Do your childhood summers have a rosy shimmer about them? The way they do when we only remember the good things. Mine do.
My shimmering summers were mainly spent in two place – in Luleå, at our wonderful Lillängen and onboard “Geishan” in the archipelago, close to the Arctic Circle – and at Väddö in the beautiful area of Roslagen, northeast of Stockholm.
During the 60’s and 70’s we spent a number of summers at Väddö, at an Anti Aircraft Practice Territory to be precise – a military practice territory right by the Sea of Åland. During the summer months, hundreds of young men lived here while doing their military service, and then there were 6-7 cottages for the senior officers and their families – we were one of those families.
Somehow the world stood still out there. Maybe it was because we were so isolated – it being a military territory meant no-one was allowed in unless they had a pass.
So there we lived in total peace and quiet (apart from the daily practice shooting at air plane “sausages”!) Memories are mixed with photos and film that mum and dad took and it’s hard to know what’s truly remembered and what’s been reminded through those captured moments. It doesn’t matter.
What I remember is that we somehow just “were”, completely in the moment, taking each day as it came, did what we felt like doing, in harmony with weather and other circumstances.
We rowed out to sea, we went swimming regardless of temperature, we fished from the jettee in the bay, we chased each other on the cliffs, had a “foot bath” in the puddles in between the sea cliffs – and as we got older – played tennis, read books, played cards and bought sweets as the mess hall (checking out the guys!)
There was no phone, no dish washer, no washing machine and no shop. And that was OK. I remember how we would go back to town to wash clothes every two weeks or so. Or we went in to the nearest town, Norrtälje, to go for a treat at the local café – a real luxury!
These memories are so stongly anchored in me that I can recreate the feeling of them whenever I want – like pressing a “memory button”.
Do you do the same thing with your memories? Do you find the inspiration, the calm, the driving force, the joy in your best memories?
Take a moment and remember, tapping into the power of those memories. Maybe remember your childhood summers. But not to be sentimental and live in the past – no, simply to be able to live the best life you can, now.
Then take a moment and live in the moment, in the here and now. This is something us adults can do too (I have a lot to learn from my childhood summers:-)) – to just be. And apart from the pleasure of living in the moment, to really experience what happens today – imagine what great memories we are creating for the future!
It’s not just because of the lie-in, or the all day pyjama fashion, or playing on the Wii, or watching good films on TV, or even pigging out on chocolote – although all of that is good too.
No, the main reason I love New Year’s Day is this – it has a great sense of clean, fresh start about it. Somehow the start of a new calendar year makes us realise that we can start something, something we’ve put off, something that’s important to us. We can wipe the slate clean, we can change something, we can find the energy to turn things around.
I don’t believe in “New Year’s resolutions” though. They tend to become a threat and a slow or fast journey to failure (as we somehow know – or have decided – that most resolutions fail).They could work though – if we called them something different and if we used them differently – as a great possibility, as an encouragement. Although this is not about resolutions….let’s get back to the magic of New Year’s Day.
You could argue that the problem with all other days is that it’s not New Year’s Day – that we don’t have that same sense of hope and opportunity that 1 January brings.
So I say, let’s make every day New Year’s Day! Every day is a fresh, clean start. It’s never too late or too early to act on our dreams, our aspirations, our interests.
Take this day with you throughout the year. Make every day New Year’s Day – keep the clear outlook, the hope and the drive. Learn from yesterday, take from it what you can, learnings, insights – and move forward with curiosity and joy. Anything can happen. What do you want to happen? And how will you make it happen?
I will start by treating myself to a leisurely day, full of joy and relaxation, and opportunities to recharge. If there is anything I will start this New Year’s Day with, it’s the continuous learning that to achieve anything, you need to take time to take care of yourself. Just like they say about the oxygen masks on planes – “before helping anyone else, please secure your own mask”. So true, so true – whatever we want to achieve, for others, for the world, for ourselves – we need to look after the instrument that is us, so that we have something to give. So it’s oxygen mask on for me. Go ahead, you do it too:-)
Never give up! I don’t mean “be stupid and keep hitting your head against a brick wall”. No, what I mean is this – if something really matters to you, if you really want to achieve something and you think it’s possible, then keep going.
Hold on to your dreams, to your ambitions – be inspired by them, as often as you can.
I bet you’re the person who will keep going, aren’t you? You know that all success is preceded by temporary setbacks, that everything worth doing well is worth doing badly first. And you know that those setbacks are indeed temporary setbacks. You are able to keep going, trying something new, something different – be inspired by those setbacks. Yes, thank you setbacks!
Who cares for a straight road anyway?!
You are not deterred by “failure” – heck, you know it isn’t even failure – it’s just an indication of what to change in your next attempt.
You never give up, do you? Not if it’s important enough to you.
So keep going – focus on your dream and act in accordance,
Enjoy the journey!
Never give up.
You have a choice. Now, today, tomorrow and all the days to follow.
A choice of
- how to spend the day
- how to feel
- how to think
- how to approach and treat other people
- how your day will be
- how you will act
- how you will react
- how you will do generally
- how others will percieve you
- AND PRETTY MUCH EVERYHING ELSE
Your’re not a victim.
Not of the weather.
Not of other people.
Not of circumstances around you.
You choose. Take that control over your life. And then you can choose the quality of life that you desire. As a result your situation is not in the hands of other people or circumstances.
Don’t give your power away. Lead yourself. Live without regrets or accusations. Take responsibility for your situation. Choose joy and gratitude.
All we have is here and now after all. And it’s only really the here and now that we can take control over.
As Viktor Frankl (Austrian psychiatrist, concentration camp survivor and author of “Man’s search for meaning”) so wisely said:
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.”
So make your choice. Are you ready? Will you choose a good or a bad day?
It’s your choice, nobody else’s. You choose the quality of all aspects of your life. Pretty cool, hey!
Do you ever procrastinate? Think that you should really do something, but you can’t be bothered, or you’re too tired or you think it can really wait? Don’t we all!
Don’t put things off though. All we have is today. I don’t mean that in a horrible, “doomsday” kind of way. I mean that the past is behind us, we can’t change that – the future is in front of us and we can’t control that (we can plan and prepare – and then prepare to have to be flexible because it will all change anyway!).
All we have is today. So live it today. Really take care of today. Make the most of your day. Don’t just cram it full of things, but live it with joy – enjoy the moment. Do the things that make you feel good.
I got the very sad message yesterday that a dear, dear relative had passed away and I am sad to think that I didn’t stay in touch enough. I kept thinking “I’ll do it tomorrow”.
So in her memory, I say – let’s take care of today, let’s really live today – not just pass the time. Gini – this is for you.
I love the lines below, first given to me by a person who attended a personal development programme I ran in Sussex about 10 years ago. Thank you – it continues to be an inspiration.
Look well to this day
For it is life
The very best of life.
In its brief course lie all
The realities and truths of existence,
The joy of growth, the splendour of action,
The glory of power.
For yesterday is but a memory.
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived
Makes every yesterday a memory of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore to this day.
Ancient Sanskrit Poem