Archive for June, 2018

Sawing Through Legs

Posted: June 26, 2018 in Perspective
Tags:

Some images stick in our brains.

Driving along a country road this morning I passed an unusual sight. Next to a dead kangaroo a driver had pulled over in his four-wheel-drive. Crouching next to our national animal, a man was sawing its leg off.
Opportunism?
Barbarism?
A practical joke?

Some things stick. This one did.

Because he was actually cutting through the hind quarter as I drove past, the timing made me try to attach meaning. Should we always be aware of our surroundings? Do we concentrate too much on our immediate objective and miss other opportunities? Are opportunities always around us but are we too focused on making a living? Or was he just really hungry?

Stop and watch a sunset more often is the take home.

And … don’t take things so seriously.

wood tool saw

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Advertisements

A0ABF98D-33A9-4D3E-8813-B9131653DC66Life. Sometimes it really forces you to stop and observe what is going on in that moment. One of those moments happened tonight so I wrote a description:

“I am sitting here next to my Dad. Outside at night. My Mum died 6 months ago and Dad is heartbroken. He has cancer and is now looking forward to joining Mum soon. In the meantime, he sleeps in the chair next to me.”

This is not meant to be sad. It is part of life. It happens in every city in every country in every part of the world. Families say goodbye to grandparents and it is one of the ingredients that makes life worth living. That ingredient is that it doesn’t last forever.

As my mum used to say when things got tough, “This too shall pass“.

Walking with my Dad tonight I found myself having to answer the most important question anyone ever asks.

“Why should I live?”

Dad is 80. He recently lost the love of his life – my Mum – after being with her for 62 years. Two weeks later he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a year to live. Plus he has an advancing form of Alzheimers. A triple whammy if you like.

Next Tuesday he is moving out of our family home to a one bedroom existence in an aged care facility.

So, knowing all this, on our walk tonight he shared that there really is nothing else to look forward to other than dying. But he did say that he wanted to help some old people by pushing them around in their wheelchairs.

My comment was something that has given my life purpose recently.

It is …to be of service to another.

To be helpful.

To give and to see the effect of your effort on the face of another.

It’s a pity that this only enters our brain after a trauma and we are forced to re look at our life purpose. Or to find a purpose if our life direction has vanished.

But is this just my opinion? There seems to be some research into happiness that we are all aware of and it has been happening right under our noses for many years. We are reminded of it regularly in the news and it becomes the topic of our conversations for a period of time, then we slide back to our normal day to day life.

The evidence that I mention is the suicide rate of movie and rock stars comparative to those involved in community work or altruism.

Think about it. Recently we have seen high profile suicides – Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain and Avicii to name a few famous ones. It seems to hit the young and old, the male and female. The ones we think that would have it all to live for.

We are wrong. Accumulation of fame and wealth is not all it’s cracked up to be.

A life of meaning seems to be the way. It provides us with a blanket of emotional security that ensures that we are safe in the knowledge that we matter. That we are worthwhile. That tomorrow we will be of value to another.

And that is a reason that I used on Dad. He agreed and we walked home with a new plan starting Tuesday.

Good on you Dad.

action adult asphalt blur

Photo by Steven Arenas on Pexels.com

Either I’m happy or I’m not.

action adventure challenge climb

Photo by Martin on Pexels.com

Well it’s not that easy. There aren’t two destinations on this treadmill. And either end of the spectrum isn’t desirable or possible.

I mean, if you wanted to be 100% happy – REALLY happy – and couldn’t be calm until you got there, you would be a mess.

Firstly, 100% happiness is a myth. The people you think are happy – film stars, the guy who dates the pretty girl you look at, the best sportsperson in your area of interest – these people wake up some mornings and don’t want to get out of bed. I’ve asked them. It’s a universal truth. 100% happiness, 24 hours a day, is a myth.

So what is real? What is acceptable? What should you shoot for?

Here are some markers to hit on your journey:

  • Do you have a job? This gives you a reason to get up in the morning. Even if you don’t like your job, you are involved in something (hopefully) bigger than you.
  • Do you have friends? I know people who are depressed probably don’t attract vital, lively friends but there is a way you can work on this. Join a club, be a person who is like the friends you want, do a course, the list goes on.
  • Do you have a drug or alcohol problem? If so, get off it straight away. Hard advice for those that are addicts and easy for those that aren’t but the point is that substance addiction is a slippery slope that leads to depression and suicide and neither of those is fun.
  • Are you in an intimate relationship? Happily married people are less stressed and live longer. Enough said.
  • Do you exercise? I don’t mean the gym. Although that is fine, I mean somehow you have to let off steam and give your body a reason to go to sleep at night.
  • Do you sleep 8 hours a night and do you wake up early? Fatigue is a huge marker for depression along with a routine which means getting up early at the same time every day.
  • Do you make your bed? Now it’s getting weird I hear you say. Yes, this is one of those small things that tells your brain that you have got your act together. Plus it’s easy and it’s at the start of the day.  At least if it is the worst day ever, you will go home to a bed that’s been made.
  • Do you read? Do you educate yourself? Reading and education mean it’s impossible to get dumber as you get older. This means you will understand yourself more easily and probably find out about other highly successful people that you admire who also struggled. You might even realise that someone else was more unhappy than you and ended up smiling.
  • Do you have an area of your life that has meaning? If not, you can start by looking at the most depressing thing in another person’s life and start working to alleviate their suffering. You will be amazed at the rewards you receive by serving the needs of another.

Finally, if you start doing these, you will find that meaning in life is a form of happiness and in the end, happiness – any percentage of it – isn’t that important if you have a higher purpose.

Oh, one more thing that I borrowed from AA. It’s the last step in their 12 step process. It’s to help another person on their road. But get going yourself first.

Start with the easiest one.

Then make a routine of it.

landscape photo of stair in the forest

Photo by imagesthai.com on Pexels.com

Wrote in my journal today that the days seem to be passing quicker. 56 years of age and with my mother recently dying and my father fighting Alzheimers and cancer, the brevity of life seems all too real. The only choice, it seems, is to relax and watch each moment pass. This seems to bring about a sense of calmness and acceptance.
The busier life is, the more important this becomes.

E4F48CD9-693E-48D7-9BF8-5BB6D85311FE.jpeg
Similar to being in the ocean, the more you struggle the harder it is to stay afloat and enjoy the swim.