Posts Tagged With: variety

Ain’t No Sunshine

It’s Gratituesday! Variety and consistency. Yup. That’s what I’m grateful for today. I know those two things seem to contradict each other but you’ll get over it and so will I.

I love knowing that if I get myself out the door before sunrise everything else will work out somehow.

I keep telling myself I’ll change where I go walking, but I crave the solitude and the surroundings. I take different paths, from different directions, I change it up in small ways and that’s all it takes.

sunshineThe predictability of the sun coming up each day keeps the world on track. The unpredictability of the colors, the clouds, the angle of light, the shift in shadow all make each morning a pallet of infinite variety. A paradox of consistency and change all in one for you to ponder every twenty-four hours.

Studies show that predictability and consistency contribute to productivity and contentment. But we also know that such things contribute to boredom and dissatisfaction.

And then other studies show that happiness more often manifests itself when change is a constant. What? Not major change, just variety, tiny differences make all the difference in happiness levels.

Some days, weeks and months in my life at least, it feels as if nothing is consistent or predictable except change. I can tell you from my own completely unscientific experience that such situations lead to feelings of high anxiety and unhealthy levels of stress.

I’m trying to embrace the variety and unpredictable state of my life. I’ve worked at that for a while now. Hence my daily gratitude journaling and weekly Gratituesday posts.

I’m also rather desperately trying to incorporate consistency and a regular schedule and other nice things like that into a chaotic life.

I’m having more luck embracing change than instilling predictability.

Balance seems the key word. And the most elusive quality. Gratitude sounds elusive today as well.

Let me take a different angle.

cloudy

Cloudy.

The sun shines here a zillion days a year. Okay, something like 287 days out of 365. That, my friends, adds up to a heckuva lotta sunlight. A glorious thing in the winter if you don’t like the cold. An unending series of boredom and heat in the summer if you don’t find some variety.

Sure we desert dwellers love the rain for its moisture and life-giving sustenance, but we also love it for the sheer difference in weather. Not sunny equals a nice change.

I’ve also lived in the Northwest where clouds and rain sang the same song every single day. Or so it seemed. Unending blue sky and sunlight, when it rarely occurred, felt heavenly for the sheer change in melody.

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and ordered the same thing you got last time because you know you’ll like it? Of course! But that can get so boring! Try something new next time and appreciate the difference even if you like the same old thing better.

A PBJ for lunch every single day might give you a sense of security, of all’s right with the world, but that, dear reader, is an illusion.

Or maybe that’s just my life.

Maybe your life consists of predictable, on time, on schedule, knowing what’s ahead for the next year wonderfulness. I’m incredibly jealous happy for you. If that’s the case this whole post must come off as the strangest bunch of rambling you’ve ever read in your life and it’s a wonder that you’re even still reading. The following statement won’t even register on your reality meter.

Change is inevitable.

Change is the only constant. We’ve had this conversation before, I’m sure of it.

Sunrise.

Sunrise.

I’m glad and grateful for differences, variety, something new, unpredictability, the wonder of what’s around the corner. Really I am. Really.

I’m also ready for some stability, some unmoving earth beneath my feet, a calendar with a schedule I can count on, a checkbook with reasonable numbers, a sun I know will rise in the east every single morning.

I just got done texting my cousin the following message: “Variety is the spice of life, or so I’ve heard. Unless variety is all you ever have.”

I’m just aiming for a little balance. Call me crazy. Call me nuts. Call me weird. I don’t care.

I’m still grateful for the whole mixed up mess of it all.

Not buying it huh? Well, then just listen to this song. Enjoy a classic.

~~~~~

Here’s Bill Withers from way back in 1971 totally getting it and giving it. His song says more in two minutes than anything I’ve managed to write today.

 

“Variety may be the spice of life, but consistency pays the bills.” ~ Doug Cooper

 

 

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Little Bit of Everything Makes it Nice

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for the amazing variety I find in the world.

There's nothing like an Arizona sunset.

There’s nothing like an Arizona sunset.

Yesterday MSH and I took a sunset walk through my favorite local sanctuary, the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch. I’d worried it would be too hot, as the temperatures had been in the nineties all day, but a good breeze kicked in and some clouds danced about keeping things pleasant. Add in the shade inherent in the low angle of the early evening sun and we had perfect conditions for a stroll.

I used to walk here every single day for a year or two. I laid claim to certain aspects of the place. I recognized some of the photographers that regularly wandered about. I noticed differences in duck families and became well acquainted with a gaggle of geese that acted like they owned the place. I knew most of the daytime locations of the night herons, recognized shifting water levels, and avoided visiting at times when crowds would be there.

Then life happened and my visits there dropped to almost never. Once every three months or less. Last night I realized I hardly recognized the place, particularly with its late spring green rush making everything so bright and perky.

My walks used to happen in the early morning hours, before the sun even broke across the horizon, so seeing it all in early evening very literally made me see things in a different light.

I couldn’t seem to snap enough photos. From the pink Prickly Pear cactus, to the rare leaves and flowers on an Ocotillo, the variety stood out. Take a look and you’ll see what I mean. Plenty to be grateful for around here, as far as I can see!

The world continues to surprise me with its resilience, beauty and variety. Even in the desert, as the temperatures hover near one hundred, nature delights me with her wonders.

“Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.” ~ William Cowper

 

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Nature, phoenix | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Now Trending: Not Trending.

I’m not much for following trends. The term “trending” makes me want to turn and run the other direction. I’m not big on crowds or trying to fit in.

I couldn’t tell you about “in” styles, name brands, car models, or the cool songs or shows.

 

 

Variety equals energy, joy and fun.

Variety equals energy, joy and fun.

Clothes consist of shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, shoes, socks. Vehicles are cars, vans, SUVs, trucks and big rigs. Any name associated with any of them escapes me.

As much as I love to read I resist reading the latest and greatest. I avoid the NYT bestseller list until multiple friends insist I’m missing out on an astounding book, then I’ll put it off six months or longer.

If Oprah suggests it, I’ll avoid it. If some sitcom or Dr. Phil or Judge Judy or whoever on a late night talk show recommends it, I won’t do it. If it’s something I’m already doing and I hear they’ve touted its benefits, I’ll probably stop.

Does that make me antisocial? 

Probably.

Oh well.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs

I went for a walk today in Old North End of Colorado Springs. Most of the houses here came into existence in the nineteen fifties. At the time, I suppose, they probably all kind of looked alike, two or three basic house plans, two or three basic paint colors. Today, over sixty years later every house’s personality sings out.

Some have enclosed front porches, others sprout wings toward the back or side, and some have lovely balconies. Still others boast art glass windows and meticulous yards, while others choose to let vines ramble and allow nature to dictate direction and style. And the colors! Oh my! I saw lovely grays, blues, violets, periwinkles, pinks, stonework, yellows, brickwork, lilac, tans, creams, and white, ivory, apricot.

I loved the variety.

I pictured people of all sorts gathered inside, prepping for a lovely Sunday dinner, family and friends visiting, kids out back loving the spring weather.

Love this cheery home.

Love this cheery home.

The thought of going back to my twenty-year old neighborhood with the same stucco cream-pink cracker boxes saddened me. And to think homeowner associations exist to guarantee such sameness and boring identical identities.

I suppose I’m just an old house, metaphorically speaking. I’ve evolved into something other. I’m a periwinkle siding, open front porch, extra bedroom and bath added, a few upgrades, real wood floors, rambling garden yard with laundry on the line in back kind of place.

Don’t expect me to fit in. It’s not in my blueprints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: People, self-image, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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