Spring + Gratitude

The seasons are changing.

I know this not just because of the date on the calendar. There is a change in the air. The smells are different. Birds are singing and in the east, the sun is beginning, at this early hour to peek above the horizon. The air also has lost the bite which has kept most of us indoors for the past few months.

I stepped outside for my run this morning feeling hopeful as a new week begins. A quick glance toward the heavens and I am humbled and reminded as I look at the stars which are visible. I am reminded that I am but a speck in this vast universe.

I think, a lot during my runs. I enjoy running because of the usual escape from deep thought which is offered by running. Often I cannot recall what I have thought as these thoughts cascade and become lost like a drop of water breaching the crest of Niagara Falls.

As I run down darkened streets, the only visible light is coming from my headlamp. It lights a path directly in front of me allowing my immediate universe to remain even smaller. I think about the humility which I feel and for which I am grateful. I thought about the recent goings on in our country and find myself dismayed. Dismayed that we can’t even treat each other with the smallest speck of respect yet we hope by continuing to confront each other, often with violence on very polarized fronts we will unite and achieve our desired goals.


Instead, I think of the symptoms of Tinnitus which have been bothering me with more frequency and intensity over the past couple of weeks. The ringing had been much improved for reasons neither I nor the doctors understand. I think I had lost a small amount of gratitude for the life which I have. These last several days when the ringing in my ears has been difficult to ignore, I have reminded of the importance of gratitude. Visiting my mom and dad last night and seeing his inability to walk reminds me that there are bigger problems to manage and I am a lucky individual.


I am not Superman!

I am not Superman. I once wanted to be. Not the fictional character but a real live Superman; someone who can handle and manage anything and everything.

Several weeks ago I was reminded I had not taken a vacation since August 2011. The reminder came in a conversation with my employer and with a nagging feeling of being tired and wanting to be elsewhere. I could not recall where the time had gone. My memory quickly retreated to a conversation I had with my father a great many years ago.

My father reminded me of the importance of making use of the time we have here on Earth because “as we get older the time flies by faster than we can imagine.” I drove home, turned on my iPad, opened my calendar and looked to see when I could take some time off. Originally it was to be the last week of January. I scrapped that week because with the end of the month comes many responsibilities which need to be met. I reassessed my calendar and chose this past week.

As Monday approached, my wife asked me what I had planned. I had a lot of things planned; too many in fact to accomplish even half of those I had listed. I have a bad habit of becoming really OCD hen it comes to planning and when things fall through I feel sad and depressed. I answered Nancy’s question knowing really what I wanted to accomplish was to rest, read and write. Anything else was, as they say, “icing on the cake.”

Sunday night m daughter talked me into going to the gym with her Monday morning. The difficulty was this was my first day of vacation and she wanted to be there at 4:30 in the morning. I agreed. I woke easily but by 10:00 AM I struggled to keep my eyes open. Nancy suggested I go to bed. I usually fight this as the guilt I feel from sleeping during the day causes my thoughts to race and focus on what I could be doing. I fought the heaviness of my eyes and finally gave in as I could keep my eyes open no more.

I retired to bed at noon and read for another 30-minutes. I continued to fight sleep until I found sleep overtaking me. I next woke at 5:30 PM. Nancy and Stephen had both gone to work.

I lay in bed and struggled to find my bearings. You know how this feels. You’ve fallen asleep and when you wake it feels as though you been asleep for several minutes. I went downstairs and made a pot of coffee, returned to my book and enjoyed the solitude. The usual guilt was nowhere to be found.

As the week progressed I felt stress melting away and being replaced by relaxation.

I reminded myself of the importance of being mindful of the need to take care of myself on a daily basis. There are times when I think I am superman and I believe I can successfully manage anything and everything thrown in my direction but then I look at my chest and notice the absence of a giant “S.” I am not Superman not do I care to be. I am having way too much fun enjoying this life and each day along this path.