I've been doing a lot of thinking about my outlook on life lately.

I've got to learn to be less pessimistic. Not that I'm horribly so, I don't think, but I know that I am too often.

I talked once about my dad and "wonderful, wonderful" (I'll find that link later.). You know, the basic idea is that my dad is never just "fine" when you ask how he is. He's always "ginger peachy" or "wonderful, wonderful." Of all the people in my life, he's probably the most consistently positive person that I know. It's really pretty awesome, and I hope to be just like him one day.

Anyway, I was thinking about that post again. I reread it recently, and was thinking about how I'm always "pretty good" or just "fine." What a boring way to live.

Then, a few weeks ago, I read an article in a parenting magazine about raising joy-filled kids (to which I cannot find a link. If I do, I'll share it.). I came to two realizations. First, I do an amazing job with The WonderDog. All those little things they suggest to raise a child (um, dog) who is joyful are the things I do for him. One thing stood out, to me and I've been pondering it for weeks.

Get caught up in "wow" moments. Of course, what the writer was suggesting was that you allow yourself to get caught up in your child's wow moments, even if you don't think they're particularly "wow." It'll make them feel good that you think the things that spark them are exciting too. I do this with The WonderDog. He is completely wowed by frogs, lizards, and the sprinklers here at our apartment complex. So, we take time to go play with them. We've been on frog hunts more than one evening, actually managed to catch our quarry even.

But, I got to thinking, positive people let themselves get caught up in wow moments. Negative or pessimistic people do not. I rarely let myself get carried away with wow things. I always tell myself I don't have time. Lately, though, I've been on the look out for them, in the back of my mind. I let myself be taken over with the sheer joy of just something pretty or word play or whatever.

I told The Man about this over lunch in New Orleans a week ago. I'm sure he thought I was nutty--I was going nutty over the sauce on the hot wings at Pat O'Brien's. It was AMAZING. I can still taste it. I think I actually moaned at one point. After one look from him that had tones of "what the hell is going on over there?" in it, I felt I'd better tell him that I'm restructuring my outlook.

So, I explained. I explained that I'm tired of not absolutely loving my life. Okay, so there are aspects of it I'm not ever going to like (like being alone), but that doesn't mean I shouldn't let myself be happy and excited about all the wonderful things in it.

And so, I'm trying. This last week was rough. Very rough. But, it was made easier by allowing The WonderDog to lead on our walks, so I could see what captured him. You can't tell me dogs don't have imaginations. He's all over the place when we walk. And just like a child, he plays with the thin air. There's a story line going on in his head that he gets caught up in. When he gets caught playing with the characters, he gets this sheepish look on his face. I can tell he's a little embarassed that he got caught fighting with imaginary foes, but he'd really rather get back to the fun.

While it wouldn't be strictly appropriate for me to get caught up in the story with him (how exactly would I explain that should someone ask what I'm doing?), that doesn't mean I can't allow myself to get caught up in a day dream now and again.

Yesterday, I skipped out on church. I should've gone, I know I should've. I needed some quiet, though. Needed to be still, and I wouldn't have done that going to church. So, I spent some extra time on the couch, and when it had warmed a little, I moved outside. I took a book, my old favorite To Kill a Mockingbird. The WonderDog alternated between the sunny spot on the patio and my lap. I sipped tea, first iced tea, then chamomile. I just loved the day. A little lizard sunned himself on the rail and didn't care that I was staring at him, or that I held up The WonderDog to see him.

There were no big wows yesterday, but there were some little ones. Like The WonderDog just sniffing the lizard and not freakin' completely out because OMG MOM THERE'S A LIZARD, THERE'S A LIZARD!!!! Or, dozing off a little in the sun. And the fact that my complex, which is NEVER silent during the day, was peaceful and quiet all day long.

It was a good day. I came in just after sunset and settled in with a cup of cocoa and my needlepoint. The small dog snuggled in under the afghan, effectively becoming my personal space heater. We watched our shows, then migrated to the bed.

All in all, it was pretty wonderful. Wonderful.

Might've been ginger peachy, too.
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