Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Practicing Patience

A survey recently confirmed something that we who live in Washington DC area have known for years: Washington DC and its nearby communities have the worst traffic in the nation. 

Morning rush hour begins shortly before six in the morning and lasts until after ten. Afternoon rush begins at three in the afternoon and doesn't dissipate until after seven. In between, from eleven until one thirty, there is a mid day rush as wage slaves dash from their offices to various commercial establishments to do personal business or meet friends for lunch. Rain, snow, or a single accident can easily snarl things until mid night. 

Traffic is constant; delays never cease. 

Even where I live, twenty-five miles west of the city, delays are a fact of life.

A friend recently posted  "God bless all of you who have to drive Route 7 West every day during rush hour. I do not have the patience for this traffic."

Actually, there is no choice but to have patience.  

Where you're stuck in traffic, where you find yourself is pretty much where you are and where you're going to be until things move. If you're stuck, you will remain stuck. 

When "stuck" happens, you are forced to be patient. But just because you're stuck doesn't mean there are no options. You're not able to change the traffic, but you can change how you react to the traffic.

When you're stuck, you have an opportunity to practice patience. You can practice patience either by sitting stewing in your own juices or you can accept the delay with grace, understanding, an a bit of resignation. You can practice developing anger and resentment, or you can practice developing calm.

Choose the first option and you will probably arrive at your destination late. You will also arrive feeling harassed, bothered, and bedeviled, frayed, and frazzled.

Or choose the second option, relax and go with the flow. You will be developing the habit of patience. You will still probably arrive late, but your frame of mind will be calmer, more relaxed and pleasant, more ready for whatever else your day holds in store. 

I've done it both ways, and I know. 

The choice is yours.

The next time you find yourself stuck in traffic or elsewhere, how will you choose to practice patience?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer of New Horizons


Beyond the blue horizon
Waits a beautiful day.
Goodbye to things that bore me --
Joy is waiting for me.
I see a new horizon --
My life has only begun!
Beyond the blue horizon
Lies a rising sun.
-- "Beyond the Blue Horizon" (Robin, Harling and Whiting)
Shortly after starting this blog, I wrote about "Working on the Lay Away Plan" stating my intention to "work until they lay me away." Last year, I wrote that I was "Not Ready for the Rocking Chair." Both essays lead to the conclusion that there are too many interesting and wonderful things to see and do to sit passively on the sidelines and let life happen. 
My attitude has not changed. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I still want to explore new ideas and places and experience new things. Now, circumstances have changed to allow me to do just that.
Earlier this summer, I left my job and joined the army of retired Americans.
It's like right after I graduated from high school and saw nothing but opportunity ahead. Since I retired I have visited San Francisco and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge with my bionic bride. We rode the streetcar to Fisherman's Wharf. We feasted on at least five varieties of clam chowder -- each different, and all excellent. And we renewed friendships and swapped stories with my Vietnam flying buds from the Pink Panthers.
I have grown a respectable garden and feasted on home grown zucchini, green beans and tomatoes. as the song said, "I forget all about the sweatin' and diggin' each time I go out and pick me a big un." 
I have pitched in to a community garden growing food for the hungry. Who would have thought of gardening as a community social activity?
I bought a new grill and have been grilling a lot of new and different things. (I have also seen a nutritionist and embarked on a healthy eating program.)
When offered an opportunity to do something, I find myself asking "Why not?" rather than "Why?"
I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I can't wait to find out.
"Beyond the blue horizon lies a rising sun!"
It's time to go exploring.
What new horizons are facing you?
How will you find the rising sun?