Sometimes when I’m not sure what to write (like today), I get out of the house to clear my head and hunt for ideas.
Idea hunting is just like traditional hunting or fishing, only when I do it, it’s usually inside and air conditioned. Idea hunting means being quiet and attentive, listening carefully, and being ready to pounce when something interesting comes along.
There’s also the thrill of the chase — sometimes I score, sometimes I come up empty.
Just like anglers have secret fishing holes or hunters have favorite deer stand locations, I have my own tried and true spots in the form of “my table” in a local coffee shop. Like a watering hole on the savanna draws animals in search of a drink, retirees faithfully congregate here each day to solve the world’s problems.
Today was no exception.
I took my cup of coffee to my table and sat within easy earshot of six men hunched over their cups of coffee. I hadn’t been there long when one of them pipped up about “kids these days.” Since this guy had to be well into his 80s, “kids” covered a lot of territory.
My ears perked up.
“Kids these days!” He said, “Always complaining about the grass being greener for somebody else. They need to stop with the bellyaching and start watering the grass they got right now in their own yards.”
“Hmmm…” I thought, “Sounds interesting, maybe I can use that!”
Turns out, this guy knows a thing or two about watering grass and keeping it green.
See, his wife “had the cancer” and while she’s “doin’ pretty good right now,” she still has better days and worse days.
Still he’s been “pissed as a couple of hound dogs fighting over a bone” because they ended up canceling the Caribbean cruise they’d been looking forward to last winter, and his wife still doesn’t feel ready to gear up for a big vacation.
So one day last month, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
He waited for a day his wife felt really good, then he took her shopping. Together they picked out spiffy new outdoor furniture with big, comfy cushions, then his wife saw some knockout roses and pre-made planters so they got those, too. And while they were at it they even popped for a few more hummingbird feeders.
He planted the roses close to where they like to sit on the patio, and the planters are scattered here and there, along with the bird feeders.
These days, most mornings and evenings, he and his wife enjoy life on their new and improved patio. They bring out a pot of French press coffee (mornings) or pitcher of iced tea (evenings) and watch the hummingbirds. “Those little bastards sure do know how to fight. They’re little and cute, but by God, they’re viscious! We stay busy just keeping the feeders filled.”
See? See what this guy did?
He watered his own grass.
It really stinks when dreams crash and burn, or the best laid plans for the future land in a heap of rubble.
I’m not suggesting those things don’t hurt, because I know from experience that they do. And I also know hurt doesn’t go away overnight. Nor should it. Dealing with major life events and traumas takes time.
But while I work through a life roll, while I’m processing a big disappointment, I always face loads of small, daily choices. And those choices can send me veering toward anger and despair or help me curve my trajectory toward joy.
Water the grass you’ve got right now — choose joy every chance you get.