Tag Archives: integrity

The (Elusive) Simple Life

I want to live a simple life, I really do.  But sometimes it just seems to be a pipe dream.  There is always something coming along to derail my plans, efforts, and progress. It is so easy to get distracted and forget my accomplishments, or fail to realize I have alternatives.

I feel like I am always working on my 100 plus year old house.  For every repair or project I finish, there’s always another and another and another.  On the other hand, I’ve gotten a lot done.  I’ve insulated, re-sided, and re-roofed the place.  My big projects before winter are to finish some foundation repairs and replace a couple windows.  Everything else is sheet rock, paint, and cabinetry with a little easy plumbing thrown in.  So, maybe it’s not so bad.

I’ve been trying to avoid getting wrapped up political issues, as it just raises my blood pressure and little else.  The problem is that no matter where I turn, I’m inundated with the scandal-du-jour.  It transcends party lines and geography.  I find as much political annoyance locally as I do at the national level, with no end in sight some days.  On the other hand, there is so much in life which brings me peace and joy.  My church, my friends, my family, my pets, my exercising, my hobbies, and so on.   When the political dross shows up in my Facebook feed, TV or e-mail I can just scroll past, change the channel, or hit “delete”.

On balance, there are many more things in my positive column than my negative column.  I just need to learn to adjust my focus.

There is something good in every day.

Alone But Not Lonely

I have been thinking a lot about being single at 57 years of age, lately.  Without going into unnecessary detail, I was briefly married a long time ago to an unpleasant woman.  I have never felt compelled to take a chance on repeating that mistake.  That is why I find myself single well after the half-century mark.

Here’s the thing:  I am not bothered by being alone.  I have always been comfortable with my own company.  I believe that this has fostered in me a certain self-sufficiency.  I answer to no schedule but that which I choose, and I find a lot of satisfaction in that.   I would probably make a really good hermit, as long as my cave had WiFi.

Frankly at my age, it’s hard to imagine having someone around all the time.  I have work, church, and friends, so I’m not planning on changing any time soon.   I am, as Mary Chapin Carpenter sang, alone but not lonely.

Solitude need not be isolation.

I Choose What To Consume

I don’t know about you but I get really tired, really fast listening to the news lately.  I don’t care which side of the political spectrum with which you align yourself, the bitterness and rancor that permeates the radio and television these days is unlike anything I’ve experienced in my 57 years on this planet.  So I have mostly stopped letting the broadcast media rent space in my head and heart for free.

I no longer watch the news on TV in the morning.  I mean really, who likes to start their day pissed off?  Not me!  In the evening I watch a local affiliate for local stuff.  To get national news, I read the online versions of state newspapers  as well as those of the New York Times and the Washington Post.  The advantage of this is simply that I choose what I consume.  When I’m in my truck I either listen to a classical music station or my collection of Success Magazine audio interviews.  I certainly avoid talk radio, even on NPR, because without fail they are all biased in some manner.

What it all comes down to at the end of the day, is that I have decided that I will control what goes into my head, much like I choose to control what I eat and drink.  In both cases, I avoid consuming toxic materials.

Simplify!

Simplify!

Change Ain’t Easy

We’ve all heard it: “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always gotten.” Deciding to change your habits in favor of something that is beneficial-or at least less damaging-is about as easy as it gets.  It’s actually changing that is tough.

You can read all the self-help books and magazines you want, but if you don’t act then all that reading didn’t matter.

You can make all the New Year’s resolutions and other self-promises you want, but if you don’t act then they were in vain.

You can set as many goals and targets as you can imagine, but if you don’t act then the thought was wasted.

The only way to change is to actually get out there, wherever your “there” is, and do it.  Nike’s well known ad campaign from years ago was simple but on point: “Just Do It.”  That’s a bit blunt.  I prefer what Yoda told Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back:  Do or do not.  There is no try.”  And if you need help to “do”, by all means ask for it.  We are all in this together.

Ditch The New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of the year when we feel inspired for a new start with the new year.  Did you make any resolutions?  Not me.  Why not?  Well, resolutions have within them an implied “if”.  “I’ll do this new thing this year, IF my will power holds out.”  Inevitably, without help, the New Year’s Eve inspiration fades and then you’re back at square one.

I understand it’s a great and uplifting feeling, to get resolved. Resolutions also imply insight and desire, not finality or results, but the whole reason you make resolutions is to get results. Here’s the thing: to be successful, you have to promise yourself to do something and then actually do it.  This seems simple, but promises are a whole different game.  Promises are different from resolutions because:

1) They are a clear commitment.

2) They are very specific, exactly what you will do or not do. (“I’ll go to the gym more” becomes “I’ll jog three times a week for 30 minutes.”)

3) They are often public, especially if you post them on social media or with accountability partners.

4) There are consequences if you don’t keep them.

So, I encourage you to ditch the resolutions and instead make promises to yourself, and keep them.  It’s better in the long run to do than to resolve to do.