Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘new year’s’

Mindful Living Courtesy of Stuart Scott

It’s still January. My birthday has come and gone and I now sit at another milestone age, 55. As is my wont I will embark on several months of data collection on myself, a sort of 5 year/50,000 mile check on my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. New Year’s Resolutions are easy every 5 years because this is in motion. A visit to my internist, various and sundry bloodwork, and trying to find time for a thallium stress test and a colonoscopy are the medical items on tap. I will assess my fitness regimen in an effort to maintain my CrossFit-induced gains while simultaneously reducing any injury risks. “Peak and Tweak” as my friend Bob is saying for us 1960 Birthdays.

Sadly, I’ll probably have to program some training that is specific for the run on the stress test, but that’s another story.

This “Housekeeping Resolution” does not preclude any other, meaningful reflections. Stuart Scott, the well-known ESPN anchor, won’t see 55; he passed away last Sunday at age 49 after a very public 7 year battle with cancer. I was thinking about him the other night just before Beth and I turned in. The day had been uneventful if you measure your days by notable happenings, but I’d spent my day doing things I enjoy, surrounded by people who generally make me happy. I told my “Better 95%” just that as we drifted off to sleep, the voice of the person who makes me happiest the last sound I heard that day.

Here’s Stuart Scott articulating my single additional Resolution better than I can: “I am acutely aware at most moments when I’m doing something that I love that it is a precious thing. Every moment that I am doing something that I love, I will stop and I will take a conscious acute mental moment to say, ‘This is living. This is why I am living.’ And I [will] have them regularly.”

That in a nutshell is precisely what I plan to do. I will be mindful of those tiny moments of happiness, not just epic events. I will continue to seek those things and those people who make me happy, not just try to avoid those that don’t. More than even that I will try to be mindful of my opportunities to bring a bit of happiness, or somehow reduce happiness, in those same people who make me so happy.

Those moments and be yours, too. Don’t miss them.


A Comma Person

Tons of random stuff banging around between my ears, so much that it’s a little difficult to wade through and make sense of any of it. One little thing keeps bubbling up to the surface, long enough at least to be noticed: the lowly comma. Mathew McConaughy describes himself as a “comma person”. I get that.

What with all of the New Year’s resolution action, here and, well, everywhere, it can get to feeling like there really is a discreet finish to a year. A ‘period’. Full Stop. Does it seem like that to you? Everyone gets all in a rush to finish off a year, in this case 2013, so that they can get started on the next one. All kinds of retrospectives, writ large and small, come cascading down at the end of the year. As if it really was an end. Capped by a ‘period’, you know?

The thing is, though, that I don’t really feel all that different. It doesn’t really feel like anything was all that completed on December 31st. Or, for that matter, like there’s any huge new start, re-boot, or even a mulligan just after that ‘period’. Sure, there’s a really convenient opportunity to take stock, maybe make some adjustments or even re-route, but the longer I’ve been at this New Year thing the less it seems like anything is ever really at Full Stop.

More like a pause. That’s it. Not a ‘period’ so much as a ‘comma’ leading into whatever comes next.

A sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, or the whole darned story ends with a period. The year is over and the last box has been checked, but the story continues on New Year’s Day. Even the most severe pivot is still connected to the other side of the angle, the beginning of the line. The line, the sentence, the story and the life do not really stop at all; New Year, Birthday, whatever. We may pause, indeed we do pause, sometimes quite often. Full stop? Nah. Not us.

That’s what’s got me thinking about the comma. The story goes on and on, one big run-on sentence with an occasional pause but never a stop. It’s connected front to back, side to side, and start to finish by those pauses, by the lowly comma. I think I get what McConaughy is getting at. New Year’s Day is a comma place for sure, but neither time nor life hits a ‘period’ there, either. We just keep on going. The comma means there’s more to come.

I think I might be a “comma person”, too.