electing a new president and lessons learned.

In a matter of days our country will have elected a new President. Well, at least that is what is supposed to happen and with this election year, it is difficult to rely on “what is supposed to happen” as a guarantee.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. It’s not just this election that has made me weary, it’s the political discourse over the last many years in our country that has made me so. Do we not live in a country that values democracy? At its core, doesn’t that mean that we value the ideal that there are many ways to look at the world and that, ultimately, our goal is to work together despite our differences? I’ve had enough of this at each other’s throats, blame game nonsense and I’d rather see images of our President spontaneously jogging through the White House with his/her dog than making angry faces on TV.

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Here’s your moment of bliss, in this election season.

It seems that many of us are overwhelmed by it all and it is hard to escape. I was intrigued by a recent article in the LA Times. They went to “The Happiest Place on Earth” yes, Disneyland, to see how the election was affecting people. The idea was that
there, people would be a little more optimistic. What they found was interesting – even the happiest place on earth can’t squelch the madness.
A few weeks ago, I posted something on my Facebook page that got a good bit of response, not actually on my page, but in private conversations, texts, emails, messages. Time and again, people wanted to talk about what we can learn from all of this and how we can change ourselves and the world for the better.screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-11-01-40-am

Now while I’m not claiming to be the best at these things, I do think there are some things that we can learn  – and do better at in life. So here you go, just some simple thoughts about what we can learn from this election season…

  1. Learn to apologize – not an “If you were offended by…” or “If I made a mistake…” but a simple, “I’m sorry and I’ll try hard to do better next time.” It’s quite liberating really.
  1. Realize your best intentions may not be how others see it. You know the old saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” That.
  1. Someone else’s shortcomings are not an excuse for your own. Period. So, let’s put on our big kid pants and move on.
  1. Remember that simple lesson we learned in kindergarten? Wait your turn and don’t interrupt. If you must, stand there jumping up and down with your hand in the air, but please, for the love of Tina Turner, wait your turn.
  1. There are at least two sides to every story, as right as you think your story is. And its corollary, it’s very easy to take a side when you only know one of them. In a nut shell, educating ourselves on things we don’t know about is a good thing. Like the Dos Equis guy says, “stay thirsty* my friends.” *thirsty for knowledge, though a cold beer and good conversation makes for profound learning.
  1. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. So, if you are in a debate about something, know your facts (verifiable ones, please). And along those lines,  how about we turn the burner down from boil to a nice simmer. I say we revive the days when people could sit and have civil discourse on, well, civics. Break out the School House Rock videos and make a party of it.
  1. Comparison is the thief of joy. I’ve realized this in parenting, but it is true in all arenas of life. Sure, you can compare apples to oranges, but isn’t it tastier to just make the dang fruit salad and enjoy it?
  1. As tragically humorous as some of this is and all the great punch lines for jokes and SNL skits it generates, this is real stuff that matters because it’s ultimately about people – not just us as individuals, but We the People (you remember that phrase, right?).
  1. Play well with others. In the end, we are all going to have to play well together or we will all be sitting on the bench during recess and that is no fun. [cue the pouty face.]

And perhaps the most important lesson of them all…

  1. If you loved someone before this whole thing started, you should still love them once it is all over. Don’t let your relationships be based on sound bites and Facebook posts (and do us all a favor – don’t let your vote be based on them either).

So, friends, there you have it. I would love to hear what you are learning…

 

 

 

Go ahead, call me a gypsy.

Cinque Terre, Italy. I wouldn't believe if I didn't see it myself.

Cinque Terre, Italy.
I wouldn’t believe if I didn’t see it myself.

Let me just tell you, I have had what just may have been the Best. Summer. Ever. Seriously, the best summer of my life – and I’ve had some good ones. What, you may ask, made it so? I attribute it to three things. ONE: I vowed to not use a hair dryer from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Yes, I do live wide open. TWO: It was spent with lots of amazing people who inspire me – my family, friends and church members (yes, I get paid to take amazing trips). And THREE: you know me, I would rather have a passport and a plane ticket in my pocket than have, well, almost anything you can buy. I’m a wanderer. I have travel-lust. Go ahead, call me a gypsy. I don’t mind.

The summer started off in one of my favorite cities in the world: San Antonio, Texas.

San Antonio, Texas. The home of Whataburger. It's not just about margaritas.

San Antonio, Texas.
The home of Whataburger.
It’s not just about margaritas.

The food, the atmosphere, the margaritas, the Spurs, the food. It is the place where my husband proposed to me and a place where I’m completely comfortable.

From there I headed to Guatemala, another place that I love. Everything in Guatemala is in Technicolor. The trees are greener, the flowers are more vibrant, the sky is bluer, the eyes of the people are richer.

Guatemala. Planting roots with AIRES.

Guatemala.
Planting roots with AIRES.

Gorgeous. The fact that I came home and tossed my cookies for 2 1/2 days following that trip does not damper my enthusiasm for Guatemala in the least.

After that, I was off to Honduras. Which, in addition to Walt Disney World, is my favorite destination and one of which I never tire. And the bonus of this trip was spending it with my younger daughter who has known Honduras her whole life without ever being there. Priceless. Plus, I have friends there who knew me before any of us were parents. A lot of water has passed under our bridges.

Los Patios, Olancho, Honduras. I can't even.

Los Patios, Olancho, Honduras.
I can’t even.

And then, it was off to a place I have never been – unchartered territory – Italy. It was in a word: SPECTACULAR. My college-age daughter and I met in Milan and took Italy by storm.

The Vatican by moonlight. Stunning.

The Vatican by moonlight. Stunning.

Five cities in nine days. I wrote a travel journal of the sights, sounds and smells. I’ll post it soon now that I’m over my travel withdrawal and can think about it without getting weepy. No, really.

Made it home from Italian paradise in time to run a 10k, walk in a parade, and pack my bags for Valladolid, Mexico, all in the span of 48 hours.

Valladolid, Mexico. Another continent, another catherdral.

Valladolid, Mexico.
Another continent, another cathedral.

A week in the Yucatan Penninsula was muy bueno. While I had been to Valladolid before, it was never my home for a week. New friends, new favorite places to go. And it is a fun name to say.  I love it.

And then, it was home for a few days before heading to Clinton, South Carolina. It is a hot spot. No, it isn’t. But it is homey and quaint and there are good people there. Oh, and a fabulous cow with a goat side-kick.

The Best. Summer. Ever. wrapped up with a trip to Disneyland to celebrate and to run and to raise money for the Tourette Syndrome Association.

Right down the middle of Main Street U.S.A., Disneyland

Right down the middle of Main Street U.S.A., Disneyland.

Everything about it was magical. 19.3 miles is so much fun when you are doing it in a pixie dusted place for a good cause with friends who make you laugh.

Though my hair dryer is still idle, the signs of Fall are upon me. The air is  crisp in the mornings. The sun is setting brilliantly in the sky. The moon will soon be big and bold at night as I drive home. And I’ll pop back here once in a while and remember with gladness the Best. Summer. Ever.