Nature

2018-12 Just Wrong…

Ok, this one needs a word of explanation. We live in Pennsylvania, Northeast Pennsylvania to be more precise, and it is January. It was 1 degree Fahrenheit on Sunday. You do the math and then explain to me how this is not a climate change issue.

Home Improvement

What do you think about when you think about “home improvement?” Do you think about your physical space? Or, instead, do you think about your mental state? Is your home where you live, or is it your spiritual center, your psyche?

One of my goals this year is to get my “house” in order, and by that I mean, my personal self. Every year, many of us make lots of resolutions with high hopes we will at least get through January accomplishing whatever it is we set out to do. We do a lot of looking forward; we don’t tend to look behind for what we’ve done in the past. But it’s the past that informs the future and the past (or the past actions) that leads to the need to change.

Maybe we overindulged and packed on a few pounds. Maybe we got so busy with our family’s activities that we forgot to take care of ourselves. Maybe we made horrible life choices at some point and now are facing the consequences. Regardless, we all have the capacity to change, we just have to be willing to do so.  Sometimes, the way is rocky and the water cold, but the end goal is worth it. Are you ready to take the plunge?

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Experimental

Finding something you love, even if it is later in life, is a complete joy. I recently started a graphic design program, and although I’ve been out of school for way too many years, I’ve found that the discipline of learning never entirely leaves you. That said, everything is new now with all the electronic tools at one’s disposal. So, for me, every day is experimental. Today was no different; we are playing with Photoshop and had a requirement to turn a photo into a painting. Although not perfect (what art ever is?), this didn’t turn out too bad.

Do something for yourself

At some point in life, especially if you have a family, a job, and other people depending on you for a myriad of things (how did you or I get involved in so much?), you find yourself lost. The things you dreamed about doing slip away and time becomes an enemy to make anything happen, not the least of which are those things you hold deep in your heart of what you expected your life to be like. At least, this has happened to me, and I suspect to you, too, if you are honest with yourself. I know my spouse and I talk about it frequently. He reminds me he only has “XX number of years left! We have to get our life in order!” pretty frequently (this is usually followed by a flurry of cleaning and throwing things away).

It is at these points in life, you need to take a step back and really think about where you are spending your time. Time is one of the only democratic things in life. By that, I mean we all have only 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and so forth. “Hold on,” you say, “Not everyone has the same lifespan so that’s just not true!” Well, right you are. Since we don’t know how long our lives are, and in fact, they could be ended tomorrow on our way to or from work (judging by the number of catastrophic wrecks on the highway near where we live), we should treat every one of those seconds, minutes, hours, days, and weeks as if it were our last. Morbid, you say? No. Life giving. Why? Because when you take the time to realize you might not have tomorrow, you start to appreciate everything around you, especially the people in your life. You also start to take the time to carve out joy and resurrect those dreams you lost. Dream of travel? Go! Dream of being an artist? Pick up that pencil! Dream of being a musician? Take those piano lessons! Want to learn a new language? Check out DuoLingo and learn for free. Make time for joy.

What was my passion when I was younger? Horses and art. I have now rescued an off-the-track Thoroughbred named Lou who I don’t get to ride much, but he’s safe and that’s what matters. On the art front, I started a MOOC course from the University of Newcastle in Australia, natural history illustration. Not being an illustrator doesn’t matter, I’m having fun. Check out my first tries here.