Thirty-six years ago my soon-to-be husband gave me a subscription to The Mother Earth News for Christmas. (In a nutshell, that speaks volumes about the person I am.) The gift notice came as a card with a memorable quote by Victorian English writer and humorist Jerome Klapka Jerome. I just loved the metaphor of it. So much so, all these years later, I can recall the entire quote word for word.
Here’s my New Year’s wish for you from his pen:
“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.”
Most people go through a year with some buffeting by life. On the downside of 2013, we’ve had assorted sadness in my family. I’ve lost loved ones this year. I had a bout of pneumonia that I just couldn’t shake. We saw the end of a very special 25-year event my husband and I built with our own hands. Worse, my old puppy, my empty nest child, is fading before my eyes. Sadness came in the form of grief, huge life changes, disappointment, and heartbreak. Life is like that. Sad or negative things can be instantly recalled and revisited with such clarity that you’re almost reliving them days, weeks, months, years later. But how often do happy things come to mind without searching for them? I have a theory on this and it involves mankind’s early development.
Negative things, like those found in a wild environment, have potential to kill you so it’s important to steer clear of them. You steer clear by being able to recognize them in an instant. It’s simple self-preservation. You avoid them because negative associations can be recalled in a flash to protect you. Rare now are the dangerous bears in the back of the cave, rare too are the other situations you need to recognize to save your life. But the instinct for self-preservation remains. It opens the mental and emotional door to things like sorrow, personal slights, disappointments, and heartbreak. And the brain revisits them in their painful entirety because instinct says self-preservation comes with remembering. And the heart aches with the memory. That’s my theory anyway. I did say I think too much. :)
Having rheumatoid arthritis since age 15, my personal philosophy has always been it could be worse so be happy it isn’t! I’m no Pollyanna in my outlook. I’m simply a pragmatist. In all honesty I can say in retrospect, I’ve had a very good year. In between all of the above were far more good things. I had fun and laughs. I was entertained. I had interesting life experiences and personal growth. I had love and friendship. What’s more, people I care for are still doing well, and that makes me happy. And, my old puppy still seeks me out for ear scratches and shoulder rubs and is doing well with her physical therapy sessions. On good days she’ll carry a stick around the yard even though she fetches them only in her dreams. Seeing her run in her sleep makes me happy too. I have lots of reasons to smile, and many to be grateful for. Tomorrow when I put my happy synchronicity jar on the table for a year, I’ll prove it. (scroll down to learn what that is.)
I’m ending 2013 with just a few things that gave me smiles and laughs throughout the year and I hope they do the same for you. It was very hard to choose so I did a smile test to be sure they still make me smile. :)
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If you’re on Pinterest, my account is filled with happy and interesting things. Do stop by and feel free to harvest things from my collection for your own. The top 81 of those boards are mine. My titles all begin with a little heart. The remaining 118 boards belong to other pinners and I was invited to join them. Beware. Pinterest can be addicting and you’ll lose your sense of time. Case in point – I have 81 boards. LOL
And this last one. Have a safe and Happy New Year! Party on!
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