Life Without Sodas

no-sodaOver a year ago I decided to wean myself from my daily dose of drinking sodas. My poison of choice had always been Dr. Pepper. It was a daily habit.  I decided that I would try to develop a healthier habit and try to drink water.  The main reason I wanted to live a soda free life was to lose weight. Although I have lost a few pounds, it hasn’t been a drastic weight loss but there have been many more benefits to go without the daily dose of caffeine and sugary drinks.

In the beginning it was tough. I won’t lie to you.  I had to fight through some withdrawals and annoying headaches but it didn’t take long for me to adjust to water as my main source of drink. I am not totally a water-only drinker now. I do have an occasional sweet tea. I mean, it’s a Southern thing after all right? If I feel the need for a little taste of something I will go for a PowerAde or Juice. I won’t say I’m not tempted by the soda machine or my old friend the Doctor – especially during the summer months – but I crave a cold water more now.

During this year I have seen other advantages to drinking water such saving money when we go out to eat. Drinking water saves probably $3.00 on the bill. It also saves some on the grocery bill too since I no longer have to put them in the shopping cart.

I feel better without drinking sodas as well.  I crave a cold water more now than anything else.  There is nothing that satisfies my thirst more than water.  Instead of running to the soda machine and getting a Dr. Pepper, filtered water works just fine for me now.  Another good thing is that water doesn’t lose its taste like sodas do when they lose their fizz.

Drinking too many sodas can cause a lot of negative effects in your body.  Carbonated sodas contain no beneficial nutrients but plenty of calories and sugar.   Consider this – one 12 ounce can of soda has 39 grams of sugar which is the same as popping 10 whole sugar cubes.  As for those “diet” sodas, they may be calorie-free (as well as taste-free) but that doesn’t mean it is any better.

I won’t say that I will never drink another soda but I really don’t plan on going back now.  I don’t need the sugar rush or headaches from the habit of needing to drink a soda.  I also like trying different kinds of water now.  My favorite water is Iceland Glacial Natural Spring water or Fuji water – yes the one in the square bottle.  My least favorite is Aquafina.  So, yes, I’m a water  aficionado now and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

water-bottle-537x402If you want to go soda-free, here are some things I would suggest:

  1. Take it slowly.  Don’t go cold turkey.  Wean yourself off of sodas.  In the beginning I would drink one mini-can of soda until I didn’t need it anymore.
  2. If you HAVE to have a carbonated beverage, try some of the sparkling beverages.  I guess that’s good but you won’t need the bubbly in your water.
  3. Drink juice in the morning to kick-start your day.
  4. Find YOUR brand of water.  You might have to try a few to find the one that works best for you.
  5. Don’t ignore filtered water.

I won’t promise you that you will lose a ton of weight because you won’t but I can tell you that you will feel better and you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

According to thrillist.com here are their rankings of the top eight bottled waters:

  1. Mountain Valley Spring Water
  2. Voss
  3. Nestle Pure Life
  4. Fiji Natural Artesian Water
  5. Evian
  6. Dasani
  7. Aquafina
  8. Smartwater

 

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My Happily is Now!

happilyI will start out with a warning for you…this blog is going to be a little sappy.

Today is Valentine’s Day and it is the day when we express our love to someone special in our lives.  I know, I know, this day is over commercialized.  Roses cost a fortune today.  Jewelry stores love this day.  I still remember the times in elementary school when we would have envelopes on the wall and we would put cards in the envelopes for our classmates.  I would always save the best card for the girl I liked.  Sadly, they would never return the favor.  Yep, I was the one that got the “Goofy” card.  I wasn’t very smooth in the 4th grade that’s for sure.

Things are different now.  Today it is about the love.   Well, for me it is.

You see, the reason it is a happy day for me is that I found that one true love people talk about and movies are made about.  I have that happily ever after and I’m living it with my wife, Crystal, today.

