Time Flies, Be Happy Now by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Time flies. Be Happy. As you begin to read this post you may think I’m just writing down whatever thoughts are spinning around in my brain, but I promise you I do have a point.

I woke up this morning from a dream in which my older son was holding a book. He asked me, “Why do you have this old book? You should get rid of it.”

I went on to tell him it was a book from my mother’s library and that the title came from an incident when Alabama was struck by a huge  meteor storm in 1833.

My mother had told me that her grandmother recounted the incident to her children, telling them it was so bright outside that the roosters crowed as if it were dawn, and the chickens exited the hen house. Everyone awoke thinking it was time to get up and start their day.

Mom had quite a collection of southern literature, and I remember seeing the book in her bookcase. Often, I’d think I should read it, but time flies. Life is too short to do all we want. When my mother passed, I, as the book lover in the family took her books home with me.

While my coffee brewed this morning, I went upstairs to my library and pulled the book from the shelf. Why had I dreamed of this book?

The inside title page shows it was published in 1934 by The Literary Guild in New York. It’s a first edition.

With thoughts of my mother on my mind, I thumbed through the book, thinking that the older I get, the more I miss her and my dad even though they were not the easiest people to get along with—not with each other and not with their children.

My mother and I had our love of reading and of books in common. Unfortunately, she was a perfectionist. It’s not easy having a perfectionist for a mom. She had a difficult time being happy because life is so imperfect. Maybe that’s why I write romance, creating characters who, by the end of the book, have found their way to happiness. In many instances, they learned how to be happy. Learned? Yes. Happiness is a learned skill. Sometimes, it’s a choice we make.

For my mom, everything had to be perfect for her to be happy. That’s rather odd, because when I was a kid, I remember my grandfather—her father—often saying, “Folks are about as happy as they decide to be.”

Many times through the years, I’ve remembered my grandfather saying it. Maybe he was saying it for my mother’s benefit too?

So, my point in today’s post is that it’s never too late to learn to be happy. Even though I don’t read all the books in my mom’s collection, just having them in my bookshelf makes me happy and makes me think about the things that joined us together rather than the things that kept us apart.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about human nature and motivation. One thing that’s true for fiction and real life is that most of us seem to make the same mistakes as we bumble our way along the road of life.

If you have a hard time being happy, here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

1. Never take advice from anyone who’s more screwed up than you.
Everyone likes to give advice, but always ask yourself if the person dishing out the advice is living life more effectively with less hiccups than you.

2. Learn from others because you’ll never live long enough to make all the mistakes yourself. Model their positive behavior and adapt what they did to your efforts.

3. Be patient with those you love, especially when they interrupt you as you’re trying to accomplish something you feel is important, but in the grand scheme of things, it may not be.

4. Spend your time working effectively rather than hard.  Assess what your doing and how you’re doing it so you can keep what works and toss what doesn’t.

5. Enjoy yourself and your life. Have a good balance between work and play.

6. Change how you think about work. If you can think of it in more positive terms, then you may enjoy it more rather than dreading it. This is important since you probably spend more time each day at work than at leisure.

7. Always make room in your life for the people you love. If you tell them, “Not now,” often enough, they’ll go away.

8. Be patient and slow to anger and bite back words that may poison your relationship. Too many people vent their frustration and irritation on those around them. Words really can hurt. Words can kill relationships. If you need to vent, hang a body bag in the garage and get a pair of boxing gloves and go at it.

Post Script

Embrace your life and everyone in it.

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I love being an old lady

I love being an old lady.
Really. I do.
I’m no longer a chick (cute, dumb or otherwise), a ditzy broad (although I have my senior moments) and I don’t have to worry about make-up, perming my hair or wearing the latest fashion.
Doors are opened for me. Young men offer me their seat on the bus so I don’t have to stand. Clerks offer to carry out my groceries. Do they think I’m feeble or do they respect me because of my graying locks? Either way, I really don’t care. At least no one has been rude to me in ages and I don’t have to stand while commuting in a public conveyance.
Young women aren’t jealous or derisive of my body or attire. I haven’t felt the sting of another female scoffing at what I’m wearing or sneer at my lack of taste. Maybe they chalk it up to being an old lady, but the reality is that I never had and still don’t have a sense of style.
What is old lady attire?2015-08-02 DH aqua polaroid In case you didn’t know, it’s clean. Comfortable. And convenient. No glittery low-rider pants with hard to find belt loops that always seem to come undone, tight hammertoe-creating shoes, flaking eyeliner and mascara, pokey, push-up underwire brassieres or hand-wash only silk shirts. My usual attire consists of a colorful, somewhat supporting sports bra, yoga or sweatpants, and a colorful ‘scrubs’ top with pockets for my pen and notebook, a tissue or two, and my smartphone. After I slide into my Crocs or Go-Walk shoes (no chance of blisters or bunions), I’m ready to tackle the world.
There are a few negative aspects of being old. I need reading glasses, but I don’t need them for gardening, driving, or scouting rainbows or wild turkeys. I’d rather not have the achy joints, but other than that, physically, I’m in great shape. My heart works well enough that I’m not breathless just walking across the parking lot to the grocery store. My brain still functions fine. I may not remember what I came into a room for, but I know my name and all the important stuff: phone, social security, and credit card numbers.
I’m glad I paid attention to my grandmother. I brushed my teeth, ate well (maybe too well), and still take my vitamins. I have all my teeth, pertinent parts, and can cook and clean better than any woman half (or one-fourth) my age. My advice and/or opinion is still sought (sometimes) and I can crack a joke with the best of them. True, I only get wolf whistles from my husband, but he’s the only one I want them from anyhow. And thanks to that now long gone miserable time of life referred to as ‘the change,’ I no longer have to worry about getting pregnant. Phew!
Do I have any regrets? Duh? Don’t we all? However, I’ve learned that no matter what, I can’t change the past. I can do my best not to make the same mistakes again, can gently urge my daughters, granddaughters – and anyone else who might listen and benefit – to not make rash choices and ALWAYS treat others as they want to be treated.
Yup. Be kind, patient, and enjoy the life you have right now. Tomorrow you may be laid up because of an accident due to road rage. Or without a job or best friend because of hasty or cruel words. Or maybe have a horrible toothache because you didn’t brush your teeth.
I’m hoping I’ll avoid all of the above discomforts because along with getting older, I think I’m getting wiser.
Viva gray hair and wrinkles! I must have done something right to survive the last sixty-something years!

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Note: Here’s a great story about an older woman who was able to do it all over again, but in a younger body. In a different time era. And with a severe case of amnesia. Perky old lady in a young, hot body. Will her innate sense and savvy get her out of predicaments with cougars (the mountain lion-type), creeps and kidnappers? Find out in NAKED IN THE WINTER WIND, specially priced at only 99 cents. Available on Kindle and Nook.