Today I am grateful for…

rocks piled in a balanced arrangement on a beach with the sea behind them
Constructing my gratitude, one piece at a time.

1. Vacation
2. Vacation
3. Not having to go to work
4. Spending a whole week with the love of my life
5. Having enough money to buy dinner, instead of cooking myself
6. Having the time to go exploring
7. Being in a place where I can explore something different, each day
8. Moving at my own pace
9. Not worrying about not exploring *everything*
10. The time and freedom to take afternoon naps – every single day.

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Good, better… even better

utah-mountainHow amazing is this – I have a four-day weekend. And this is following a week when I worked the first two days at home.

That made all the difference. Not having to commute, not having to deal with the office, not having to drown out the noise around me and always be on my toes, because someone might stop by my cubicle… it was pretty sweet. And I’m feeling pretty great.

True, I haven’t been sleeping as much as I should. I’ve actually been a bit dizzy and feeling nauseous for the past few days. I’ve been waking up early, really bothered about things, unable to “turn my head off”. And I have been having some trouble getting myself to bed at a decent hour.

At least I’ve got today and Monday to take a nap in the afternoon. That’s a plus. Tomorrow, my spouse and I are taking the day to go to our favorite vacation spot — just for a day trip — to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Nice.

So, I’m in a pretty good spot. And after the nap I’m going to take shortly, I expect I’ll be even better.

Thank you for your service

us-flag-and-soldier-1A big THANK YOU to all our Veterans who serve — and have served — to keep this great country free.

We owe you our lives. Thank you.

Service is so very important, and those who put their lives on the line for our continued safety and freedom, are our most valued resource, our finest examples.

Thank you.

After a good, long day

Calming it down, one breath at a time
For today, I decided to be the master of my own destiny. It was fun.

I spent the day working around the house and yard. I got an early start (for a Sunday), getting my breakfast and starting at 8:30, and working till about 10:00. Then I stopped for a snack, made myself a soft-boiled egg and a banana and a big glass of water, then I went back to it.

I finished everything up around 2:35. So, that’s about 5-1/2 hours of good hard work behind me. I had a lot of cleanup to do around the yard, raking up dead leaves and pulling out dead plants, moving around fallen limbs and branches, and making sure the front bushes are okay after having limbs fall on them. I also found some things I need to fix — the front stairs have a gap in front of them, and if you step into it, you can get hurt. Repair folks coming to the house, the first year, often stepped in that gap.

Mind the gap

Now I need to go get a long 2×4 to lay across the gap. The other one rotted out.

I also had to clean up along the edge of the driveway, where I had let leaves and weeds pile up into a kind of compost heap. I clean that out every couple of years, because it builds up from nature doing its thing, and it’s a hard place to keep clear. This was the year I did it. I got out the wheelbarrow and a shovel and took three loads of “compost” down to the ditch along the road. The compost has a bunch of different stuff in it, including some non-organic materials, so it’s better off down by the road, where it will just help fill in the ditch.

By the time I was done, I was DONE. I was completely worn out, and I didn’t have the energy to fold up the tarps and put away the leaf blower. I just left everything in the empty bay in the garage. I’ll get to that later.

For today, that’s enough. I took a little nap afterwards, then woke up feeling like I needed to check Facebook, for some weird reason. I looked, and I saw that one of the younger members of my family who has been going through some tough times just got a massive break — their life has turned a corner for the better, which is really phenomenal. They remind me a lot of myself, when I was their age, and now that they’re getting on the good foot, they don’t necessarily need to go down the self-destructive road I was on, when I was 30 years younger than today.

So, it’s good. Work is a bit of a pain — my boss was emailing me today, but I’m not in the mood to deal with that. I’m OFF work, till tomorrow. Then I’ll worry about things. I’m sure it will all be very exciting and dramatic. No doubt about that.

Lying down earlier helped the pain — a lot. I’m feeling better. I also feel better when I move around, instead of just lying in bed, and I ran out to pick up my spouse’s medication a little while ago. It was good to just get in the car and drive.

One thing I need to be careful of, this holiday season, is drinking too much coffee and eating too much candy. I have been hitting the Halloween stash a little too heavy, these past couple of weeks. It’s funny, because I don’t even celebrate it — just eat the candy. Halloween is just an excuse to load up on sugar, and on top of that I haven’t been exercising enough for my own good.  I’ve been caught up in a new project that I want to get done this month. Fortunately, I’ve worked like a crazy person for a week, so I am actually ahead of my self-imposed schedule.

With the holidays just around the corner, I need to keep steady and take good care of myself. I’ve been drinking more coffee than usual, lately, as well. I get tired in the late afternoon, so I have a little cup before I drive home. It’s really not good for me — makes my migraines worse. I’ve been very fortunate, over the past few months, to have far fewer headaches than usual. Ever since I cut back on the coffee and also really focused on keeping my heart rate lowered, the headaches have been almost non-existent. I still get some, now and then (I’ve got a little one now), but they’re nothing like they used to be.

