At the age of 45, writer Regina Brett wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer listing 45 lessons that life had taught her thus far. As a breast cancer survivor, many of those lessons were learned the hard way. Five years later she added five more lessons rounding her list up to 50 and turned her popular list into a book called God Never Blinks. I found her list to be entertaining, inspiring and thought provoking. I thought I would go through each of her lessons learned and write about how that lesson has or has not come up in my own life, now that I am over 40 and feel old enough to have finally learned something.
Getting to see little Sam experience the world anew every day reminds me how hopeful we begin our lives. Everything is interesting, wondrous and generally impressive. Sometimes things are scary, but those often spur on a determined spirit. I love watching my son's wheels turn. To process the information overload that the world presents and figure out what to do with it all. Every day I ask him what he dreamed about during his sleep and then work to expose him to some new experience on which to build more dreams. I want him to look forward to the start of each day. To the endless possibilities of excitement, pleasure and fulfillment.
Eventually he will whine about wanting to stay in bed, to sleep the day away, to avoid the world or shut it off now and then. We all do that from time to time. I want to do it every time it is cold and rainy - the perfect day to stay in bed with soap operas. But I drag myself out of my comfy covers and into the shower. I scrub the grumpiness out of my soul and start thinking instead of what's on tap for the day. What needs to be done and what places I'll be. I think about whether there will be time to branch out - to go around a corner and see what's there. A way to try something new. It motivates me to allow myself the potential for change.
Do you do this in the shower? Plan out your day? Get your thoughts in order? Dream a little? For me, the shower is like a clean start - physically and mentally. It brightens the spirit and gives me a fresh beginning. When I'm not going so well, it provides a little hope. Makes me feel new and shiny. That today will be different. Today will be better. When I'm going great, it provides confidence and confirms that today will be the best. The only time it isn't a happy haven is when I have an annoying tune stuck in my head. In the shower, I just can't shake it. That damn song hangs over me like the steam clouding the mirror.
Getting from that lazy, sad spot to the fresh and motivating shower is the hard part. But knowing that better things are out there in the world does the trick every time. The cool stuff is not going to come to my room - no matter how many channels my TV receives. The cool stuff is outside, around new corners, with other people. People who appreciate nice smelling shampoo and soap.