WEST FORK KICKAPOO - Yesterday, I started playing a silly game of ‘If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what advice would you want to share?’ Yeah, that game—it’s a real hoot!
The first thing that popped into my head, as fast as Jack jumping out of the box, was if you smell poop, look at the bottom of your shoe.
Some smarty is likely saying, “Duh,” but I’d counter: how many times have you kept walking while sniffing?
First, you only glance around, next you start smelling. If you’re alone, you might feel the back of your pants, or lift up your arm and take a whiff. But I’m here to say stop, drop, and look at the bottom of your shoes. This tidbit of advice applies to those who live with pets, on a farm, or are walking on a city sidewalk where dog owners oughta’ know better.
The next snippet that came to mind was: The best prescription for the blues is getting outside for a dose of nature.
We all get the blues periodically, some of us more than others. I’d argue that in 2020, anyone paying attention should feel the blues, with an extra serving of helplessness.
Lace up your shoes, open the door, step outside, and start walking. Better yet, keep going, and hope when you get to Canada they’ll let you in. If you can make it to New Zealand, consider yourself lucky and stay there.
On a serious note, nature is therapy, only cheaper. Try it! But don’t stick any electronic devices in your ears, and for Pete’s sake get off the asphalt and concrete. We’re blessed to live in an area with stunning hills, plunging valleys, and meandering dirt trails. Take one! If that doesn’t curtail your blues, get professional help.
The next gem is short: When in doubt, start. You’ve heard this before from your parents, boss, or ex-spouse. If you don’t start, nothing can happen—nothing good, bad, or even marginal.
The key here is not to overthink. Grab a pen, pick up a paintbrush, call your banker, or open a Google doc and get busy. Maybe you’re thinking of starting a rural stone-fired pizza delivery service, a state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor ‘home away from home’ for dogs—or painting your car purple, attaching a strobe light to its hood, and running a ‘No need to whine, call 1-800-GOT-WINE for free delivery,’ start-up business.
Whatever you can dream, whatever need you can fill, or creative endeavor you’ve always wanted to try, try it. Start now. Good things happen to those who just do it. And if they don’t, if you fail and fall flat on your rear end, at least you tried. And that’s something!
The next ‘If I were to die tomorrow’ piece of wisdom I thought worthy of sharing is this: Don’t be the person who complains, ‘She/he never calls;’ instead, be the person who does call.
You know what they say: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” I like to quip that I’d be living in a tiny cabin on at least five acres, with no road in sight and a half-mile-long winding driveway, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this gripe. “So-and-so never calls me, I never hear from so-and-so anymore,” and on it goes.
Be proactive! You have a phone and so do they. Pick it up and call so-and-so. Ask how they’re doing, and then listen. And for goodness sake, don’t mention that they never call you. It’s a done deal—you’re both talking now.
I was determined to keep to five ‘If I were to die tomorrow’ thoughts, so here’s my final one: Be kind, even if the other person isn’t. Let me say that last part again: even if the other person isn’t. Understandably, for many of us, this can be a tough itch not to scratch. But I guarantee, going bigger (refusing to bite) when someone else goes small (keeps biting you) will never be the wrong river to paddle.
You may have to bite your tongue until it bleeds, but the old adage of “If you can’t say something kind, don’t say anything at all” still holds true. Refraining from saying the uncaring thing has the fragrance of kindness and leaves you smelling wonderful, while being unkind leaves a funny odor, like an Easter egg that lay hidden under the couch cushions till Christmas.In the end, there is no ‘if’ about dying. None of us will be getting out of this world alive. We are born and we die, and what happens in between can be sweeter if we follow this sage advice.