It wasn’t always this way.  I have had many miserable Valentine’s Days in the past.  I remember how dreadful it was to look at the hundreds of cards and finding it difficult to get the right now because – honestly – I wasn’t feeling it.  Not for a long time.  When you are with the wrong person, life is pretty miserable.  I hated my life.  It wasn’t much fun to be me.

I met Crystal in high school but lost touch with her for over 30 years until we re-connected on Facebook.  Both of our marriages were over and we were broken people.  The first time I heard her voice on the phone she had me.  No question about it.  It was a magical moment.  After years apart, our souls connected.  We found what we were missing when we found each other.  We had no trouble saying “I love you” in fact, it took incredible restraint NOT to say it.  We just knew.  It has been an amazing experience.  People have criticized me for going after the fairy tale and believing in a happily ever after.  That’s okay.  Those critics can stay in their miserable marriages and enjoy playing the lead role in their life’s drama.

Do I believe in true love?  Absolutely.   Soulmates?  I do because I found mine.  I know people like to toss around that term.  Soulmates.  People scoff at that too.  You mean there is one person out there for everyone?  Well, I can’t say that about everyone.  I can only say it for me.  Crystal has made me a better man and gave me another chance at being a better husband.  You see, I wasn’t a good husband before.  I failed at it.  That’s what happens when you are living in the wrong life.

The moment I saw Crystal, I knew.

A fairytale sometimes doesn’t happen without the rough parts leading to it.  I went through that rough part.  I just didn’t know where it was leading to.  Sure, I wish I had gotten it right the first time and made the right choice in my early 20s but that’s not how it happened in my story.  I’m not proud of that part but my years of sorrow was turned into joy.   I did that.  I found her.  Now I am living the life I was always destined to live.  My own family, former friends and co-workers can have their judgment about it.  They didn’t live my life.  It’s easy to judge something you don’t know or haven’t experienced yourself.

I stepped into the life of the real me when Crystal entered my life.  I lived in fear in my previous life.  Constant pressure to measure up to everyone’s expectations and the fear of letting people down.  That stuff will kill you.  It nearly did.   I found a new life with Crystal and now I have my happily now.  Everyday.  So forgive me if I’m a little sappy on Valentine’s Day.  You don’t know my journey.

Sure, call me a romantic.  I am not ashamed of that admission.  When you have found it, you know it.  When you get to that happily ever after you just know.  No one has to tell me.

We don’t live in a fantasy world.  We still deal with every day life just like everyone else.  We have to work jobs and deal with the pressures of finances and all the rest but the difference is that we have each other.  The Bible calls the person our “help meet” and Crystal is that to me.  She is always on my side and my biggest supporter.  You can’t imagine how huge that is.

Serendipity is finding something good without looking for it.  My life found that serendipity.  Today I celebrate my happily now.

Things I Don’t Like About Being An Adult

adultI always joke about how adulting can be hard. I really wish I knew then what I know now. Being an adult isn’t always fun or easy. I only thought I was an adult when I was 18 or 21 years old but I knew nothing about being an adult then. Yes, that was quite a few years ago for me now.

I was thinking about this adulting thing and decided to make a list of things I don’t like about being an adult:

