notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Think.

2018.

Another year.

What do I wish to accomplish?

Of course I want to lose weight and exercise and clean the house and take better care of my skin. And also, of course, write another book.

But on a day-to-day basis. I want to think.

And I want those thoughts to go to work.  Maybe not go to work. To come out to play.

A while back I wrote about how I measure whether my day is successful. I have a checklist to ensure that I have done something good for

  1. My home
  2. My body
  3. My mind
  4. My work
  5. For someone else
  6. For sheer pleasure

That is a pretty reliable checklist.

For this new year, I am going to simplify it even more.

Every day:  I want to THINK.

Think of something nice to say and say it.

I have long believed that every day we have opportunities to say nice things – to pay sincere compliments. To say, “What a good idea!” or “I love your shoes” or “You have been a great help to me.” 

I saw a story on the internet of a woman who was trolled and harassed and ridiculed because she posted a photo of herself – and she is very overweight. To every person who harassed her, she answered with something nice about them. “I love that shade of lipstick on you!” “Your name is so cool!” etc. She wrote later than some people actually apologized, but many did not. And she said, “Maybe it didn’t do them any good at all… but I felt better.” Saying nice things does indeed make you feel better.

Think of something nice to do and do it.

I like to paint. But to do that I need to remind myself to do it. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of lots of nice things we can do. Because it is so easy to forget. Today, when I took the dog out, I did not also check my email, which I often do. Or even take his photo. With him being so cute, I take pictures almost every day. I can’t help myself. And although it is nice to do, something that is even nicer – is to just watch him be cute. To know that he is being cute just for me. To give him my total attention.

And tomorrow, I will bring lunch over to my mother. That’s easy. I already love doing that. But on the way, I will stop at the warming center and donate my old parka. Something nice to do. And I can.

Think of something nice to feel and feel it.

I don’t mean that in the physical sense, although that counts too. My kitten Thor is so warm and soft. Just holding him while he snuggles on my lap is a sweet sensation.

But I mean feeling a nice emotion. For New Year’s Eve, my husband came home with several pounds of king crab legs. Nice! When we put them on to boil, he commented on the old enamel stockpot. “Remember when we bought this?” he asked. And I did. We were just married and vacationing on the cheap in a small cottage in Rhode Island. We bought lobster and went to the local hardware store for this big pot. And every time we take it out, we remember our vacation. And feel that pleasure all over again.

Think of something nice to eat and eat it.

It doesn’t have to be king crab legs… though it’s pretty nice when it is. But as I just recently discovered – but should have known a long time ago – mindless eating is such a waste. After I eat something, I often don’t even remember eating it. I need to slow down. Savor.

Yesterday, I made popovers. I hadn’t made them in a very long time. I was kind of stressed, thinking about all the ways they could go wrong. And eating the first half of my popover, I was judging it and judging myself. Was it light enough? Cooked enough? Cooked too much? But I managed to stop. With the second half of my popover, I felt the airiness on my tongue, the perfect moist egginess. The popover-i-ness.

Yogurt is creamy, Peanuts are crunchy, Olives are salty. And coffee is heavenly. How lucky are we that we have such wonders to enjoy?

Think of something great to wear and wear it.

I know I am a bit of a broken record on this subject. But so many people dress in any old thing. It saddens me to think that they don’t enjoy the beauty and pleasure of clothes –  a lovely color or a luxurious material. Shop with discrimination. Don’t say “good enough”. If you need a new sweater, buy one you love. If you only buy what you love, pretty soon your closet will be filled only with things you love, and you can wear something you love every single day. Even if it’s sweatpants – buy the soft ones.

Today I wore warm leggings to my yoga class. They are a crazy print of coral and jade and purple. All my other leggings are black or grey. These colorful ones were just what I needed.

I already know that tomorrow – when I visit my mother – I am going to wear the soft oversized pale pink sweater with my faded jeans. I can hardly wait. How nice is that – to be so happy thinking about a sweater?  And how easy.

Think about something nice to listen to and listen to it.

With my popover (and yummy prime rib) dinner, I played my husband’s favorite – Roy Orbison. His plaintive unearthly voice broke through all the busyness and activities of the day.  We had to put down our forks during “Blue Bayou” and just take it in.