So, it’s all pretty chilled out, right now. My spouse has been in a foul mood, all day. Something must have happened at their business event yesterday evening — but they’re not telling me about it.  They sometimes make poor choices about who they do business with, and they realize it too late — and after they’ve described the behavior of their new “business partner” to me. I think they may have done or said something unwise, and they’re embarrassed about it. They don’t want me to know. They keep their phone close by, and they spent most of the day in bed… hiding from who knows what.

Anyway, I have a few more things I need to do, this evening, then I’m turning in. I’m much less sore now, than I was a few hours ago, and I hope tomorrow I’ll feel even better. I have a light week, this week, with only one appointment in the evening, so I want to get to the pool every day… as much as I can. I’m also considering joining a local health club that has a sauna. I really want to use saunas regularly, because it’s incredibly good for you and helps clean out your system. I feel like I need to “flush out” a lot of the stress and gunk in my system.Of course, working out each morning would help, but I’ve been so antsy. I’ve been so caught up in my new project.

Anyway, I’m going to back off a bit on the pressure, and just see what the next week brings. I’ve got a number of different irons in the fire, as regards my little projects, and it’s time to shift them around and shake things up — keep interesting. Break up the monotony. I haven’t been hiking in over a week, which is unfortunate because the weather has been next to perfect, and winter is not far off. But I had other things going on. And now my yard is looking good.

I’ll paint the kitchen ceiling next week.

I do look forward to that. I’ll be able to get it done early, and then spend the rest of the day in the woods, if I so choose.

Or maybe I’ll work on my projects…

The main thing is, I need to keep productively occupied. I can’t let myself get down in the dumps, because I know better. I have things to do, I have a purpose to serve. Even if it’s not world-shaking and earth-shattering, it’s my own little way of making the world a slightly better place.

At least, that’s the plan.

Onward…

Another anniversary

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. At least, that’s how it seems. And Thanksgiving is the anniversary of my TBI in 2004. It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years…

Some days, it seems like yesterday.

Other days, it seems like it never happened.

I’m very thankful for both points of view, because the first keeps me honest, and the second keeps me grateful.

It’s wild, how much can change so quickly after a head injury.

But recovery IS possible – I’m living proof.

And as Thanksgiving approaches, I have all that much more to be grateful for.

In the end, gratitude

Well, my ultra-productive plans for the day did not turn out the way I expected.

Instead, I slept.

So, I will treat this as a sick day and just not bill my hours.

The rest was more valuable to me than the money I would have earned.

I do feel good. I got some really good exercise today — worked out a lot, with some good activities outside — and I ate well, too. It was a good day.

And in the end, I’m just grateful.

Just grateful.

Why wait till the New Year? Change for the better – now!

Let’s see what will hatch in 2015…

Like so many people, I am looking back at the past year, thinking about what’s gone right, what’s gone awry, and what I want to accomplish in the coming year.

I’ve had a very full year, with plenty of experiences (for good and ill), and I feel lucky to have come out on the other side in one piece. I’ve “course corrected” a number of things — including my poor exercise habits, the crappy job I used to have, I’ve cleaned up my diet a bit, and I’ve done a lot of work on my marriage to make it stronger. I’ve also figured some things out in my head that are really helping me get through.

I still feel pretty dull and slow at times — I can sense a difference between how fast I expect myself to go, and how fast my brain is actually moving. And I’ve come to terms with that and quit letting that make me crazy. I’ve also gotten better about focusing on what I want and getting on with the things I want to do, rather than putting them off till they are “perfect” and I understand 100% where they’re going.

My memory… I’m not sure if that’s getting better or worse, but if it’s getting worse, it’s not really impacting my ability to just live my life.

I’ve gotten a lot better about detecting when I’m not quite 100% and giving myself some more time to figure things out…. or simply abandoning things that aren’t going anywhere fast. I’ve backed away from a number of “friendships”, because the folks I was involved with are catch-as-catch-can, fair-weather friends who keep in touch whenever it suits them, not when I need them to.

The thing I’m liking about my New Year’s resolutions for this coming year, is that I’ve already started a lot of them. I’ve already taken some good steps towards some projects I want to complete in the coming months. I have a good foundation. I’m not waiting till 1/1/2015 to start down the path. I’m already headed down. And I think I found some good reading material to keep me motivated and increasingly educated.

It’s good.

So, here I am in the final days of 2014, very grateful for all that this past year has brought me. A needed job change. A shorter commute. The eradication of my massive debt. A fresh start, in so many ways.

Seems to me, the big undertaking for 2015 is to keep steady on, and make the most of what I’ve got — stay focused, keep reminding myself of what’s important, and move forward. Sure, I’ll slip back, now and then. That’s to be expected. But I am really on much firmer footing now, than I have been in a long, long time.

