100 Days of Writing – Day Thirty

No particular topic today…just writing off the top of my head

Today is one of those days where no particular topic appealed to me, so I’m just going to be writing off the top of my head. Sometimes those can be some of the most entertaining pieces to craft.

I delivered Meals on Wheels today on my regular route. I’m getting more familiar with the homes I visit and the route took the least amount of time for me today. I delivered thirteen meals and finished in under an hour. The two routes that I’ll be running the second and third weeks in August will be in a different part of town, so every delivery day is an adventure. Thank goodness for GPS!

It looks like we’re getting ready to get a big-time summertime storm. Temperatures were in the low nineties today, so it’ll be a welcome relief from the heat. I guess it’s a product of getting older, but it seems like the really hot temperature days have a more tiring effect on me than they used to.

I’m on day nine of not smoking and the cravings still occur at semi-regular intervals, especially when first waking in the morning and after meals. I had a discussion with two friends last night, both of who are former smokers, and they gave me some helpful hints on how to deal with the urges to smoke.

In just a matter of weeks, it’s going to be time to head back to the classroom. I’ve accepted an interim position for an eighth-grade science teacher who’s going to be out for eight weeks or so on maternity leave. I’m looking forward to getting back into the school year routine. The school I’ll be working at is the same school I retired from in 2010, so it’s back to the old haunting grounds once more.

That’s all for right now…we did, by the way, get that torrential downpour I was mentioning earlier. It’s always nice to get a break from the summertime heat. I’m sure the sun will be back in full force tomorrow.

David Lee

100 Days of Writing – Day Twenty-Nine

What do we do when we’re struggling? Are there things that you’ve found that are helpful?

There are times during all of our lives where the struggle becomes real. Life happens and we find ourselves in the midst of difficult situations, some not of our own choices. “Life gets lifey,” as one of my friends likes to say. I have found several things that seem to help me when life gets rough.

  • Try not to isolate yourself from friends and family. I know there, at least for me, is a tendency to want to try to work through things alone. “If only I think on this situation long and hard enough, I’ll be able to find a solution.” While personal reflection is important, I think it’s also productive to be amongst others and while we don’t have to share any or some of the details of what we’re going through, it sometimes does help to have input from others.
  • Listening to music is helpful. I have a go-to list of artists that I love to listen to during the normal course of the day. If I am struggling, listening to perhaps a bit more of the favorites seems to take my mind far enough away to take a break from it all.
  • Photography is one of my favorite hobbies. One of the reasons I like it so much is because it greatlly assists me in staying in the present moment. It’s just me, my camera, and whatever it is that I’m taking a picture of. Taking pictures out in nature seems to be especially beneficial. Once the pictures are done, there’s the editing process and of course sharing them with others on social media. Hobbies are most normally done for fun and nothing better than to have fun, even in the midst of struggling.
  • Journaling is something that has been immensely helpful to me over the past twenty or so years. I started nearly twenty years ago on the advice of my therapist and have written nearly every day since. It’s also developed a love for writing along the way. Sometimes just putting all those thoughts on paper is the best medicine.
  • Depending on what spiritual practices you possess, I suggest turning to those as well. Some would say this needs to the first thing you might do during a struggle. In my case, I pray to the God of my understanding for guidance, wisdom, and strength to face whatever life has brought my way.
  • Stay with whatever life routines you have established. Don’t let the difficulties keep you from doing what you’d normally do. I wake up each morning and drink my coffee and post my daily inspritation entries on social media. I also have several meditation books that I read from and this always seems to give a good start to the day.

I don’t know that I have all the answers to those who have struggles in life. And certainly, some struggles are more difficult than others. But I’m hoping some or all of the above will be of help next time you find yourself in one of those places.

David Lee

The Stories We Create

Left to our own devices, we can create pretty scary stories when considering what the future might bring. What if this,,, what if that? And for some reason, the most frequent stories I create don’t have favorable outcomes. And for some reason, I can’t figure out why anyone, including myself, would want to do that.

I think a part of the habit of creating stories with worst-case scenarios is that we lack faith in some sort of Higher Power. We’ve all had “bad” things happen in the past, things we’d like to avoid, and we’re left wondering how we’ll handle the next “bad” thing.

I think another reason we can tend to figure on a “worst case scenario” is that we want to be prepared if something bad were to happen. We think by keeping it close to us, in this case, pondering and obsessing about it, then we can keep the bad things from happening. Such is the case, even though we don’t have any control over most all of it. Control is nothing but an illusion.

