Saturday, July 18, 2009

Life is Good

I found myself in a funk—tired, rundown, and overdrawn on vitality. To regain my normal optimistic outlook on life, I decided to take a mini-vacation with nary a single plan to clutter up my do-nothingness. Usually the idea of taking three days off work in the middle of a Missouri July means chilling out under the air conditioner.

Wednesday, I went to Kansas City and wore one of my “Life is Good” T-shirts for luck. I ventured into Dick’s Sporting Goods to see what kind of mid-summer bargains they might have. I practically glowed with optimism when I found my favorite T-shirts on sale and snapped up four “Life is Good” long-sleeved T-shirts. Well, I figured I couldn’t wear them until fall, but knew I’d get my money’s worth then.

When I was in Boston last year I visited the original Life is Good store. That’s where I heard the Bert and John Jacobs’ story. These two guys made their start by selling T-shirts out of the back of a van. With a creative idea and a vanload of optimism, their achievements must have exceeded their wildest optimistic dreams.

Sometimes in my life, it’s been hard for me to remain optimistic, but it is in my nature to look for the good in life. That is part of what helped me make it through the ten years of Jim’s dementia. I sought out the good times, the quiet times, the loving times. I found that by cherishing those small moments of joy, I could make it through the bad times.

As we travel the river of life, we hit snags, whirlpools try to suck us downward, and sometimes we wind up high and dry on a sand bar. When we navigate through dangerous rapids we find ourselves in mortal danger as we cling to life.

We can recognize the dangers of a river, but often don’t recognize the risk of stress. Warning signs are everywhere—high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, depression. We need to find a calm, quiet place and mentally regroup. We all need respite from the pressures of life. If we don’t take time for ourselves, our inner optimism will die from lack of use.

My mini-vacation became respite from work and hot weather. A friend and I had a backyard barbeque Thursday evening and as we relaxed in lawn chairs a cool breeze sprung up. Who would have thought we would have 70 degree weather on a mid-July evening?

Today, I awoke to 60 degree weather and guess what? I broke out one of my Life is Good shirts. I removed the tag and realized that my shirt is named “Acoustic Jake.”

I still find joy in life’s small treasures. I find comfort in reading inspirational books like Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now and Become a Better You. This morning, my uplifting reading came from a tag off my Life is Good shirt. These words surround the logo on the tag: “Do what you like. Like what you do. Optimism can take you anywhere.”

Life is good.

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