Addictions come in all kinds of flavors

Aside from a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance, Merriam-Webster defines addiction as the quality or state of being addicted. It frustrates me when words are defined as another form of the same word. That said, ‘addicted’ is described as one having devoted or surrendered to something habitually or obsessively. Continue reading “Addictions come in all kinds of flavors”

Thrown off by free time

Free time throws me off, and I do not think I am the only one it throws off. You run non-stop, trying to tackle every item on the to-do list. You end the day, frustrated that barely two items were removed from the list, while 16 other items were added. You wake the next morning, stepping onto the same hamster wheel ready to repeat the day, when suddenly, the wheel stops. You have just been given ‘free time’. Yes, the list and obligations still exist, but someone has just handed you a ‘get out of jail, free’ card, entitling you to day of free-time. What on earth do you do with that?! Do you immediately create another list, this one listing things you accomplish with your free time?

I talked with a friend today. Her daughter had an ‘away’ game today, so she would not be home until late. My friend’s husband had plans with people at work, so he was also going to be home late. My friend had the night ‘off’, and she wondered how she was going to spend it. I have found myself in that position several times. And, as silly as it may sound, I find I get a bit stressed when I have free time. What on earth am I suppose to do with free time? It is so easy to get caught up in the ‘do this’/ ‘do that’ kind of lifestyle, and I find an overwhelming sense of guilt comes over me when I have ‘free’ time. Goodness knows, if you go up to someone and say, “Hey, I have some free time today ….”, you may be interrupted with a response similar to, “You have free time?! Oh. I wish I had some free time. I don’t even know what free time is anymore.”

I do not know if this is 100% accurate, but this is a blog – and are blogs suppose to be 100% accurate? Consider this my A Million Little Pieces. (Oh, bad joke.) Anyway, it is as if the world wants to be busy 24/7 and scoff at the idea that someone actually has free time. Someone always has to be busier than the next person. And, if someone dare talk about taking the day off, it’s as if they are lesser of a person, unable to keep up with the proverbial Jones family. Again, I admit that may not be entirely accurate, but I think there is a valid point hidden in my words. Maybe? Perhaps? Or not.

Recently, I wrote about Curious George. The fan mail I received with that post was overwhelming. Really. You fans are truly amazing. I would not be here, if it were not for all of you clicking and reading. Thank you. Ok, so I did not win any followers with my Curious George rant, which means the fact that I am about to make a point by using Curious George may have you leaving this post right about . . . now.

I watched an episode of Curious George where the Genius was overwhelmed with her work. The man in the yellow hat suggested she take a day off on Saturday and join them in the park. The genius agreed, and the three of them met on Saturday morning to spend 4hrs in the park. The man in the yellow hat prepared for this outing, and he had a list of things to do to relax. He also kept checking his watch, to ensure they did not relax more than the 4hr time allotted. As you might imagine, things did not go too smoothly. First, the genius was discombobulated, because she did not know what to do with her free time. Second, the man with the yellow hat was so focused on the list and the ticking clock, that he became flustered and created problems. Well, George created the problems, but the man in the yellow hat opened the door.

I think free time throws people off track, off kilter, etc. And, as I said, I get thrown off with free time. When I know my husband and boys are gone for the day, I tend to spend the time watching the clock tick to the time my family returns home. And eating? Wow. I cannot tell you how much I eat when they are gone. It is as if I have never eaten, and I go hog wild. (Pun intended.) It is truly better for my waistline that the guys do not give me free time. Then again, truth be told, hobbies do a body, mind and spirit good. Which brings me back to my friend.

My friend admitted that she did not know what to do with her free time, because there was not really anything she wanted to do with it. She didn’t really have any hobbies of which to speak. The same holds true for me. I do not have a long (or short) list of hobbies. I enjoy doing some things; but, if I am given free time, I tend to ‘freak out’, for lack of a better term. Hobbies suddenly become chores, and who wants to do chores during their free time? Not me. I suggested to my friend that she head to a coffee shop to sit, sip and surf. I find the ambiance of a coffee shop to be very relaxing. And, since having started blogging, I have made it a point to patronize coffee shops.

I am not sure why I am thrown off by free time, but I am trying to get a handle on it. I hope my friend made it out tonight, and I hope she enjoyed her ‘get out of jail, free’ card. Though, neither she nor I believe we are in any sort of jail. We both like our life, we just do not know what to do with it at times. In any case, I hope you are able to enjoy your free time, too. We all deserve free time. And, we all deserve to enjoy free time without guilt. So, the next time someone hands you a ‘get out of jail, free’ card, take it and walk away happy, leaving the lists and plans behind you. After all, the lists and plans will be there when you return.

Life goes on

My Dad wearing the cowboy hat he received for Christmas.