  1. Making decisions:  It’s easier being the one that doesn’t have to make the hard decisions.  When you are an adult and you have to make them, you can’t be mad at someone else for the decision if you don’t like it.  I think this is one of the hardest things about being an adult.
  2. Getting old:  We can’t fight it.  We are all going to get old.  Our looks are going to change and we’re going to slow down.  Some days I can’t believe my age and how I got here so quickly.
  3. More doctor visits:  The older you get, the more visits you will make to the doctor’s office.  The month I turned 40, I spent more time that month in doctor’s offices than I had in all of my years before I turned 40.  I suppose some kind of warranty expired on me.  It’s a good thing to have health insurance because you are going to need it.  There are some tests the doctors like to do and I am always asking for the written test instead.
  4. Paying bills:  I hate it.  Bills just suck the life out of your finances.  Everybody gets a piece of your paycheck.  Never had to think about this growing up but now if I want heat, water, electric, a home, a car, etc.  You have to pay them.  I know we shouldn’t work to just pay the bills but who else is going to pay them?
  5. Paying taxes:  It’s fun when you get a refund but when you don’t it really stinks.  I hate our tax system.
  6. The world gets faster:  This goes back to #2 in this list about getting older.  You will notice that the world gets faster and you get slower.
  7. Physical abilities aren’t the same:  Although I might THINK I’m still good playing a game of basketball, the reality is that I’m not and my body will certainly let me know if I try it.
  8. Some body parts will always hurt:  The older you get when something breaks in your body it will stay broken.  Some pains and ailments will always stay with you.  I still have numbness in my left index finger from issues with a bulged disc in my neck.  When you ask the doctor and he just shrugs his shoulders, you know it’s always going to be there.
  9. Waiting for car maintenance/repairs:  I blogged about this on Saturday.  The joys of owning a car.  Yes, not so much of a joy when you are an adult.
  10. Working:  If you want a certain quality of life, you will have to get a job.  I can tell you there are some day I’m sure we all groan about getting up and going into work.

When you are an adult you understand a lot more about your parents that you didn’t when you were growing up.  You understand the tremendous responsibilities they were under and the things they took care of that you knew nothing about.  If they made a deicision and we didn’t like, we got mad at them for it.  Back then we had someone to blame, now we don’t.  It’s all on us now.   As we move through the various phases of life, we learn that things aren’t always as they were thought to be.  Growing up means that we are responsible for ourselves and others.  When the dryer breaks we have to figure out a way to get it fixed.

I won’t be totally negative about this.  There are some advantages in being a adult.  You do have your independence and you can make your life whatever you want to make it.  Again, that goes back to making decisions.  Another important trait to have when you are an adult is the ability to adapt to change.   Life will change and you will be better off if you can adjust to those changes.  Change isn’t always bad.  Sometimes change is good for us.

No, adulting is not always fun but you can’t escape it.  You just learn to live it and do it the best you can one day at a time.

Hanging Out In The Service Department

If there were a list of things I don’t like about being an adult is the necessary chore of waiting for maintenance or repairs on the car. I have spent countless hours of my adult life waiting for oil changes, tire repairs and other things related to owning a vehicle.

Right now I am sitting in the service department eagerly listening for my name to be called so I can go on with my life. Fortunately, today I know how much this wait is going to cost unless the guy comes in and asks “Mr. Hooper can I talk to you a second?” Yeah, those talks always turn out to be expensive. I hope I’m just paying for an oil change today.

So here I am. The car is out of my sight. That makes me worry too. You always wonder what is going on back there. I’m hoping they are too busy to create any problems. We all place a blind faith in what’s going on back there.

This is also the life of owning one car. You are stuck with waiting or taking the shuttle to/from work. That can be tricky working that out. When you have one car you have to take care of it because there is no back up.

Well, I just got “the talk” and now I’m paying $100 more dollars than I expected. Two filters need to be replaced. You had to know something was coming right? Oh he wanted to do more because stuff that needs to be done at a certain mileage. I’m thrilled they are so diligent about my car. I guess it could be worse. Believe me, I have been through worse. The first thing that comes to mind was the time I changed the oil in my car and mis-thread the oil filter. The oil leaked out and the engine seized up. Yes, I know. My stomach still gets that sick feeling when I think about that. Needless to say, that was the last time I ever changed the oil.

This is an hour or more of my life I won’t get back and money I will spend which I hadn’t budgeted. This is not the fun part of adulting.

One of the things that I have always dreaded was having to describe sounds or issues that didn’t seem right with my car. I’m not very good with mimicking car sounds. I think the mechanics must be entertained by our attempts to make those sounds and trying to describe car issues. I can just imagine them getting together and comparing customer stories.

So, on the list of things I don’t like about being an adult is the very place I am now – hanging out in the waiting room of the service department.

My Year Of Going Postal At Thule, Greenland

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Aerial View Of Thule Air Base, Greenland

I’ve been cold but in the cold winter weather I have encountered, I have never experienced anything which compares to the year I spent in Thule, Greenland.   To say it was cold is an understatement.  You haven’t experienced cold until you have been at a place like Thule.