Tonight while writing this, I put on Yo-Yo Ma playing Saint-Saens’ “The Swan.” And stopped typing.

Whether it’s Pit Bull or Judy Garland or La Traviata – we live in a world of music so accessible and yet so often taken for granted. Choose to listen.

Think about something nice to see and see it.

Sometimes you can plan this. Sometimes it just happens. But you have to SEE it.

When I dusted today, I picked up old brass candlesticks, a porcelain cat, a vase in the shape of a horse, a photograph of my husband as a baby, a heavy glass paperweight, a wrought-iron toy cash register that I use for a bookend. I am surrounded by beautiful things. I have joy in my house every day. It waits for me to see it.

And the unexpected beauty is just as wondrous. Be ready for it.

cardinal

A cardinal in the weeping cherry tree right outside my back door.

 

 

45 Comments

  1. Nice thoughts Nancy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems that every time I leave a comment on one of your posts, I write: “I LOVE this post”! And I do love this post. I’m going to copy and paste the outline of it, so that I can keep all those things in mind until they become second nature.
    And your story about being excited about the sweater you’re wearing tomorrow reminded me of something that happened back in the 70’s. One summer day, my co-worker had bought a pair of those cheap little rubber flip-flops from the dime store during our lunch break. And that afternoon at work, she said: I cannot WAIT to get home and put on my flip flops. Isn’t it silly to be so excited about a 99-cent pair of flip flops?” Your post brought that memory back to me.
    I know you will, but enjoy your time tomorrow with your mom……

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s wonderful that 99 cent flip-flops get so much enthusiasm. And you just reminded me of another friend. This woman LOVED tuna sandwiches. And when she brought a tuna salad sandwich for lunch, she would start thinking about it right away. By 10AM she had eaten it. Every time! I loved her so much for that!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Aw, what a cute story! Thanks for another great, thought -provoking post!

        Like

  3. Great post, All the beauty of deliciousness that we take for granted because we are harried, and stressed, How lovely to remember to slow it down and utilize all of our senses.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I need to consciously remind myself. I miss so much by just not paying attention. And there are beautiful simple things all around me.

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  4. i think i learned something from you. i’m glad you are having such a fine time. everything is rosy here too. the country is great. but oh my the work you must do to maintain this perfection! guessing that ever growing is the reward in itself. what do you plan to do after this life? any ideas? hugs,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perfection? Not even close, and I don’t even try. I just try to enjoy the simple things around me. It may give you the impression that I think everything around me – including the country – is just rosy. You and I both know the answer to that. I do what I can, but strive (sometimes unsuccessfully) to keep this blog non-political. For the past year, I have felt the stress that so many of us have, and wonder when it will all end, and how much damage will be done to our country, the world, the environment, the poor… but still I look for a little joy every day. Hugs to you too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your list is spot on. I know I can definitely work on some of those things. One of the silliest things that gives me pleasure is putting fresh purple in my hair. For some reason I feel wonderful every time I spruce it up. Purple hair makes me very happy.

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    • If it’s Purple Hair that makes you happy… go for it! The next time I see someone with purple hair, I will smile and think of you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My ‘big’ resolution for this year is to live in the moment as much as possible. We all spend so much time rushing through things to get to whatever’s next that we never really experience what’s happening RIGHT NOW. Yesterday I put down the book I was reading to pat my cat (who was demanding attention) and instead of just patting her a few times and picking the book up again, I looked into her eyes, concentrated on the feel of her fur as I patted her, listened to the lovely sound of her purr – and realized I hadn’t paid that much attention to her before. It was eye opening. I’ve been doing the same with watching the snow fall, the birds in the feeder, the taste of my homemade shortbread cookies … even the sound of my husband’s breathing at night when he’s asleep. I love the list you’ve included here – the world would be a better place if we all followed it. Happy 2018.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment. It is exactly the point I was trying to make, and you have said it so well. I don’t often pay attention to the simple beautiful things that surround me. When I pet the cat, I need to PET THE CAT.

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    • Love the sentiment you express so eloquently here! And, I am sure your cat appreciates it too 🙂

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  7. Shelagh Kuse

    Lovely, thought-provoking post. Just one little editing note: you want “plaintive,” not “plaintiff.”

