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Finding your happy place

my happy place

This feeling of almost overwhelming funk. Watching the news certainly hasn’t helped: tragedy both here and abroad and the constant political back biting. It’s exhausting. Plus, I didn’t go to my happy place this year: the beach. Oh, how I love the beach. But alas, our schedules did not permit such a getaway this year. It’s all left me feeling unrested and restless.

I thought it was just me. But it’s not. I’ve talked to several people who seem to be stuck in a similar funk. Just knowing I’m not alone helped lighten the weight a little.

There are plenty of folks much smarter and wiser than I whom you can turn to for advice. Many will tell you to pray and read scripture, and I’d be the first to agree that those two actions may do you a world of good.

But sometimes you need an immediate anti-funk injection.

And I discovered one quite by accident this afternoon. It worked for me, and I’m hoping it may work for you, too:

Think of a song from your youth.

A song that the 13-year old you would sing loudly and with absolute abandon.

Download it to your iPod or find the CD or whatever.

Get in your car, put on your sunglasses (even at night).

Play that song loudly.

Sing it ever louder. I mean, belt that sucker OUT!

When you get to a stop light, play air guitar. If you draw attention to yourself, all the better.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Will this little mini concert make the world a little less ugly? Probably not.

Is it a long term solution to your heavy heart? Most probably not.

But maybe, just maybe.

It will help you realize what I did.

That buried beneath all that heaviness we all tend to carry all too often,

there is joy.

We just need a little help finding it sometimes.

*Editor’s Note: The above video is the medley I stumbled upon this afternoon. And while I’ll admit that the 13-year old me was a big Journey fan, it could have been any number of belt-worthy songs.

Life is…

image courtesy of

My soon-to-be 14 year old son has never been one to ease into a conversation with small talk. Such was the case when he came into my office and asked, “Mom, what is the meaning of life?”

How does one give an adequate answer to a question that philosophers have been wrestling with for centuries? I could have given him canned, Christianese answer, but not one that would satisfy his honest inquiry. And I didn’t feel right telling him the meaning of life is to love God and love people when I don’t always subscribe to that philosophy myself. I knew he was looking for a better explanation.

Many have attempted to explain what life is:

“Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” – Forrest Gump

“Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth.” – Martin H. Fischer

“Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.” – Lillian Dickson

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

– William Shakespeare

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”

– Mother Teresa

“Life’s a bitch and then you die.” – Nas (Nasir Jones)

“Life is a sexually transmitted disease and the mortality rate is one hundred percent.” – R. D. Laing

“Life is a foreign language; all men mispronounce it.” – Christopher Morley

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

“Life is a long lesson in humility.” – James M. Barrie

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it.” – Jack Handey

“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.” – Danny Kaye

“Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.” – Bertrand Russell

And the folks we rented a RV from over the weekend even put their two cents in:

"Life is a journey and only you hold the map."

When faced with the question of the meaning of life, answers reveal more about the person responding than they do about its real meaning. In answer to his question, I told my son he will probably spend a lifetime in an attempt to answer that for himself, and that if he figures it out I would be grateful if he shared his answer.

Funny, my favorite quote about life comes from “Author Unknown”. Probably because rather than answering the what of life it addresses the how. Which I suppose also says much about me.

“There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart . . . pursue those.” – Author Unknown

What is the meaning of life?

And what does your answer say about you?

The Long Way Around

My mom and sister live about 20 minutes away from me in a gated community. Between social visits and dog and cat sitting, I’m over there quite a bit. Before my mom gave me a spare remote gate opener, I often felt the drive from my house to the front entrance of their neighborhood was only half the journey. Nowadays, I use the remote and I can enter through the back entrance. Once I gain access through this gate, their house is a mere two turns from my point of entry. It is truly a time and distance saver.

Contrast this to visiting before I had the remote. After pulling up to the main gate, I give the security guard my name, the address I would be visiting and my relationship to the resident. He or she writes down my license and make and model of my car, then phones the house and obtains permission for me to enter the subdivision.

Once through the main gate, I meander through the neighborhood towards the back where my sister’s house is located: left, left, right, left, left, right…A total of ten turns in all before I reach my final destination. Needless to say, I was grateful when my mom gave me the extra gate remote.

On my most recent visit, I again took the shortest route on my way in, but decided to take the long way back out. It’s been a long while since I took this route and I had forgotten all the sights on the way. There are beautiful homes of various styles ranging from southern colonial to Mediterranean splendor. There are small, man-made lakes with graceful fountains in their centers, beautiful landscaping and walking trails throughout. In the center of this community of homes is a large lake flanked on one side with a stacked rock cascading waterfall. It is home to several species of ducks and other water fowl. The stars of this aviary show are the graceful, white swans, which can be found here year round.

I decided to pull my car over and watch them for awhile. As I sat in my car, I thought back to the last time I had driven by this spot. Back then, there were four adult swans and six grey ducklings. I wondered if either of the two swans I saw today were once among the ugly ducklings I saw so many months ago.

I suppose I’ll never know for sure. Because while it’s true the shortest distance between two points is always a straight line, often the long way around is infinitely more interesting and educational.

To reward myself for taking the road less traveled, I got out of my car and chased all the ducks back into the lake. Cuz I’m mature like that…