Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Every Moment, Every Hour, Every day…

It has been a while since I posted anything on here. Due to various health issues I have not been very motivated to write. And have often thought that I just didn’t think much of anything at all. A real stumbling block to a blog called “What I Think”!!

Some of what I have been dealing with is physical, but much more of it has been mental and emotional. There is something about mental and emotional problems that are especially wearing. Since the problem can’t be seen it is more difficult for friends and family to be sympathetic. The “snap out of it” mentality is particularly hurtful. I have been blessed with family and friends that don’t look at me funny when they find out I am bi-polar and that I have an anxiety disorder. But even with that the last several months have been a struggle.

Something a friend said to me has made a great deal of difference to me and I keep it in front of me as much as I can. I’d like to share it mostly for people that might be struggling themselves with any mental or emotional disorder. She told me, “Every moment, every hour, every day that you get through is a success. It means that the next moment, hour, day has hope for something good.”

Sometimes I can get through whole days, but more often it is only the hours and moments that I can get through. It is good to have the reminder that they are a “success”. And how wonderful that they add up to make days, and even weeks and months now. As for the “hope for something good.” Yes, sometimes the successes lead to good. I mean, when I have a good day I only got there because of the moments that I survived.

I share this for two reasons. For those of you who are struggling, you can succeed. You may have to take it a moment at a time but each one of those moments is a success. For those who know someone who is struggling, be patient, be kind. They may not be able to see their successes yet and what they really need is love and understanding.

Life – To Choose, to live.

I just finished watching the movie “The Way“. It is the story of a man whose son dies beginning a trek through France and Spain. When the father gets to France to collect his son’s remains he decides to take up the trek in place of his son. I thought it to be a really good movie. Very moving, watching the father come to terms with his loss. Seeing how, in the end, he changes, grows. I suppose that is all in how you view life. One scene that I really liked was a flashback of a conversation between father and son:

Father: My life here might not seem like much to you, but it’s the life I choose.

Son: You don’t choose a life dad. You live one.

Personally I agree and disagree with both. I agree with the idea that we have a life, we have been given a life and yes we live it. Each day, each moment we live. But how that life is lived is determined by our choices. The son could have just as easily replied that the life he was living was the one that he had chosen.

So it is for all of us, each day and each moment are filled with choices. And those choices determine everything about our lives. Some may turn out to be mistakes, but they shape us. Some will turn out to lead us in directions of growth, happiness, joy, but just like our mistakes, they also shape us. And so maybe we choose to live. Or better yet, since I cannot answer this question for anyone except myself, I choose to live. I choose to live my life the best way that I have found. I’m just glad that I chose to live a life that makes me happy and fills me with true joy.

 

I said what? Then I did what?

For several days I have been thinking about McDonald’s Caramel Iced Coffees. Yes, I know this is a strange thing to think about over an extended period of time, but I never ever said I wasn’t weird! What I kept thinking about was not the deliciousness (and they are delicious), or the caffeine, it was about consistency. I can order the same thing and depending on who’s making it there is no telling what I will get. Size may vary, recipe is sure to vary (particularly by shift), store makes a difference too. Anyway, since I really enjoy having my caramel coffees, I get really aggravated when I can’t get a consistently made coffee. But as I have been considering this I also found myself turning my vision inward. How consistent am I in things. I found I wasn’t very pleased with the answer. There are certain things I feel I should be doing everyday without fail. If I manage 50% of these things 75% of the time I feel pretty satisfied with myself. So I can complain about my coffees all I want, but what I really need to consider is fixing my own consistency problems before I start having a fit over something as mundane as a McDonald’s coffee. At least that is what I think.

Autumn, Let Me Count the Ways…

I love autumn, it is my favorite time of the year. And today has been a perfect autumn day. Being such I have had on my mind all the things that make autumn the best, at least for me. So here is what I think.

+ Crisp air

+ The chill of the early morning, when the sun first comes up

+ Fall colors

+ Crunchy leaves

+ The way on a clear day the colors seem to POP! more

+ I quit being miserably hot

+ Going for walks with my dog

+ How the sun seems brighter

+ Watching leaves float, fall, dance, twirl down to the ground

Off the top of my head those are the highlights of autumn. Here are some more:

Maple leaves
Maple leaves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: the forests in new hampshire in autumn
English: the forests in new hampshire in autumn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Autumn Landscape
Autumn Landscape (Photo credit: blmiers2)
Autumn is back
Autumn is back (Photo credit: Geekr)
Autumn leaf color
Autumn leaf color (Photo credit: INABA Tomoaki)
Autumn leaf color in Shinnyo-do, Kyoto, Japan
Autumn leaf color in Shinnyo-do, Kyoto, Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Internet – Helpful or Overwhelming?

When I was in school we often had to do reports on one thing or another. Book reports were easy, you only needed the book. Others were more involved, requiring visits to the library, encyclopedias and other books on the given topic. One year I had to do a report on a state, I chose North Carolina. I remember having to call and request from the chamber of something or another and get information sent to me so that I could get the information needed for my report. It was a big deal, and once I received the information I remember pouring through looking for the things that were required for my report.

