Tag Archives: acceptance

My Unbucket List, by Carole Howard

In my last post (Time Travel), I was just about to leave for a trip and said I’d write about it next time.

Here it is, next time. Thing is, though, let’s face it: Sometimes reading about someone else’s trip – even one that was wonderful, as this one was – can be boring. So I’m going to write about something else. You’re welcome.

But first, to fulfill my commitment: First a week in a house in the beautiful countryside in southern Italy with good friends. Then an overnight ferry to Dubrovnik. Then five days on a catamaran visiting various Croatian islands with people who had been strangers but are no longer. Finally, two days in historic beautiful Dubrovnik.

Now, onto something I realized on the trip, something about myself, not about Italy or Croatia.

I’m not saying anything you don’t already know when I point out that we change in a whole lot of ways as we get older. Some changes are unwelcome.  Can’t run as fast.  Higher blood pressure.  And then there’s that memory thing. But some are quite welcome, indeed: Things that used to bother us, don’t.  We don’t spend time doing things or being with people we don’t want to.

Something else that’s changed for me is the way my husband and I travel.  And I didn’t realize it until this trip.

Back in the day, we wanted to see the sights when we traveled. Made a list of those sights. Checked them off. Or we visited places where we wanted to absorb and understand the culture. Serious. Intellectual. There were a few hiking and biking trips thrown in, but even those included trails we just had to take, restaurants we had to eat at.

I don’t regret any of it. But now our traveling is less about things we just have to do than about enjoying whatever we do. And it’s no longer necessarily about going someplace new (though my vanity did enjoy adding Croatia to my longish list of the countries I’ve visited).  It definitely includes places we’re very familiar with. If anything, there’s an even stronger pull to go back to the old haunts. (“We’ll always have Paris.”)

The way I see it now is that any place I go is someplace I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten to. It’s serendipity and it’s lovely. It’s a smorgasbord and you take a little of this and a little of that.  Less urgent, more forgiving.

It might sound like we’re jaded, but I that’s not it. It’s more a realization that we’re not going to be able to visit everything, so the point is to take pleasure in whatever we wind up doing. It’s the opposite of a bucket list.  It’s acceptance.

Frankly, I can’t remember the names of the Croatian islands we visited, and certainly don’t remember which was which. And that’s just fine with me: I enjoyed them all, both in the moment and now.

For me, that’s now definitely more than enough.

What about you?  What’s your preferred travel style?

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Carole Howard is the author of Deadly Adagio.

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Sleepless Nights

Have you ever had one of those nights when you could not sleep, no matter what, your eyes popped open and your brain ran a million miles per hour?  I have, I believe we all have them once and a while.  Sometimes I lay in bed, hoping that sleep will come, other times I get up and go watch the idiot box, otherwise known as the television. 

There may be a good film on Turner Classic Movies, but usually they have something really odd airing in the wee hours of the morning.  The other stations are loaded with what they call “infomercials” those half hour or hour long spots that take advantage of their time to hammer the viewer with all the reasons their product is the one to buy. 

My question is: If this product is so good, why do we not see a regular ad on during normal hours when we are bombarded with a plethora of thirty second to one minute spots selling us more rubbish that we don’t need.

So many of the ads, no matter when they air, tell us how our lives are incomplete without their product.  They tell us that we are not enough on our own, or we are not good enough just as we are.  But we need not worry because their product, and their product alone will improve our sex life, make us look more successful or get us into the right circle of friends and business associates.  With their product our lives will be complete.  Many of these ads try to sell us the miracle pill or cookery product that will help us to lose those unwanted extra pounds that are making us miserable and our lives a failure. 

These ads reiterate over and over again the Be-Do-Have scenario.

That translated into ~~ what we should aspire to BE, before we can DO certain things in order to HAVE the life we want, and suddenly, miraculously, with their product clasped tightly in out hot little hands, our lives will be perfect. 

To that I say: Rubbish. 

This belief system is like standing at the train station waiting for the train that will take us to the next stop along the way, and when we get there everything will be wonderful, stress free and perfect.

Life, no matter what, is thick, deep and messy. 

Life is not an easy stroll through the garden.  Life is a struggle, and we are always trying to do better in our lives for ourselves and for those we love.  We are each unique and wonderful people.  We should celebrate and embrace our unique qualities and do the same for others, accept them for the unique treasure that they are. 

So what happens to the BE – DO – HAVE scenario?   

We should aspire to BE is ourselves, just our genuine self with the gifts, loves, joys and shortcomings that make us uniquely who we are.  There is nothing that we need to DO or buy or become before we can HAVE the life we want.  When we embrace ourselves, as we are, there we begin to have the life that is not always seeking something else, something we are fooled into believing will be better.  We need not wait for the train that will never come, because there is no place that will magically Poof us into perfection.  There is no product that can transform us as they would lead us to believe. 

Is the grass greener on the other side?  It may look that way from where your are standing, however, whoever may be on that other side may see that your grass is greener than theirs.  Perspective.

Don’t waste your life waiting for the train, hoping the thing you buy will make the difference, for those are not the things that will bring long lasting joy or peace.  Being at peace with who you are, oh yes, do work to improve, but first love who you are in the moment, flaws and all.  Make the most of the moment.  

All you need to BE is yourself, all you need to DO is love who you are and accept yourself as a wonderful, unique treasure, and HAVE the life you want, because it is right there within your grasp as long as you do not grasp for things that are dangled before you like a brass ring that corrodes once you have it in hand. 

S. M. Senden author Clara’s Wish and Lethal Boundaries and A Death of Convenience and Other Short StoriesWWW.SMSENDEN.wordpress.com

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