From November 1983 to November 1984, I was stationed at Thule Air Base in Greenland while on active duty in the United States Air Force (USAF).  An assignment to Thule was considered a remote tour.  I would say it was remote wouldn’t adequately describe it.  Thousands of miles from civilization and about 800 miles from the North Pole is pretty remote especially for a place that is nicknamed “the top of the world”.

“THERE’S A GIRL BEHIND EVERY TREE…”

Anyone that knew me then was probably very surprised that I volunteered for the assignment.  At the time, I had this notion that I wanted a future working for the United States Post Office (USPO) so I applied for a special duty to work in the military post office at Thule to give me some experience to prepare me for the postal test in the years ahead.  I had NO idea what I was in for.  None whatsoever.  While I was going through the process of checking out from my base before transferring to Thule, many people asked if I had pissed off the commander or what I had done to get an assignment to Thule, Greenland.   Needless to say, folks had a negative feeling about going there.  The common thing I would hear is that “there’s a girl behind every tree — there’s just no trees there.”

As a young, naïve 19-year old kid, I certainly didn’t know what to expect and all the negative vibes I was getting from people didn’t make me feel any better.

After the 12 hour flight from New Jersey to Thule, Greenland, we landed in the middle of the afternoon and it was already dark outside.  My sponsor met me at the plane and tossed me a huge parka.   She said, “You’re gonna need that” and she was right.  I needed it from the moment I stepped off of the plane.  The parka swallowed me up but was still not enough to prepare me for the piercing negative degree temperatures I met for the first time.  In addition to the parka, I also got a pair of what they called “bunny boots” or “mucklucks”.  I learned very quickly that my Air Force issued shoes were ineffective to the ice and snow of Thule.  The mucklucks saved me from many falls on the ice.  Those two items of clothing became my best friends during the year-long exile in the Arctic.

On my first night at Thule after I moved into my room in the barracks, the base encountered “Phase 3” conditions which was an extreme blizzard.  I was told that temperatures dipped to -90 degrees at one point during the storm.  No one was allowed outside.  It was a total “white out”.  Looking out of the window, I couldn’t see anything.  We were confined to our barracks and although the dining hall was in the building next door, we were not able to go that short distance.  My first meal was a box of C Rations.   (It still makes my mouth water thinking about it.)  Fortunately, that was the only extreme storm I experienced during the rest of the time I was at Thule.

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A “Selfie” With The Mail Truck

Remember me saying I was assigned to the Post Office?  Yeah, that was a mistake.  I walked into a mess.  The post office had recently had an inspection and three people were reassigned due to poor performance.  Instead of walking into a fully staff post office, I became the third person to join a short-handed operation.  I would end up working six days of the week during most of the time I was there.  No, there was no overtime pay.  Once I started my job, I began to notice a growing pile of outgoing mail on the back table of the room.  When I asked about it I was told that it was first class mail to go out and no one was handling that responsibility.  I was totally taken aback at that and I voiced my opinion how mail was not getting out to people.   Somehow I ended up being volunteered for the responsibility of taking care of preparing outgoing mail.

GOING POSTAL AT APO 09023

I now have a little insight now on how people “go postal”.  The post office is an awful place to work.  The worst part for me was working the window.  Even to this day I despise being on either side of a postal window.  It was brutal.  People are impatient and downright rude to postal employees.  Several times I was accused of holding people’s mail and called many names.  It wasn’t pleasant.  I’ll add more to the postal experience later.

The saying I heard about “there’s a girl behind every tree there’s just no trees” was partially false.  There were females there both military, civilian and Danish living on Thule but there were no trees.  The only “tree” was some sort of man-made pipe thing to resemble a tree in front of base headquarters.  In addition to having no trees, there was also no grass for the most part.  When the snow melts in the summer, it’s just mud and dirt underneath it all.  If you didn’t know any better you would think you were on another planet.  It’s that different.

