Saturday, August 7, 2010

Do You Need an Attitude Adjustment?

I spent my afternoon out on the boat with my family yesterday! It's not very often that we can all arrange our schedules to enjoy a day out on the bay together. We arrived at the dock with our coolers packed with food and drinks, our clam rakes, fishing poles, sunglasses and sunblock. We had been planning this for a whole week and were excited about having a gorgeous, relaxing day on the water.  Life has been a bit stressful for me lately, so I was ready to chill and have a few good laughs with the people I love.  The original plan was to bring my sweetie along. He has been talking about fishing all summer long but was called into work at the last minute.  I was disappointed for him because a easy day of fishing would have been so nice for him.   Despite the fact that I was once again the "third-wheel" in a sea of couples, I wasn't about to let anything steal my joy!

As we loaded the boat with all our paraphernalia for the day, a breeze began to blow across the water.  I turned my face into the wind, grateful for it.  It would keep us cool on such a hot, humid day. My mom, a real land-lubber and always pessimistic, was concerned.

 "Honey," she said nervously to my father. "Do you think it's going to be a little too choppy to go out there today?"

My dad sighed heavily and rolled his eyes at her.  "Just get on the boat!" he growled.  He had spent the whole morning preparing for this excursion and wasn't about to let a little wind or less than glassy waters stop him from enjoying the day.  The boat is his baby and he loves the water.  I am a water rat, just like him.

 "Don't worry, Mama," I reassured her. "It's just a little breeze.  It will be nice." She wasn't convinced, but obediently climbed aboard. 

I love my mother dearly, but I have never known a more negative, fearful person in my life.  She has been married to my dad over 50 years and she SHOULD know by now he has never been one to take foolish chances.  He would never entertain the idea of taking his family boating or anyplace else for that matter if there was even the slightest hint of real danger. Of course the sea is unpredictable and a storm can appear out of nowhere.  We were caught in a storm once out on the bay when I was a kid.  My brother and I thought it was an adventure; something to tell all our friends about.  I remember my dad being in complete control, despite the circumstances.  We were stranded in a fog as thick as pea soup and couldn't even see our own hands in front of our faces.  The wind blew and the waves were high. The navigational lights at the bow of the boat could not cut through the darkness or the fog and we had no idea where we were or what was around us.  My mother was terrified and I recall my dad insisting she keep quiet.  Fear is contagious and the last thing he needed was a boat full of crying, screaming women and children.  We safely arrived to shore the next morning and my mother swore to God that she and her children would never again step foot on that boat. My dad sold his pride and joy shortly after and that was the end of our care-free summers out on the water.  He never owned another boat again until I was an adult and convincing my mom to go out on it now is more difficult than pulling teeth.

Our afternoon out on the boat yesterday wasn't exactly what we had anticipated.  It wasn't really the perfect day for boating but it was still good enough. The water was not as smooth as glass and the sun was hidden behind the clouds.  The temperature was a bit cooler than on the shore but it was still warm.  My mom complained it was too chilly.  I was thankful for a break from the scorching hot humid weather we have had all summer.  Only a few other boats were out on the bay.  Mom insisted we must have missed the weather report calling for a hurricane. Why else would no one be out today?  I was thankful there were very few speed boats or jet skis disturbing the peace.  We dropped anchor a few miles from shore. The water was too deep (according to my mom). It was about chest level.  She refused to go in because she was afraid the water would be too cold and she might not be able see or touch the bottom.  I dove right in and swam for awhile.  It felt like like bath water and I was grateful for the opportunity to exercise.  My dad wanted to dig and rake for clams.  My mom tried to discourage him. Pushing a clam rake back and forth in choppy water wasn't good for his heart. He probably wouldn't get any clams anyway because the wind was too strong.  He ignored her and emerged from the water half-an-hour later with a few dozen clams.   After my swim, I asked for a cup of coffee to warm me up.  My mom suggested we go back to shore. It was too chilly out today.   I put a sweatshirt on and stretched out on the bow to soak up some sun. I closed my eyes, sipped my coffee, and thanked God for the day off  to spend with family.  We ate, we drank, we laughed, we played with my little one-year old niece who came along for the ride.   It wasn't until my sister began dry-heaving repeatedly over the side of the boat that my dad decided to call it day.  My mom kept shaking her head saying, " I knew it was too rough to come out today! We are all going to be sea-sick now!" My sister assured her it was something she had for dinner the night before because she hadn't been feeling well since she woke up that morning. No one else in our group got sick, not even the baby.

When we arrived back at the house, all showered and gathered at the table enjoying raw clams on the half-shell, my mom announced,  "Eat up because those are probably the last clams of the season.  It's August and the summer is over!"

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked my calendar, summer is not over until September 21st! Labor Day might be the "official end" of summer fun for most, but not for me.  We still have quite a few weekends left of great weather and opportunities to go out on the boat and enjoy our days. The evenings might get a little cool but the days are still gorgeous and warm.  I plan on enjoying every single day with trips to the beach, boating excursions, and mornings and evenings out on the deck.

This might sound like a blatent attack on my mother and her negative attitudes.  It's not. I am thankful, however, that I did not inherit her outlook on life.  I get my optimistic, go-with-the-flow, anything is possible attitude from my dad.  He is one of the most fearless, positive people I know.  He is also a great man of faith and believes with all his heart that although things might appear to be less-than-perfect, it's all a matter of attitude. 

I had a great day yesterday. I feel refreshed and renewed and had the opportunity to spend quality time with my sister that I don't often get to have.  Despite the negative attitudes around me and the seemingly "less than perfect" conditions, it was all pretty perfect for me!

How do you choose to look at things? If your situation looks bleak, do you just pull the covers over your head, hope for a better day tomorrow,  or just toss in the towel altogether?  News Flash! There will never be a perfect day, a perfect time, a perfect mate, a perfect opportunity.  It's up to you to make the best of what you have.  The way you look at things and your attitudes will determine your experiences and everything you have or don't have in  life.  Your attitude brings good or bad things your way. It draws people of like-mindedness to you.  If you have a good attitude, people cannot help but be naturally attracted to you because you make them feel good!

 Are you caught it a trap of negativity? Does it seem that only bad things happen to you? Yes, sometimes bad things do happen to good people. That is something completely different and beyond our control. I am talking about the every day, little things that occur.  They might not appear so bad if you change your way of looking at them.  A bad or negative attitude will rob you of the simple pleasures and enjoyments in life.  We are not born with attitudes.  They are a learned behavior and you can choose TODAY to start thinking differently! Adjust your attitude and enjoy all the good things that come into your life!

And this is my Daily Cyn............

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