So I’m fascinated by rivers. Some flow quietly, slowly, and methodically while others are wild, rushing, and loud.
Life is like a river. Sometimes everything is mellow and relaxed, and other times all hell breaks loose and you lose control. Here’s the thing about a river: No matter how forceful the water moves, it still keeps flowing (okay, unless you dam it up). Eventually, even the most aggressive rivers meet with an area of calm.
I’ve learned to go with the flow. When the water rushes in too quickly, just sit back, chill and see where it leads. Things will even out down eventually.
So a couple of years ago, I attended a company function downtown. I think it was a Thursday. An event that should have lasted no more than two hours went on, and on, and on…
Since I got a ride to the gathering with a colleague, I’d have to make my own way home if I wanted to get a decent night of sleep. As it turns out, we weren’t that far from the office where my car was parked, so I skipped the taxi and took a walk downtown.
Now I knew where I was going, or so I thought…I soon found myself wandering aimlessly up and down the streets of the city.
But it was sort of cool…I mean, the bustling businesses that were so busy during the day were now desolate. The shopkeepers that were still on duty were overtly friendly, not expecting a patron at so late an hour. I discovered some businesses I was unaware of… an antique store, a tea shop, and an artist’s gallery to name a few.
Theoretically, I should have been nervous wandering alone, but somehow I wasn’t. There were enough beings around that I felt a sense of community with the other night owls. And I did find my way back to the office and the security of my auto.
Somehow, though, I feel that when we get lost, we somehow find ourselves. We feel free, gleeful, and open to opportunity. The insecurities of being on my own at midnight were overshadowed by the adventure, and I look back fondly on that evening of solitude.
So I’ll never forget one afternoon while working in retail as I was doing a floor move it happened…I let out a yawn. Not a loud, obnoxious yawn, just an innocuous one. Yet in that moment my boss said, “Don’t yawn.”
I found that kind of humorous. After all, yawning is an involuntary reflex. It’s like someone telling you not to sneeze…Not gonna happen…
This need to avoid yawning is made more pronounced through my job now. I teach English online to children in China. Apparently, if you dare to yawn, parents will mark you down on your evaluation. Mind you, most of us are teaching at very odd hours due to the 12 hour time difference, so yawns are an occasional occurrence.
The fear of a negative review is so powerful, that most teachers have adopted a scary looking smile yawn…Think Sheldon Cooper’s forced smile on The Big Bang Theory. My main concern is that I will creep someone out in my everyday life if that smile yawn escapes during a standard nonworkplace yawning moment…
So it’s April Fools’ Day, and I happen to be a naysayer for this one. I believe the playing of practical jokes every time April 1st rolls around is absurd.
An interesting thing about April Fools’ Day is that no one is entirely sure how it began. There are those who believe the event dates back to 16th century France when the country switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. This altered the celebration of the new year from springtime to January 1st. Apparently, the news of the calendar change was slow to travel, so those found celebrating the new year in late March to early April rather than the new January 1st were often thought to be foolish, hence All Fools’ Day was born. Keep in mind, this is just one of many theories.
I am personally not a fan. I recognize that some practical jokes are harmless, but some are often just plain mean. And I simply don’t endorse what is more than likely a lack of kindness.
As a teacher at a brick and mortar school for more than 20 years, I often saw teary-eyed students dealing with the aftermath of another student’s “joke”. Ah yes, the classic, “But it was only a joke!” Students use that statement as a blanket excuse for every unfriendly act. Legitimizing harsh actions under the guise of a holiday is simply unacceptable.
That’s just me. How about you? