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Friday, July 8, 2011

Those "What I Did Over the Summer" School Essays

I always dreaded those first-day-back-at-school assignments to write what I did over the summer.  It was the same.  We spent two weeks visiting both sets of grandparents in Kansas.  It was wonderful and I have great memories.  We also went to the pool to swim at home.  I visited nearby friends within walking distance.  When I got a little older, I babysat.  But all that paled to my schoolmates' tales of spending a month in France or camping in ten different states or sailing along the coast.

I'm all grown up now and when I run into someone I haven't seen in a while, it still gives me pause when asked "What have you been up to?"  I haven't found the cure for cancer; I haven't gone abroad with the Peace Corps; I haven't traveled to Mexico to build a church; I haven't helped rebuild a city ravaged by hurricane or tsunami.  I have donated funds which I hope found its way into each of those endeavors.  However, it just doesn't have the same zing as spending my time there, getting my hands dirty, making unused muscles sore.  And my donations were not one or two digits followed up by six zeros, either.

Writing my books does not reach the lofty goals I mentioned above.  But that's just it.  That's the point here.  When I run into an acquaintance I haven't seen in years, I can tell them "I'm an author, with three e-books on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, plus I'm working on finalizing my debut novel.  I have eight more fiction books in the works, too."

Just do something a little outside your normal, day-in/day-out, staid, predictable routine.  Like adding miniscule spices and hard-to-see herbs to your food can make a huge difference, add some variety to each and every day.  It could be stopping on the way home and spending just ten minutes picking wild blueberries by the railroad tracks near your home.  Or taking a one-day powder-puff mechanics class that gives you the added skill of being able to change out your car's air filter.  It could be starting a conversation with someone in your yoga class, making a new friend, finding out more about their fascinating life.

Not only does this cause us to grow, both in confidence and in knowledge, but you took action.  Action begets more action like success begets more success.  Every day find one way to add some ingenuity to your schedule.  Drive a different way home.  Really survey your surroundings, searching for treasure not-yet-named.  Check out various parks in your area and see if any have hiking/biking trails.  Take them!

I cannot possibly list all the choices here.  My mind, time and responsibilities hinder me.  But just get your imagination on notice that you want to see things differently, see more choices.  Your life will blossom.

One more thing.  Yes, there will be someone who will cure cancer.  That person's success will be worldwide and affect a lot of people.  However, that does not mean the reasons for you being here, your goals to reach, are not needed either, or by as many people.  This blog is to instill self-esteem which I believe is a foundational building block, if not the foundational building block as self-esteem is just another way to say self-love without the egocentric connotations.  Self-esteem is needed by all.

So don't rank your success against someone else's.  They are all needed on this earth.  And because you help just one does not make your role in the universe less than someone who helps millions.  Like that story of the child throwing one starfish after another back in the water.  Someone pointed out to her how there were so many she couldn't help, so many she did not reach for, trying to discourage her from even doing what little she could.  Her reply?  I'm helping the one I throw back in the ocean.

And what a great concept.  I'm helping ONE.  If everybody helped just a single, solitary, sole individual, the whole world would benefit and be the better for it.  I happen to believe that I am the person I should help first, to better me.  That way I have a growing wealth of wisdom to dip from in order to assist another.  You are doing your part, in no small way, when you help just one.  Keep at it.

Also, please feel free to share your get-out-of-my-rut ideas with the rest of us.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Denise,

    I love this post. You brought a tear to my eye with that starfish story and you totally inspired me.

    What do I do to get out of a rut? Not sure I'm ever really IN a rut. I tend to change things up a lot in my life and have trouble focusing more than I do de-focusing! I guess the greatest way not to get into ruts is to have interesting friends and read a lot. I may be sitting in the same chair at my computer every day but the interactions I'm having on the Internet or on my phone expand me constantly and reading... wow. So much to learn.