Coloring outside the lines…

An old friend of mine that I haven’t seen in years once remarked to me: “You’re the kind of person that colors outside the lines.” Herumph! I thought to myself. What is he talking about?

Well, it turns out he’s right. I have spent most of my life living on impulse, driven by the grouch or the inspiration. Neither one of those thing have been very helpful down through the years. I had to change and I did. Nowadays, I don’t respond that way. Make no mistake about it.

Today is about pause; wait 24 hours before deciding. Perhaps ask for a little spiritual guidance. Maybe talk with another before taking the leap. But waiting and listening is the key to a correct decision. And as a result of that, most decisions today are pretty sound.

Now, you might be asking what this has to do with the price of tea in China? Absolutely nothing. I don’t even like tea. Each and every morning, I have a large dark-roast coffee with four shots of espresso.

What a way to start the day, and it lasts all day. Believe it or not. Now there was a time when I used to drink energy shots during the day, especially before I exercised. I stopped that, thank God. All the energy shots gave me were kidney stones and that’s one helluva nightmare. Something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

But I’m getting off the beaten path, which is lined with noisy neighbors. Just kidding. My neighbors are terrific. I just like the alliteration.

But, putting all seriousness aside, I think it’s important to look at your past. Not live in it, but look at it, and be grateful for all that did or did not happen.

I’ve written about this before, but to give it some more illumination, take a look at your relationship with your parents. Better yet, let’s take a look at my relationship with my parents. You lucky dog, you. I know this is rather self-indulgent, but I paid for my own gas, as someone once muttered.

I did not have a good relationship with my Mom. My fault. Not hers. I was too hung up on “my rights.” What she should be doing for me, instead, obviously, of what I should be doing for her. Result: Scratchy relationship that was not mended when she died. Not good. That stuff stays with you, like a pessimistic echo.

Now, Pop was a different story. We fought like cats and dogs for the better part of his life, but I didn’t want to repeat how I left it with my mother. So, I began to love Pop just the way he was, which was really great. He made it easy to love him. And when he passed, all was right with the world. Herein lies the lesson: It’s up to the kids to love the parents, regardless. The world just works better that way. And that, dear friends, is coloring inside the lines.

Talk soon.

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About stevewhitmore

Former award-winning newspaperman and broadcast journalist, both radio and TV, spanning three decades. Army-trained paralegal, court bailiff and prosecutor's lead investigator for the 8th Infantry Division's Judge Advocate General's Corp., Mainz, Germany. 1973-1975.
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