What to do When there is Extra Time?

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As you may know from an earlier post, we lost our electricity sometime early Monday morning.  This left me with a few problems, the worst of which was that we didn’t have any water.  To make matters worse than that, I also hadn’t washed the dishes on Sunday night.  So now I had a sink full of dirty dishes that I could do nothing with.  What to do?  I just left them there, after all, I needed any extra water to flush the toilet.

But, what do you do when you can’t distract yourself with cleaning the house, working on your computer and all those other things that require electricity?  Well, you read.  Yes, you read.  However, one of the problems with reading is that you need some form of light to do it.  So, that pretty much curtails your night just a little bit.

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I was lucky that my local library was open and had electricity.  I took out a good number of books and proceeded to read my way past the annoyance of no lights and no water.  It was great, but I felt horribly guilty…the dishes, the not being able to cook (okay, not so much), but it was really hard.  I also felt as though I was completely cut off from the world.  Yes, there were stores I could go to, and of course, the library.  However, there was no social media.  It was freeing.  I didn’t really know what was going on in this crazy world, but really, the news is usually fairly bad anyway.  But indictments dude!  However, I can’t really say that I missed my social media much.  It can be such a time-suck.  We all know what happens when you watch just one YouTube video and look up to find that you’ve “lost” two or even three hours.  Well, that didn’t happen.  The sad thing was that I always have a list of things to do just in case I have the time to do them.  However, most of them were things that electricity was a necessity.

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So, now that I have all this time on my hands, I’ve got a list of things to do once we get out electricity back.  Wonderful, exciting things like: running the dishwasher, washing the piles and piles of clothes, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming the house, washing the floors, and of course, the dreaded cooking. What fun!

So, what do you do when you find yourself with unexpected time?   

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Being Quiet

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The world that we live in is fast.  I know, I’m a person who runs around for a lot of my time trying to get things done as fast as I can.  I talk fast and I walk fast.  The sooner it’s done, the faster it’s over.  That’s usually how I live my life.  I speak so fast that it’s hard for others to understand what it is that I’m saying.  I’ve been working on slowing my speech down, and moving a little more slowly since I know that operating in a super-fast mode is doing myself no favors.  There is probably more than one reason I’ve got high blood pressure.  Slowing down is a struggle.  It’s something we all probably have to work on.  The real problem with living life in the fast lane is that you lose touch with your inner self.  Do you feel that you’ve got a “speed” problem?  Let me know how you deal with it in the comments below.

 

Creating Happiness

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Believe it or not, material possessions and other people do not make us happy.  Sure, buying something new can give you a little “lift” in spirits, if that’s the way you think you should be happy.  However, that lift never lasts, and then you’ve got to go out and get something new again.  It’s a never-ending proposition and one that certainly will not bring you lasting happiness.  The same holds true with collecting new people.  When you look outside yourself for happiness, you will always be disappointed.  Whatever lift you feel initially, will not last, and will often leave you feeling even more empty inside.

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However, when we realize that the only happiness that lasts is the one we make ourselves, that is when we will truly be happy.  Happiness really is an inside event.  Only we can create our own happiness.  How can this be done?  First of all, you have to really know yourself.  You need to spend some quiet time with yourself, and find out what might make you happy.  Many times, unhappiness stems from not pursuing those things that really give meaning to our lives.  If you want to change your life, what’s stopping you?  Can you start small, and build from there?  We have an unlimited capacity to improve our own lives, even in just the tiniest ways, and happiness will stem from there, if only we try.

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By working on ourselves we can create our own happiness, and from there, we can change the world.  How can our own happiness change the world?  By bringing happiness into the world, we bring kindness to others, creating a new compassion for others.  Your changes help transform the world you live in.  It’s a pond with ripples radiating out into the rest of the pond where it eventually hits the shore and continues on from there.

 

The Benefits of Walking

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While we all know that we should walk more, there are now even more reasons to do so.  In a study published one year ago in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2047487316655466  low aerobic capacity was associated with increased mortality rates.  In other words, if you don’t walk, you will die.  Of course, this study was conducted on middle aged men, however, as with other studies, one can assume that it will hold true for women as well, since other scientific studies do show corresponding factors for women.  To back this assumption, there is another study http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288042.php  completed with 340,000 male and female participants showing that 20 minutes of brisk walking per day was enough to decrease the chance of early death by 16% to 30%.

