Making Plans

When you make plans for the future, you’re demonstrating a delightful amount of optimism. Because life is fragile. It can pop like a soap bubble at any time. I’ve seen that happen more than once.

John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

Sorry, John. You know I love you. But I disagree. I think life is making plans. The alternative, making no plans at all, or sitting back and letting the world kind of wash over you, is a form of death.

We are not meant to live like moss on a tree. The fact that we feel the need for religion shows that we struggle with accepting fate. I don’t think we are meant to be so accepting. We are meant to be the architects of our own lives.

Plans give you purpose. Purpose is what makes life worth living. I find the best antidote for depression is having something to look forward to.

Even more evidence of optimism is making plans with someone. It says, “We’re in this for the long haul.” “I have great expectations for us.” “You are the person I want to spend time with.” “I have faith in our relationship.”

The only thing I can think of that’s better than anticipating your future is anticipating your future while holding someone’s hand.

planning-for-future

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Free-Floating Fury

Right around the time that Trump got elected, I noticed that I was using the “angry” icon in response to a lot of my friend’s Facebook posts about what was happening. I don’t think of myself as an angry person in general, but so many outrageous things are going on in the world these days that it’s hard not to react with a bit of ire. At the time, though, I thought I could afford to be angry.

This situation is an anomaly, right? Surely it won’t last long. Surely our collective anger will force politicians to act with more integrity, even if it isn’t sincere on their parts. And if anger is what it takes to get me up and moving and protesting and trying to improve things, then so be it.

But very recently, I’ve noticed a shift within me. I’m not using the “angry” icon as much. Now I’m using the “sad” icon. I’m tired. I’m starting to get cynical. I’m starting to think we can’t force people to do the right thing. They have an agenda that is not going to budge, in spite of its destructive insanity. I think I underestimated just how immovable this evil force would be.

So now my anger comes out in other ways. In the privacy of my car, I find myself cursing at stupid drivers. I am suffering fools even less gladly than in days of yore. I’m fidgeting more. I’m eating more pizza and ice cream. None of these things are positive shifts, but I’m frankly feeling powerless and bitter. It feels like the bad guys are winning.

I know now that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and one should pace oneself, but I’m running out of ideas, energy, and optimism. I don’t know what to do anymore. And that’s what they want. So maybe I really should go back to being angry.

It’s hard to live in a world where “sad” and “angry” seem to be your only two choices. I need more “like”, “love”, “ha ha”, and “wow” in my world.

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Raise Your Head

I used to know someone who was so pessimistic that it was draining to be in his presence. I’m not exactly Little Mary Sunshine myself, but I do have a fundamental philosophical difference with that guy that we were never able to resolve. I believe your attitude can dictate your mood. He believes that you have no control over your mood whatsoever. He used to say, “I’m not going to paint a plastic smile on my face.” It made me want to slap the white off his teeth.

I really felt sorry for him. He constantly gave away his power. It was as if he was this helpless creature to whom happiness or sadness was bestowed, and he had no choice in the matter. It kind of makes you understand why some people make sacrifices to their higher power. If you have no control, the only thing you can do is cajole, flatter and beg. How exhausting.

In fairness, it must be much easier to keep your head firmly planted in your hind end like that. Then you don’t have to take any responsibility for the way your life turns out. But on the other hand, if you raise your head and look about you, you have the opportunity to see your situation in comparison with others who are worse off than you are. You have a chance to shift your focus. You learn how to solve problems, and most of all, you see the abundance that is spread before you.

This Thanksgiving, if at no other time, raise your head. Be grateful. Appreciate your unique life. Smile often. Who knows? It just might become a habit.

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Changing My Favorite Color

When I was little, if you asked me to choose a favorite color I would have said purple without hesitation. Purple, purple, purple. Everything around me had to be purple if possible. I didn’t care if it was a pastel or a dark rich shade, as long as it was purple.

Then, sometime around age 10, I began to get a more refined sense of color, and realized I didn’t really like just any purple. No. Lavender was my color, and that has been the case until very recently. A female who likes lavender. How cliché.