My Dad died in the early hours of February 5th 1994. I had flown home from Washington DC the day before he died. When I got to the hospital, my Dad was unconscious and on a respirator. Seeing him for the first time with all the tubes and machines attached to him, I screamed and ran out of the room. I was not prepared to see him in such a state. The last time I saw my Dad, which was September the previous year, he was healthy (so we thought). After I composed myself, I went back into his hospital room and talked to him as if he could hear me.

I went home with my brother and sister-in-law that night, and my sister-in-law woke me up around 1AM, letting me know my Dad had died. Some of my family went to the hospital to see my Dad one last time. I chose to stay at my brother’s house. My Dad was cremated, so my last image of my Dad is in the hospital. The siblings of mine that saw my Dad after he died are thankful for their last image. They said he looked peaceful. I suppose a part of me wishes I had made a different decision the morning my Dad died, though I can easily look at pictures of my father and erase the hospital image of him.

When my Dad died I was heartbroken. One of the toughest things to face was the fact that life continued. I was mourning. My family was mourning. My Dad’s friends and colleagues were mourning. Still, the world around all of us continued to move forward, as if nothing horrible had happened. I can remember driving down the interstate consumed with sadness, and I became so angry when I noticed other people laughing in their cars. How could they laugh at a time like this? Didn’t they know a great man had just left his world?

As I type this, many nameless people are mourning the loss of a loved one. Many nameless people are sitting bedside by a loved one, watching him or her battle for life. And, I know people who are battling kidney Cancer, seizures, Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes. These people I know are not nameless. These people are friends, relatives and loved ones. Yet, while all these people fight their battles, others are living a ‘normal’ and carefree life. I’m not suggesting we all become consumed with guilt, ever aware of the pain and suffering that surrounds us. Rather, I suggest we try to keep things in perspective, and we try to offer compassion to those that are suffering.

Today the death of celebrity Corey Haim is making the news. Corey died of an accidental overdose at the age of 38. He struggled with drug addiction for most of his life. And, I am certain Corey’s friends and family are consumed with sadness. I am also willing to bet that his family and friends are finding peace, knowing Corey’s battle with addiction has now ended forever. And, as they mourn, my life goes on uninterrupted. Corey’s death does not affect my life in any way, shape or form. Corey’s death does not change the fact that I have a friend who is worried about his newborn daughter, battling seizures since she was born on February 22, 2010. And, Corey’s death doesn’t change the fact that I am constantly thinking about my husband’s brother and his first cousin, who are  battling Diabetes and kidney Cancer. In fact, my husband’s first cousin recently found out the Cancer has spread and there is now a tumor on his one of his vertebrae. Finally, Corey’s death doesn’t change the fact that my sister-in-law is battling MS.

I believe it is also important to mention the people all over the world, continuing to recover from earthquakes, hurricanes, mud slides, bombings, war, etc. Haiti was in the news for several weeks after the devastating earthquake earlier this year. More recently, Chile was hit with a horrific earthquake. Is it just me, or have you noticed that the earthquake in Chile did not generate the same media storm or call to action as the Haiti earthquake? Does a  nation have to be incredibly poor to be worthy of help? The lack of attention Chile has received, compared to Haiti, seems unfair to me. Goodness knows, the world stopped for the people of Chile. Moreover, the world stopped for those around the world who had friends and family in Chile. In fact, I believe it is safe to assume that the world has yet to restart for many affected by the earthquake in Chile.

Again, my point in this babble is not to overwhelm you with guilt. Frankly, this blog enables me to express my own feelings about things that bother me in this world. My post is selfish, because I am able to stop my world for a minute, draw attention to the things that matter to me, giving me a sense of purpose. I believe I am also drawing attention to the nameless people who are in the midst of their battles, perhaps feeling invisible to the world around them. Via a friend on Facebook, I came across a blog created by a woman who recently lost her husband in a car accident. On December 29, 2009, I had a non-eventful and normal day. However, one woman from Texas was in a car accident on December 29, 2009, and her husband died as a result of that accident. In an effort to work through her grief and new life challenges, she is writing ‘Through the Valley‘. I encourage you to take a minute and read her story.

I hope you are able to enjoy a non-eventful and normal day today. Should you find yourself amidst a challenge, please know you are in my thoughts. No, I don’t know you, and I will not likely know your specific battle; however, I know you exist and I know battles are never ending. I know I wanted the world to stop for my me, my Dad and all those who loved him. So, I make it a point to stop my world daily, to think about those nameless people overcome with their own personal sorrow. And one more thing, would you please consider clicking on one of the following links and make a donation? Think of the nameless people who need your help. I am willing to bet you will get something out of it in return.  The American Red Cross; Partners In HealthTOMS; The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Bethany Christian Services