During storms, especially in the middle of the night, I often lie in bed and give quiet thanks for the shelter of my house and its watertight roof and shingles. During storms I also give thanks knowing my family is nearby, sleeping under warm, cozy covers and we will wake in the morning to the comfort of our own beds and bathrooms in the place where we've celebrated birthdays and holidays, taken pictures for prom, wrestled in the living room, done math homework at the kitchen table and grown up together over the years.
Contentment. Satisfaction. Joy. Delight. Exuberance. Jubilation. It doesn't matter what you call it. We all want to be happy. It's a pretty basic universal truth. What makes us happy, however, is as unique as each of us. And, to complicate matters even further, what makes us happy today may not do the same tomorrow — and vice versa. Happiness is constantly evolving as time unfolds and our perceptions grow and unfold right along with the seconds on the clock.
It's my job to come up with words each week. It's become almost a habit, but I've wondered what I'll do when the words don't come, as I suspect will happen at some point. So far, though, I've been able to find something to say. Or maybe nothing to say, but the words have been there nonetheless. Over the last few days I've pondered words and how our lives are filled with a plethora of them. On the news. At the dinner table. At work. At home. Online. Through texts. On the phone. On social media. Billboards. Message boards. Hashing it out with hashtags.
The Winter Olympics are waning. Competition officially ends Feb. 25. Sigh. It's been a good (sleigh) ride. If you're like me, the Winter Games provide opportunities to develop an interest in and become an expert on sports not typically televised during prime time.
Change is inevitable, necessary and even desired. We choose change all the time. We change our oil, address, hair color, diet, job, friends, toilet paper roll, underwear and even our operating system. We contemplate change regularly. Should I trade in my old car? Get a new pair of shoes? Change cell phone providers? Would the kitchen look better with yellow walls? Should I buy 2 percent milk instead of whole?
According to the all-knowing internet, humans worry because we live, at least partially, in the future. Most worries are about future events. The future is uncertain. Uncertainty means we are not in control. Loss of control is scary — and worrisome. Giraffes, and most other animals, do not worry because they do not live in the future. If a lion attacks, they run. When they are done running they go about their daily business — if they are still alive. With either outcome, worry doesn't enter the picture. Fear, yes. Worry, no. Since we are not giraffes, we lie awake in bed at night and let anxiety get the best of us.
A few times a year, my husband and I buy a lottery ticket. I always cross my fingers it's a lucky one. I hope we match lots of numbers. I want us to be winners. But I don't want to win the lottery. Not the whole thing. That would be too much. Mega-million dollars would turn my life upside down. It would change everything and change is hard. Even when it makes you mega-millions rich. Having mega millions would complicate life in ways I don't want complicated. I'd have to wonder if people liked me or my millions.
It's a simple concept and not at all hard to implement, yet we ignore opportunities for kindness all the time. Me included. We get busy or self-focused. We've got problems of our own and don't have time or energy to reach out to others. But we should.
Each of us has a limited amount to spend as we choose. And once time is gone, it's gone. There's no going back to five minutes ago to redo or re-experience.
In other countries, our American soccer is called football, which makes more sense because soccer (or football depending on where you live) predominantly involves kicking the ball — with one's feet. There's probably not a logical explanation for the name. Some things you just have to take at face value. Football is football. Unless, of course, it is soccer.