And the day and night thing….you have several months where it is total darkness and months where it is daylight all the time which really messes with your head.  The biggest morale boost would be in late March when we would see a slither of sunlight over the distant mountain ranges.  The warmest it reached was in late July when the temps soared to 40 degrees.  Yes, it was quite the heat wave.  In fact, our television guy was spotted jogging around the base in his shorts.

ADVENTURES (AND MIS-ADVENTURES) IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

One of the adventures most would take was the climb up Mount Dundas which was a small mountain near the base.  In the summer the base would have a golf tournament at the top which was flat and littered with rocks.  Again, no grass.  I decided to take the trip to Mount Dundas one of my days off in May.  Instead of the long way, me and a buddy of mine decided to walk across the bay which was still frozen.  Halfway across we stopped to take pictures of icebergs which had been trapped in the bay.  The walk across the frozen bay was somewhat safe.  The ice road was still open but there were parts I stepped on where I remember hearing the cracking of the ice.  Looking back now it was probably a dumb move on my part but we managed to cross and climb to the top of Mount Dundas.

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Standing On An Iceberg Frozen In Baffin Bay (Mt. Dundas in the background)

I wasn’t so lucky on another adventure to the location where you could see the merging glaciers a few weeks later.  I slipped an fell down an icy mountain side and ended up spending a few days in the hospital with some nasty bruises but thankfully no broken bones or anything more serious.  That was the end of my adventures around Thule.   It was good that I never encountered a polar bear and I never heard of any sightings of polar bears during my time.  The only critters we had were Arctic Foxes.  The “archies” were run around the base looking for food much like Raccoons do here.  They weren’t friendly and we were cautioned that they were carriers of rabies.

I settled for my daily adventures working at the post office.  As I said before, we were short handed most of the time I was there.  Since I was so good at processing the outgoing mail, I also inherited the duties of handling the registered mail.  The only good thing about this was that it took me away from the window duties but it had its own challenges.   With the registered mail, I had to meet the plane every morning and wait for the plane’s loadmaster to sign for it.  Some loadmasters would sign it right away but many would not.  I would have to wait on a cold airplane on the flight line until they decided to accept the registered mail.

The arrival of incoming mail was quite the event each day.  When the daily arrival of the airplane was 40 miles out, the radio station would make the announcement.  I would normally drive the mail truck to pick up the mail.  Sometimes it barely took up an entire pallet unless it was during the Christmas season.  Since we were shorthanded we would usually recruit volunteers to help us with the mail and putting the mail up in the mailboxes.  Our phone lines would be busy with people calling to ask if they had received any mail.  We would repeatedly tell people that we were too busy to personally check their mail.  Even when the radio made the announcement that the airplane was 40 miles out, people would still call at that announcement asking about the mail.  The airplane had not even landed yet and they would ask!  Yes, that was grounds to go postal I’m sure.

I have to say that I was very defensive about criticism people would have about the post office.  They had no clue how hard we worked and everything we did being shorthanded.  I developed a feud with one of the radio guys who publicly got on the radio and actually made negative remarks about the post office.  I had nothing back and called him out on it.  Then, of course, he played the rank card.  He reminded me of this fact and I was forced to let it go.  Working in the post office at Thule was very stressful and a very thankless job in the eyes of the military and civilian customers of the post office.  I think I would have enjoyed my tour much more had I not been assigned to the post office.

DRINK OR FIND GOD

Being assigned to a remote base like Thule drove people to do different things in their spare time.  Some would turn to alcohol and the opportunities available for that and others would turn to God.  I did neither but I did have one guy that would knock on my door every Sunday (my only day off) to “invite” me to church.   Church was either Catholic or Protestant services.  I finally had to tell the Jesus guy to stop knocking on my door.

