Every year, at some point between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I watch It’s a Wonderful Life on TV. I make fun of it all the way through, because, let’s face it, there’s lots to make fun of. (I mean, really, if George Bailey wasn’t born, Mary would be a frumpy, old-maid librarian, complete with glasses and hair pinned up in a bun? Forget for a minute that being an unmarried librarian is far from a fate worse than death, isn’t it just as likely she would have married George’s old friend, Sam Wainwright?) But no matter how much I make fun of it, I always tear up when I read Clarence’s message at the end of the movie: No man is a failure who has friends.
Mark Twain, from whom the quote is borrowed, and George Bailey, too, may have been men of many close friends. I am not. I have a small circle of dear friends that I love, a slightly larger circle of people I consider friends because I like them and we shares some commonalities, and an even larger circle of acquaintances who I enjoy seeing now and again about town, maybe even could be friends with under certain circumstances, but in reality we’re just not.
But it’s not about numbers. The mere having of friends, no matter how many, enhances our lives. To have someone to share our good fortunes and our bad with, someone to spend time with, someone to reminisce with as we grow old, that’s what makes this a wonderful life. So go be a friend to someone. Do something nice, something kind, something generous and caring, and let someone know they matter. And also that you matter. As we learn from that other Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol, it’s not too late.
And if those three spirits of Christmas should happen to move you, it’s also not too late to start a pension plan for 2018. I’ll be happy to help.
#Wednesday Wisdom #Christmas #It's a Wonderful Life #A Christmas Carol
I made some fitness goals at the beginning of this year. These were actually the least important of my goals, physical feats that I wanted to accomplish before my 60th birthday, which just happens to be today. No, I’m not looking for any “happy birthday” responses, although if you do sincerely wish for me to have a happy birthday, then I sincerely appreciate that. Just don’t feel obligated to say it on any form of social media.
Far more important were my goals to become a better person, the specifics of which I keep private. These private goals tend to be less concrete, a little more vague. (I wouldn’t, for example, vow to provide meals to an exact number of homeless people, but I might promise myself I’d feed some of our area’s hungry.) And being vague, it’s a little harder to measure success for those goals. Let’s just say I did OK, though I know I could have done better.
Posting my fitness goals on Facebook was for me a small act of courage. I knew there was a good chance I wouldn’t make some of them, and it’s a little embarrassing for me to have others know of my failures. But if I was trepidatious, I took comfort in knowing that I really didn’t have to ever post the results of my endeavors, and pretty much no one would even remember I said anything. That’s the beauty of people, we’re all too self-centered to remember what other people said if it’s not about us.
But here I am, 44 weeks after my original post, ready to let everyone know how I did. Not because I think anyone will love or respect me more or less based on my results, but because I like to share. (I did include myself in that self-centered comment above.) Besides, maybe it will inspire just one person to try something, and that’s never a bad thing. So here goes:
Goal 1: To lose weight. I’m not even going to mention the number of pounds I was going to lose. I was fresh off of my 2017 weight loss of 22 lbs, and I was feeling ambitious. But the actual poundage doesn’t matter, what’s important is … I didn’t lose anything! That’s OK, though, because I also didn’t gain anything. I weigh the same now as I did at the beginning of the year, and I’m going to count that as a win.
Goal 2: Do 60 push-ups. I realized early on that if I could do 20 or 30 push-ups, increasing by one every few days wasn’t much of a challenge. So I increased this to three sets of 60 push-ups, which I did back in June.
Goal 3: Run one mile in under 9 minutes, which I accomplished in September when I ran a mile in 8:56. Not being a particularly fast runner at any point of my life, I kind of impressed myself.
Goal 4: Bike 60 miles. Wait, did I say miles? I meant to say kilometers. No, I’m jk. My longest ride this year was just over 38 miles. Not bad, but not quite what I was shooting for.
Goal 5: Run six miles in 60 minutes. This was always a stretch. Two years ago, I had a hard time running a mile. I built that up during 2017, but I was still nowhere near to six ten-minute miles. Just two weeks ago, I hit my best time yet, finishing six miles in 60:56. I’m going to truncate that, call it 60 minutes, and put it in the success column. Or maybe I’ll count it as one year ahead of schedule for running six miles in 61 minutes by my 61st birthday.
Whether I share them or not, I’ll have new goals for next year. I hope you do, too. If you want to tell me about them, I’m happy to listen. I just can’t swear I’ll remember them if they’re not about me.
#Wednesday Wisdom #Goals #Birthday #Happy Birthday
I’m an optimist by nature. Not many know that about me because I also like to complain. For some reason, people believe these are opposite traits. They’re not. I’m an optimist who likes to complain.
Some examples of my optimism:
My wife and I went to Costco last week and bought some treats to give out on Halloween. My wife thought we should only buy one box, but I said we needed three. (Even that, I felt surely, would not be enough.) We settled on a box of thirty-six Linden’s Chocolate Chippers and a box of thirty Hershey’s candy bars. When those were gone, we would have to resort to using our own private stash of 100 calorie packs and maybe some dollar bills for the teenagers who showed up long after dinner.
At 3:00 last Wednesday, I was ready. We had the added excitement this year of our two grandsons staying with us, so I figured I’d go to a few houses with the 2 ½ year old and then rush back to give out our own candy. But even though I was ready at three, we wouldn’t be going until at least four. That gave me an hour to complain about having to wait. Right when we were about to go, two costumed kiddies came to our door.
“I knew it!” I said. “We’re going to run out of treats!” My wife just rolled her eyes.
We did get some more trick-or-treaters. By dinner time, we’d given out about ten bags of cookies and the same amount of candy bars. No teenagers showed up after dinner. No more ghoulies or superheroes or princesses rang our doorbell. In the end, we were left with almost four dozen Halloween treats, plus the bucket of candy our grandson brought home.
“Great,” I thought. “Now I’m going to have to eat all this fattening stuff myself.”
Oh, well, I can always lose that extra weight next year.
#MondayMorning #Halloween #Costco #Hershey's #Linden's