Archive for June, 2012

MANEUVERING THIS LIFE

Yesterday I found myself pulling up to a stop sign behind a “Student Driver” car.  I happened to be driving behind her (yes I could tell it was a female) and realized it when there were no cars coming either direction but the car didn’t move.  Of course with how busy life is these days, it seems like our minds cannot just sit and be delayed even one second without questioning the motives of the person in front of us…and that is when I spotted the signage on the car.

I had a quick flashback to that first day of driver’s education class and I started to wonder what that class would be like these days.  My curiosity got the best of me and so I followed (notice I didn’t say tailgated) this driver for a couple miles.  It happened to be on my direct route to my next errand so please do not think I was stalking this new student driver…but I guess in a way, I was.  I could have gone around her at any moment however I soon realized that it was better to be behind her than anywhere else!!! 

She swerved between the lines that marked the road.  She went to get on the highway, which was a right turn, and put her left blinker on then caught herself and switched it.  Because she was focused so much on the blinker, she completely forgot about the brake pedal and took that turn at a rate of speed I would have been afraid for my life.  Then it was the merge into traffic that almost didn’t happen, 50 max speed on the highway swerving inside the lane lines, hitting some rumble strips, taking an exit at a similarly alarming speed as the first turn I witnessed, and slamming on the brakes to the stop sign.  I then saw the instructor reach over and grab the wheel as they headed into another turn…God bless those driving instructors…and God bless the runner that was on the side of the road she was about to encounter. 

I was astounded that they are allowed to be behind the wheel with such little skill, but that is coming from a girl that was raised on an apple orchard and learned to drive before my 10th birthday…and when it comes down to it, everyone has to start somewhere. 

This young driver can teach us so much about maneuvering life!!!  Slow life down at the stops and enjoy the scenery for a moment.  When you think you are turning left, maybe life wants you to turn right and take things at “inappropriate” speeds.  Merging into the flow of what everyone else is doing is sometimes necessary, but take things at your own speed.  There are lines drawn for us, but remember that sometimes fun happens outside the lines and the rumble strips make a fun noise and brings us back to being a child.  Sometimes exiting a situation at high speeds is necessary and stopping abruptly saves us.  In the end, it is often nice to have some guidance from someone who has more experience than us and we never know who is watching us and learning from our mistakes.

We only get one chance in this lifetime…I want to thank this young driver for teaching me so much over those 2 short miles! 

 

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THE FIRST OF 19

Over the past week, my family and I have been mourning the loss of my aunt.  Have I told you that my Mom is one of ten kids and my Dad is one of nine?  So to say I come from a HUGE family is a slight understatement.  My Aunt Lisa was the youngest of my Mom’s siblings and she is also the very youngest of all 19 of them.  She died of a heart attack and it was shock to the entire family and everyone in her life at a mere 50 years of age. 

Being from such a large family, when tragic things happen, everyone pulls together.  We spent 4 full days together talking about the incident, her life, her contributions and where the family will go from here.  The conversations were sprinkled with bouts of crying and fits of laughter.  We are not short of comedians in our family and the mixture of the humor and the sadness does an interesting thing to the physiology and helps things to process.  I am sure you have found yourself in an intense moment that was interrupted by a shift created from laughter. 

I learned a lot from sitting around and listening to the stories that were shared.  Two important lessons have surfaced from it all that I wanted to share with you. 

LESSON #1 :  SHOW UP!  My Aunt Gail, one of Lisa’s sisters said one of the things that came to mind when she thought about Lisa was that “She showed up.”  It is so true…whenever there was something going on, or someone needed something, Lisa showed up.  She showed up for family functions and parties.  She showed up for her husband and 3 children.  She showed up for her own friends and friends of her children.  She showed up for the family.  She showed up at work and for her co-workers.  She showed up.  This concept makes me look at my life and ask the question…”Am I showing up?”  And furthermore, “How am I showing up?”  and “Am I giving it 100%?”

LESSON #2:  PLAY FULL OUT!   If life was a game, Aunt Lisa played full out.  She always had a good time.  She celebrated a lot and was usually in the middle of any conversation that was happening.  If she didn’t start the conversation but wanted to be in it…you would her her raspy voice say, slightly under her breath, “What are you guys talking about?”.  If she was around in the room, you probably could hear her laugh.  Somewhere in the Callard lineage there is a gene for loud laughter, and she expressed that gene strongly.  After the funeral on Monday, I heard someone say, “You know, she was only 50 when she passed, however she lived more in those 50 years than others do who live into their 80s or 90s.”  What a great awareness and awesome perspective to have on what seemed to be a life cut short. 

My first real memories of Aunt Lisa were when I would babysit for her children.  At the time, she happened to be living in the same subdivision where I currently live and though the house is no longer there, I have vivid memories of being there a lot.  Over the past few months I have spent quite a bit of time running the roads around my house, passing that location twice per run and of course, like I do a lot, thinking about life. 

With the sudden passing of Lisa last week, and her funeral just a couple days ago, along with my regular morning runs and thoughts about life, that particular location has new meaning to me.  I will forever hold it as a place during my runs where I turn inside and remember to SHOW UP everyday and in every way in my life and PLAY FULL OUT!  What better way to start the day than with reminders like that.  I haven’t dealt with much death up to this point in my life, and am of course dreading the idea of the other 18 passing, however there are always lessons to learn about LIFE from both living and dying…and for that, I am grateful.  Thank you Aunt Lisa for those very important lessons and may you rest peacefully.

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FROM SEAT TO SEAT

One of my most favorite things to do is go to a comedy show and laugh.  There is so much that shifts in just a few minutes of good, wholesome laughter.  Last night, I was lucky enough to see Jerry Seinfeld live and of course laughed and laughed and laughed.  He is clever and so funny, and the literal person that I am, I really get a kick out of his humor.  He used his time to entertain the crowd however also used it to effectively deliver a couple LIVE AND LAUGH!messages about health which I was pleasantly surprised!

One thing that really caught my attention is he said something like “we spend our entire days going from one seat to another”.  He was talking about we get up out of bed and go and find breakfast and sit down.  Then we get up and get ready and go sit down in our cars.  We drive to work and then we sit down for the morning, get up to go sit back down at lunch, come back to sit back down at work for the afternoon, sit back in our cars to go home and sit down for dinner and spend the rest of our time sitting in front of the TV.  Have you ever thought about that?  He, of course, added in the joke of “no wonder we are building bigger and bigger seat cushions on our bodies!”

There seems to be a growing trend of jobs that require long, long hours in a seated position.  It is just how things are these days which is perfectly fine.  The challenge is that the body is designed, and happier and healthier, when it is in motion, when there is movement happening on a regular basis.  Unfortunately, the law of inertia states that “a body at rest, tends to stay at rest…”  If we sit all day, we tend to want to sit more, which leads to more and more and more…until life is a sedentary experience.

The other half of the inertia law states that “…a body in motion, tends to stay in motion”.  People often tell me that it is just too hard to get a workout program started.  I will add to that, the longer you wait, the harder it will be!  So GET UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spend your workday sitting if that is what your job requires…but after that, GET UP!  GET OUT OF THE CHAIR AND MOVE!!!  GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY YOURSELF!!!  Play, dance, run, walk, hike, go for a swim, go to the park, fire up the grill, shoot some hoops, play catch, do something but GET UP AND MOVE!!!  Life is passing by very, very quickly.  Grab something and hold on tight for the ride…or just sit there and watch the rest of us have all the fun!!  …and remember to laugh along the way since “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter” -E E Cummings.

Make the most of the day and spend more time UP OUT OF YOUR SEAT!!  …we only get one chance.

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