Small steps

The small things matter. Many times we look at the “plan” or the “big Picture” and forget that there are many steps to get there. Then we get discouraged when it takes time to come to fruition.

Nothing is accomplished without the small steps. Nothing gets done without us putting in the work. To get an education we have to study, to learn a skill we have to practise. Nothing worthwhile is done without work.

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The small steps get us there.

Coping

Life can be challenging. Sometimes things become overwhelming and we feel as if we are drowning. The feeling that one more thing will put you over the edge is awful. When that happens we have to use any tools we have in our tool box to bring us back from the edge. Many ideas have been brought up in the blogs on Word Press and I have tried many of them. Some work and some don’t. The good news is that we can try different things and see what works for us.

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My granddaughter says that every school should teach Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She says that all children need to learn the skills that are taught in that program. I suspect  she is right. There are so many issues cropping up with children today that we have to change something.

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I feel that I was lucky to have learned many coping skills from my mother but I am not sure that many people have that advantage today. We are such a society of quick fix that we don’t learn to cope with anything. One of the doctors that I worked for said that what people want is to come to a drive-in window and have the doctor reach out and say “heal” and it will be done.

Coping is learned when faced with real life. If we think that nothing should ever go wrong we are much mistaken. I worry about people who have never faced up to a major problems as they have not learned how to cope.

Mistakes

I have three children. They are all in their 50’s now and that is hard to believe. They were born 3 years apart making the oldest 6 years older than the youngest. When they were about 10, 13 and 16 there was fun conversation going on at dinner one night. The kids were taking about each other’s mistakes…the older two pointing fingers at each other debating who had made the worst mistakes.

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Somewhere during the conversation the two of them realized that they had not said anything about the youngest…..and they couldn’t think of anything to say about her. One of them, frustrated that they couldn’t point at her asked: “Why don’t you make many mistakes?”

 

 

She responded: “I watch what the two of you do and don’t make the same mistakes.” An amazing piece of wisdom from a 10 year old. We could all learn from her.

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Too often we can’t see the wisdom of learning from the mistakes of others. If we did the world would be a better place. That is what history teaches us if we are willing to pay attention. Don’t make the same mistakes with the same outcome. Learn from the past and from the mistakes of others.

Too far?

girl in grass holding her smartphone  ordering fast foodSometimes I feel bad about ordering so many things on-line. But the truth is that no only can I get exactly what I want but without spending time hunting for it in the store. I know this is hard on the local merchants but I’m afraid it is going to be the way things go.

As things change we have to find new ways to work with what is happening. I’m sure the industrial revolution made life difficult for the workers who had previously been doing those jobs.

Computers have taken over so much and now on-line shopping is the norm. Even to ordering you food and your meals. The worrysome part is will we never leave our homes? Will be become hermits who live and dies by ourselves. It is a possibility. So much interaction between people is now electronic. We don’t see people face to face.

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Some changes must be made. Mankind is communal and doesn’t function well all alone. Somehow we have to incorporate the changes into our lives but maintain ways to connect face to face.

When did lying become OK?

With what is going on politically in the US this quote popped into my mind, I may have used it before but it is so appropriate now.

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

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Yesterday I heard someone talking about the absence of truth in everything we see and read. It is a incredible indictment of how things function in today’s world. If we are smart we have to question everything and IF we are good at research we may find the truth….but there is no guarantee. It is so different from the world I grew up in. I know it wasn’t perfect but the “average” person could be taken at their word. It was not OK to lie. It was not all right to distort the truth until it’s unrecognizable.

 

It makes me realize that one of the most important things that should be taught in schools is to take nothing at face value but learn to dig for more information. What a thing to have to teach children….that so much of everything is false.

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I feel lucky that my first degree was in history which meant I spent a lot of time doing research. I know how to hunt for facts and sniff out exaggerations and falsehoods. That has helped me so much in my life.

I guess I will be passing that on to my great grandchildren now.

