Scratch Below the Surface

The other day, my nephew was playing with his Lego figurines. His brow furrowed in concentration as he swapped heads and legs, helmuts and hair. The activity mirrored my niece swapping outfits and shoes on her dolls. Same game, different toys.

It occurred to me that adults focus so much energy highlighting the differences among us. Perhaps, if each of us looked more closely, we might notice more of the ways we are alike.

We all have opposable thumbs and pump red and white cells in our blood. We all cry the same salty tears. Too many tears, lately.

The next time hate, anger, doubt, or fear focuses the attention on what separates us, pause and take a breath. Then, try to note some of the ways we are alike.

Different hair color, eye color, skin color: same fears and insecurities. Different religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status: same hopes and dreams.

Scratch below the surface, and recognize we are all human.

Find the Fun

Sometime in the past year, I crossed an invisible line.

I left behind the carefree days of weddings and babies and entered a world of complaints and burdens. I kind of figured that stuff was still a long way off. My 50th birthday is still far enough in the distance that I can’t quite wrap my head around its implications yet, but chronological age aside, I learned today that a long time friend has a wife, 2 young girls, and an expiration date.

My friends are getting sick and they are dying. Instead of talking about our great adventures and big dreams, we discuss surgeries and plans for a financially secure future. Are the best years behind us already? How can I face the second half of my life watching things fall apart around me?

One of my goals for 2016 is to “find the fun”. I want to stop worrying about filling out tax forms and whether I have the right car insurance, and who I’m going to find to replace the leaking window. I want to figure out how to make the most of every moment. I want to laugh more.

A tweet I read earlier today described a man arrested repeatedly for breaking and entering. He had been found mentally incompetent because each time he broke into the house, the only thing he stole was the family cat. I laughed until, I cried. I  used to laugh like that all the time. I want to laugh like that again, everyday. I want to find the fun, but sometime in the past year it went into hiding (probably should have taken that cat with it!)

Have you seen or experienced “the fun” recently? Would you recognize it? Could you describe it and possibly point me in the right direction???

Slow the Ride Down

Our normal family Thanksgiving isn’t happening this year. Everyone had somewhere else to be, and I’m oddly thankful. It will be a quiet day. I can use one.

The pieces and parts of my life are moving fast. It feels like I’m juggling fire while balancing on a log rushing through rapids. In the excitement, my blog has taken a hit. Terrible consequence since writing is the thing that keeps me sane.

Some good things are happening-like scoring huge points at work for successes, but having my accomplishments on display means I’m not only earning praise, but also a lot more responsibility. My hours are getting longer, and the time I spend thinking about work (when I’m not at work) has quadrupled.

Some bad things are happening-like rushing my Dad to the ER with a high fever and lack of responsiveness. He has returned home with new prescriptions, but I have to keep a close eye on him.

Some annoying things are happening-like trying to sell my former home 2,500 miles away. I’m negotiating with the third potential buyer, and it feels like every day a new issue arises threatening to derail the closing.

On Friday afternoon, I looked forward to relaxing and putting all the moving parts out of my head for a day or two. Then, the dog got skunked. I tried to salvage a few hours Saturday morning with a run, but the pain in my foot that kept me sidelined all summer suddenly returned. By Saturday night, I realized there was nothing in the house for dinner. I fed my Dad a frozen lasagna and crawled into bed early.

My dreams are more bizarre than ever as worries collide with hope and anticipation of the day when this ride slows down. I’m close. I feel thankful in knowing somehow, I will make it. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!