Monday, August 29, 2016

Sometimes We Just Have To Say No.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around for a while, you could miss it." --Ferris Bueller

For most of us, life is moving at a pretty fast pace these days. There's so much going on, we hardly have time to think. Technology has made it easier for us to take on more. We think it's great because we're so efficient but really are we that much more efficient? If we're taking on more, killing ourselves to do it all, leaving us so exhausted we can barely function, how is that efficient?

Then one day, we hit bottom and then we ask ourselves how this happened, how we didn't see it coming, why we didn't do a thing to stop it. Well, it didn't happen overnight, it came upon us so slowly we never even realized it. We were good at getting things done. People relied on us more and more. The better and more efficient we got, the more they relied on us. Why did we do it? Maybe out of a sense of loyalty, duty, responsibility, guilt, compassion, whatever the reason, we just kept on taking more. 


When that moment of realization hit us, the panic set in... what the hell do I do now?  We're asking ourselves how we stop the continuous loop and regain control. 

The answer my friends, is simple. We have to say no.  Oh if only it were that easy. Perhaps it is just that simple. Of course saying it is simple, it's just not so easy to put into practice. 

One word: no

Maybe just saying no politely and calmly is too subtle and it's just not enough to get anyone's attention, especially our own. Maybe what it takes is a bold statement like stopping in the middle of traffic on a Monday afternoon at 5 pm, getting out of our cars and yelling to the world, "I just can't do this anymore!" 

Now, how many of us are likely to go back to bad habits when our proclamation has been recorded by some not-so-well-meaning bystander and broadcast all over YouTube as part of the Nut-Of-The-Month Club? 

The bottom line is --we can't do it all, we just can't.  That well will run dry. Life is too short to live in exhaustion because we've got some warped sense of priorities. We have to take steps now to stop the insanity. It's not enough to just decide we're going to do it, we have to tell everyone. We can't just go around saying no and then going back to old habits. Once we say it, we have to mean it.  . 

Now that we're thinking seriously about doing it, the next step is to stop feeling guilty or irresponsible or like we 're letting everyone else down.  What about us? What about letting ourselves down? Doesn't that matter? Don't we matter? 

Yes, we do.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Remembering Elvis, Remembering Dad.

I was just shy of turning eight years old when Elvis died. Dad came home from work and played his Elvis records for hours. We were all so very sad as Elvis was a huge part of the pop culture of my youth, everyone loved him. I was raised on his music as he was as much a part of the music I listened to then as was the disco and pop of my generation.

Of all his songs that I enjoy, I have two favorites. The first is In The Ghetto which was released the year I was born. As sad as that song is, whenever I hear it, I am reminded of good times. That song brings back memories of Christmas and I think it's because that's when I first heard the song.  The second fave is My Way. Sure Sinatra did it great, but Elvis did it better. I get goosebumps when I hear his rendition. I come away from that song inspired. As I got older, I really began to appreciate that song more and what it truly means.

I can remember dad singing the lyrics to Elvis songs when he was in a good mood and just to entertain us he'd do a few Elvis moves that would make us laugh. He instilled in us an appreciation for the man and the music which I have to this day. Not only that, but his music reminds me of my childhood, the good times, and of course, dad.

Initially when I wanted to write my thoughts about the anniversary of Elvis's death, it was about paying tribute to the man and his music but then as I thought more about it, I realized this was more a tribute to my dad. Listening to Elvis's music conjures up thoughts and good times with dad. He was quite a presence and anyone who knew him would certainly agree. As it is with all of us, dad had his share of strengths and weaknesses but he did the best he could.

The day dad died, I wasn't ready...none of us were...but he was, of that I am certain. I didn't know it then but I came to realize it later. Looking back to the months and days leading up to it, I believe he knew it was his time. Don't ask me how he knew, he just did.

If anyone embodied the spirit of My Way, it was dad and so...on this day, instead of honoring Elvis, I'm going to honor my dad, who passed away in March 2009, just three days before his 63rd birthday.

Something tells me Elvis would be okay with that.

 And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way