I’ve often thought how much easier it would be today. Today you just hop on your computer, type in a few keywords and poof! you have your report information. Since I started doing the around the world blog, I am finding that this is not really the case. It really is not all that easy because when you type in your keywords there is no telling how many pages are going to come up that are irrelevant to what you are looking for. In fact you receive so much more information, some of it false, than you could find in two or three local libraries. But still somewhere in all the links what you need does eventually show itself.

So I have decided that what I think is this, the internet is overwhelmingly helpful. It has what we need, we just have to learn to weed out the false and irrelevant and have a lot of patience. Not much different from my library days.

Bullying At Any Age Is Wrong

English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Be...
English: A Bully Free Zone sign – School in Berea, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, let me preface this post with the fact that what I think is that laughing at someone is just plain wrong. It absolutely doesn’t take into account the person being laughed at, their feelings, or the possible outcome of that moment in time affecting someone for the rest of their lives, and don’t think for a moment that life will necessarily be long. Laughing at someone is the act of a bully, period.

I also want to say that this post is not meant for children. Kids, if you are reading this I have two suggestions. If you are the bully, and trust me if you are laughing at someone for some unkind purpose, you are the bully. My message to you is stop. It’s that simple. For any young person reading this that is the victim of being bullied my suggestion is this, stop reading, go find an adult you can talk to and tell them what is happening. You are not alone! I speak from experience, very harsh experience. Talk to someone you can trust. Get help.

Some states in the United States have implemen...
Some states in the United States have implemented laws to address school bullying. Law prohibits bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity Law prohibits bullying of students based on sexual orientation only School regulation or ethical code for teachers that address bullying of students based on sexual orientation Law prohibits bullying in school but lists no specific categories of protection No statewide law that specifically prohibits bullying in schools (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now my post for adults. Those of us who have somehow survived the adolescent social ladder, even if we did it from the bottom rung. We are older and wiser now, or at least we like to think we are wiser. What is the difference now? Is it the same as when we struggled with acne, liked computers before they were in every house, had to wear the brace for scoliosis, or whatever it was that gave us the “geek”, “nerd”, “loner”, “nobody” status. When I first had the idea for this post I was thinking of what I have learned over the years. And really only recently learned to put into practice. But as I type and the years of being bullied come back to me, I am not sure what to say. I don’t know what I think. And I find this distressing.

I know that I sometimes perceive someone laughing at me. But then my perception is wrong. I know that sometimes when someone laughs at me, should it be a small matter, I join in and it changes everything. Now I have begun to laugh with them. If their intent was to be a bully I have deflated them. If I have misconstrued the whole thing I have defused the situation for myself.

However, bullying is just as wrong for an adult as it is for a child. So do we laugh along at the cost of our own bruised psyche? I started out answering the question, “Laughed at or with – what’s the difference”, with our own attitude toward it. But I think now I am wrong. The difference is the pain it causes, even if it is a small pain, the sting is there. So I guess the key as adults is to learn to let go of the sting. We don’t have the advocates that a child might have, hopefully has. So learning to move past it, that is something I wish I knew how to put into this post.

Well, like it or not, and I don’t think I do, this is where it ends. Bullying is wrong at any age, and laughing at someone is definitely a form of it. No matter what rung of the ladder you feel you are on, stay on the ladder. That is my hope for you.

The Pet Stretch

Stretching
Stretching (Photo credit: hosieo)

I have been back and forth to my desk today. A busy day, cleaning, reading, writing, crosswords, you understand, all the important stuff. Next to my desk is my guinea pig. He’s beginning to get old for a g.p. but he’s a cute little guy and sometimes he amuses me with his antics. Running in circles, staring out the bars with a pitiful look that means, “food please?”. And of course sometimes he stretches. Today when I caught him mid stretch it occurred to me that there is in fact a mammal stretch. Or at least a pet stretch.

I have 3 critters, Cana, my guinea, Obadiah, my dog and Tirzah, my cat. And everyone of them does the same stretch. And looking back at 4 dogs and many cats I can’t think of one that doesn’t do it. You know the stretch, front paws out in front, head down, butt up in the air. They all do it.

I’m not into yoga, I don’t like it’s background, but I can’t argue with the need to stretch. So I thought I would give it a try, not down on the ground mind you, I might get stuck. So I stood up, raised my hands up in the air, then pushed my butt out. I can tell you, I looked really ridiculous, but it did feel good.

So on this very random thought I’ll end with a request, and it is what I think: take a moment and stop what you are doing and just stretch. You don’t have to do the pet stretch but just stretch something.

See? Don’t you feel better now?

Organized? Um, well…

Something that I really struggle with is being organized. Trying to find a way to do what I need to do and what I want to do is not easy. I would say it is like being on a balance beam or tight wire, but it is really more like trying to cross the grand canyon on a spider’s web. So what tools have I tried successfully? What has been a dismal failure? Or does it matter, am I just doomed to live in chaos?

Here’s what I think.

