I hope you’ve had a good week, with lots of good things happening, or at the very least a peaceful one. I’ve had another crazy busy week, but am hoping for some quiet time this week to do some writing. My writing times are always a quiet refuge for me, and often a great escape from the headaches of ‘real life’, while I focus on the story I’m writing. But this was a go go go week for me, with a lot to do, and a lot of real life to deal with. Not unpleasant, just Busy!!! I had a friend come to visit for 4 days, which was a lot of fun. We had dinner with friends every night, to introduce her to new people, went to an art fair, visited a fascinating new building which was a wonder of architecture, and did some shopping (a girl can never have enough shoes, which is nearly impossible to explain to a man, “But you already have black shoes”—–yeah, whatever. Don’t even try to explain it to them). I did some Christmas shopping, which I always try to do early, to avoid the crush of shoppers in December. I had a wonderful visit with my God children, and tried to keep up with my work. And to add some spice (and worry) to my week, one of my children was on a business trip to Mexico this week, just when the hurricane was heading there, and I was seriously worried about her. She was just far enough away from the worst of it to be safe, but I watched the weather reports with great concern. (One of my daughters lost her home and almost everything she owned in Hurricane Sandy in New York 3 years ago, so the word ‘hurricane’ terrifies me).
The friend who came to visit did so on the way home from visiting her only child, who lives six thousand miles from her, is firmly established in his home there, with a wife, a life he enjoys, soon a family, and a job he likes. He studied in Europe for a year, fell in love with a wonderful woman, and adopted her country and culture, rather than returning to his own. Although lives and plans can change in an instant, for now at least, it doesn’t look like he’ll be living close to home again. And with three of my own children who live far from home, and aren’t likely to return, I know how hard that can be. It’s exciting for them, but really hard for us as parents. I miss mine terribly, there are always tears when we leave each other, and a heavy heart knowing that I will never again have the ease and joy of spending an afternoon with them, having them drop in, or come for dinner spontaneously. Our time together has to be planned, they have full lives and demanding jobs, and my visits to them aren’t always convenient for them. They come home for brief visits 3 times a year, for only a few days, and I miss them enormously. And I’m very grateful that I’m able to visit them, but it’s not the same as living in the same city. And with only one child, I know how hard it is for my friend to live so far away from her son. She is valiant about it, and happy that he has a good life, but I know how hard it is for her. So it was especially nice to keep her busy, and see to it that she had some fun on the lonely trip home.
It brought to mind a saying that I’ve shared with you before, “Bloom where you are planted”. The first time I heard it, I thought it was inspired. What a great idea, and a good thing to think about and try to live up to. I talk a lot about gratitude, which I think is an essential ingredient to one’s happiness. To be grateful for the good in our lives, and not focus on what we don’t have. It changes one’s perspective, and can make the good in our life more powerful than what we lack. And blooming where we are planted—-thriving, not just surviving, is an active effort to make the best of our circumstances. We ALL face challenges that can make everyday life difficult: a job we REALLY don’t like, but a change isn’t practical for the moment. A really nasty boss, or difficult co workers (there is always one sour apple in the barrel, who can poison our work life, and make every work day a misery). An apartment we don’t like, but we can’t afford a better one. A difficult family situation we just can’t do anything about right now. A tough relationship which, for a multitude of reasons, we are staying in for the moment, hoping for improvement, or afraid to leave, or financially unable to. We’ve all been there, or at least I have. No one is exempt from these problems. And if our children move away for the right reasons for them (a better job, a better life, a valid marriage), it’s not right for us to stand in their way, but it can represent a real loss to us. We can either let these problems weigh us down and make life seem pretty gloomy, or we can try to bloom where we are planted. And believe me, I know what a challenge that can be. All of it. Nasty bosses, bitchy co workers who have their own problems and take them out on us or are jealous, friends who disappoint or betray us or an apartment or relationship we just can’t leave for now, or are afraid to. I’m always impressed and somewhat in awe of people who make the best of their circumstances, take classes, help others, do the best they can to cheer up an ugly home, learn a new language, take a trip they save up for to give them new perspective, sometimes you can really turn circumstances around, but even when you can’t, especially when you can’t, it’s amazing the improvements you can make in a life that seems bleak at the moment. It won’t bring back the spouse or partner who left you, or convince your kids to move back home, it won’t turn your nasty boss into a sweetheart, or make your co-worker more adorable. But it will actually make your life more livable, and maybe even fun. Go to the movies (even if you go alone), instead of sitting home feeling bad. See old friends whom you’ve let slip away, or make new ones, go to a gym, or take a class where you’ll meet new people, go to Ikea and for very little money add some fresh touches to your home which seems dreary to you now. Learn something new, go back to doing something you used to love doing. I took up ice skating again several years ago, and loved it. Discover something, learn something, change something. Get a dog to keep you company, or a pet of some kind. (Nothing makes me happier than my dogs). Volunteer to work with kids or old people, or people in far worse circumstances than you. It won’t catapult you into a new apartment, and possibly won’t restore your marriage, but it really will change your perspective on life. Effecting that kind of change isn’t what I do best, and isn’t always easy. But life changes anyway, you may find a new job when you least expect it, the co worker you hate may quit and move on, or a new apartment you can afford and like better will turn up, and you may meet a new partner. It’s easy to say that it won’t make a difference—-when my son Nick died my first response was that whatever I did wouldn’t change it and bring him back. True, but my work with the homeless after he died changed my life, and gave new meaning to my life. My two little Chihuahuas didn’t bring romance into my life, but they have brought immeasurable joy and happiness. I still have sad days, we all do, but blooming where you are planted, in exactly the circumstances you’re in now, will change something, and add something important to your life, something new and fresh. You don’t have to make a huge change, but a few or a bunch of small ones will make a difference to help you bloom where you are planted right now, with the same job, same home, same man, same challenging circumstances. Just a little shift will help. It’s something I remind myself of often…..it’s a good plan, and could make your life a whole lot happier. It seems worth a try to me, and the results may amaze you. It’s worth a shot.
Have a GREAT week!!