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Finding a silver lining

Posted: June 16, 2012 - 10:12am

I’m sitting in my house on a rainy day, with plans for gardening gone astray. I’ve got a bleak cup of coffee and apparently my brain is already shutting down for the day. It’s only one o’ clock in the afternoon. The clouds need to part and the sun needs to make a diva appearance, glitter and all, and then it needs to sing loudly right in my sweet face. Is that asking so much? My plans of gardening are out the window and I’m not interested in Extreme Gardening. (Is that real? It should be). Overall this weather is causing me to lament what I originally decided to write about — being thankful.

Honestly, being thankful is a little bit of a chore today. I’m not made of stone people, it’s been known to happen sometimes. Usually being thankful is an effortless lifestyle choice, something instilled growing up. But today if someone walked up to me and happily chirped, “What are you thankful for?” I would recite healthy kids, family, and friends. Although in my heart those things are true joy, I’m still feeling blah.

I’m the person asking that question in the first place. I’m one of those annoying optimistic people that finds beauty in ridiculous places. “This Dumpster is green like the meadows. Something so filthy interpreted by nature’s beauty. Exhilarating.” Everything inspires me. The sky is always blue and when the birds sing, they are singing my tune.

Being happy all the time is a gift, but also something you can acquire. That belief probably just plays a part in the disease of optimism. It’s not like I fly from cloud to cloud finding things to be happy about, but today I’m letting that natural feeling of finding awesomeness in everything being a little squashed by the dreary weather. Let me just clarify: rainy days can be fun, but we’re just all tapped out. I’ve managed to accidentally memorize the Backyardigans theme song. Clean the house repeatedly. And the toys in the living room sprawled out on the floor are laughing at me. Barbie is about to lose her head.
Days like today I need to be reminded that being positive takes work.

As a young adult, retail therapy made me happy. This is still true today, but not quite as much. It’s hard to focus on your new cute shoes when you know your kids have alien feet that grow at lightning speeds and that all those munchkins will need a new pair soon. There is no fun in shopping for me when I can’t stomach price tags that cost as much as the electric bill. Maybe people have the luxury to not worry about that kind of stuff. If that’s the case contact me, I wear a size 7.

What always makes me happy is my family. I don’t demand a song and dance every time I see them (and I doubt they’d abide by the new rule of constantly entertaining me), but being around people that love you is always a great way to rejuvenate, especially if you’re an extrovert like myself. My sister-in-law called me to hang out, so we both went to an underwhelming movie together (that I had high hopes for), but we still had a great time!
Earlier this week, it was like God knew I needed a friend. A neighbor came over for coffee. We didn’t know each other, but our kids were in kindergarten together. She didn’t give off an ax murderer vibe (if anything, chances are I probably did with my OCD coffee creamer buffet and crazy eyes from being in the house all day), but we ended up having a really nice visit.

I know this is leaning on a dear diary blog post, but what I’m trying to say is: in the words of Stephen Stills, “love the one you’re with.” Usually for me that’s family or friends. But overall, it’s having a good attitude. I don’t apologize for my attitude when my kids are mentally interrogating me, that’s just everyone being cooped up and me going bananas. However, having a good attitude with myself and others is important, but as the same with happiness and being thankful, a good attitude also takes effort.

Here’s the thing: my grumpy week has ended, but that doesn’t make it less real. It happens. Sometimes it’s hard seeing the rainbow after rain. It’s ok to have bad days. It always gets better and there’s always someone out there that wants your attention and to enjoy your company. Don’t be a chicken, pick up the phone. Write a list of positive things. Get creative with a new hobby. If you’re in a funk, don’t just sit there! Knock, and the door will open. Seek, and you will find.

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at columnkasi@gmail.com.

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