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Editing My Life

editingThere are times when I think back to the person I used to be, and I realize I wouldn’t like her.

Scratch that.

I probably would have liked the REAL person I used to be. What I wouldn’t like is how she presented herself to the rest of the world.

What I needed was an editor:  someone who adjusted my words (and actions) so they took into account the perspective of others and helped me better explain where I was really coming from.

Take, for example my test taking experiences as a teenager.

I’d take a test then complain to everyone around me that I had failed. When I’d get back a 94 or a 96 out of 100, the other students would groan,roll their eyes and show their basic irritation that I had lied about failing.What they didn’t understanding was that I hadn’t lied. To me, any score less than perfect was a failure. I hated falling short.

What I didn’t get was that some students really failed – even when they did their best.

If I’d had an editor, he/she would have told me that failure really is a relative term and  instead of proclaiming  it, I should have said I wish I’d done better.

Recently, instead of worrying about a score on a graded test, I find myself worrying that I’m falling short in various aspects of my life. I’ve come to realize that I still need an editor. Life experience is a good editor, but it’s not perfect.

Maybe that’s because I still expect myself to excel at everything I attempt, and when I fall short, I focus too much on my imperfections.

A good editor would tell me that life is as much about the experience than it is about the outcome, and I should appreciate the experiences.

Maybe that’s because I still find myself judging people by the standards I set for myself, and when don’t show the same passion, or they blame others for their shortfalls or when they just show up rather than commit to making a difference, I get irritated.

A good editor would tell me that judging someone never provides any insight. Giving people the opportunity to tell their own stories in their own words does.

And maybe it’s because I worry that there is so much to accomplish.

A good editor would tell me that any thought, belief or desire that we actually put in writing is an opportunity to touch lives and influence others. Once our words leave our care, we can’t control who is actually listening or reading. We just have to trust that the right person will hear them.

There are times when I wonder how I will someday look back and view the person I am today. And I wonder if I’ll still note how I needed an editor.

That’s when I realize that I am actually my own best editor.

All I need to do is listen and follow her advice.

 

365 Reasons To Smile- Day 192

My childhood  bedroom had light purple walls, a gauzy, floral lavender bedspread and a purple and white rug. If a photo of it were placed in a lineup, none of and my adult friends would pick it out as mine. In fact, they would probably pick it as the least likely to have been mine. 

My bedroom in my first apartment after college was done entirely in black and white with red accents. Ansel  Adams prints hung on the wall and there were no flowers anywhere. Looking back, the room seems rather cold, but at the time I thought it was very mature.

far fromNow, I’m partial to orange and yellows and rooms that feel warm and inviting.

My changing tastes don’t just remind me of where I’ve been and whom I once was. They also remind me that I still don’t know exactly whom I’ll be someday.

That thought always makes me smile.

