Rules for living in strange times

Published on: 3/24/2011

You know you are living in strange times when the thunder blizzard leaves snow at the end of March and you are glad you don’t live where there are tsunamis. Still, I predict that spring, such as it is here, will come eventually and stay for a bit.

And you know you are living in strange times when the state Supreme Court justice race hinges on how you use Facebook. It seems that one candidate uses it the way, well, young people do: free-for-all. Whereas the other, not comfortable with lacking control, uses heavy censorship. So I predict the outcome hinges on whether the weather is good and the more free-spirited of the young folks get out to vote.

You are probably wondering how I came to be so calm and philosophical about living in strange times. Or not; still, I’ll tell you.  It’s following the rules of life I’ve accumulated over the years. These are not the ones everyone knows, like “turn off the news” and “get over yourself.” They're rules you may have forgotten.

Secret Rules for a Good Life in Strange Times (Though Aren't They All)?

1.    Wear rubber boots: they take you through just about anything

Forget fashion, though they do make spiffy boots in mad colors and patterns now. It’s about your ability to navigate the real world in comfort. Rubber boots take you through snow, rain, and mud. With them, you can laugh at any unpleasantness on the ground even if you step in it.

And then, you can splash through the puddles.

2.    Pace yourself as dogs and children do

Everyone who’s old enough remembers the story about super athlete Jim Thorpe following a toddler and becoming exhausted. Kids and dogs are crazy active, but if you watch, they go in bursts. Mad dash, then stop. Crazy wild, then deep nap. Most of us growns treat life like a marathon. We pace ourselves like members of a chain gang.

Better to be erratic if you want to be happy.

3.    Look for egrets

The dog and I were walking the parkway the other day when I spotted a long-legged white bird in the creek ahead. It took my breath away, this egret. Then I got closer. It was a white plastic bag stuck to a noxious teazle weed.  Still, I had the pleasure of seeing an egret first.

A lot of life is about what we imagine anyway, isn’t it? So why not imagine a world of beauty?