Last week was fantastic - full of surprises, fun family time, great weather, two days with both children, inspiration from various angles, conversations with youth, memorable moments, touching emails, soothing phone calls and much more. One moment that moved me was an email correspondence with a close Canadian friend that I have known for almost 20 years. I was surprised that she almost lost her way yet happy to hear that my blog has been an inspiration. We haven't talked or seen each other for quite some time but do keep in touch via email.
Below are parts of our email correspondence from last week:
Hello George, All is well. My daughter started kindergarten last week, which went very well. My son is having a hard time watching his big sister leave without him...As always I’m enjoying your wonderful outlook on life.
Happy you enjoy my outlook on life. You are a big part of my life and glad we are still in touch. I think of our times often!
You are a true blessing...I wish you so much happiness, you deserve it! Thank you for your blog, I had lost myself for a while and now I'm finding a new me...so are my kids...I often think of the old times too, great company and conversations...moments that I will cherish forever.
I lost myself by being afraid. Afraid to make decisions that would make life too difficult. Closing myself around myself rather than being honest and facing challenges with my chin up... Dwelling on past decisions, being unhappy in my relationship, being caught up in the hustle and bustle of a fast moving world rather than enjoying the moments...Not telling myself, ``It is what it is`` often enough...I know there is a better me inside,(I know this sounds so cliché), I really want to find her!!! I've put off so many things, it's hard to get reorganized...
All the examples of your friends in your blogs, it's all me...
Wow. Glad you are battling back. We all have our moments of despair and all we can do is fight through it and as you say, "keep our chin up".
You are a wonderful woman and have a great spirit, remember that. It's hard to impact or impress me but you did from the moment we met. Also, you have helped many people in your life and that is the best thing we can do for this world as long as we keep our own priorities in mind.
Well, thank you for those nice words. I've always enjoyed your wisdom...Perhaps, one of my problems is I try too hard to help people and then I get caught in their misery...I am now going to start focusing on me...I've joined a stretching class and it's great...I forgot how important exercise is to our brain...how could I forget that!!!!
The aforementioned email dialogue re-enforced some of my beliefs:
1) Outlook on Life - She praised my outlook on life and that is important to recognize as not having a positive outlook despite our circumstances is detrimental to our progress. I've frequently been inspired by her positivity over the years!
2) Telling someone how much they are appreciated - We both exchanged some kind words to each other about how much we appreciate the memories and the friendship. Remember, people should smell the roses before they are six feet under!
3) Helping Others - It is vital to help others throughout life BUT not at the expense of your happiness and dreams. One cannot wallow in another's misery - it's more productive to give firm and gentle encouragement or support. One of my best friend's has been suffering for a long time due to his lack of focus and irresponsibility. I am always there for him and call him often yet only he can improve his circumstances. His unhappiness doesn't impact my focus, goals and outlook.
4) Exercise - She mentioned a stretching class and how it has benefited her. Why don't more of us see the beauty and benefit of exercising? There are very few things more important than moving our bodies! I just completed a half marathon after training all summer - I feel great!
5) Fighting Spirit - I am happy that my words have been encouraging but it was her "fighting spirit" and not wanting to give up on the gift of life that was the true motivator in regaining her focus. We all need those external motivating factors (i.e. friends, books, exercise,etc) when life is not going our way although the most important factor is what we have deep down in our soul and the willingness to let the positivity rise from the doom and gloom that is temporarily surrounding us.
Make sure to reach out and stay in touch with those people who have been or are important to you. I realize that in our busy worlds it is sometimes difficult to be in contact with current friends or find past friends. If you make the effort now and then, the fruits of your labor may bring tremendous benefits and/or much needed inspiration.
One of my favorite quotes sums it up:
Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world....
Happy Gswede Sunday!
My wife (far left) and close Swedish friends on a glorious day a few years ago