In the spare time I did have, I would go to the base theatre or watch movies.  These weren’t current movies.  It was also just one movie until a new one came in.   I’m sure it is nothing like it was then.  Our entertainment options were from the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.  For the radio programs, we would have a different genre each hour.  Our television service would not be anything current.  While we would be able to hear live sports programs on radio, we wouldn’t actually get to see the televised until weeks later.  So we heard the Super Bowl live but didn’t actually see the game on television until two weeks later.  There was no internet, smartphones or even personal computers at that time.  Yes, those were primitive times.  In fact, I bought my first VCR at the Base Exchange.  Yep, that’s the one with the tapes.

One of the entertainment highlights of the year at Thule was when the USO tour made a stop at the base.  Of all the images you might have of the USO tour such as Bob Hope or other entertainers during that time we had a visit from the Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders.  Yep, that was it.  They came.  They sang.  They danced and they made a lame attempt at comedy.  There was nothing else going on so most of Thule was there at the show.  They kinda had a captive audience.

Besides the mail, we were allowed two “morale calls” to the states each week.  These phone calls were 15 minutes calls at scheduled times during the week.  You don’t know how fast 15 minutes goes by until you in these calls.  The operator would break in and give you a warning when the call was going to be ended.

One of the things I learned during my spare time was how to play foosball.  One of my co-workers at the post office got me hooked on the game.  He was an excellent player who taught me the rules and tricks of the game.  For the first few months I lost every single game I played against him but eventually I caught on and became competition for him.  When he left, I took over as the king of foosball in our barracks.  I still love the game to this day.  I’m a little older and slower but I can still play.

LOOKING BACK

In the years that have passed since spending that year in Greenland, I didn’t fully appreciate the experience.  Every winter I think back to that time.  Instead of taking it in, I spent my time counting down the days to leave it.  It was the most unique experiences I have ever had.  Yes, it was cold and remote but it was amazing.

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Standing On The Frozen Ice Of Baffin Bay

 

 

 

Driving 101: What Does The Flashing Lights Mean?

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Confusion With Flashing Traffic Lights

I was rolling along West End Avenue on my commute home from downtown Nashville last week when I saw a traffic obstacle ahead.  It was a flashing yellow light.  Apparently the traffic light was out which defaulted it to a flashing yellow light for the main road and a flashing red light for the side streets at the intersection.  And how did Nashvillans handle it?

Like a four-way stop.

No, no, no.  Not correct.  It made that intersection more dangerous than it needed to be.

According to the driving rules from the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the rules for these lights are:

  • A flashing RED light means to come to a complete stop and then only proceed when you can.
  • A flashing YELLOW light means to proceed with caution.

It is not treated as a four-way stop unless everyone has a flashing RED light.  Then – and only then – do you treat it like a four-way stop.

What happened?  This intersection was made hazardous by people who do not know – or care – about the correct traffic rule.  If you are stuck at the flashing red light on the side streets – too bad.  You will have to figure out a way to proceed.  More than likely, drivers should turn right and navigate an alternate route instead of turning left or driving across.

The traffic light confusion created a huge traffic jam since the West End traffic started stopping at the flashing yellow light.  Yeah, I was fussing.  I proceeded with caution but nearly got sideswiped by a driver from the side street who was irritated that I didn’t let them go.  Hey, driver – go look at the driver’s manual.  It’s not difficult.  In fact, Google it on your smart phone while you are driving.  You’re texting anyway.

Here are the rules for flashing lights:

  • FLASHING RED LIGHT – Stop, yield the right-of-way and proceed when it is safe.
  • FLASHING YELLOW LIGHT – Drive with caution.
  • STEADY RED ARROW – Do not turn until green light goes on.  A right or left turn is not permitted at a red arrow.
  • STEADY YELLOW LIGHT – Light is changing from green to red.  Be prepared to stop.  (No, it doesn’t mean accelerate OR to slam on the brakes)
  • STEADY GREEN LIGHT – Our favorite light.  Go, but yield the right-of-way to other traffic and pedestrians (and the illegally walking pedestrians) at the intersections as required by law.

So, I proceeded with caution at the intersection last week obeying the flashing yellow light but had a near miss in the process.  I wish people would learn the rules.  It’s crazy to drive and follow the rules when others ignore them and then fuss/honk/flip your off when they are in the wrong.

