Clover photo courtesy of crestmedia
St. Patrick's day is only a few away! Whether you wear green or orange, or drink beer, rum or whiskey...may the leprechauns bring you the luck of the Irish and may you enjoy the day. I know this paragraph may not go with the heading, but it will all tie together with patience.
I want you to pretend you are a high school graduate...free from school books, soon to be free from parents if you attend college. You have no fear! The summer is filled with carefree days of dragging main (small town antics), stopping at the local drive through for a soda or ice cream, gathering at the park, going to movies, going dancing.
Autumn comes and you pack your things. With a tear in your eye you set off on your new journey...college...where for the next 4 years you will be held captive to more school work, parties, drinking, and doing things you've probably never experienced.
You suddenly realize that you had it pretty good at home, despite the rules, the chores, the parental thumbscrews. Peanut butter sandwiches and Ramen become your daily food choices and you walk most everywhere you need to go. You really put all you have into your college major, hoping for good grades, and a good job when you graduate.
Now, you are in your mid 20's...probably with a significant person, probably working a fast food job waiting for that big one to land in your lap. You approach life cautiously, yet you still have that no fear mentality. You're still ready to take on the world.
As 30 approaches, you decide marriage and children should happen, not because you want it...or maybe you do, after all...but because all of your friends are doing it and you don't want to be left out. Then it hits...something you never dreamed of, something you didn't plan on...something now that turns your life upside down.
The tragic loss of a parent, a sibling, leaves you numb and wondering what will happen next. This causes you to hurry your life even more...gotta get married now, gotta have kids now, gotta have that house...gotta have, gotta have, gotta have...and before you know it, you are in the middle of married life, children, mortgages, financial distresses that you have no way of digging free from...especially college loans.
You try keeping it all together, and you are failing, miserably. You have no time for anything...no time for friends, no time for family, no time to nurture yourself. You notice at the age of 40 as your children are growing how much time has passed and just how much you've missed because of the essential every day needs that got in the way of the ability to breathe.
At 18, you had the security of your parents and friends and other family members who truly loved YOU and cared for you. As you matured into that married person, you brought children into the world, a part of you, and taught them all the good stuff that you could so they could function on their own...just as you did. You valued your parents, but did you? Did you really take the time to get to know their favorite flavor of ice cream? Their favorite passion? How much they gave up for YOU? Now, the children are gone. Hopefully, you are still with your spouse, and if you aren't, you've adapted to single life. Hopefully, your health is good. Hopefully you can still walk, run, take out the trash, clean your apartment, and have a social life.
We have more in front of us daily that we don't see than should ever happen. We so need to open our eyes, notice the small stuff and really cherish it before it becomes only memories we can no longer do. How does this tie in with shamrocks, you ask? Think for a moment of that photograph. What strikes you about it? What do you notice about it? Or, did you notice anything? What about the vibrant color? the clean fragrant air? the quiet surrounding you as you stand looking at that vibrant green, smelling that clean air?
March is National MS Awareness month. Aha, you say...now I'm beginning to understand...yay you! MS is an autoimmune disorder. The person's body attacks itself, leaving nerve endings exposed and spinal cord and brain lesions that prevent complete communication from your brain to the other parts of the body.
I have MS. I was diagnosed in 2003. Over the past 15 yrs. I've lost so much, but have gained so much more by paying attention to everything around me. I challenge you to do the same. Take nothing for granted, for you know not what the next moment will bring. Love your life, your friends, and your family and stop being afraid to tell them that. Tell them how you feel while you can still enjoy their company. Drop what you are doing...housework, playing on the computer, etc. None of that means anything when relationships are at hand. Take time to cherish the moments of quiet, of love, of laughter, of joy, sorrow and tears. Allow yourself to feel these moments before they no longer matter.