Life's Too Short
When I originally signed up for this blog, I picked the second Friday of each month just to help myself keep track of it. I didn’t look ahead, I just started scheduling. When the reminder came that this one was going to fall on September 11, I paused. It’s a day that has such strong memories for so many people. To be honest, it intimidated me. Would I be up to writing something that would be appropriate? The doubts that often plague me when I sit down to write came back, and I even considered begging off and not writing this post.
Then I woke up, as I sometimes do, and realized--that’s not me. That’s not how this is done. Life continues on, as it should. So, I sat down to complete the task I’d set for myself, and I was surprised that I knew exactly what I wanted to write.
I remember being at my job at an assisted living that day. I live in Colorado, where most days throughout the year, the skies are a bright, clear blue. It’s usually crisscrossed with the contrails of a half dozen planes making their way across the world.
There weren’t any that day. The clear blue sky looked so empty. I remember sitting on a wooden bench out back, with several of the residents who were remembering other days. Pearl Harbor for one. We all kept looking up, wishing, desperately wishing, to see those contrails again. They were a sign of normal, and we all longed to return to normal.
Simple things, like those white vapor trails, have become much more important to me. I try to notice them throughout the day, and find myself giving some of my favorite things to my characters. It’s what makes them human to me, and hopefully to my readers.
Things like, when a song I love surprises me by playing on the radio. The taste of sweet corn this time of year. Neon lights on the side of a Ferris wheel. (We drove by a carnival tonight on the way home.) Sunrises and sunsets. Hot chocolate. Homemade ice cream. My dad’s smile when he tries not to laugh at something. My mom’s daily emails. My husband bringing me lunch at work. Finding the perfect gift for someone. Writing the perfect sentence. My dog’s tail wagging happily when she knows she’s going for a walk.
A friend of mine reads the comics every night before she goes to sleep. She says that at least that way, she knows even the worst days will end on a good note. I sort of stole her idea, but instead of that laugh at the end of the day, I decided to find the gem in each day. I try to think of at least one thing during the day that was special. Not spectacular, but special. Simple. There have been very few days I couldn't find something.
Are there little things that mean the world to you? Are there moments in a day that make the rest of the day worth getting through? Is there one thing that no matter what else is going on, you have to smile?Feel free to share your joys, or if you’re not sure what they are, take a minute, or two, and see if you can find them. And if nothing else—if it’s one of those days--maybe just start with the comics.
Life's too short not to cherish the joy, and sometimes that joy is simply a smile we give ourselves.