When Things Work Out

The other night about 2:30 am the power went out at home and the new generator started right up, like it is intended to do, so the house stayed warm and my alarm clock woke me at the right time. It’s the first time the generator has been ‘tested’ and while I was trying to get back to sleep after the sound of it woke me, I was thinking how wonderful it is when things work out according to a plan.

I’ve been feeling the same way over the last couple of weeks at work, when we finally – after months of planning – have implemented a new program and it has turned out to be a wonderful thing to behold. Students are excited about their classes, engaged in the learning, and even talking about school outside of school – imagine that! It’s the kind of response from students that I want to see all the time.

This morning in yoga class I accomplished two things: a handstand and – AND a headstand. Whew! What a sense of accomplishment I had after that, particularly because it had been quite a long time since I’d done either of those poses. Yeah, baby, it felt good.

I could go on and on about things in life that have worked out, because there are so many. And some days, when you feel like life is rolling along smoothly and all goes your way, it’s easy to forget that all those things that are working out are not random occurrences that just happened to come your way because it was your lucky day.

No. Things work out because you work hard to make things work out. That generator that started right up and kept me warm did not just appear out in the back yard and magically connect itself to the propane tank. It was actually purchased with money earned from the hard work of two very busy people. And one of those people put a lot of hours into preparing the spot where it would go and connecting it in all the right ways so that when the power failed, the generator wouldn’t.

That wonderful new program at school was the result of many, many people who put in hundreds of hours of planning and collaboration to make it a success.

Believe it or not, I can no longer throw my upper body at the floor and effortlessly lift my legs into the air. I have spent quite a bit of time warming up and pushing myself to stretch, and breath, and bend in such a way that getting upside down is no longer scary and with that focus and concentration I am able, once again, to stand on my hands.

So much of life today seems to be about avoiding effort. How many commercials have you seen lately for pills to help you sleep, or lose weight, or control your anxiety? When did people begin to think a pill was the answer? When did people become too busy to take a long walk in the fresh air so they could sleep at night, maintain a healthy weight, and feel less anxious? It seems that many of the inventions we’ve created to make our lives easier have not worked quite as expected.

In the name of convenience and ‘saving time’ it seems like humanity has given up a bit of their common sense.

Success is not given to you and it can not be bought.

No. Hard work and effort are required to accomplish the things in life that you want to accomplish. And it feels great to know that the result of that hard work may be a more comfortable living space, a more enjoyable work place, a stronger body, or any one of a million other things that can be realized through effort.

Writing Prompt #141

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It is time to think about your future!

Where will you be in ten years? Twenty? Forty?

Imagine what your future will be and write about it!

Go!

the future

Return from the Past

I doubt it’s coincidence that after writing the post about friendship recently I have had the experience of several people from my past coming back into my life this week.

As I reflect on my relationships with these people I find myself wondering what it means. Is their physical return to my life a reminder that we are connected in some important way that I must remember? Or that our connection is relevant to what is currently going on in my world?

Some of these ‘returnee’s are people I have known for many years and stayed connected with in small ways over the years. Yet some were in my life for much shorter bits of time, while still having a powerful effect on me during the short time we knew one another. All of them are people I highly respect. And all are people I originally met through my different careers over most of my adult life.

Having a strong belief that the universe is always looking out for me, I am contemplating reasons for these people coming back to me now. I wrote a few weeks ago about new paths in life so I am thinking that these people have something to do with that path I will be walking in the future.

As I consider the possible meaning for these people returning to me now, I readily think of the many gifts each of them gave me in the time we’ve known one another. Sometimes they showed me that the world is as wonderful as I’ve always thought it to be; and they taught me that I should trust myself; and that good people are kind; and that life is an adventure; and that we all have a purpose for being here and for most of us that purpose involves service to others; and that giving to others is a far better gift than anything one could receive (except love); and that we are never alone.

Perhaps these people have waltzed back into my world simply to remind me of those lessons.