I have a specific instance in mind in my own life. I recently made another concerted effort to try to quit smoking. After consulting with my physician, he and I decided it would be a good idea to get a CAT scan to see what damage had already been done. I was able to get an appointment relatively quickly and the scan took less than five minutes. Then the wait began.

From Wednesday of one week to Monday of the next week, I created all types of stories about what the results and prognosis would be. While I understood that there wasn’t anything I could do to change my past smoking habits, I still worried about what the scan would show. I came up with some pretty scary stories, concocted from nothing based in reality. It seemed every time I turned around, there was an ad on social media, a television show, or something of the sort that mention cancer. I came up with the story that perhaps I was being prepared for the ultimate worst outcome.

During this time, I debated on whether or not to call the doctor for test results. My first inclination was to wait, and that I did. I finally did call on Friday afternoon, but the doctor’s office had already closed. I made a promise to myself and a friend that I would call at some point on Monday. I even had that friend say that he was going to hold me accountable and to make sure I let him know when the call had been made.

I finally set a deadline of 3 p.m. to make the call. Fortunately, I didn’t have to make that dreaded call. The doctor’s office called while I was running some errands and my phone was hooked up to my car’s audio system via Bluetooth. I could tell by the number that it displayed that it was the doctor’s office. She said they had the results of the text and there was no evidence of any cancer. I breathed a high sigh of relief. The wait and the worry were over.

So all that time, from the day the test was ordered to today, when the results were known, I had created a story of doom and gloom. And as it turns out, none of that was based in reality. I had once again learned a valuable lesson and seen what my mind could create from nothing.

I’m not going to say that I’ll never create these stories again. But I will make a concerted effort to try not to paint the worst-case scenario again and keep the faith that no matter what happens, I will be able to handle it.

100 Days of Writing – Day Twenty-Eight

Adventures in Living: Trying to treat ADD with meds, while at the same time, quit smoking – Day Twelve ( I think)

Last Monday morning I smoked what I am hoping is my last cigarette for this lifetime. It was around 5:05 a.m. when I took my last puffs. Today I celebrate one week from my addiction to smoking.

The road has definitely not been an easy one. I’ve been able to lower the volume on my cravings for nicotine by using nicotine lozenges. I often pop two in my mouth at a time and the cravings soon disappear.

Another part of the struggle in cessation is that I smoked out of pure habit – it gave me something to do. I have found the usual rituals of having a morning smoke with my coffee, a cigarette after meals, and others had to be changed. It was not unusual for me to during this past week to catch myself looking for a my pack of cigs and lighter with any of these triggers.

I have had some episodes of coughing, especially at night when I am trying to go to sleep. It’s more of a tickling in my throat than it is a deep cough, but it’s nagging and nearly impossible to get to sleep.

One of my coping tools is the QuitNow app that I’ve downloaded on my phone. It keeps track of your time abstaining from smoking, how many cigarettes you haven’t smoked, how much money you have saved by not smoking, and other interesting stats. As a lover of numbers and former math teacher, it’s great motivation.

As a result of my latest attempt to quit smoking, the app reveals I’ve not smoked 146 cigarettes. It’s hard to believe I would have smoked that many in this one-week period of time. I feel that’s one way we ignore our consumption of cigarettes – one pack is “only twenty.” But when you add up a pack a day for a whole week, it’s quite a leap to see your total number smoked.

As I continue to trudge the road of quitting smoking, I haven’t found it necessary to smoke a cigarette in a week’s time. I’m still taking it one day at a time.

Random Writing,,,

It’s been a while since I sat in front of the keyboard and wrote just for the sake of writing, so here it goes.

We’ve had some sweltering hot weather this week. It’s currently 93 degrees here on this Saturday afternoon. It is, after all summer, but it seems the older I get, the more of an effect the really hot weather has on me.

I went with my wife to an antique mall today and bought two filled soda bottles. The first was a large Diet Rite Cola. Back in the day, this was one of the few diet sodas available. I somewhere in my collection have a Diet Rite sign and I’ll make an effort this next week to find it to display with the bottle.

The second bottle I bought was an Orange Crush. While it did contain some sediment in the liquid, it had still retained its bright orange color. Even though it cost a bit more than I’ll usually pay ($12) I went ahead and made the purchase, figuring I’d never see another in my lifetime.

During this upcoming week I have several things listed on the calendar. Tomorrow and Tuesday Lisa and I will attend a gathering of friends. Sunday the featured attraction is Thai food and Tuesday’s main course will be tacos. In addition to the great food, it’s always good to be around good friends and enjoy the conversation.

Well, that’s it for now…and that’s what I call random writing….whatever pops up in my head.

And that’s all I have to say about that.