Friday, November 4, 2011

Don't overdo it.

Today, I saw an older gentleman exiting a food bank with several bags of food. I noticed he was struggling to walk, so I offered to help him carry some groceries. He declined, however said that he would be grateful if he could lean on me as he walked. So, I let him, and he imparted to me a little bit of wisdom.

He told me he had a pinched nerve in his back, and that was why he had difficulty walking. He told me that these aches and pains can come on no matter how old you are, and can really slow things down for you. He stopped walking for a moment, then, and turned to look me in the eye.

"You're young," he told me, "and you have more opportunities to be happy." He looked pointedly at me, then. "Don't overdo it."

That was one of those "eureka" moments, for me. It felt almost as though he knew what has been going on in my life of late, and how I have, in fact, been "overdoing" it. I've been working harder than necessary on a number of things, and I haven't taken time for myself to be happy. It's just been a constant "go, go, go".

I helped him to his car and we then parted ways. As I left, it got me thinking about what he said. "Don't overdo it."

Why do so many of us (and I'm including myself, here) feel the need to escape from our lives? What are we running from, and why?

Coping with stress and unhappiness comes in a number of forms. My mother once said to me "Don't wish your life away, because this is it". A lot of stress comes from being unhappy with what you have. That doesn't mean that we should settle, but rather, if we're unhappy with something and have the power to change it, why not do that? If you hate your job, find a new one. Don't make excuses, be in control of your life. If you don't want to find a new one because the money is good with your current one, then find something about the current one that you like.

Happiness isn't a given thing. It comes with practice. Sometimes you need to make yourself be happy the sake of your sanity. Take time to do something you love each day, or just to relax and close your eyes. Make plans, or do something spontaneous.

Don't escape your life, embrace it. Because, as my mother said, this is it. While it's always important to cut loose and enjoy yourself, don't spend your days waiting for that time to come. I fall into this trap all the time. I think we all do; it's a very human thing to do. If you catch yourself doing it and try to correct it, though, you may find that happiness isn't so far away.

That's my rare, stress-free lucid moment for today.

Here's an update on my NaNo goals, while I'm here. It's only November 4th and one of my goals is complete, so I can get started early on the next one! Actually... I already have started the other goal. It's been in the works for a few months. But this morning I worked on it for a little while.

1. Finish last year's novel. Complete! Wrote the ending last night.
2. Finish the planning for Population: 1. - In progress.
3. Plan and script another cooking video.
4. Do a soft edit of the draft of last year's novel.
5. Finish writing the song I started earlier this year.

In further news, I've been invited to open for New Brunswick novelist Beth Powning at her reading on November 17th! I'm very honored to have been asked. It will be at 8 PM at La Teraz (154 Church Street, Moncton NB). Admission is by donation. I will be giving a short reading from Hub City Survival and will also be bringing a few copies to sell. If you have a copy you would like me to sign, you can bring it along that night. I'd love to see you there.

'Til next time!


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