Day 192: Growing Into the Person I’ll Someday Be

Day 191:  Matt Groening  Day 190: Tuning Out Bad News and Tuning In to What We Enjoy  Day 189: Parents Who Encourage Independence  Day 188: Watching Young Minds at Work  Day 187: Funny Phone Calls  Day 186: Healthy Lungs  Day 185: Reality Checks Day  184: Coincidence  Day 183: Lame Attempts to Go Retro  Day 182: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 181: Goofy Childhood Memories  Day 180: A soak in a bathtub  Day 179: Optimism  Day 178: The Year’s Top Baby Names  Day 177: Reading on a Rainy Day   Day 176: “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey  Day 175: Watching the Torch Pass  Day 174: Converse Tennis Shoes  Day 173: Family Acceptance  Day 172: Christmas Day 171: The Mr. Grinch Song  Day 170: Positive People  Day 169: Watching Movies From my Childhood With My Kids  Day 168:  Jealous Pets   Day 167:  Family Christmas Recipes  Day 166:  Church BellsDay 165:  School Holiday   164: Unexpected Grace  Day 163: Letting Go of Things We Can’t Control  Day 162: Anticipating a good story   Day 161: Hope  Day 160:  When Dogs Try to Avoid Embarrassment  Day 159: Surprises in the Mail  Day 158: Kids who aren’t superficial  Day 157:  A Garage on Winter Days    Day 156:  Real Christmas Trees    Day 155: Being a Parent   Day 154: Selfless People Day 153:  Nelson Mandela  Day 152: Memorable Road Trips  Day 151: Great Neighbors  Day 150: Oscar Wilde’s quote about being yourself   Day 149:  Love Letters  Day 148:  The first day of Advent  Day 147: The Breakfast Club   Day 146: Marriage and Shared Anniversaries 145: JFK’s quote about gratitude  Day 144:  Watching My Dog Play   Day 143: Having my Family’s Basic Needs Met  Day 142:  When Our Children Become Role Models  Day 141: Random Acts of Kindness  Day 140; People Watching  Day 139: Sharing Interests with My Children  Day 138: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Best Advice  Day 137: Weird Human Behavior about Garbage  Day 136: Postcards from Heaven  Day 135: Mickey Mouse  Day 134: Generous Souls  Day 133: I’m Moving On  Day 132: A Family That is Really Family  Day 131:   A Personal Motto  Day 130:  Mork and Mindy  Day 129: The Bears’ House  Day 128:  Veterans  Day 127: Doppelgangers  Day 126: Letting Life Unfold as It Should  Day 125: The Constantly Changing Sky  Day 124: When History Repeats Itself   Day 123: The Love Scene in The Sound of Music Day 122:  Helen Keller  Day 121:  The Welcome Back Kotter Theme Song  Day 120: Sheldon Cooper  Day 119: Having Permission to Make Mistakes  Day 118: A Diverse Group of Friends  Day 117:  Family Traditions Day 116: The Haunting Season  Day 115; Life Experience Day 114:  Changes  Day 113:  The Wooly Bear Caterpillar  Day 112: The National Anthem  Day 111: Parents Who Care   Day 110: Good Friends Day 109:  My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss  Day 108:  A.A. Milne QuotesDay 107: Spending Time Wisely Day 106: Parades  Day 105:  The Peanuts Gang Dancing   Day 104:  Sharing a Secret Language   Day 103:  The Electric Company  Day 102:  Doing the Right Thing  Day 101:  When Siblings Agree  Day 100: Being Optimistic  Day 99: Trying Something New   Day 98:  The Sound of Children on a Playground  Day97: Good Advice  Day 96: Red and white peppermint candy  Day 95:  The Soundtrack from the Movie Shrek Day 94:  Accepting Change    Day 93:  True Love     Day 92: Camera Phones   Day 91: Bicycle Brakes    Day 90:  HeroesDay 89: The Cricket in Times Square  Day 88:  The Grand Canyon  Day 87: Unanswered Prayers Day 86: Apples Fresh from the Orchard Day 85: Being Human  Day 84: Captain Underpants  Day 83: The Diary of Anne Frank  Day 82: In Cold Blood Day 81: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry  Day 80: The Outsiders   Day 79:  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Day 78: The First Amendment Day77: People Who Touch Our Lives   Day 76:  The Rewards of Parenting    Day 75:  Improvements   Day 74:  Family Traditions   Day 73: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 72: Live Music  Day 71:  Sleeping In  Day 70:  Grover  Day 69:  A Good Hair Day   Day 68:  A Sense of Community   Day 67: Kindness   Day 66: Living in a Place You Love   Day 65: Gifts from the Heart   Day 64: The Arrival of Fall  Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird   Day 62: Green LightsDay 61:  My Canine Friends  Day 60:  Differences   Day 59:  A New Box of Crayons   Day 58: Bookworms  Day 57: Being Oblivious  Day 56: Three-day Weekends  Day 55:  A Cat Purring  Day 54: Being a Unique Individual   Day 53: Children’s Artwork  Day 52: Lefties  Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer  Day 50: Campfires  Day 49: Childhood Crushes  Day  48: The Words “Miss You”  Day 47:  Birthday Stories   Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us  Day 45:  Play-Doh   Day 44: First Day of School Pictures  Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes  Day 42: Appreciative Readers  Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote   Day 40:  Being Silly  Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents  Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories  Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon  Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap  Day 31: Perspective  Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans  Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows  Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads  Day 25: When Harry Met Sally  Day 24: Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck  Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love  Day 20 Personal Theme Songs  Day 19:  Summer Clouds  Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s VictoryDay 17:  A Royal Birth    Day 16:  Creative Kids  Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His MasculinityDay 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of HayDay 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still RememberDay  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessonsDay 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment   Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles  Day   3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs  Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street

What Remains in the Field

time

With rare exceptions, life doesn’t change overnight.

Instead, change is a slow and steady process that occurs minute by minute and day by day. And because the changes occur so slowly, they go unnoticed until they are indisputable.

I spent decades earning the crow’s feet around my eyes and the laugh lines around my mouth, but until recently I didn’t notice them. Then one morning, they were simply there in the mirror, and I realized that I’m not the same person I was 20 or 30 years ago.

I’m not completely different. I’ve always talked too much, laughed too loud and expressed my feelings too quickly. But I am also more confident, less likely to waste my time on petty people and petty issues and more appreciative of all life has to offer.

Time changes everything, and we can either adapt or languish.

corn and soybean2There’s no greater reminder of this than a farmer’s field.

Last summer, the fields where I ride my bike were full of corn. This spring, they were full of hay. And now they are full of soybean.

But they, like people, still hold on to pieces of their past.

In one of the fields, brown stalks of corn shoot above the green plants. All of the stalks stand in a row with the exception of one obstinate single stalk. The corn isn’t healthy and, at a glance, has absolutely no purpose.

But it serves a purpose to me.

Every day as I ride by, I am reminded that the stalks are remains of a field that once grew strong and healthy corn: a field that was cultivated and served its purpose and now serves a different purpose. And the current field wouldn’t be the same if the corn hadn’t once been there.corn in soybean

That corn represents my past: the decisions I’ve made, the words I’ve spoken and the relationships I’ve had. The stalks are like my memories. They remind me that I am the person I am today only because of the person that I used to be.

The remains in the field hold no regrets. They simply hold the power to remind me to remain grounded and remember my roots while never failing to change and grow.

I think I’ll take that advice.