I started this blog to share some of the thoughts I have along the journey of life. I love to travel and spend time with my family and friends. A good meal, breaking bread with those I love, gives my life meaning. So does travel. I adore dreaming of sites to visit, not just to check them off on a list. Rather, I consider myself a student of life, traveling as an explorer, to open my mind to all the possibilities the world holds in store for me and for others. I love to travel to discover how different the world is in terms of climate, cultures, politics, terrain, economy, etc. but also to discover how SIMILAR the people are. Despite language barriers, much can be communicated with a smile or gestures. Language is simply a means to communicate, yet there are so very many other ways to communicate. Once when I was in French-speaking Canada, I realized that my 7th grade French class didn’t teach me the word for “straw”. However, when I thought about it, I was able to communicate to the very French-speaking waiter in a very French-speaking restaurant about my need for a “cylinder through which to drink” in my limited French vocabulary. Travel challenges the mind and soul, stretching us to problem solve and form conclusions about all that we experience. THAT is the type of travel I enjoy best. “All’s well that ends well”, as they say………….”Life is Good” as well.
I have an amazing friend who lives in another part of the world. He has a certain “joie de vivre” that I can’t possibly explain. I have been fortunate to have had the chance to break bread with him and share a laugh or two over a short period of time. When he smiles, the world smiles with him. My friend recently went on a bike ride while going for a short get away while he was seriously ill and feeling very tired. He was equally tired of all his body has been through with his illness, yet he managed to find joy that day. An explorer and a traveler, my friend adjusted to his status at the time, adapted to what he could do, and revised his conception of adventure during this week end. A picture of him riding his bike that day is one of my favorite pictures of him, as it captures his essence somehow. This friend makes me smile again and again. The world is a better place, in part, because of him. The world is also a funnier place, too, because of him. He knows how to live well, and I admire that in him. He enjoys the love of his beautiful family, great food, travel to exotic places, and reading. One of his favorite songs is “Oh What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, and it has always been one of my favorite songs, too. My friend is an inspiration to many people, including me. I will keep this photo of him etched in my mind and heart forever, feeling fortunate to have had the good fortune of spending time with him, even if a short time.
Today, thinking of my friend, I decided to get on my bike, as I used to really enjoy riding my bike and haven’t done that in a while. Seems like it’s been a long while since I went for a bike ride in the neighborhood. Too long. Can’t believe I haven’t thought of this earlier as I try to find something new or re-connect with something that I used to do as often as I can during this pandemic and self-isolation. It seems pretty easy to social distance on a bike.
“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.”
-John F. Kennedy
(photo taken in Amsterdam)
Perhaps I’ll go for a little longer bike ride tomorrow. Perhaps the next day will be even longer. Maybe later in the week I will put the bike on the bike rack on the car to go for an even longer ride. No time like the present. Makes me think of a reply I once heard when I asked someone what time it was. The reply was simple; the person said “the time is now.”
“It is the unknown around the corner which turns my wheels.”
(photo taken in Zaanse Schans in the Netherlands)
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
Life is good. Find something you used to love doing and haven’t done in a while today. Live fully, live life well, and enjoy the moment, using some inspiration as your guide if you have one.
I have heard so very many interesting stories of how people are killing time during self-isolation, but this story of the human spirit is one that really inspires me. One of my best friends from college has been self-isolating with her family for quite some time now in a cold New England town. At least one grown child moved back home, a humbling situation because he has been unable to work because his job in the restaurant industry has been halted because of Covid-19. This is a very difficult period in time for most people around the globe, but my best friend, the Grateful Goddess, and her husband, Golf Guy, have found a way to instill laughter in their family. Just about two months after Grateful Goddess unexpectedly and suddenly lost her grandmother that she was extremely close to, she has found the resolve to keep moving forward, embodying the spirit of the old adage that “if life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” This family makes gallons and gallons of lemonade at a time. The sound of laughter, the warm feeling of love, and the excitement of joy fill their rooms as they make happy memories at this difficult time and any other.
