Nature verses the local grocery...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Life Trails: It's a Dog's Life

I had an interesting conversation with my 70 something friend this week.  We discussed the usual we’re gettin' worn out trivia that we 60/70 somethings throw back and forth at times.  When you’re at this point on the life trail, and you stop to enjoy the lookout point, what you begin to see can be increasingly disturbing!

-When did the children get to be so old?
-Oh my god, that can’t be so and so on my PBS screen who sang whatever it was that hit number 1 on the charts in ‘65‘ cause she certainly didn’t look like that!
-I thought my mother passed away…but now she’s in my bathroom mirror ! 
-I used to run to the mailbox, now it’s so far away it takes twice as long to get there!  When did the Post Office move it?
-I know times are hard but do ALL the companies that produce food for our shopping…have to make the print so small on their labels?!
-Have you noticed that all manufacturers are making the clothes smaller – including the shoes?!
-I think I recall when the young guys used to give me a certain kind of second, slightly longer look; now, they tip their hat, hurry to open the door for me and say things like ‘yes Ma’am’…did I miss something???
-The manager at a Loaf ‘n Jug’ told me the other day that the reason I had to pay first before pumping was due to a fella’ running off with a full tank of gas a few days before - without paying…’he was around your age..’, he said, looking at me with that similar certain look I get from the young guys.

So this morning, my 70 something friend gave me some words of wisdom – and I listened – ‘cause there’s no generation gap here!  “When your plate gets too heavy…just put it on the floor"! 

Now that…has possibilities…

Nature prevails, at least for a little while longer…

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stress Trails: OverwhelmingNESS


You wake up and your head is cloudy with pervasive fog throughout your body. You can’t seem to believe that living this day is on your priority list – or even worth the thought.  You can’t imagine one positive item in your life, and to boot – your wallet will soon be empty – yet again, ‘cause the car just went lame, the septic tank is acting full and, well…maybe…it’s time to just jump into it because the smell out here is just about unbearable!

How is it that we can be gung-ho one day, running around like Congress just adjudicated 8 more hours to Monday through Friday, and the next day, well, you know; any clues?

Consider this: our brain is like a gargantuan, multi-sided room with doors on every side.  Most days, the connected locking system is carefully controlled by a complex matrix that electrically runs all ‘processes’ with the smoothness of a new computer – at least for the sake of this argument. And for the sake of this argument, we’ll name this matrix - what’s-his-name.

But as with all electrical systems, sometimes a ‘short’ occurs, a wire crosses, what’s-his-name falls asleep at the wheel.  (We can’t ALL be perfect, after all!) He is normally quite in charge of which doors to open; why, when and how long are all part of his well-oiled job description that he does so well, we’re usually not even aware he’s on the job.  But, he is…most days. 

But today, ALL the doors got opened; every project on the planet has entered and OVERWHELMINGNESS just dropped in!

What to do?!

I know many wives and Moms who will smile when they read this and their every husband and teenager will groan.  But the truth must prevail.  Enter, the almighty list/ plan.  But before you run out the door screaming in your ‘jammies, hear me out.

The solution wasn’t needed yesterday because the little guy, what’s-his-name was awake.  So what does that really mean, in terms of the fog, the overwhelmingness that leaves us in park mode for hours, sometimes days?  How do we wake up the poor little snoozer?

You don’t need to ‘cause he’ll be awake before you know it, (we all need a nap!).  And secondly - you are more than capable of doing his job for a little while; after all, you hired him, remember?  Oh yeah.

His job is complex, yes, but doable, manually – in the short term anyway. Get out a paper and pencil – or fire up the old Gateway on your office desk and pull up a new Word doc.  Here goes…

The LIST
--Start jotting down the names of all those projects that are running around in your brain playing overwhelmingness with your brain cells; write those suckers down in a list – one by one.  I know, they are hard to find ‘cause they’re moving too fast, but stick to it for a few minutes – you’ll catch a glimpse – one by one.

--Okay, when they are ALL accounted for, down on the LIST, chase those suckers ALL back out their doors and re-lock those guys out from the inside!  Remember that you’re on manual control for now, till what’s-his-name wakes up from his snooze – which usually doesn’t last long. It’s a hard job, running around your mind, locking doors, but, the highlight of this cure is – it works! And don’t be too hard on what’s-his-name when he wakes up; if it wasn’t for him, you’d be doing this 24/7!

Now – the other 4-letter word, plan.  Yes!  A plan.  This isn’t rocket science; what’s-his-name does this 24/7, remember?  That’s how you can manage to pick up the kids after school, run one to basketball practice while you text your wife who’s picking up your boss’s wife for dinner while you plan to pick up your other kid from the store where you asked him to get the dessert for dinner.  Oh yeah, and then you’ll put the garbage out for the trash guys before bed, call your co-worker with the final outline for the 10 am PowerPoint you’ll finish before breakfast! Get the picture? 

The PLAN
--Start prioritizing the names on your new list.  This is the hard part.  But keep in mind that what’s-his-name will pick up these pieces in a little while; your task at hand is simply to make a general plan. 

--When that plan is to the point that you can’t seem to get it any better than it is, please take notice of your brain fog, your overwhelmingness…it will be just about cleared – cleared enough that you can close the septic tank cover, go inside, eat a few chocolates, turn on your favorite CD and start your day.  You will soon notice that the sun really does shine in and on your little life and that your little life…is pretty special!

--One more item: you will now plan to pat what’s-his-name on the back when he wakes up, plan to buy him a box of chocolates on the way home from work next week – in between the cleaners and the grocery store.  Getting overwhelmed that you’ll forget?  NOT TO WORRY; what’s-his-name will remind you; that’s his job and he does it well!  Most times.  Like I said, no one is perfect; remove that nasty word from the list AND the plan.

Don’t forget the chocolates.


As always, Nature prevails, even in the deepest recesses of our brain.