Thursday, January 18, 2018

Be a good ancestor

It is very likely that, if you do not already, some day you will have descendants.  You will have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  More children will come from them and they will all be a part of you.

It's hard though, to imagine what impact you might have on those far-flung future descendants.  It's hard enough to figure out your impact on your children!  We don't even know how many of those people will know who we were.

We can assume that we won't all be monumental and have statues will be built in our memory.  We won't all discover something amazing and be immortalized in books.  We won't all be fantastically wealthy and pass down trusts.

We, however, have today to pass on.  We have the time now to make the world a better place and to leave a lasting impression that should carry forward for generations to come.  How we live our lives, striving to make today a good day, can be our greatest  legacy.  

We are not only passing this possible inheritance to our own progeny.  What we do today and how we make today a good day can and will influence all the people we deal with and could influence their family futures.

Not knowing the impact does mean that there isn't one and it doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to make that impact positive.  Not knowing means that today is the day to make sure you are doing something that has the chance of being the change that lasts lifetimes.

As we go through today, remember that our good day can have impacts that will matter long after we have gone.  Our children and their children and their children and some random children can have a better life because of choices we make today.  Do something that will make you a good ancestor.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

You are not alone

I've been working on being a better friend and cultivating more friendships.  It strikes me as an excellent way to create or improve good days.

People were not meant to be by themselves for too long.  It's fine to have "me time" alone but people are better off when they have someone to share with.  Having someone to share your successes with makes them feel more meaningful.  Having someone to share your sadness with can lighten the load you are carrying.

When you have a friend, you have someone that can make you day better; someone that can see you need a hug, or a punch, or a good talking to and provide that.  A friend can be a touchstone to keep you grounded or the catalyst to do something new.

Today is a good day to make a friend, deepen a friendship, or be a better friend.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

This year is a good year

Today you are however old you are.

You may be in your teens or your twenties or your thirties or more but this year is your year to do with what you want.

It's taken years to become all that you are.  It's taken the places you have been and the people you've encountered and things you have learned.  Here you are though; the product of choices and luck and effort.

It doesn't matter how old you are; it matters that your age is your age.  You have done things and seen things and you know what you know.  You know that there will be new things in your future (and many of the same things too) and you know that they will change who you are.

Right now though, you are your age.  You can make this year a good year by making each day a good day.  You can look back at where you were and how far you have come.  You can imagine how your decisions today will lead to amazing things.

Much like a river, you are always the same and you are ever changing but today you are who you are, where you are, and when you are.  Today you are you.

Happy belated birthday and happy early birthday!  I hope all the days in between and good ones.

Friday, January 12, 2018

You don't know the story

Every day we encounter so many people: family, friends, co-workers, consequential strangers, and the regular kind. We can never totally not know their day, their story; their ups and downs; their trials and tribulations; their hopes and dreams.

Some of those people may not know that today is a good day.  They may even be having a bad day.  Your interactions with them may be difficult; they may be troublesome; they may be irritating.  They  may contribute to making your good day . . . less so.

Situations like that provide opportunities for us to make a good (or better) day.

We can try to know those stories; to find out the why.  Sharing what is bothering a person may be enough to improve the day.  Knowing that there is someone out here who cares enough to listen can be a gift.  It's possible that we have a real solution to their problem.  Caring doesn't always require excessive effort and any effort could make a difference.

If time or place or situation (or who we are) makes it difficult for us to connect and help we can accept that we don't know their story and understand that it's not our story and doesn't have to make our day less than good.  Sometimes stepping away is the best thing we can do for ourselves.

-Their story is not our story .  .  . and we don't have to let them take us down
-Our stories can cross  . .  . and we can work to make them better
-Our story will continue . . . and we control our story

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Plan for tomorrow's good day

“Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future..” – Yoda

We don't know what tomorrow will be like.  A calendar or a schedule and experience can give us some idea but we never know for sure what tomorrow holds.

We can, however, do things ahead of time to better the chances that tomorrow will be a good day.

I know people that make sure they can do the things that make them happy.  Routines work! For example, I know people that go to the gym daily; it brings them satisfaction that they can count on.  I know people that buy the morning newspaper from the same news-seller and I think the dialog between them is more important than the newspaper.
Once you can identify things in your life that make a day good, you can put them into your routine and know that there will be at least SOME good.

You can also have "good-day-makers" at the ready.  I own three clown noses.  One is at my office, one is at my house, and one is in my car.  Whenever I need a boost or I see someone that might need a smile . .  I put on a nose.  The day is bettered.
I also keep stamped postcards at my office and sometimes I send them to random friends.  They might be long-held friendships or new.  Real, physical mail makes a day better; both in the sending and in the receiving. Maybe your thing is a special snack: you should have those available when and where you need them.  If you have a sibling or friend that always makes you laugh, remember to call them when you need to.

You can also do traditional planning.  Knowing what you want to accomplish and how you are going to do it can make a day good by reducing all sorts of stress.  Life is easier when you don't have to rush or have too many things to do.  This sort of planning isn't for everyone but there are tools to make it easier.  Find the one that works for you and use it.

Preparing today can make tomorrow more likely to be a good day (and it can do good things for today too!).

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Any day above ground

Them: How's it going?
Me: <evaluates>
Me: Today is a good day
Them: Any day above ground is a good day
Me: <introspective thoughts>

This scene repeats itself fairly often and it always gives me pause because I don't know that the sentiment is true and I don't know how to respond.  It may be true to them . . . but it might not be and it's definitely not true for everyone.

We don't know about what comes after we die.  Most of us have beliefs about what happens but that's not the same as *knowing* and most of the beliefs are that the next place is better than what we have here in this life.  The next stage may be filled with ultimate joy or rest or knowledge. Any day below ground may be BETTER than a day above ground. 

Being above ground has it's own set of issues.  It can be full of stress or pain or unhappiness.  A day above ground might be the same as the previous day and the one before that and the next day is going to be the same too; joyless repetition.  A day above ground could include the death of a loved one.  A day above ground can include a job loss or a fight with your partner.  Being above ground does not automatically make any day a good day.

We don't know what we don't know about being below ground.  All we have is what we have today . . above ground.  That doesn't make it a good day though.  For a day above ground to be a good day it might take effort and mindfulness.  A day above ground has choices that we can make to make it good; either by our actions or by our outlook.

Them: How's it going?
Me: <evaluates>
Me: Today is a good day
Them: Any day above ground is a good day
Me: Each day is what we make it

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tomorrow is a do-over

I tried.
All day long I tried.
I smiled, I laughed, I focused on doing good for others.
I thought of all the people that don't have the blessings I have.
I really tried.

Today was not a good day though.
Today, in fact, was horrible.

I was late for things.
People were grumpy.
The weather was crappy.

My friends weren't friendly.
My pet didn't love me.
Nothing worked the way it was supposed to.

I want a do-over.
I need a do-over

There is a way to HAVE a do-over.
It's called "tomorrow".

There are no guarantees that tomorrow will be better than today but there IS the opportunity for a good day.  
When today overwhelms you remember that it's just one day.  One of many in your life. 
Try to let today go and move on to tomorrow.  It's ready and waiting for you!