Black Dog

Years ago, driving down a dark road with my young daughter, we came upon a black dog in the middle of the road.

An utterance arose from within, without invitation. Sometimes life delivers succinct messages—no needless words—that remain permanently branded in our brains.

Pixabay: Pexels. Free for commercial use; no attribution required

Black dog.

In road.

At night.

Not good.

 

I tensed; swerved.

And missed it.

 

Photo source: Pexels on Pixabay


 

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This is Not Good

Pixabay: OpenClipart-Vectors. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.My dad told me a story from his youth about hitting a skunk at night while driving his father’s car. When he got home and climbed out of the car, the skunk smell was strong. He smelled of skunk. He knew his mother would ask questions.

This is not good, he thought.

I’ve had that same thought; said the same thing when something went wrong: This is not good.

Like my dad, I don’t say, this is bad.

Why is that?

This is bad is shorter. To the point. Clear. Definitive. The opposite of not good is bad. Right?

But this is bad somehow sounds worse.  There’s good and there’s bad and this is bad is clearly bad.

This is not good subtly leaves open possibilities other than bad. Maybe this thing that is not good is actually…maybe…great? Not good slows down thinking; interrupts a clear and definitive conclusion of bad.

It gives some wiggle room; buys some time with the inner Judge.

Maybe that sounds like fuzzy logic, but it works for rice cookers, so I’ll take it.

And…I never learned how the skunk story ended.

But my dad survived.

 

Photo source: OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay


 

F’ing Bees

114_Fing-Bees“Look!” I said to Bubba. “It’s spring! The rosemary bush is covered with bees, busy gathering pollen. Look at them all.”

Bubba glanced up. “You’re right, there are a bunch of bees.”

“Just think,” I continued. “All those lovely girl bees; working away. Meanwhile, the guys are back at the hive, smoking cigars, hoping they get lucky and get to f*ck the Queen. And then die.”

 

Photo source: Walk the Goats

(P.S. I know that’s not rosemary; it’s an artichoke flower.)

 


 

Our Home Security Checklist

Pixabay: PhotoMIX-Company. Free for commercial use; no attribution required

Bubba and I will be several blocks from home when one of us turns to the other and asks, “did you lock the door?”

The question triggers doubt. The doubt clings.  When that question gets asked, we’ve learned to turn around, go home and check. Then we can go forward, unencumbered by worry.

Locking the door is an automatic habit. We do it absently. Most of the time. Except for those times we forget.

Because we occasionally do forget, our question—did you lock the door—compels us to return home.

With all our mindfulness exercises, we kept thinking there must be some way to help us remember if we locked the door.

There is.

It’s a professionally-approved system, elegant in its simplicity.

As I insert my key in the lock—we live in a dumb house and are damn proud of it—I say, out loud as I turn the key, “I locked the door.”

Sometimes I say it twice, always out loud.

If Bubba is there, he says it back, “you locked the door.”

It’s very low-tech. No app required. Short. Concise. Engages the brain in actively noting the task as it’s being done.

To help me not view it as a sign I’m getting older, I imagine it’s like a pilot going through their pre-flight checklist. I don’t care how many hours they’ve flown, I want them verbally saying each item on the list as they do it.

If it’s good enough for them flying a plane, it’s good enough for our home security system.

 

Photo source: PhotoMIX-Company on Pixabay


 

Nudged Toward Retirement

111_NudgedTowardNotWorking2_3-6-19Given the nature of life, sh*t happened this past year.  The same month I started blogging, mom almost died. She didn’t, not then, but 6-months later cancer got her. My blog turned out to be an unexpected blessing; a place I could try and make sense of mom’s last months. Who would’ve known when I launched WTG it would give me a place to unpack stuff, and get support from fellow bloggers?

At this time last year, I was still working, self-employed. After mom’s first hospital scare, I scaled back my hours to be available. It allowed several trips east to help navigate mom’s health issues. After her death, I called it quits, claiming sabbatical, but wondering if I’ll ever go back to seeing clients. I was ready to stop; this was an easy nudge.

Given the time I’ve spent helping dad with things—some of which mom used to handle—I’m grateful I’m not also juggling a full-time job. Between mom’s-post-death stuff, Board duties, Bubba-relationship, and blogging, my days are filled.  As some commitments fade away, I’ll see what new interests reveal themselves.  Maybe National Novel Writing Month?

Not working is intriguing.

Friends thinking about retiring fear they won’t know what to do with their days.

Friends who’ve retired say they’re always busy, although half-the-time they admit they can’t figure out what they did all day. They share a persistent wondering: “how’d I used to work full-time, raise kids, do the shopping, run errands, make meals, clean the house and occasionally have fun?”

Sabbatical is my version of not working; certainly of being busy while not getting paid. My experience throws me solidly in the how’d I used to manage all that stuff camp.

I’m getting a taste of not working; feeling a nudge toward retirement. I like it.

How about you? If you’re retired (or nearing retirement) or on sabbatical, what inner voices chirp away in your head? Are you embracing or resisting it? Scared by or excited by it?

And if you’re fully immersed in it, what fills your days?

 

Photo source: geralt on Pixabay