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Saturday, February 1, 2014

January does NOT define the whole year

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this - you haven't.”

 - - - Thomas A. Edison

I love this quote. I don't usually hunt down quotes - but I always enjoy a good one when it comes along. Besides, Edison said many pithy things that are worth noting and here was just the message I needed to read. January had pretty much sucked all the joy out of me - the list goes on and on (and on and on and on) Yesterday, on the last day of January, when I drove up to my mail box and opened the car window - the aroma of sludge poured into the car - and followed me all the way home. I  knew the farmer was going to be spreading it soon - but the olfactory notice just about knocked me out. Think grungy bus station bathroom times infinity.

I have been having a hard time getting in the exercise I like this winter. It's been difficult to get to the gym because
1. was out of town,
2. had meetings for work,
3. gym was closed.

My back-up for Not Enough Gym Time is the freedom of walking for miles and miles through my woods and over my fields - and past my neighbors' fields and woods as well. Even though we don't let the farmer put sludge on our farm, we're surrounded by fields that are be-sludged and fragrance knows no boundaries. So now - walking is out till enough rain and warm weather cleanses the air.

My first thought yesterday was "there goes my weekend exercise. Just another opportunity for fat to leap onto me"  But this morning's quote reminds me that I can work out right here in my own home. I have equipment. I can even go into town and use the gym. It will just require a change in my plans. It just means I haven't exhausted all the possibilities.

In fact - here are some of the ones I can think of right off the top of my head:

Saturday afternoon at the gym
Putting on some up-beat music and using my aerobic step
Playing an exercise DVD I've never even watched all the way through and learning something new
Getting in the car and driving someplace new to take a hike

My exercise limits are only in my mind - not in reality. And those other things that have felt like leaden weights pressing on my heart? Every one of them has at least 4 solutions. There is enough money to pay all those doctor bills. There are delicious foods that I can cook that won't pile on the lbs. I will be able to hire the new staffer at work on Monday next so we won't feel stretched so thin.  Cold will moderate eventually and we can use the parts of the house that have been shut off. We will find the contractor we want to hire to put in central heat. In fact - time will bring solutions that I can't even imagine. One month does not define a whole year.

So what do you know - I had intended to make this blog a long list of all the things that beset me in January - I think perhaps to brag a little about how tough I am to have survived them all with only a bit of weight gain and a  bruised joy center. But instead I think it's better to see those troubles as merely prods that pushed me in a different direction. Nobody likes change (unless it's a wet baby) but everyone grows by adapting to it.

That extreme cold and the heart attack made us finally get up off our backsides and begin the process of putting in central heat.
The new county hiring policy made me  have to think a lot more seriously about what I am looking for in a new employee.
Even the sludge has made me reevaluate the resources I already have.

Many years ago (many many) I had to go through an extreme crisis. I had one girlfriend who knew the details of what I was experiencing and one day when I was weeping on her shoulder, wailing "Why me? What did I do to deserve this?"

She gave me the greatest gift and the only comfort I could possibly use. She said "Bess, honey. It's just your turn."

Immediately I was released from the guilt of causation. And not just me. Everyone involved with my personal crisis was absolved. Bad things come along in everyone's life. Cold, skunks and sludge, crummy employees you have to fire, even heart attacks - they're not judgments. They're things. They're not pointing fingers saying "You Are Bad. You Brought This On  Yourself. You Deserve It"  They're just ... things.

Outside things don't define us - it's what we do with those outside things that define us. So. May you always remember who you are - not who you think you look like you are - and you are someone who has choices, possibilities, and options. If no where else - you have them in your heart.

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