy to pick up new meds to counteract the other meds that are making your heart beat too slow (41) that you got from the doctor because your heart was beating too fast (125), but after waiting in line forever, you find out that they don't keep that pill in stock at that pharmacy, but the other Kaiser Hospital (just 8 miles away) does, and so you drive to the other location where you get to stand in line some more to find that they have't quite attended to your order yet, so you get to wait some more and then get back in line, after your name pops up on the little L.E.D. message board to get the little thyroid pills - because all the heart pills are adversely affecting your thyroid now...so you can now dash home quickly to change... to go to your daughter's dance recital that culminates two weeks of intensive dance camp at the Sacramento Ballet, so you can dash home to make and eat a quick dinner because your dancing daughter also has final rehearsal with the Sacramento Youth Symphony (cello) for their road trip to play at Disneyland all week next week...so I can dash out to Lowe's before they close, to order a new dishwasher for one of the rentals and pick up a new faucet bib for our house, so I can fix up an automatic sprinkler system for our garden this weekend, so the newly purchased tomato plants don't die while on vacation next week (Bryce/Zion National Parks)...where the temperature here in Sacramento is supposed to be in the 100's all week, so I can hopefully find my plants alive upon our return...so coming out of Lowe's at dusk last night....across the parking lot, beyond the McDonald's drive-through, across the busy freeway and beyond the empty field under construction...I see this beautiful sunset, impossible to fully appreciate once up and merging onto the freeway on-ramp......................so, I pulled over to the side of road and made the time to enjoy God's daily miracle on earth's canvas.
I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY DAUGHTER TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A PET.
Big leap for me...always had dogs, never much of a cat person. That said, I think it is a good idea for a child to have a pet to learn to think about others and have extra responsibilities.
We got our daughter a kitten a year of so ago.
Have to say, the little grey fuzz ball has ingratiated herself into everyone's life and of course, considers herself as part of the family.
The term"love you to death" makes sense now as Sarah carries the cat everywhere...and can only function with one hand, as the other arm has the cat....setting the table, homework, etc. is a one-handed deal. At first the cat struggled with being treated like a rag doll, but has accepted her fate and just hangs there, limp as a dishrag, resigned to an overabundance of love. As teen girls mostly only learn to love themselves (ask the bathroom mirror), it is heartening to see there is much love left over for her cat, Daphne....I fear I am somewhere down on that list after, friends, Facebook, cell phone, earrings, etc.
It is good to develop those feeling of caring and compassion for others and a cat is a good place to start.
rlw ...4 days left after today(last Friday to work...retire next Thursday)
When diagnosed with any
kind of Cancer, it is common to envision the water of your life drain from your
glass until "half-empty" appears in your view. As long as there is any water left in your
glass of life, we are blessed. Is it
half full or half empty? We have the
power to choose our view.
The key? Stay strong;
review ALL the great things in
your life. We all have more than we
realize. Watch every sunrise (you
probably can't sleep anyway). It is a
miracle created daily just for you. Post
treatment, you are that new sunrise emerging from darkness.
The extra "belly
button" I got after my feeding tube was removed, was my symbol of being
born again. Post Cancer diagnosis, you
have a new life. Long or short, we have the power to decide daily to savor the
gift that is “life.” We all have an end
to our journey eventually. When one can
see the end of the road, the days increase in value.
When I was younger, it was a given that I was
going to never get old and of course, I would surely live forever. At 64, I am acutely aware that I am at least
in the fleeting moments of the third quarter or perhaps fourth quarter of this
game of life. Choose to finish strong, whether it be 100, 1,000, 10,000 days left in the game.
Some of my favorite "motivational reminders"
of the value of our days:
·"Never, Never, Never Give Up" - Winston Churchill
·“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I
cannot change, the courage to change the one thing I can, and the wisdom to
know it's me.” - a variation
·"Dream as if you will live forever, live like
you will die today.” - James Dean
·"The bad news is that time flies. The good news is: You’re the Pilot.” - Michael Altshuler
·“We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents, or the country
of our birth. We do not, most of us,
choose to die; nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do
choose how we live.” - Joseph