Asked what chore I find the most challenging to do I’d have to say all of them! To me, a chore is a mundane task that must be done but isn’t exactly fun. Usually, the most challenging part of completing a chore is in summoning up the motivation to start it! But the question reminds me of a friend whose company I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy about 20 years ago.
I had an Australian Shepherd/Chocolate Lab mix named Strutter and we walked in a nearby public park each morning before I went to work. If you have a dog you take out for walks, you know you meet a lot of people depending on how friendly or curious your pup is about investigating new humans and/or other dogs. Once Strutter decided to befriend Molly, a Black Lab that was often out walking the same trail at the same time we were, I was blessed to meet her owner, George.
George was in his early 80s and quite a character. Any time we ran into each other, we’d stroll along chatting while the dogs played and socialized. I loved his stories, wit, and perspective. One morning as we shared our plans for the rest of the day, I whined that I had to do laundry. George asked why I dreaded that, as he considered it one of the easiest of household chores to accomplish.
He pointed out, “You just put the clothes in the washer then when they’re done put them in the dryer and that’s it!”
“Yeah, but it’s having to sort everything; whites, darks, colors, it’s a pain”, I replied.
“Sort?!” His blue eyes sparkled when he exclaimed, “I gave that up 30 years ago!”
I laughed along with his infectious chuckle at that response and still smile when I think of George. And now I realize I’m around the age he said he gave up the annoying aspect of sorting laundry. Do I dare? If you see me wearing a pink sweatshirt that obviously was originally grey, you’ll know I decided the answer is yes!
Many factors determine what makes a gift memorable. For example, sentimentality. Years ago, my dad gave me a rain suit to keep me dry when caught on my motorcycle in wet weather. He laughed when I thanked him and told him it was a truly appreciated gift that I hoped I wouldn’t need much. I still think of him when I make sure it’s packed on the bike for a trip, even more so since he passed away.
Another gift prompts a memory I’d like to share because of the element of sneaky surprise. I was Christmas shopping and spotted some hummingbird suncatchers. My mom and I both enjoy feeding and watching hummingbirds in the summer, and we’d talked about how we miss them when they leave for the winter. She likes bright, warm colors so I bought her a red one, one that would be around through all seasons.
I saw a blue and green bird suncatcher I liked at that time but didn’t buy it because I decided I should stick with gifts for others that close to Christmas. I knew my mom would like the one I chose for her, and excitedly showed it to my boyfriend when I got home and described the colors of the other birds I liked. A few days later, I decided I just had to have a permanent hummingbird too, so I went back to the shop that sold them. The one I had wanted was gone, so I picked up a green suncatcher to hang in the window.
Imagine my surprise when I opened my gift from my boyfriend a couple weeks later. There was the blue and green hummingbird I’d wanted! It wasn’t at the shop when I’d tried to go back for it because he’d secretly gone sneaking back to pick it up for me. Both hummingbirds are hanging in the window to this day, and I remember the effort my boyfriend made to surprise me that year. It still makes me smile when I look at them.
When I’m asked why I write, three reasons come to mind. First, I write to express myself. It’s satisfying to use the written word to explore my thoughts and feelings without interruption and hurry. Also, since written communication is constantly used for work and other areas of life, it’s nice to use it as an outlet for my own creativity and enjoyment.
Additionally, I write to describe and share experiences. Whether it’s to record an occasion to reminisce over with someone who was there or to explain to another what an event was like, it’s a fun medium of fellowship.
Finally, I like to write to entertain others. I’ve loved giving and receiving the magic of storytelling my whole life. Given my love for reading, it’s a huge compliment if something I’ve written evokes emotion in another person. Especially if it’s my favorite reaction of laughter.
As part of the Bloganuary Challenge, the question has been asked, “How are you brave?”
It’s a thought-provoking inquiry, especially when comparing textbook definitions of the word brave to my own perception of its meaning. Any mention of bravery is typically associated with the heroic actions of an individual who defies fear and danger, one who takes risks to win some sort of challenge.
I’ve noticed that given the types of hobbies I enjoy, one person might call me brave while another is calling me crazy. To each their own, I’ve reciprocated the same thought about other people regarding their pastimes. In these references, there is usually a physical activity involved. For example, some call me crazy for riding a motorcycle. I think rock climbing is crazy and yes, still consider those who choose to participate as brave.
Personally, I would describe bravery as venturing out of one’s comfort zone, especially to provide assistance. And helping oneself counts as much as that of aid given to other people as far as I’m concerned. Quieter tasks such as applying for a better job, taking a class you’re interested in but intimidated by, or just going out to dinner by yourself could all be thought of as brave.
After some of the hardships everyone has persevered through since covid became a part of our reality, I hope everyone recognizes the bravery inside themselves. Credit yourself for the courage it takes to keep going and rock on with your brave self!
Happy New Year! I rang in 2023 with family and as we all speculated on what the future might bring, we also shared many memories of times past. We entertained my 14-year-old niece with funny stories from her toddler days. That included a video my brother shot of her at his desk with a pad and pencil trying to write. As she seemed to mimic her dad at work, he teased her by “just happening” to suddenly rearrange items in her space and place obstacles in her way. She ignored him at first but as her attempts to continue her composition were blocked, she became frustrated at his interference and yelled, “No Daddy, need WRITE!”
A few days before this recollection, I’d decided to participate in the WordPress Bloganuary Challenge to motivate me to spend more time writing. After all, I haven’t posted to my blog in almost two years! And so, when the first prompt questioned what I’d like to achieve this year, I found it timely that I’d been reminiscing on my preschooler niece’s declaration that she need WRITE!
I do too.
This year for my goal, resolution, or whatever you want to call it, I’ll strive to accomplish more writing. It’s been taking a backseat to other obligations, so actively scheduling time to write and giving it higher priority is an achievement I hope to reach.