“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
My friend, Grateful Goddess, has always been one of my most creative friends and one of the most kind-hearted people I’ve ever met. She’s always always there for me and for everyone else. I count her among my greatest blessings and have been honored to have her as my dear friend. She selflessly and joyfully gives and gives to those she loves. It’s no wonder that this matriarch of her family found a way to give some love and laughter to her family during these trying times. Her disposition is on the quiet side, but she has a playful gleam in her eyes when she is planning something fun, which is most often. She is known for having the most amazing parties with the most amazing games that she’s come up with to entertain her extended family and friends. I’m not exactly sure if she or her husband, Golf Guy, came up with a rousing game of mini golf INSIDE their New England home recently, but they all had lots of laughs as they played mini golf, moving from room to room within their home.
“The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one’s opportunities and make the most of one’s resources.”
Luc de Clapiers
Tee-off started with hole number one in the home office….this was serious business, as you can see from the face of concentration in the photo below.
Golf Guy is one of the coolest and calmest Dads around, always willing to lend a hand to his family in any way he can. Here he sets the rules for the game and offers support as well.
Hole number two was in the living room with Golf Guy keeping score meticulously, I’ll bet. He has an easy-going spirit, but I’m sure he was “in it to win it.”
Hole number three in the dining room with evidence of other fun activities, such as puzzles all around………..the competition escalates………..
I can just hear the laughter echoing off the walls for hole number four, which was also in the dining room but was a bit more challenging……by now, the whole family was also “in it to win it.”
Hole #4 – Teeing off in the family room, but the hole is in the kitchen, which is the adjacent room. Now this is getting REALLY challenging…………
Golf Guy is the picture of agility in mind and body as he makes the corner for hole number four in the kitchen………such concentration and determination……going for the win………
This is where it starts to get really crazy…………hole #5. Tee off is in on the front hall stairs, but the hole is in the mudroom! I am almost certain this was the brainchild of Grateful Goddess, shown below. I can see her now with the gleam in her eye, concentrating, but hearing a little restrained giggle escape her lips……she is intent on winning to be sure.
The golf ball makes the corner toward the mudroom…………the crowd was roaring…….I can hear the commentator now………….
FINALLY the golf ball lands in the mudroom, OVER the inverted waste basket with the cat making sure there are no cheaters. Can’t put ANYTHING past that cat!
Tee off for hole six off throws caution to the wind……..each golfer draws in a deep breath as the ball is hit from the TOP of the stairs into the basement below……..
Hole six in the basement is known as “The One With The Most Hazards”, the hole that separates the “men from the boys” and the girls from the women………
This hole in the basement requires the golf ball to travel through the carefully crafted red tunnel to…..
the final hole in the corner………….
Scores were tallied, breaths were held, giggles escaped from mouths………and….the…..winner…..is……………GRATEFUL GODDESS! A great day indoors in this safe haven, which is always filled with the welcoming scent of something wonderful cooking on the stove or in the oven. Pandemic or no pandemic, this incredible family finds a way to laugh and create happy memories and celebrates a full life together. Their spirit and joie-de-vivre shines through again and again and is an inspiration to all who know them.
Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence…..”
“The darkest moments of our lives are not to be buried and forgotten, rather they are a meory to be called upon for inspiration to remind us of the unrelenting human spirit and our capacity to overcome the intolerable.”
“Nothing is more powerful than the human spirit.”
Forget about the pandemic for a while, even if it is a short while. Find a creative way to cope with corona and fill your home with laughter and love. Transcend whatever prevents you from having a little fun or whimsy in your day today to create joy.
Life is good; carpe diem, friends…………
“We are all capable of living lives characterized by great joy. Within each of us is an amazing human spirit that is strong enough to overcome pain and disappointment. And no matter what our current situation happens to be, or what beliefs we may currently harbor about ourselves, we can tap into that inner strength and wisdom and move forward to create more joy.”