Be creative..especially for others

Tuesday is a day that I always look forward to. On Tuesdays I meet with friends for knitting and conversation. We are a group who before starting this group did not know each other. We are all different. We are from different countries, different social groups. This makes the group inspiring and conversation is stimulating.

To add to it we are also being creative. One of the members is an amazing artist and does many pencil drawings for children to color. Each of us is creating something usually in yarn but not always. Most of the things we create are for others. We also offer free help teaching  to knitting for anyone who want to learn. This group is such a joy.

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scarf for one of my granddaughters

I have been knitting since I was a child. It reminds me of the my wonderful mother and the many things she taught me. The motion of my hands and the creating of something both beautiful (I hope) and useful have a calming effect. Knitting can allow the brain to rest (if not too complicated)  and the mind to let go of stresses. Seeing the finished product brings joy. Now that I have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren it is fun to do things for them and for friends.

We can learn and remember with music

There is something about music that moves my soul. Music can take me to another place quickly. Many times music will touch a place inside and bring me to tears. There are so many kinds of music that I like. There are very few that don’t touch me in some way.

Music can lift us when we are down. It does have to be the right thing. Listening to something depressing when you are already sad is a mistake. There are some songs that just force you to feel better especially if you sing along.

I will never forget the Muppets singing about being mad. I made sure that my children learned that song and could sing it when angry. I seemed to bring perspective to those feelings.

We also don’t teach as much with music as we could. I have a song taught by a college biology professor that I have never forgotten. My children can still sing the preamble to the constitution learned in Schoolhouse Rock. I recently learned that one of my favorite people here in Savannah was key to creating that series. His talent was amazing. He is now gone by never forgotten. His name was Ben Tucker, a bass player who player with almost all the old jazz groups, and knew everyone in the music world.

Music helps us to learn and I still wonder why learning this way isn’t used more. If you didn’t grow up hearing those teaching moments here is an example.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My list

I have gotten better about some things as I have aged. On Friday I will turn 79 years young. The year before eighty. It seems like a milestone. It has made me think about the things I really can do something about and came up with this list.

  1. My choices and actions
  2. My attitudes and priorities
  3. The people that I chose to be with
  4. How I use my resources both physical things, my energy and my emotions

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These are the things that I have some control over. Anything else is not something I need to worry about, stew over or waste time on.

Now the only things I need to do is to stick to this list.

Learning and using it

Today I had to attend a class to re-certify as a mediator. The class was helpful and interesting but I realize I am no longer used to sitting in class all day. At one point I stood up for a while to just get out of the chair. We were given breaks but the first one was long in coming.

It is interesting when many things that you have done in life enrich whatever you are doing presently. I have noticed this happening several times in my life. It’s as if I am being prepared for the next thing to come. Today was mostly about listening, discovering what lies beneath problems, and helping to find common ground between people. I have used and taught communication skills many times in my life and this was mostly a endorsement of what I have already learned. I will be using it in a different way and learning that was helpful.

Learning-never-stop

If we are truly living we are learning all the time. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t learn something new. Maybe from TV or books or other people. It is interesting to think at the end of the day about what is new and how can you use it.

Nothing is ever wasted. As you age you learn something you thought was useless 10 years ago is just what you need now. Absorb everything you can in life and somehow it will be used.

There is more to learn

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Yesterday we had a high in the 80’s. Last night it went down to 45. For us that is winter. Where is fall? I actually enjoy the cooler weather and look forward to having a fire in the fireplace.

One of the most difficult things about growing older is when you begin losing friends and contemporaries. Going to funerals is not much fun. The only blessing is that most of them have lived good, fruitful lives. You can be grateful for the time you have known them and the joy they have brought to life.

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I don’t mean to sound depressing. Most of the time growing older feels to be just another phase of life. It has some incredible joys and blessings. I have experienced so much and learned so much and writing has allowed me to continue to share. I try to appreciate each day. One of the hardest things is to learn to live fully each and every day. Time is not to be wasted but experienced. If only we could learn to let go of living in the past or the future and just be where we are at the moment.