Monday, September 19, 2011

Getting Older - Life's Lessons

My birthday is this week, and I'm one year away from a big milestone.  It has me reflecting on the way I view life today versus when I was in my twenties.  Here's what getting older has taught me:

1)  Spend your time wisely. 

As bestselling author Anna Quindlen says, "It is so easy to exist instead of live.  Unless you know there is a clock ticking." 

Thankfully, I've never been at death's door; however, when I am on my deathbed, I don't think I'll wish I'd spent more time working or doing chores.  I have a feeling I'll wish I'd spent more time with my family and following my passions.  Ergo, the house I keep now is a hell of a lot messier than the house I kept in my twenties - and I can't blame it entirely on the kids.

2)  Follow your passion. 

I've always had stories in my head.  When I was in high school, my friends gave me a picture of the moon at an awards banquet.  They said it was because my mind was always off in outer space.  In truth, it was always off in story land.  It just never occurred to me until I was an adult with a family to take care of and bills to pay that I wanted to be a writer.

They say you regret more what you didn't do, than what you did do.  For me, I regret not following my passion earlier in life.  Now I spend my spare time with my family or writing.  Period.

3)  Nobody likes perfect people.

I used to think that if I were perfect, I would have more friends.  For anyone fighting this issue, PLEASE save yourself the heartache.  Being perfect makes it damn hard to relate to other people.  What I cherish most about my friends is that they are not perfect.  They struggle with the same issues and imperfections I do.  And I love them for it.

4)  This, too, shall pass.

I've had periods of my life where it was hard to get out of bed in the morning, where I didn't think I could go another minute, let alone another second carrying my burdens.  I pushed through, even when it was one step-drag step-drag at a time.  Eventually when I looked up, my load was lighter.

Just like runners who have to push through the pain to get the runner's high, push on and you will amaze yourself.   

5)  Spend more time with God, whatever you percieve Him to be.

I talk to God a lot more now than I did when I was younger.  Finding my spirituality has allowed me to be more loving and accepting of other people.  More tolerant.  We each have our own path to follow in life.  I want to meet Him knowing I traveled mine well, and that I helped others as best I could when our paths crossed.

I could go on about what I've learned, but those are the big ones right now.  What lessons have you learned?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Life After People

AP Photo/The Texarkana Gazette, Adam Sacasa
Wildfires.  Floods.  Hurricanes.  Heatwaves.  Earthquakes.  All have affected the U.S. within the last 30 days, taking lives and damaging property.

Texas just finished the hottest June to August on record in the United States.  We're also in the worst drought the state has experienced since the 1950's. 

So when The History Channel's Life After People show came on this weekend, I wasn't too shocked when the show stated that climate change, according to scientists, is the biggest threat to the human population. 

According to the EPA,

"The Earth’s climate is changing. In most places, average temperatures are rising. Scientists have observed a warming trend beginning around the late 1800s. The most rapid warming has occurred in recent decades. Most of this recent warming is very likely the result of human activities."

Human activities increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide traps heat in our atmosphere and without it, the earth would be too cold for life.

The fact that the climate is changing is no longer in debate.  The debate centers around how our activities are impacting the change.  Burning fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil; cutting down trees; generating waste and farming - all produce greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. 

This climate change means more natural disasters; crops are affected by droughts and pests; more energy must be used to cool homes, schools, and workplaces; sea levels rise; and wildlife dies.

Now I'm not trying to turn into Al Gore on you, but this topic interests me (might be why the hero and heroine have to battle natural disasters in my book, Entangled) and I'm curious to know how you feel about it.  Is climate change inevitable?  Are we causing it or are we just speeding the inevitable change along?  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Superstitious Much?

I watched the USA network's show, Necessary Roughness, last night.  If you have not seen it, it is about a therapist who works for a football team.  On last night's show, the therapist helped the team get over their superstitions about a curse that prevented them from getting to the playoffs for six years.  

Yes, rational adults are superstitious. 

Superstitions are so common that most people don't think much about them.  When was the last time you went to the thirteenth floor of a high rise or hospital?  Flew out of the thirteenth gate?  Walked under a ladder?  Opened your umbrella in the house?

It got me thinking - what do I do that is superstitious?  I don't walk under ladders.  I refuse to kill crickets or ladybugs since they represent good luck.  I do knock on wood when I mention good fortune.

Thanks to a scary story I heard when I was a kid, dark closets with doors cracked open are not allowed in my house.  Closet doors are always fully open or fully closed, so that you can see if someone is inside waiting to jump out at you.  When entering a closet, I always turn the closet light on and THEN open the closet door.  When I'm finished, I shut the closet door and THEN turn the lights out.  Nowadays I do it unconsciously, but I still do it.

I also don't ever, ever stand with my toes under the bed when I get in at night.  Consciously.  Just sayin.

So what little supersitions do you have that you hesitate to admit to, or they've become such a habit, that you don't realize you still do them?  Please share!