Sunrise this morning
October is a beautiful month in the North West. The days are still warm enough to enjoy outside, and the beautiful fall colors turn everything into a feast for the senses. The crisp air, the fall leaves, the bright sunshine all add up to a glorious end of the last warm days. There is the harvest moon, the brilliant sunrise and sunsets, apples, pumpkins, squash, berries. What's not to love?
Russian Ash tree planted as sapling years ago.
Not only that, but October is my birthday. This year I am turning 56. I still can't believe it, the time went by so fast. I can honestly say that I still feel like a young girl. Except when I over do it. Then I feel the aches and pains. But for the most part, I consider myself very lucky. Every year is a blessing and a chance to consider all that I am grateful for.
After 56 years I have learned a few things. And that makes life so much easier. One of the things I have learned is that life is definitely too short to accomplish everything you want to do and that sometimes the 'dreams' you might have once held dear, were impossible dreams due to life's circumstances and it's o.k. to let them go and enjoy life the way it is. As John Lennon famously sang, 'Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans'.
I've also learned that keeping up with the Jone's, Fashion, or the Kardashians is a futile waste of time and it is much more satisfying to just be yourself.
The more you 'get', the more there is to clean, maintain, and pay taxes on and maybe all that work just isn't worth your time and energy. It's more important to take care of and appreciate what you already have than to acquire more stuff that will just end up in our overburdened landfills. There is nobody I really want to impress with stuff. I would rather devote my time to acquiring and improving things that don't cost a cent; knowledge, good character, love of nature, learning to cook a great meal, art, spending time with loved ones. Those are things worthy of my time and energy.
When I was young it seemed important that everyone 'liked' me. And while I do try to be likable, I have learned that you can never please everyone. I've found that the most important thing is to be 'pleasing' to myself, so that when I go to sleep at night, I have very few regrets. This means doing and acting in ways that I can be proud of, not to impress others, but to advance my own worthiness. And in the process, I do no harm to myself or anyone else. I always try to treat others the way I would like to be treated. But I am still a work in progress.
This involves knowing when to keep my mouth shut. Listening more and talking less, because I have learned that once something leaves your lips - like the Internet - it is out there forever and can never be taken back. This I have learned the hard way, by doing it myself and by having it done to me. So, as I have advanced in age, I have learned the wisdom of never saying things in anger. Sometimes words can cut deeper than a knife and the scars remain for life. My motto now is, 'Compliment more, Criticize less', and hopefully, never. Like I said, I am a work in progress.
I have learned to be kind and thoughtful, but not a doormat. If someone has proven over and over that they don't have my best interest at heart, (betrayal, lying, hurting) and I have given them at least three chances and they still don't understand (and they are not my child or significant other who would never treat me that way, anyway), I have given myself permission to let them go, or disengage myself from them, but I always leave the door open if they choose to meet me halfway. I have forgiven myself and them if they don't choose to. I have learned that nobody will respect me if I don't respect myself. And it allows me to focus on the relationships that are healthy and loving. This took me a long time to learn. But loving myself makes me stronger and much more loving to the ones who really matter.
Most important of my life's lessons is to always strive to be kind, especially to small children, the elderly, the homeless and disabled, the sick, the grieving, and all innocent animals. 'For as you do unto the least of these, you do unto me'.
Kindness is like throwing a stone into a quiet pond. The ripples radiate outwards, expanding on themselves. One act of kindness, creates more and eventually comes back to itself. Having been the recipient of kindness when I have needed it the most, I know the impact it can have. And so, as I enter into the Autumn of my life, I hope to expand upon the lessons I have learned, some of them the hard way. And maybe in some small, quiet way, I can leave a mark upon the world. But one that ripples outward. That is my new 'dream'.