Litchfield Hills Road Race

A Good Time to Remind Ourselves of the Other Side

Rain shuns us and has brown grass crunching under our feet while parts of New England play Halloween and dress up like a Sahara Desert vacation spot. The Coronavirus dominates and alters lives on a daily basis with no final buzzer or last inning in sight. Cities burn and rage and a hateful election with abundant contributions from both sides is in full swing. Professional leagues cancel games after players refuse to play after another white cop, black person shooting. School sports are still in a state of confusion. Forest fires in California, Hurricanes in the gulf coast. And so it goes.

So how ya doing?

It makes you cry. It makes you angry. It makes you fearful. The ground has seen far too much sun. We have been assaulted by far too many clouds. The old days not that long ago truly do seem better at this point

But I was taken back by a couple of things I saw while watching a show the other night. A girl out of the country for a year after doing an internship overseas came back home and on the way to surprise some friends stopped at a Subway and was seduced by a bag of Doritos. “I haven’t had Doritos in what, a year,” she mused. “Enjoying life in America.” A foreign exchange student from Japan and going to school in Kentucky laughed and said, “I’ve never seen so many cows and horses.”

Simple things, on a different day the type of stuff that would have breezed by without a second thought or acknowledgement. But in this age of relentless turmoil, the comments caught me. There was a bigger message. These were nuggets. Reminders of the other side. We have absorbed a large dose of the negative – in tolerance, in discussion, in our past, present, and future.  We have found the clouds and sadly almost seem to revel in them.

I was thinking we need to find the nuggets again. It is not to ignore the clouds or work to fix the issues that produce them. They are real and demoralizing. We need to be better now not later. But we also need to take a very deep breath and recognize that for all the ugly, unpleasant and disagreeable there is much to savor. We are not one dimensional, never have been. There are smiles to be found. Perfection? Hardly. But there is much good. To not remind ourselves of that is to be blinded. It has never been all of one and none of the other. Find a balance even if it is never distributed evenly.

Appreciate. Somewhere appreciation gave way to expectation.  What we have too often has given way to what we don’t have or can’t get. I was reminded that satisfaction needs to have its share of time with frustration. The smile is on the same card as the frown and the sun with the clouds.

Grill some hot dogs and hamburgers.

Cuddle with your significant other.

Watch a sunrise and sunset.

Feel the sand between your toes.

Go for a hike and find our immense beauty.

Walk with some good friends.

Find a high school game and go and watch (they are planning to play right now).

Go to the grocery store and appreciate the options.

Find a good movie on one of your 872 channels or Netflix or Amazon.

Take a ride in one of your cars and notice the gas prices when you fill up.

Order something and get it the next day.

Use with wonder your phone which is a mini-computer.

Lose yourself in a good book.

Go out to eat and think about all the options as to where to go and what’s on the menu.

Send a hand-written note to a relative, best friend.

Thank a veteran. And then thank another one.

Thank the neighbor who watches your house while you are on vacation.

Take a morning walk on the beach.

Spend an evening around the fire pit.

Voice your opinion.

Plan a vacation.

Marvel at the innovation that permeates our life.

Shop on the road or on-line.

Be thankful for that teacher, that cop, that first responder, that confidant.

Have a wine, a martini, Guiness, a Sam Adams…

Enjoy an afternoon at a Brewery.

Watch young kids play and older kids accomplish.

Remember that shoulder to lean on.

Write something positive.

Love Tom Brady or Carl Yastrzemski or Lawrence Taylor or Larry Bird or LeBron or Tiger and Phil or Stewie. Love the diversity of sporting choices.

It is easy enough to get lost in the cloud of the day. But find the smile. It is there, we seem to lose it too often. Those Doritos and cows and horses? Find them, reconnect with them. Appreciate them. (Like Saturday. Love the rain).

More stories by Rick Wilson.

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