Living in the "in between" times.


John Denver had it right. “Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.”

But for most of us, each 24-hour increment teters somewhere in between.  Not too bad, not too good, and I guess we should be thankful for that.

As I was contemplating this lack of highs and lows, I found a clipping in my 10-year diary.  It was an essay on how we can significantly expand the appreciation of each day and shake them up a bit.

I know I’m in a rut.  Every day is much like every other since I “retard,” as they say in Mississippi.  I have taken to “rating” my days on a scale or 1 – 10.  Most fall in the 7.19999 range.  Bring on more tens or at least 9.1s.

Here’s a suggestion for 5 things you can do differently today that just might put it in the positive column:

1.  Change your routine. Sometimes all we need in our lives is to alter something in the daily routine that hasn’t been working for a long time.  We convince ourselves it would be too difficult to change, or that it would require something we don’t have.  Making the commitment to change, however, often brings about insight – and resources – that we don’t always initially have. This may be as simple as taking a new route to the store or work.

2. Have a real conversation. So much of our everyday activities are driven by things outside our perceived control.  We seem to be pawns in a life not of our own making.  One way to regain a little sense of control is to stop and have a real conversation with someone about something meaningful.  Not every day.  Not every conversation.  Maybe just once a week, with a friend, co-worker, or significant other.  Talk about something important to you.  You’d be surprised that having regular, real conversations can help ground you in your life and give it some meaning too. Marie and I were talking just yesterday about how some seemingly insignificant off-handed remark may be just what we needed to hear.

3.  Listen more.  We all think we listen when others talk, and sometimes we do.  But in this fast-paced, multitasking world, we often don’t concentrate very hard on what someone is saying.  The closer the person is to us, the more we often don’t really hear what they’re saying.  We pretend we are listening, but but we’re actually doing something on the computer, watching TV or reading.  They may say something of real value, and we will never know.

4.  Enjoy the journey.  We often focus on getting to where we’re going or where we think we should be and forget that the journey is often just as important.  Life is a full-time, 100% learning experience. Even when we’re in the midst of a mind numbing task, life is trying to teach us something.  When we negate it, we negate part of our lives. On our way to Sipsey Wilderness the other day, I kept asking “Are we there yet?”  Low and behold when I settled down and began to observe the little towns as we raced by, I saw some delicious slices of life in rural Alabama.

5.  Read an entire article. The Internet is a wonderful source of information, opening doors and breaking down barriers.  But in one way it has dealt us a setback – reading skills.  Surfing is marvelous but it denies us the opportunity to read an article from start to finish.  Why you ask is this important?  It teaches us to value good writing and appreciate the nuances of a well-told story, thereby challenging us to think outside our own comfort zone.  Skimming articles- what most people do – give us the gist of the information with none of the character of careful reading.

Denver concludes his hit with the following refrain:

Now the face that I see in my mirror
More and more is a stranger to me
More and more I can see there’s a danger
In becoming what I never thought I’d be

Oh Gee. I’m going to try the above steps tomorrow (my book club meets today and I’d better go with the tried and true). Maybe I can “derail” this plane I’m on which is on autopilot most of the time – doing what I always do because it’s what I’ve always done.

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