Some days there is a little bit of everything on my mind, and the best way to deal with it is to scatter it on a page. So here goes:
1) I work in a hospital. Just to be realistic, I recognize that most of the people who come here for treatment don’t want to be here. Walking down the hall to the cafeteria allows me to see these people, with their worried looks, their difficulty in making eye contact, and the impression they give that it’s not going to be a good day. While it’s hard to do, the personal challenge for me is to look at them, try to make eye contact, and smile kindly. I hope this helps in some way; surely it doesn’t hurt.
2) Sometimes I have employees who have attitude problems. Their glass is half empty. They walk under a dark cloud. If the best or the worst can happen to them, they assume it will be the worst. My personal challenge: give them what they need, not what they deserve. It is tempting sometimes to give up, but that isn’t the right thing for either of us, at least not yet.
3) I watch too much TV. Waaaayyyyyy too much TV. This year I am committing to learning something creative (calligraphy first!), to start turning off the TV more often (how many reruns of NCIS can you watch?), and to try to learn more. I have discovered a couple of cool resources for continued education that I am dying to try out: iTunes University. Just imagine college classes at Harvard, Yale, USC, Duke… now imagine you can sit through them, for free, in the comfort of your own home! Go to iTunes and check it out (it’s at the bottom of the iTunes screen). Project Gutenberg: free books. The classics, available online, in multiple formats: HTML, PDF, ebook formats. It does NOT have “The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo”, but it does have classics and literary treasures. Have you ever read “Moby Dick”? Or “The Last of the Mohicans”? “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”? Now you have no excuse! Next, The Open University. Or as I like to think of it: free college. Free. College. Last but not least: Open Culture‘s list of 400 free college courses.
4) We are all getting older, and we can either deny it or face it. My own father sets a great example for me. He’s in his late 70’s, but is still very active in spite of a heart condition. He walks a couple of miles every day, briskly, either outside or on a treadmill. He still gardens, mostly by hand, including vegetables, fruit, and roses. He puts puzzles together almost every day, too, and not those little 200-300 piece beauties. He’s into the 1000-2000 piece monsters that take up a whole kitchen table. Why? The mental exercise it provides exercises the brain on several levels. Recognizing colors and shapes, and then manipulating those while looking for patterns helps keep his brain active. He also reads a lot: the Internet, news, business journals, rose growers’ websites. My dad has committed to daily involvement in physical and mental activity, and I need to do the same. In other words, see item 3 above: turn off the stinking TV!
5) My kids are growing up quickly. This weekend they will be involved in Region Band as eighth graders. Both boys made first band! My wife and I are doing all we can do to encourage them and help them grow mentally as well as physically, but I feel like she and I could be doing more. We aren’t done yet, though.
So that’s the list of stuff on my heart and mind. Writing about it has made me feel better, and hopefully more committed to working on what I can do to make life better. All I have to do now is execute the plan!