So much is happening in the world right now.
We are in a high state of anxiety. We are all exhausted from worrying about life on every front: the war in Ukraine, wildfire danger, the rising costs of food, gas, fire insurance, and taxes. It’s getting expensive to breathe.
Fear can be paralyzing. We need to escape, or at least take a break, from worry.
Where do we go when we need to unwind? What helps us recharge and renew?
Taking time for renewal is critical to our survival. We all need to stop periodically and recharge our energy level, or it becomes impossible to function.
Some people excel at meditation. Others play sports. Many love music, cooking, shopping, fishing, hiking … or space travel. Well okay, so maybe space travel isn’t exactly on the menu yet. But I keep hoping.
I like to walk in the woods, swim, sit outside, listen to the quiet, or read a book. Sometimes I want a real book, not an electronic one, but an actual paperback book that I can hold. I love the feel of the pages turning in my hands. I often pick up used books in local thrift shops for $1. Or go to the local library. Or trade books from those little lending library boxes around town. What a wonderful idea these are!
What does renewal mean to you? We each seek it differently. For some of us, this might mean spending time with a family member or friend and getting away to a fun destination for a few days, or even a few hours. Maybe it’s something simple like a picnic in the grass. The picnic can even be in your own yard.
Some people love going to a concert. The Auburn State Theater has some great headliners these days for bargain ticket prices, and other venues like the Auburn Recreation District and the Gold Country Fairgrounds are offering entertaining events as we emerge from the relentless shadow of COVID.
Are rest and relaxation even achievable anymore? Too many people feel pressured to work ever-increasing hours and take less time off. The 8-hour work day has been eclipsed by 10, 12, 14, and even 16 to18 hour shifts. Many people work 6 to 7 days a week. This is a crime.
Americans work harder than anyone else in the world. But at some point, we must stop working, rest, and take time to renew. We need to tell those employers to take a hike, literally and figuratively. There are plenty of different jobs out there to choose from.
Here is a thought that can change our collective perspective on life’s challenges:
Go outside and talk to people. Real people, not the ones you see and hear about in the media, but the people right here in our everyday lives. Smile at your postal carrier, grocery clerk, bank teller, sales person, or a neighbor. Ask them how they are doing. It’s amazing what you’ll hear.
While talking to my internet service provider the other day on the phone, I realized at one point that the representative was genuinely trying to help me. So, I quit complaining and asked him how he was doing, and where he was from. I learned that he had attended 37 different high schools, lived all over the world, spoke half a dozen languages and had an eclectic combination of accents that could only be described as from ‘Planet Earth’. He was funny enough to be a talk show host and one of the most intriguing people I’d ever ‘met’ on the phone. And that conversation had started out as a service complaint.
Realizing this made me think about how much every person matters in life. Each one of us is equally amazing. We just need to look at each other to see the light in our world, and the light in our own lives. And remember to say “thank you”.
I watch my little grandson when he plays. He loves everybody unconditionally. He smiles at everybody and takes the greatest joy in the company of others. His face lights up when he sees other people. This is a gift. I want to experience this same childlike wonder when I look out at the world. Finding joy in the company of others can be the gateway to true peace of mind.
Every so often we need to put down our electronic devices. Turn off the television and radio. Take a look around us. Smile as we step out into real life. Life can feel overwhelming … or wondrous and inviting.