It wasn’t long ago that I was spending a lot of my time thinking about retirement. I have been an educator for a very long time and it isn’t always an easy job. When things get particularly challenging at this job I’ve been doing for 30 years, it’s easy to think about retirement. But circumstances change, and my granddaughter is getting ready to begin high school, so now I’m spending a lot of my time thinking about sticking with my career – joining this granddaughter in her education and waiting to retire until she is ready to graduate.

For many reasons I have a renewed interest in my career and a renewed enthusiasm. So perhaps these people returning to my life are there to remind me of the value of enthusiasm for what I do. All of them have made changes in their lives over the past few years – the kinds of changes I have been anticipating/considering/contemplating – so perhaps they are returning to show me the possibilities for transition.

Whatever the reason for their renewed presence in my life, I will cherish the lessons, embrace the changes, and look forward to whatever is to come with vigor and verve.

Here’s to the future!

Friendship

As a kid in elementary school I cherished my friendships. I loved going places with a big group of pals and playing games. I loved going to dance class and making the big sounds that could only be made when 20 girls were tapping altogether. In the summers it didn’t get any better than spending the days at the public pool with my classmates.

As I got older it seemed that I ‘fine-tuned’ my friendships. In high school there were fewer people I hung out with on a regular basis. Eventually there was the boyfriend who I wanted to spend ALL my time with and a best girlfriend who I spent all the rest of my time with. It was about the same in college, though the friendships shifted and few remained from the past.

The same pattern repeated itself as I moved into the work force, and moved around a great deal. There were a lot of temporary friendships – ones that lasted the length of my stay at a job or in a particular location. There are few that have lasted the test of time.

I often wonder what it takes to maintain long term friendships. I see around me people who are still very close to their childhood friends. Except for one or two people, that is not me. It seems, at least for me, that my connections with people have changed in adulthood. I suppose that is natural since as we age we change our interests, our jobs, out locations – all which lead to forming new connections with different people. Some say it is a lot of work to maintain friendships, and I would agree, to some extent.

In reality, it doesn’t feel like work to stay connected to people you truly care about. Staying connected doesn’t mean you need to see them every day. Some of the people I cherish most in my life I see monthly, or sometimes less and that’s okay. In the world we live in there are many ways to stay connected.

Maybe what I’m getting around to is that it’s connection that leads to friendship. Thinking about the people I believe am friends with, there are many I have not seen in a very long time – years even. In actuality there are some that are no longer here. They have died – moved on to some other place or time – yet that doesn’t mean I am no longer connected to them. Let’s check in with Merriam-Webster and see what they have to say about friends:

Full Definition of FRIEND
1
a : one attached to another by affection or esteem
b : acquaintance
2
a : one that is not hostile
b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group
3
: one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
4
: a favored companion
5
capitalized : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war —called also Quaker

“Friend.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.

So I’m thinking yeah – I have friendships with many people I haven’t seen in a long time. I think I need to stretch Merriam-Webster’s definitions a bit – or maybe even a lot – and define friends as people I care about. Does it matter if they care about me? No. Absolutely not. It’s the caring that makes one a friend, even when it’s one sided. It should not matter if two people feel the same about one another. If I care for you that means I think about you and it matters to me what happens to you. How could that make you anything other than a friend?

So, I guess, after-all, I have a great number of friends. There are so many people in this world that I am connected with and care about. It seems I still cherish my friendships. I love connecting with the people I care about to play together, celebrate with, reminisce, and make new memories with. It’s a grand world we live in when everyone can be your friend.

Today I honor you friends. I think you know who you are!

Writing Prompt #140

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Today’s focus is Teaching!
As someone who has been an educator for 30 years I sometimes take teaching for granted. It’s not that I don’t take my job seriously because I certainly do, but sometimes I just don’t think about teaching for teaching’s sake. However, lately I’ve been thinking about teaching in some very different ways and I have gotten curious about how others go about teaching. I know they do. Many of us, through our careers, our parenthood, our aunt or unclehood. . .our connections with others find ourselves teaching. . .something. . .to someone. Sometimes it happens in a single lesson – how to tie a knot or how to sew on a button.

At other times it requires repeated reminders, regular lessons, modeling and practice – like teaching kindness or politeness.

The prompt today is to write about the last thing you taught someone. That’s it. Simple. Start writing.