And the best part is — because I was in such dire straits before, now I really, truly appreciate it, like never before.

So, yes… onward.

 

 

Just very, very grateful

This has been an extremely challenging week. But at the end of it all, I come home to a weekend of rest and relaxation, and sincere gratitude for all the good that is in my life. Things are not easy. They have been extraordinarily difficult this week, and I’ve been teetering on a thin edge between resolve and despair.

But I made it through. And for all the help I received along the way, in the darkest of times, I am truly, truly grateful.

Now it’s time to settle in and read a little, think a little, and relax into my evening.

I hope everyone had a pretty good day.

Traveling again

Headed down this kind of a road today…

I’m headed out on the road again – going to see family several states away. I’ll be driving, and the weather is phenomenal for this trip. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

I’m having a series of really good turns of events. In the past, I would have worried about “the other shoe dropping,” and been on the lookout for what could go wrong.

Nowadays, I am just so glad that things are not obviously falling to sh*t all around me. That happened to me for years, and since I don’t believe that things continue in one certain way forever — there are cycles to everything, just as there are seasons and days and nights and variations in the world around us, all the time — it stands to reason that I should have a long spate of really good things happening to me in the coming months and years. Maybe for the rest of my life, because the first 49 years of my life were an almost constant battle against one thing or another.

I just can’t believe that my life is going to be crap, for all eternity.

So I’m thanking my lucky stars (or who/whatever else managed to set me up to have all these great experiences) that things are turning around, and I’m heading off down the road. The weather is fantastic, it’s early enough in the day that everyone isn’t going to be out on the interstates where I’m driving, and I don’t HAVE to be anywhere until this evening. I have the whole day to do with as I please, and that’s pretty cool.

Off I go…

What a world…

Just being grateful solves a lot

I’ve been struggling a bit, lately, with some resentments and frustrations. Starting a new job and feeling like I’m new all over again has been a little tough. I want to know what I’m doing. I want to have expertise. But I have to go through the process of doing that. And after being alive and learning so many lessons for around 50 years, now, there’s a part of me that feels like I *should* know more than I do.

I know I need to learn in my current position. I need to learn who the people are, how to use the technical tools, how to navigate the political landscape, and so on.

I just get tired, I guess. I’ve been having some long days, lately, and things at work have been quite frantic, with a deadline suddenly looming, where none was just a week ago. It’s been a bit of a fire drill, to tell you the truth, and it’s taking a lot out of me.

I am also going to be traveling this weekend, so that means I have to do more to get ready. Sigh. At least I slept till 6:30 this morning, instead of waking up at 5:30.

Of course, I didn’t get to bed till after 11:00. Oh, well. At least I got about 7 hours of sleep. That’s better than I’ve been doing regularly, for quite some time.

So, the good part is, I’ve gotten some sleep. And another good part is, this seems like a company I can be productive and happy at, for the long run. It doesn’t feel like a contract, right now. It feels like the beginning of a permanent spot, and for the first time in years, I’m happy for that. I did feel that way, to some extent, at the last company I worked at… until they moved the office farther away, mixed up the organization, and screwed everything up.

I actually do miss my old friends from there — I’ve really been feeling that, lately. But I don’t miss the company. I’m just so glad to be done with them.

Anyway, back to the present. I’ve realized that with all my struggles and difficulties — feeling tired and disoriented and harried and a bit stressed over adjusting, not to mention a bit of political drama (already… it only took me 2 weeks to screw up) — the one thing that helps the most is gratitude. Sleep helps a bit, but it can wear off. Fatigue or restedness are not things I can will into or out-of existence.

Gratitude, on the other hand, is something I do have control over. I can change my frame of mind and change my attitude, and reach a place where I am really, truly grateful for everything I have around me. I look for the good, and I look for the benefits to the situations I’m in, and it really turns around my outlook and mood. In my darkest times, making a list of all the things I’m grateful for — especially good things that are buried in the midst of tough situations — brightens my outlook and lifts me up out of my funk.

Things at work right now are pretty challenging. I have a bunch of things on my plate that I need to sort out, and it doesn’t feel like I have the time or updated ability to do them properly. But they are big opportunities. So, today I’m starting out with gratitude and focusing on the things I can do, the lessons I can learn, and I’m concentrating on the positive things that will come out of it.

People at work are starting to warm up to me. And I’m learning the lay of the land. So, things are looking up. I just can’t let myself fall into a funk over stuff that’s transitory. The sources of stress and strain right now — the unfamiliarity, the uncertainty, the lack of connection with people — will all sort themselves out over time. I just can’t let the tone for my work be set by that temporary state. Not when a better permanent state is just around the corner.

I never know when things will turn around. So, I’ve got to keep steady and positive. And look to the brighter tomorrow. For so many good things that haven’t even come to me yet, I am truly grateful.