But in the past year I have been going through some changes that have caused me to get to know myself on a much deeper level, and all of a sudden a pale washed out lavender isn’t for me. No. I am a lilac woman. I think I have been all along. I just didn’t have the courage to own it.

But I suspect my life is about to be flipped upside down, and frankly, I’d welcome that. Things haven’t been ideal of late. So I started to cast about for ways to jump start some changes.

I began thinking about color. What if your color choice is based on your personality? But which comes first? Does your personality dictate your color choice, or does color influence who you are? I do notice that certain colors bring out certain feelings in me.

Recently I got a new laptop and had a choice of colors. I could have chosen purple, but I chose red. For some reason I really had to have red. And that surprised me because I’ve never liked red. I don’t wear red, and it’s not a big part of my life. Red actually makes me uncomfortable. It’s way too “out there” for quiet little me.

And I’ve been noticing yellow a lot recently. Yellow makes me smile. I think I need more yellow in my life. Again, this is a color I’ve always avoided. Not only because I look jaundiced when I wear it, but also because it’s a bit too perky, a bit too upbeat. Ironically I just realized it’s exactly opposite purple on the color wheel, too. Interesting.

In the process of writing this entry, I came across this website: http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com and it talks about the various personality traits that are associated with certain colors. Sure enough, the description for purple fits me to a T. It’s actually kind of eerie. All but two comments about purple people, for better or for worse, match me perfectly.

The website also mentions some other interesting theories. It says:

“If you have changed your personality color, or favorite color, try to identify the circumstances surrounding your life at that time as your new favorite will reflect qualities you need to attract into your life to help you deal with those circumstances.”

“The colors you dislike can tell you a lot about yourself as well, often reflecting your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Your most disliked color will relate to areas in your life that need to be given attention or past hurts that need to be healed. It is a good idea to try to incorporate a small amount of your disliked colors into your life by using them in clothing or underwear or in your home, to help balance your energies. Rejecting whole colors can create imbalances in your life.”

So next I looked at their descriptions of yellow and red, to find out what I need from them.

From yellow I need enthusiasm for life, confidence and optimism. It also brings clear thinking and quick decision making. Being drawn to yellow means I have a deep need for logical order. Amen to that. My dislike of yellow up to this point means that I’ve been unable to cope with change, and am not impulsive or spontaneous. Again, right on target.

Red is the color of extroversion and optimism. I could use both qualities. If I’m drawn to red right now it means I have a need for fulfillment and satisfaction and I want to experience life through the five senses. Yes! Yes! Yes! My aversion to it up to now means that I’ve been under stress and couldn’t cope with the excitement and high energy that red generates. It also means I find anger a difficult emotion to handle. God, yes.

It also says that if you dislike red, “You may want more excitement, energy and passion in your life but are afraid, for some reason, or lack the self-confidence, to get involved and open yourself to the possibilities red can bring to you.” And “You may have suffered rejection or defeat at an early age and don’t believe you can ever win.” Well, holy crap.

Okay, that’s it. I’m bringing more red and yellow into my life. Yes, I’m sure I’ll always be inherently lilac, but what would it hurt if I added a little contrast to my world?

Pillow Fight at Nathan Philips Square in Toronto. May 12, 2007.

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On Going Slightly Mad

The definition of insanity, we’re told, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It could be argued that that’s also the definition of optimism, determination, confidence, naïveté, or just plain stubbornness.

I’ve always assumed that the solution to this is to stop doing the same thing over and over again. Do something different. Try something new. Step out of your comfort zone. Unfortunately, all my attempts to do something different in the past three years have gotten me absolutely nowhere. If anything, I’m worse off.

That leaves two potential avenues for relief. Perhaps I should do the same thing over and over again, and expect the same results rather than different ones. I’m fairly certain that that’s the definition of life. We have our routines. We get in our ruts. Time passes. Life is what happens while you’re making other plans, they say.

Maybe if I just go with the flow, I’ll learn to be more content and enjoy myself a lot more. I’m going to try that for a while.

If that doesn’t work, though, there is one final solution. Embrace the insanity. Stop fighting it. Own it.

I’m kind of hoping that last resort won’t have to be my answer, but who knows? Maybe padded cells are more comfortable than they look.

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