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However, there are benefits other than fitness and lower early mortality rates to consider when a person walks.  For one thing, anyone can go take a walk.  We don’t need fancy shoes, we can walk no matter what our fitness level is, and we can control how long and how difficult our walk is.  Just the very fact of getting outside does wonders for our mental health.  We can get some sun (not too much), breathe fresh air, and enjoy nature.  All these factors are a mental health boost.  Not only that, walking in our neighborhoods gives us a chance to interact with our neighbors, boosting our sense of community.

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I go for a daily walk, and I find that it really helps me to be outside and getting some much needed exercise.  I love the boost walking gives me, and of course being in nature is so important to my own mental health.  Do you go for a daily walk?  Where are your favorite walks?  Do you prefer your own neighborhood or do you go to a park or a walking trail?  Have you felt the benefits of walking in your own life?  Let me know in the comments below.

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And of course, don’t forget to perfect your silly walk!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo

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This month, I’m going to be attempting the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo.  I’m trying, once again, to finish my short chapter book for a little boy I know.  It feels like I’ve been working on this forever (mostly because I have).  But, I really want to get this done and move onto other projects.

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Writing can often be the most difficult thing to do.  There are so many things that sound great in my head, but once I get them down on paper I find that they’re not that great at all.  Also, it’s so easy to be distracted.  Ever since I stopped going to the library to write, my progress has slowed down to – no progress.  I’d like to go back to the library; however, I don’t feel that I should leave my elderly dog on her own.  There would be no one here if she needs help, and of course I just can’t do that to her.  I just have to learn how to not get distracted by things.

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Is anyone else attempting Camp NaNoWriMo?  Let me know how it’s going for you.  Maybe we can  commiserate – or more hopefully, celebrate together.

An Empty Nest

My contemporaries often talk about their grown children moving back home after college due to the job market and low pay.  However, I’ve never had an “empty nest”.  My son chose to work instead of going to college, and now he has a great career where he actually earns quite a bit of money.  He however, has told us that he plans to never move out.  But, at the ripe old age of twenty-six, it’s more than time for him to leave.  Make no mistake, I love him dearly, however, he really needs to get out and live life on his own.

Ah, what a rant!  Our daughter is another story.  She’s stayed at home to go to college on-line, and will be graduating in August.  She helps with the housework, cooks dinner sometimes, and is usually quite sweet.  We have no drama, etc. with her.  She works by babysitting, dog-walking and creates content for a web-site related to her area of studies. Her plan is to stay at home for a year after graduation, and then hopefully go to graduate school in the U.K.   She would love to move out, but needs to save as much money as she can.

With all this, I must admit that I’m dreaming of a house of my own.  A little french country cottage or a hobbit house would be just wonderful.  Think of all the peace and quiet!  Family, you can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them!

 

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‘Twas the Day After Christmas

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I don’t know about you, but I seem to simply wear myself out over Christmas.  First of all, I worry mightily over the gifts that I’ve bought.  Will they be “good” enough?  Did I spend fairly?  How will they like them?  Were they the “right” thing?  The list goes on and on.  Can I afford all the gifts that I bought?

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Not only did I have all the gift worries this year, but I also had the most difficult time making the pie.  I always make the pie and the sweet potatoes the day before, since there is all the gift opening, breakfast making and wrapping paper cleaning to do on Christmas, not to mention the three different dinners I had to make this year.  My pie crust rolled out exceedingly dry – I had no idea how it would bake.  However, that worked out well, and it ended up being quite flaky – which is how we all like it.  This of course, just added to my list of worries until we finally ate it last night (in lieu of supper).  It turned out fine, of course.

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So, on to today, the “day after”.  I’m exhausted, emotionally depleted, and in need of a vacation.  Is this how you feel?  I tell you, thank goodness Christmas is only once a year.  I don’t think I’d survive more than one day.  I hope that you had a wonderful day with your loved ones.  All in all, it’s more than worth the emotional aftermath.  Don’t you think so?