The Step Over Life (20220112)

Living a Step Over Life is not the way to go…

I was walking in my study when I was smacked in the middle of my forehead by an “Ah-Ha!” moment.

Now, please realize I call the room my “study” but hardly any studying goes on there. I use the room for printing, computing, writing, binding and other creative endeavors. What made me stop in my tracks while moving from one area to another in that room was an extension cord.

No, I didn’t trip on it or step on it. I stepped over it.

And what is remarkable is that it wasn’t even plugged in. It was coiled in a bundle and sitting on the floor in from of my bookcase (holding the various books I “want” to study or refer to). And that’s the humorous part…it served no purpose other than to remind me I needed to put it away, but day after day I stepped over it.

Ah, now you ask, “Well, maybe where it was to be stored is difficult to get to or far away.” Not so! Ten steps, a turn, open a bin, and toss it in…2 minutes max.

So, why haven’t I put it away? For that matter why haven’t I put away books, toys, piles, or carried items to the second floor of our home? Why step over? Daily. Hourly. For weeks on end? Why continually stress myself out every time I step over something?

I could say it was due to interruptions, distractions, procrastination, not knowing where to put it, and a whole host of other reasons but I believe the bottom-line is the storyline I tell myself: “I will set it here for now and put it away the next time I head toward where it should be stored/shelved.” In a way it is procrastination; in another way it is laziness; and yet again, it could be my attempt to be more efficient and productive. And it all leads to stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed when all the piles are considered.

Yet I find piles taking residence where they are deposited. Take my orphaned keys are an example. Please, take them. The key I need is lost among the pile of keys I was eventually going to sift through. Which ones are “live” and which ones are orphaned…and which locks will I have to destroy because that one key is “missing?”

One to five minutes is all it would take to put it away or decide to dispose of it.

And I wish it were just physical things.

Electronic files including these writings, tax information, photos, and other downloaded goodies never seem to quite make it to their final resting place on my computer or in the cloud.

Thoughts pop up and I “step over” them making a mental note to get back to them later.

Store errands get side-tracked as I nimbly “step over” a stop thinking I will get to it on the way back.

Step Over.

Then we have life in general.

  • How many opportunities were “stepped over”?
  • How many dreams perished due to “stepping over” them?
  • How many relationships were “stepped over”?
  • How many chances to quietly contemplate and plan for the future were “stepped over”?
  • How many people “step over” writing a will or planning their funeral? A tough subject to talk about in our Western culture.

Step Over.

A way of life creating piles we will eventually need to take care of, but the more piles we have the more time it will take to sort through them.

But imagine how much playtime, free time, and clear thoughts I (we?) could have if the Step Over Life disappeared altogether…

So, here’s to a new year where the “Step Over” lifestyle comes to an end, otherwise I may end up inadvertently stepping over life itself.

(note: images have been left out of this post; the original contains several images)

Weather You’re Ready or Not (20220107)

Life comes at you whether you are ready for it or not

It was a cold, clammy, rainy night when…

Some novels start that way or use a description to give the reader a better picture of the environment. I’m not sure I can match the descriptive abilities of best-selling authors but here’s the weather we experienced a few days ago.

Going to bed at a reasonable hour (say 11pm or so), I was awakened at 4:15am by a loud BANG outside our bedroom window. Now, realize that I have hearing aids and when I sleep, I do not have them in since they would produce an ungodly amount of feedback. But hearing the sound, I rose from bed and crept to the living room area.

Pulling aside the curtain, I looked outside in amazement. It was a torrential downpour! Streams of water were cascading through the empty lot behind our home and small lakes were beginning their genesis. To double-check what had made the sound, I stepped outside into our screened-in porch and was assaulted by the incessant sounds of rain slamming against the room, water straining through our screens, and the roar of the water hitting and flowing, well, everywhere.

Now add the wind factor. To say it was windy it an understatement. Pushing the rain horizontally and marching the water in waves on the ground, the wind was enough to drive me back inside. Looking again through the window, I deduced the noise I heard was thunder from lightning I couldn’t see. Shrugging my shoulders, I went back to bed realizing it will all settle down by morning and I will be awake enough (and hearing enhanced) to see the total impact.

What I haven’t mentioned so far was the plummeting temperature. By morning the rain had ceased, the wind had died down, and snow began to fall. We only would get an inch or so versus the 9-12 inches experienced in other regions.

Glancing outside I looked out at the picturesque scene of snowfall and felt calm (interesting how snow does that). Remember, we did not suffer the amount of snowfall others, who would NOT use the word picturesque, experienced. But for us, it was beautiful. Stepping out on our porch to breath in the fresh air, I found what had made the horrendous bang earlier in the morning.

With the aid of the wind, our grill had decided to take a small trip. Pushed and prodded by the gusts of wind and by my lack of foresight to lock the wheels, it had rolled forcefully into one of the porch columns knocking off part of the column. It then gracelessly hit the sod, tripped, and fell over in pieces.

So much for my middle of the night deductive reasoning.

Righting the grill, snapping the bent door in place, and locking the wheels, “fixed” the grill and gave me time to experience the snow “face-to-face.” And so it went for the next 4 hours. The snow kept tumbling down making kids excited, frustrating parents who must work (but since school was cancelled, they had to find somewhere for the kids to go) and making some roads impassable (I-95 and its 24-hour traffic tie-up). I was grateful I did not have to go anywhere.

Fast forward a few hours, and the snow was all but gone.

Life is funny that way. We get slammed by events, seek shelter to weather those storms, recover as best we can, and hopefully take a breath to sit back and ponder, realizing that this cycle will undoubtedly repeat itself all too soon. And if we didn’t have or take a moment to pause, it is so easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged.

So, I give thanks for the quiet snowfall…the melting and distraction-free moments…just so I can take a breath and say a word of gratitude for those times of quiet reflection.

And I suppose “weather” we are ready or not, here we come life…

(note: images have been left out of this post; the original contains several images)