We typically place our time where our priorities lie. There are the necessities that fall in the "have to" category we trudge through or triumphantly check off our to-do list weekly. Then there is the free space left to our discretion on how to fill each day. I generally attempt to fill that space with as many things that produce joy as possible. In the teen years of my daughter's life, we are at quality over quantity phase so, this frees up some space. I've left the decade I spent on racing fulfillment behind and have switched gears back to the sport that has brought me the same happiness as it did when I taught myself 27 years ago; surfing, hence, these blog posts now happening few and far between. Shift happens. Priority wise.
Each time I paddle out into the ocean is a different experience. But, I know that typically paddling out even if it doesn't look great, usually produces the same results. I leave the ocean with energy and a smile that lasts a long time resulting in a "When in doubt, paddle out" sort of life mantra. I almost didn't paddle out recently as I watched the ocean gently breaking close to shore in shallow water producing a wave no bigger than my ankle. I ended up catching a lot of those small waves and as it turned out, some bigger ones as well. I had so much fun and thoroughly enjoyed the peacefulness of the early morning changes in sky colors and having the spot all to myself.
Yesterday I watched Tropical Storm Isaias from my kitchen window as tornado warnings sounded from my phone thinking it didn't seem that bad. I did step away from the window until the warning passed before moving back into the kitchen to merrily get done all of my cooking and baking for the week. Even the cat stood at the back kitchen door meowing fearlessly to be let outside to which I obliged with a " Godspeed obese one". Once the rain stopped and the wind started to calm, I assessed the damage of a few small stray branches in the yard assuming the storm did not hit us with as much turmoil as it could have otherwise. After a peruse on social media, I realized how mistaken I had been. All around me tornados had touched down, trees uprooted completely and others had fallen through homes. Some homes had shingles torn off. Another home on the beach had the large chunks of the roof completely torn off. Small boats had been capsized and a transformer in town caught on fire above the flooded streets below.
Just like objects in the review mirror, things are not always what they seem. I recount these two scenarios to say, we can learn from everyday circumstances. In the face of both those tiny waves and the tropical storm, what I first saw and judged upon, turned out not to be true. How often have you decided on someone based upon first appearances or what you heard about that person? Or, not given a life change, or something new a fair shake. Take a cue from the lessons nature provides. Perhaps today make it a goal to not let gossip affect your thinking, be slow to form opinions, and even slower to make judgments. Decide to make the most of any situation. Find ways to include joy into your life each day even if it requires shifting priorities. The cat survived lazily strolling back inside hours later. You'll survive whatever it is that you're going through too. If you can find a silver lining or two in the midst, it will make your world as well as those surrounding you that much brighter.
photo credit tropical storm Isaias: Nedra Johnstone