Spring Cleaning

Well, it’s that time of year again, the time to watch the world recover from a long hard winter. Not!  Let’s face it, our country has just experienced one of the mildest winters on record. Most of the country has enjoyed above average temperatures along with very little snow. We are grateful that the usual inconveniences of winter, shoveling snow, icy roads, freezing temperatures, either didn’t happen or at least was minimal. So it seems as if people would be happy that it was so easy to endure the long winter months. But, quite a few people expressed a certain “longing” for those very things that they usually despised. Ironic, isn’t it? Some would say that we should get used to this type of weather due to “global warming” and an overall climate change. If that’s true then perhaps we can find other things to complain about while we experience all that great winter weather! LOL!

If the climate is actually changing then maybe the concept of “spring cleaning” would be forgotten since it would be difficult to distinguish between “winter” and “spring”? Historically, we have used this time of year to refresh, rejuvenate, reassess and revive our lives. I would hope that this tradition would carry on as it is a way to do a sanity check on the direction our lives are heading in.

How often do we stop to take a look at our lives and really check to see what direction were heading? Do we just “do life” without thinking or do we actually have a goal, a plan for where we want our lives to end up? I’m not talking about the usual “goals” people recite when you ask them what they want out of life. The standard answer is usually riches, fame, “world peace”, etc. Although all of these “goals” may have some value they barely scratch the surface of what the integrity of life is all about. Our “goal” should be deeper than that. It should encompass the world around us, not just “us”. We tend to perceive our lives as having a very small sphere of influence to those around us. We are usually stuck in a routine that just barely scratches the surface of spontaneity. We get up go to work come home go to bed get up go to work come home go to bed……………and tend to miss out on the “world around us”! But, while we can still experience “spring time”, let’s make a habit of utilizing this time of the year to take a look at our lives and assess what, where and why we exist in the world. Here are a few areas of life to consider:

Our families should be an integral part of our lives. I know, I know, some of you might say that you love your family but you find it difficult to have a strong relationship with them. The reasons are as varied as the people involved. Some will say that their family just doesn’t understand why you have chosen to live your life the way you do. Or, they might say that their family is always trying to “change” them into something they think you should be. Or maybe the family doesn’t actually care about what you do and you feel as if they ignore you! None of these situations really matter except as you react to them. It’s easy to make excuses as to why things are a certain way. It’s quite another thing to actually do something about it. Take the time to assess your particular relationship with your family and see if you’re a just reacting to the situation or if you are actively behaving as if you want to have a relationship with them.

It’s a fact of life that nothing in this world is for free.  Most of us have to work for a living. We tend to have a bad attitude about that, don’t we? Even if we say we like our job we secretly wish we didn’t have to have one. That’s OK because we can utilize that feeling to motivate us to either find a better situation or realize that we are fortunate enough to actually have a job. It’s easy to get caught up in a pessimistic and cynical attitude about our current station in life. The positive thing to do is to realistically assess where we are at in our career and objectively project where we think we are going. You’re either going forward in your career or backwards, there is no such thing as maintaining the status quo. If you don’t like what you find out about yourself, make the decision to change. Now is as good a time as any.

It has been said that no man is an island. We are hard wired to be social creatures. Some may crave socialization more than others, and vice versa, but we all need others in our lives. Take a look around you. Who is included in your life? Is it just those who are just like you? Do you only associate with people you work with, share the same interests, play on the same softball team, go to church with you, or what? Be honest. If this describes who you are then you are probably missing out on a greater portion of life than you think! Come on! Take a chance! Get out of your comfort zone! Try something new in order to expand your social horizons. Maybe volunteer your time, services or abilities. Be open to and cognizant of those around you. Engage them in pleasant conversation when you see them. Be genuinely interested in what they have to say. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that the world is full of people who are looking to share themselves with people just like you!

Finally, be thankful for what you have. It is so easy to take our good fortune for granted. We need to begin to recognize and appreciate what we have. I’m not just talking about the material things in our lives. I’m talking about the intangibles that make our lives as good as they are. We live in a country with many issues and problems but, we have enviable freedoms that most other countries jealously covet. We have the freedom to go where we want, socialize as we please, live where it suits us, eat oversized portions of food whenever we please, worship as our hearts lead us and yes, even do nothing but sit on our rears and make the government take care of us. For this we should all be grateful. Now is a great time to recognize our abundance and live our lives accordingly.

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