Tools:

My favorite and most successful tool is a list. Having a list to refer to helps to keep me focused, and the wonderful feeling of scratching off some dreaded task increases my energy and makes me want to scratch some more! One trick I use too is to make lists as specific as possible. I don’t “clean the kitchen”, I “rinse dishes, load dishwasher, run dishwasher, wipe down counters…” You get the idea I am sure. I find that I personally like my list on the computer. There is an up and a down to that strategy.  The upside is that I get to sit down for a minute, maybe take a very short break to reward myself. The downside is that the short break can easily become a long break. Right now I am using a program called Astrid. Any word processing program would do the job, but I want color and fun and a list that is interesting!

Next is a good calendar. I find that I do better with two. I have one, a white board type that I see regularly because it hangs on my bedroom door. I keep track of appointments, pay days, time spent in service, when and how much certain automatic drafts from my account are going to be. Then I just bought a book type calendar with each month spread across two pages. I keep that one on my dining room table. It combines the two, part list so I can see how busy I am on those days and then a place to put appointments, etc. So why three list/calendars? Out of sight, out of mind. This gives me three rooms that have something in front of me to say, “get crackin’ lady!” All I need now is one that is easy to use, chock full of features, pretty and will post to Facebook when I need to do something, but I guess you can’t have everything.

The last tool I have not done, but I think I am going to do it very soon. Studies show that goals that are written down are more likely to get accomplished. My list and my calendars are a form of this, but I think it might be nice to have a contract of sorts with myself. You may have heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals, I think that is what I want to try to add to my tool box.

I started out saying what has been dismal failures. I think it really is unfair to call anything a dismal failure because, well the truth being, I would have to own up to being the one that has failed. I try and try and still I just get overwhelmed or bored and just give up. So if you are struggling just don’t give up. Eventually we are both likely to find the right combination of tools to help us get organized!

 

 

 

How Fast Our Brains Work…No Really!

So, how fast can you think? We have all heard how our brains are super computers processing tons of information at the speed of lightning. And it is true considering everything that we see, hear, feel, taste and smell that we are processing an awful lot of information. Such as, right now I can hear the keys of my key board clicking away, my guinea pig chewing and running around his cage, the whir of the computer and some random background noises from outside. I am looking at my computer screen, but I can also see out of the corner of my eye my cat watching the guinea pig eat,  the clutter on my desk, light from the windows. My nose is stuffed up at the moment so I’m not smelling much. I can feel the keys of the keyboard, my chair, the desk, some muscles cramping. As for my mouth, well we’ll leave off there and say you get the point. This is a lot of processing and it can not be denied. But how fast can you think? A whole other question!

If you are like me you probably feel like a Commodore 64 running software for the Hubble Telescope. But then again…

Maybe I am not as slow as I think I am. Through all the fog and burnt out circuits when it comes down to it maybe I think pretty fast. Example number one was today driving from Greensboro to Winston-Salem, N.C.  Ahead of me were two vans, one in my lane and one in the lane to the right entering the highway. Now the van on the left we will call Diane and the van on the right we will call Jack. Diane was cruising along minding her own business. Jack was entering the interstate and needed to merge left before he was forced to mess up the state of North Carolina’s nice grass shoulder.  The problem was they were running right next to each other and Jack was not checking his blind spot. I was following a safe distance behind.  Well, it was a safe distance assuming everyone else was doing what they were supposed to do! Now in a matter of about 3-5 seconds I thought the following:

He isn’t checking his blind spot, I need to back up more, so glad that Cee (my passenger) is sleeping because if they hit at these speeds we are likely to get  swept in and she will get hurt less if she is relaxed, keep slowing down, is there anywhere for me to go, he sees her, she sees him, they’re both moving away from each other, whew glad that didn’t happen.

3 to 5 seconds, that was all it took for me to think all of that. Now this set me off to thinking about whether it is fair of me to say I am a slow thinker after all, and to look for other instances of my brain’s lightning fast reflexes!

Example number 2:  A couple of weeks ago I was driving and it was raining. Just a mist by then, or maybe we were even in a pocket of dry but the road was still wet.  I was driving on a road and approaching a red light.  The red light however was a the end of a steep hill, maybe 45 degrees. It wasn’t a very long hill, 3 or 4 car lengths I would say. As I began to come to a stop, or rather as I tried to begin to come to a stop, the following thinking occurred:

Red light, push the brakes, push the brakes harder, I’m going to hit him, move to the turn lane there’s no one there, we’re going to end up in crossing traffic, pump the brakes, two, no three cars passing, slowing down, I’m probably giving Bernice (my passenger)  a coronary, whew stopped, I need a drink.

Again this was a less than 5 second span of time and every one of those thoughts piled in just one on top of the other. And to boot, I had to act on several of them.

So, how fast do our brains work? I really don’t have any idea. I suppose we could say that in a pinch my brain can think one thought per .33 seconds. I mean if we just use really basic algebra and assume that in those two instances I was thinking as fast as was possible for me.  But putting a number to this was never what I was aiming for. Really, here’s what I think. I think that I can process thoughts fast enough in a pinch to be really impressive, at least to me. Just don’t ask me where I left my cell phone.

Now for those curious about the literal answer, I have no idea. Here’s an article that ponders the question.