Thursday, July 5, 2012

Grand Finale

Nothing says summertime like drinking Sunkist orange while watching Joey Chestnut earn his sixth consecutive belt for eating the most Nathan’s hot dogs on ESPN. Our July 4th traditions also included watching our beloved Rays give one up to the Yankees and a big bang finish.
Our 3-year old hates loud noises. But she agreed to be outside to watch the fireworks because she we reasoned she is bigger now and will probably like it. Before the sparkles from the first explosion faded, she was holding her ears and screaming. We ran for the car and navigated traffic to find a place to watch from a quiet distance. We finally found a spot just in time for the grand finale. I tried explaining the definition of grand finale as our daughter cried because she wanted “MORE!” Earnestly distraught, she sobbed that she “didn’t even get to say goodbye” to those beautiful fireworks.
The observation of my daughter made me realize few experiences in life have a grand finale. We start relationships and jobs never knowing when or how they will end. We make commitments with intention and choices with hope. We are not aware how it  will turn out until long after it’s over.  It would be great if there was a rapid fire succession of colorful bursts to remind us in all our endeavors to: Boom! Pay Attention! Bang! This is it! Blast! Don’t miss it!   If we imagine each night ending in an explosion of brilliant light, would it remind us that today is coming to an end, make the most of it,?
Changing gears for a moment, I am reading a book that seems to be helping me make the most of each day. In “The Art of Extreme Self Care” by Cheryl Richardson, Richardson says, “Awareness is a powerful catalyst for change.” I really related to her examples of how she over extended herself without honoring what she needed. How she felt when she never stopped to think what she wanted. The first chapter talks about identifying where you feel deprivation. Her examples include sleep, time for yourself and companionship. Another chapter called “Let Me Disappoint You” offers some good advice on making choices based on your personal needs as opposed to choices based on not disappointing others or fear of conflict. Richardson suggests really thinking about making an absolute no list. She has a long no list that includes: eat when I’m not hungry, keep anything in my home that I don’t love or need and get caught up in other people’s dramas.
I am working on my list now. But I already know at least one item that is on my daughter’s absolute no list: exposure to loud noises. Looking back, we already identified it, but we failed to honor it. If we had, we all would have enjoyed the entire spectacular display instead of barely catching a glimpse at the end. 

It is liberating to think about making personal needs and wants a priority. There is freedom in making choices that are independent of obligation or guilt.
I leave you with this question: What is on your absolute no list?

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