‘Tis the Season – Filter Funk

Sometimes it’s just too easy to get overwhelmed by the world and get lost in other people’s dreams and goals while completely dissing your own as either frivolous or unworthy.  Sitting at the breakfast table Sunday morning, I was reading the Sunday paper. In the Cary News section, I learned about a church that had put together a simple water filtration system that they were using to help the people in Puerto Rico.  The members of the church were going down in shifts there to bring the filtration systems and help with rebuilding efforts. In another article, a 93 year old man who was an artilleryman in WWII (but really wanted to be a paratrooper instead) made his first skydive jump on Saturday. 75 years later, he fulfilled his dream of jumping out of an airplane!  Switched over to FaceBook and a friend of mine and his wife has just returned from Renosa, Mexico where they spent the week building houses for the community there. Another friend ran her 10th half-marathon of 2017.  By this point, I sighed and told the cat, “I think your Mom may be a loser”.  He just blinked and then sauntered off, evidently it was too early in the day to have this kind of conversation.

Now at this point, I considered falling off the wagon by making blueberry muffins and washing them down with Mimosas while huddled in bed. Goolash and non-activity can temporarily make me feel better about life. However, being raised Catholic, that good feeling is quickly negated by guilt and remorse. So I went to a blog posting written by JP in early July that I have bookmarked – the “Life Filter”.  And I re-read the part that always speaks to me the most.

You figure it out. Don’t get pulled down. You don’t have to desire to make a million dollars. You can start with a desire to manage your 10 dollars better. To manage your 60 minutes of free time better. To find time fuel your mind. To build your body. Decide what matters most and go. Handle your business and find out how good it feels. Feed off that energy. Focus. Seek out opportunities that you decide are appropriate and have value. July 12, 2017

I read that a couple of times then got out a pen and piece of paper.  Now, I am not a New Year’s resolution girl.  I think making vows and pledges to change patterns in the grey month of January is a simply horrible idea.  My goal is to get through late Winter still having my jeans fit and my friends speaking to me.  So I started my short term list.  What can I do within the next 2 months that will help someone else?  I am not flying to Puerto Rico to volunteer, nor do I have the motivation or know-how to start some non-profit that will bring vaccines to children in third world countries.  Basically I don’t have the desire to make a million dollars but I have the urge to manage my ten dollars betterCaring House in Durham, which provides patients at Duke Cancer Institute affordable housing, needs some basic supplies like toilet paper, coffee, and trash bags.  I can do that – I had to go to the grocery store anyway.   Salvation Army sponsors Angels, underprivileged children who might not have a Christmas in ordinary circumstances but you know what?  They need new toys to stock in their Christmas store so parents can come in and select a brand new toy to give to their child Christmas morning.  So instead of going out to eat next week, I will take that money and buy a toy to donate instead. I started to perk up.  And first thing on Monday, I will send out emails to my coworkers and tell them if they would like to donate some money, I will go out next weekend and buy some toys that will be from all of us. This will work out well as my better half reminded me that I had already signed us up to sponsor 2 Angels and we needed to go shopping anyway.  Right!  See, I had volunteered to help but had forgotten about it in my funk. Then in came a text from a lady who I took some long training walks with in order to help her with her half marathon training – it was the 2nd one she had ever done.  She finished walking 13.1 miles in 4 hours!  She was so excited and wanted to thank me for my help and encouragement.  That’s when I realized that I was handling my business and finding out how good it feels. I was feeding off that energy. I was seeking out opportunities that I decide are appropriate and have value. So no, I will probably never be written up in the paper for my good deeds or altruistic nature. But that doesn’t matter if in the here and now, I am doing something for others.  Because knowing that makes me feel better about life and where I am headed.

-JR

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