By Gayle Lynds
Are you shocked that another year has vanished? I sure am. Where has 2019 gone? It’s true I’ve been busy all year. Lots of life and work. But still, time seems to have slipped away, sand pouring through my fingers.
Have I lost the last decade, too? To find out, I read various roundups chronicling wars, politics, advancements and retrenchments, medical improvements and mistakes, increasing poverty, increasing wealth, horrible natural disasters, and entire areas of the planet still pristine.
The roundups told me what had happened but not where all the time had gone. Maybe time is stuck somewhere in a steel box inside a titanium safe hidden in a hole grown over with weeds where not even an Einstein can find it.
Still, I remember being happy this past decade. I married John Sheldon, a wonderful man, and moved to Maine. My grandson was born. Our family is far flung but emotionally close. I published two novels and some short stories (two coauthored with John), all of which I really like. I helped found Rogue Women Writers. I made new friends and cherished long-time ones. Oh, the wonderful evenings of conversations, and now, just now, the quietude of my office as I write this.
Do you remember times of being happy over the past 10 years? How do you know when or even if you’re happy? Does “success” = happiness for you? It sure does for some people.
In search of answers, I found “13 things you should give up if you want to be successful,” by Zdravko Cvijetic on CNBC. I’ll list the first five:
1. Give up on the unhealthy lifestyle
2. Give up the short-term mindset
3. Give up on playing small
4. Give up your excuses
5. Give up the fixed mindset
That’s some really good advice, but why so negative? “Give up” makes me think of quitting, of running away. I am ashamed. Ah-ha! Maybe irritation makes time last longer – I’d found myself dwelling on the list because it exasperated me.
New discovery: Being unhappy is a lousy way to make time stretch.
On the other hand, studies show that people who take time to care for themselves are healthier, more productive, enjoy better relationships, and – yes! – are happier. So I’m going to make things right by translating those five rules into positives:
1. Create a healthy lifestyle
2. Think long-term
3. Prize big ideas
4. Turn your excuses into opportunities to say “I can do it.”
5. Let yourself dream of what can be
|In our front yard, beautiful fresh snow explodes with a gust of wind.|
My search for the last decade is beginning to make sense so that the 2020s don’t have to slip away, too. I can slow the years by noticing and savoring memorable moments. Time is an emotion.
As I finish writing this, I sit back and peer out my window. It’s snowing. Beautiful white flakes float and dance among the stark branches of the trees. They stick like silver dollars to the barks, and mound softly in the crooks. I’m inside a magical snow globe. I’m happy. Right now, at this very instant, I smile. Time stands still.