Two paths diverged in the woods and I......I took the one with the bigger hill. Why not?
I always count it as a good day when the ski trails are groomed before the roads are plowed. (Not that that's all that unusual in St. Paul.) It makes it nice and easy to ski right out the door down to the trail. I can trick myself into feeling like I live in the country, especially if I go early enough to beat the crowd.
It was 5am this morning, dark except for the light from a huge moon. I was driving north for work, gripping the wheel in fear from the blowing snow and thoughts of black ice. Despite the fact that I was intently scanning the road for the dreaded ice, I couldn't help but see a flash of light pass by the windshield. A shooting star on this cold December morning.
My first thought was to make a wish. My second was to realize I didn't have one.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not without goals or even some wants here and there. But wishes? I was out.
I thought about this the rest of the 2 1/2 hour drive. Why didn't I have a wish? When I was a kid I always had one. For every shooting star. For every birthday candle. For every 11:11. This morning, when the time came, I didn't have one.
What was the matter with me? Was I hopeless? Or was I just really happy where I am? How could I not have wishes? Have I gotten so old and grouchy I don't dream anymore?
That's what did it. The dreams. I realized that. for me at least, wishes are different than dreams. When I think of a wish, I think of this thing I would hope for because I couldn't attain it on my own. A toy I couldn't afford. A boy who would never like me. In wishes I see no power. But dreams? That's a whole different story.
I'll admit I'm a bit of a dreamer. I always have the next goal, the next thing I'm working for, if not 10 at once. But that's just it, I'm working for them, putting them into action. None of this sitting around wishing stuff.
It dawned on me as I drove that this was one of the great parts of growing older- being able to see this difference between wishing for something and working for it. Somehow I grew into it, along with the ability to be completely happy where I am while still constantly striving for new things. No wishes needed. Just a lot of hard work and the rewards that come with it.
While I was contemplating all this, another star shot by, even brighter than the first. Still no wish, but this time I knew I didn't need one. My dreams will do.
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Sunday with Mom was extra special today. Enough snow to cover the ground, but not enough to make it impossible to pedal. Just my style. There's something satisfying about making the first line in the fresh stuff.
I even left some for tomorrow.
Today's snow gospel: it's always good to leave a little something to look forward to.
Twenty-three days ago I started a 45 Days of Positivity challenge. It was only a couple days post election and I was already sick of the negativity surrounding the outcome of the presidential race. So I figured I'd fight it by sharing something positive every day. I had no idea what I would do for those 45 days. I just needed a positive focus.
At first, I went out of my way to do something positive every day so I could tape it or write about it. It's not that I thought my life was horrible. It's definitely not. I guess I just thought I had to go out of my way to BE positive.
At some point that stopped, somewhere around day 11. It wasn't a conscious change. I didn't even notice it until last night. Instead of going out of my way to do something positive, I started noticing something positive that had already happened that day and sharing that. I'm pretty sure my life hadn't changed in 11 days, but the way I looked at it had.
About a year ago, I heard a podcast with A.J Jacobs about his writing. He spoke about his book, The Year of Living Biblically, in which he wrote about his quest to live according to the Bible, literally, for a year. Of course, a lot of ridiculousness came about from that year, but when he spoke about it on the podcast he mentioned something positive that had happened to him. He noticed that making a conscious change in how he acted actually changed his thinking. He talked about how so many of us think this is the other way around- that we can just "think" we want to be a certain way and somehow we will be. Of course, without the actual conscious work to change, this rarely happens.
It dawned on me last night that perhaps this is what has happened over the last 23 days. Going out of my way to BE positive actually started making me think more positively. I noticed things I might not have before. It actually seemed like more positive was happening to me, which could be true, but I'm going to venture a guess that I was just more aware of it.
Of course, we've all heard this idea before- that you attract what you choose to attract, whether it be negative or positive. I guess that's what I was hoping might happen when I did this. It's just that I thought other people would be more positive if they saw me sharing these things. It never dawned on me that it would be me who would change.
I'm looking forward to the next 22 days. I know there will be a lot of good stuff in there.