Sunday, December 1, 2013

Do Less, Be More

My dad has been helping (well, I use the word "helping" loosely. It is more like single-handedly spear-heading) the entire renovation of the ailing, basement bathroom. Taking a gamble on a Sunday night, we drove to a local big box hardware store, knowing full-well it would be closed.

Our pre-conceived notion was confirmed when we saw three lonely cars in the vast asphalt acreage the size of a small South American rainforest.

“Just drive by the doors just in case.” I suggested.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked at the posted hours. Not only was it still open, we had a full half hour to spare.

“It's not supposed to happen this way for me,” my dad said. It's amazing how incredibly happy you can be when you set the bar low.

It was definitely the most memorable and pleasant experience I have ever had in a hardware store. The weather was abysmal so the cavernous, empty store greeted us with 10 eager employees bored out of their skulls, competing at the chance to help us find an obscure mechanism for a toilet. It was kind of like a new reality show: “Survivor Hardware,” “Lowe's Got Talent” or “Home Depot Idol.” It was all about who could find a toilet flapper the fastest.

My birthday was just over a week ago and it was one of those days when all the planets aligned and all the cosmos complied. In the minds of many, a birthday reminds them of the day they were born. Since last year, my birthday is different kind of anniversary marker. It is, and will always be, in my mind, the day my mother came home from the hospital last year. What was supposed to be a day surgery lingered longer, but she was strong and kicking on my birthday and was released. It is a good day. In fact, I consider it lucky.

Since it was my birthday, I had to renew my license. However, I was suffering from a condition known as “Plate Denial”. Although it sounds like a mental illness, it has more to do with not paying your ETR 407 bill on time. However, one could argue that driving on the ETR without a transponder doesn't speak too favourably about one's state of mind in the first place. I was concerned. The bill was the size of the GNP of a developing country and I didn't think I could catch it up in a day.

So, I phoned the ETR and was told that I didn't have to pay the whole bill as only a small portion was overdue. In fact, I could pay it at the location where I renewed my license. Of course, this was the case. It's my birthday.

When I got to Service Ontario, they renewed my license without hesitation. Not even a hint that I was a seriously wanted criminal on the run from the authorities of the ETR. I couldn't help myself. I asked.

“Oh, that's just for sticker renewal, not for your license. And, you bought the two year renewal last year and don't need to renew this year.”

Of course I did. It's my birthday.

A friend awaiting biopsy results got great news and sent me a joyous email. Of course I expected this result. It's my birthday.

Lyndsay texted me from Walmart. She just heard from the vet. Her lovely cat, Eugene's results were favourable. His liver was improving. Of course I knew this would happen. After all, it's my birthday.

It simply was one of those rare days when the flow is all in one direction—mine. I realize that most days won't be like this and sometimes it is necessary to just lower expectations and become joyous for no real reason. We all need a time to re-charge, feel accomplished and whole.

My current goal with running is to just get out there three times a week. I am not worrying about how far or how fast. It is now week three and I'm pretty much on target and it's good. Karen, still spinning from her New York City Marathon, is now trying snow shoe running and Cross-fit. Lyndsay is attempting a ropes class and yoga (however, she informed me that it was more like paying a fee to try not to pass wind for 1 1/2 hours. She was pleased to report, however, that she was able to hold it all in well until the last five minutes of silent meditation, when she had squeezed so hard that the gas was now escaping internally causing a high pitched stomach noise.)

My niece, Terri Lynn, told me that her family was “trying to do less and be more.” I think that is amazing. I know one day I will be motivated and excited about training hard for a race—and so will Karen and Lyndsay. But not today, Today, like my birthday, is a day to regenerate—just a day to rejoice, reflect and enjoy what comes my way. I want to temporarily lower my expectations, and really celebrate the small, do-able victories. I want to just accept my current level of motivation and energy and just “be”.

Yep, 'tis the season to do less, be more!

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