Dreams of Warm Nights and Smooth Pavement

Here in Washington, it is a frightful and frigid zero degrees with grey skies and slick roads. Just awful—especially for someone who prefers to bask in the luminous, languid climes of Santa Barbara. Given the number of layers I have on, you’d think I was preparing to move in with a polar bear—my feet are so cold they hurt! It’s about this time, every year, when pot holes across the city expand in size and number. I realize mine is a DCentric position, but one would expect the Capital City to have better roads than this—let’s petition Congress to reallocate federal funds to maintain our thoroughfares as a national priority! You’d think they’d be self serving enough to do so. Winter, argh. Who needs it?

 

In a desperate attempt to escape this frozen land of lotus eaters, I summon more pleasant thoughts. Dreams of sun soaked afternoons, decadent naps, whatever warm fuzzy floats your boat. But what really lifts my mood is to recall recent and specific nice times. I find that the specificity of the memory grounds the experience, having a visceral impact in how I feel. What is something you had fun doing or who is someone whose company you enjoyed? (And, if it came as a surprise, it counts double.)

 

Meeting new people or uncovering activities we enjoy reminds us that there’s a big World of Wonderful awaiting us. All too often, adults are prone to thinking we know all there is to know or that there’s nothing really exciting left for us to discover; we tell ourselves it’s “too much trouble” to invest the time. But one day, we meet someone new—someone who makes us laugh or has a playful nature or radiates a calm confidence we weren’t expecting. Meeting this person opens our eyes. We marvel that, yesterday, we had no idea they even existed—and yet here they are, talking to us! How much fun is that? Don’t you just love it when you meet somebody cool?

 

Good things happen to all of us, all the time, even when there are significant difficulties in other parts of our life. These moments can be big or small, long term or fleeting, but the fact is they happen. They happen to us. And this is significant because such events remind us to have hope that there’s more good to come. I say all this because it is easy to forget in the midst of the rest of our lives—especially when hunkered down in the doldrums of winter. Let’s try an experiment: think about a recent pleasant memory and see how you feel after you’ve spent some time remembering. You feel better, right? A little lighter, a little more energetic, hopeful that you’ll get to do it again?

 

The power of our memories and our minds to influence how we feel is not to be underestimated. As good as you feel when you think about that person or that surprising interaction or whatever, you can just as easily inflict misery on yourself by focusing on some unhappy event—only this time it makes you feel bad. And do any of us need to feel bad about stuff anymore than we already do?

 

So, the next time you need a lift, focus on something specific that brought you joy. It needn’t rock your world, it just needs to spring to mind. What is that thing for you? What is it about them that lifts your spirits? Are you surprised by what your memory summons? Might you bring more of it into your life today? If not, aren’t you grateful you at least got that one shot? Remembering such events makes our drive all the smoother…

Pavement

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Dreams of Warm Nights and Smooth Pavement”

  1. Jim Patterson Says:

    Another good one. Memories are one of my favorite tools.

  2. helenga Says:

    I would have commented sooner, but I was stuck in a pothole!

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