Lovin’ Every Minute of It

Lovin’ Every Minute of It

Are you humming a Loverboy tune right now? (Here’s your earworm for the day…heh. You’re welcome. Enjoy today’s flashback aka Attack of the Mullets.)

 

Like many people across the country yesterday, I was watching the funeral procession and service for George H.W. Bush. I will formally acknowledge here that I did not vote for Mr. Bush back in 1988. In fact, that election has a great deal of personal significance to me because it is the first election for which I was eligible to vote. My opinion of the former president definitely evolved over the years, and I grew to respect the man for his dedication to his family and his country, even though I knew I disagreed with him on a number of policy positions. I will mention though that his political campaign for president was the first time I recall as a young woman seeing how trash-talking and manipulative political ads could sway a viewing audience and ultimately, an election. Yesterday was about honoring and fond remembrance but it is true that the Willie Horton ads of that 1988 Bush campaign did send us down a rabbit hole in political advertising in which we have only descended deeper. It’s interesting how a man who is truly one of the last statesmen who understood the need for bipartisanship, much like McCain, could allow such campaign ads to run at all. But we all know who’s really in charge during presidential bids, and that’s the campaign manager. (For you younger folks, Google “Willie Horton ads” for a history lesson about the Bush vs. Dukakis prez battle of 1988).

 

The truth is that yes, the world changed under Bush’s watch from 1988 to 1992, interestingly enough when I was attending and graduating from college. And most of it, was for the better, to be honest.  But here at home, economic concern led voters to seek a leadership change, and they got that change in 1992 with Bill Clinton.

 

But that’s not what this blog is about.

 

I was very moved by yesterday’s service, at the civility between people of different parties, generations, cabinets — all lined up in a row to pay their respects to a man who didn’t seem to care about titles, prestige or lineage. His concern was living every minute of his life to the fullest because two close brushes with death can leave that lingering train of thought. Nope, Bush, Sr. was more pressed to do all that he could while he was on this planet – for others, for his family, for his country and for himself, pursuing hobbies that gave him great joy and personal milestones he wished to tackle.

 

BushPlane

(Photo courtesy of USA Today/AP)

 

I have no personal aspirations to leap out of planes when I’m 90 (nor when I’m 50, 60, 70 or 80, I might add.) Nor do I have any bucket list with a long checklist of places I must visit or objects I must see in person. But as I grow older, I will say this – I do think about time and HOW I’m using it and WHO I’m using it with, and it has compelled me to make changes where they have been needed — what I attend or pursue, the commitments I choose to make and the people I keep close to me in my orbit.

 

I urge anyone reading this to step back a moment and look at their own day:  are you in it?  I know most of the time I am not. Sure, I’m the one doing all of the things I list in my planner to accomplish that day but rarely am I including ‘to do’ items designed especially for me. Often when I look down at the list, they are just tasks. Places I must be by a certain time. Deadlines for stories and appointments. And these are all important – absolutely. But so is making time for the unexpected.

 

I know that sounds a little loopy as in “there’s a time and place for spontaneity.” But I have discovered during my 48+ years that some of life’s greatest lessons have not come during one of those scheduled appointments but rather at times that were not blocked off in my planner — when I least expected it. And if we do not keep our eyes, ears and arms ready to clutch on to those opportunities to learn a little something about others and ourselves, we might miss it. See, even Ferris Bueller knew this!

 

But what of those unexpected things – good or bad, if we really must label them such – that pop into your day without warning? The person you bump into physically or virtually that you haven’t seen in ages — shouldn’t it pull you away from what you’re doing and warrant a further conversation?  A story you see on TV that prompts you to want to reach out and contact an organization — isn’t it worthwhile to jump on inspiration when it strikes and take that next step to follow its path? That shop, restaurant or museum you’ve been meaning to go to but never have time to visit — how will you ever find out if this could be your new favorite place if you don’t take some time out of your day to experience it?

 

This last one is a biggie for me lately. I’m so tired of saying to people, ‘yes, I’ve been meaning to go there.’  What am I waiting for — the next solar eclipse? A colony on Mars? Leap year?!

 

I know none of these examples of “experiences” compare to jumping out of planes or the other exciting but mad things that a real courageous adventurer like George H.W. Bush did for fun but for wimps like me, that’s about as daring as we get — going to new restaurants, taking a different route home, meeting up with new people…ooh, scary.

 

If we take away one very worthy lesson from our former president it’s that life isn’t life if it’s not worth living, so live it. Love it! Every minute of it. Even the shitty parts! Because there is something to be gained by every single minute of it all. Especially those shitty parts.

So fill up your day. Whatever that means to you or however that looks. Whether it’s jumping out of planes, participating in 5Ks every weekend, volunteering all over the place, spending more time with family or giving yourself more time to explore talents, inspiring activities or creative pursuits like painting, writing, singing, meditating, training your pet pot-bellied pig…whatever it may be! But don’t be afraid to get some sleep because if there’s anything insomniacs like me appreciate, it’s a good night of some decent sleep. Got one last night. Can you tell? I can.

 

Alright, it’s not yet 8:00 a.m. here, and I must say that after a much-needed day off that offered some time to rest, reflect and refuel, I am so ready to tackle the rest of this week, month and year. Thank you for the inspiration yesterday, GHWB.

 

And thank you for reading. ~ Chris

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