Okay, I get it.  You are late for something.  Vanderbilt is playing a basketball game.  Whatever the reason you still need to know what the lights mean.

To clarify again – a YELLOW FLASHING LIGHT means that you must proceed with caution and NOT come to a complete stop.

Learning To Let It Go When You Don’t Want To

giving-a-complimentI have a problem which I am trying to fix.  I tend to have expectations of people and situations only to be disappointed and – at times – totally stressed out about it.  I have learned that I can’t possibly be the enforcer of manners and expectations of people to do their jobs.

My wife and I talked about this recently and decided we would try a new approach.   Instead of being frustrated with the actions of others, we have tried to take the attitude to “let it go”.   Our happiness can’t be dependent on holding others accountable for when they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing.

This past weekend I saw an example of positive reinforcement in this area when my wife and I were seated at a restaurant for lunch.  We were seated next to a table of about five of six teenage boys.  I know both of us were thinking “oh great, this isn’t going to be fun”.   Much to our surprise, the boys were not unruly or disrespectful at all to others around them.  In fact, it impressed my wife so much that when they left she followed them out and complimented their behavior.  I’m sure those guys didn’t know what to think about that.

I have had the opportunity to practice this “let it go” thing many times.  I must confess that it doesn’t come easy for me.  Someone once accused me of always trying to fix things and right things that I saw were wrong.  Yep, that’s a serious flaw I have.  I’m trying to do better.  When I had to call a contractor to come to take a look at some heating issues at our house, I prepared myself mentally in having low expectations with their service.  This same company had been out before and all the fussing I did on a previous service call accomplished absolutely nothing.   Sure enough, they came out and gave some bogus excuse for not doing the work and they left.  I simply let it go.  Was I happy about it?  No but I was prepared for it.

Then after being out of work for a week, I had hoped some things would be covered and discovered they were not.  I could have fussed and complained but I haven’t — yet.  I expected it and came into it with low expectations.

I am seeing that instead of fussing at bad behavior that recognizing good behavior seems to do a whole lot better.  So, I would say that looking for reasons to compliment someone might be a lot less stressful than fussing at people who disappoint us.  The toxic people in our lives really aren’t worth the fuss and we are the ones that end up messed up over it anyway.

Let me just assure you that this “let it go” thing isn’t easy.  It takes work.  It takes a conscious effort to do it.  Sure, my first reaction is to rip into someone who isn’t doing their job or a situation that is not acceptable.  It is the realization that I no longer live in a time where manners were important and being respectful was common.  In fact, common sense isn’t very common anymore.  It simply doesn’t exist in abundance which is all the more reason to recognize the positive when it happens.

I was really impressed with my wife and how she complimented those guys at the restaurant on their good behavior.  I need to be more like her.  She has a big heart and is not afraid to express herself in that way.  We both have had our frustrations over people and situations in the past.  We have found ourselves trying to correct bad behavior or try to get people to see what they are doing.  You know what?  People don’t care.  You can confront them, reason with them and even show them and they are simply going to do whatever they want to do.

It’s still going to bother me when people say the F-word.  I’m going to be irritated when someone presses the elevator button when it has already been pressed.  I still won’t like it when people refuse walk on the right side of the hallway.  I will still get ticked when the contractor is lazy and won’t do their job.  It’s still going to be difficult when I get lousy service at a restaurant.  I never said I was good at this letting go thing.  I’m just saying I’m giving it an effort.

And I still don’t like Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Seriously though, if we all tried to look for good then there would be hope for us yet.  None of us like being disappointed and we all have expectations that aren’t always met.  That’s life.  Crappy people and things happen.  The recipe for a happy life is to not let external things hinder that happiness.  I’m not saying we should all float around saying “It’s all good”.   One of my relatives used to say that all the time and it made me sick.   No, it’s NOT all good.    Let’s don’t go to the other extreme either.  There are times where confrontation is appropriate.  I can tell you that I’m not going to whimp out when it is time to confront someone but I will pick my battles a little better now.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:21)