    Like

    • Oh – Thank you! Sometimes we are all idiots, and that was my turn! I am fixing that now!!!

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  8. Love your list and can relate to so much. Nothing makes me feel better than to feel pretty (even if I’m old!) or to feel kind (so easy to do). This morning our local shelter (people) is collecting clothes. I put in some warm coats and clothes, pretty ones, because that’s what they need now in our cold freeze. I love cooking but don’t do it as much as I used to. There is nothing more pleasurable than having something come out right, then sharing it. Overall life has been good to me and it’s my responsibility to share that.

    Like

    • We should all feel at least a little desire to share our abundance.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy New Year Nancy! In addition to thinking everyday, I am going to try to feel as well. Really examine if something is making my life better, feel better. And, trying to limit the negative thoughts I often find myself “thinking” too much 🙂

    Like

    • Oh yes! Thinking too much can definitely draw me into negativity. There is a balance we all seek between staying positive and yet seeing the world as it is. I only sometimes succeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A superlative list.

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    • Thank you, Bernadette.

      Like

  11. I appreciated reading this post. Bravo to the lady who answered each comment with something nice. That is even better than remaining silent. 🙂
    We had some crab legs over the holidays, so good, they were already cooked. I asked my husband to make the mayonnaise. He was tickled.
    Clothes you really love, that is more difficult with so many years of being thrifty. Maybe that will help me do some clearing out.
    Happy New Year!

    Like

    • With your effort to clear your clothes…. even if they are very old, keep them if you love them. Old and well-loved is precious too.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Every day I try to be a nice, caring and understanding person, some days that comes easy, some days not so much, there are days when the frustration is overwhelming and all I want to do is sit and cry

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    • If I feel I need a good cry, I go ahead and let myself have one. I just try not to let it go on too long. Do you remember the movie “Broadcast News” with Holly Hunter? Like that.

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  13. Wow, I just need to dust so I can enjoy some of those dusted items. The Christmas stuff is still not put away (husband says he’ll do and I hate to nag), the bathrooms need cleaning, and I’m stuck on a deadline project that I’m beginning to hate. This is not the way it should be, so thanks for the reminder to make it better. I love this.

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    • Just because I finally dusted doesn’t exactly mean my house is clean. You are not alone. 😉

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  14. This is lovely!

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  15. Ooh… I love this checklist!

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    • Thank you, GodGirl.

      Like

  16. I really can’t describe enough exactly how nice this post made me feel.Sometimes we really need such reminders in life and I love the way you’ve put these wonderful thoughts across.Kudos! ❤

    Like

    • Thanks, Lairaiwrites! Your blog is lovely. Persevere!

      Like

  17. Pam

    All great suggestions, Nancy! Thanks for helping me to slow down and savor the good things around me. It has been really bone-chilling cold here lately, and on the weekend I wrapped myself up in my favorite old soft comforter on the couch and relished the warmth and comfort. (Comforter is aptly named.) Of course, I took a little nap and thoroughly enjoyed that, too. It’s one of the things I like about winter.

    Like

    • That sounds really nice. My favorite winter past-time is to read near the fire or the woodstove. I almost always fall asleep. That’s the best part.

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  18. Pam

    By the way, my choice of clothing for “a perfect day” would be a soft over-sized pale pink sweater and jeans! And of course, faded jeans would best compliment a pale pink sweater. I have always loved pink! What kind of shoes are you wearing with your sweater and jeans?

    Like

    • Pam – depends on the weather. If the weather is nice I love my soft wine-colored suede loafers with the lavender penny-slot. If it’s cold – which ii certainly is now – tall (but flat) riding boots.

      Like

  19. Your posts always inspire me to write diary. By writing diary, i can feel these days when read it again after so many years.

    Nice story. Checklist is also good, some points are matched with mine.

    Like

    • Thank you. Keep writing!

      Like

  20. Once again you’ve inspired me, Nancy. I love the way you’ve turned “thinking” into practical action steps that can make a person appreciate the life they have and lift others up in the process.

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    • Thanks. To me, just thinking about something is the first step to making it happen. Intention is powerful.

      Like

  21. Beautiful thoughts for the new year!

    Like

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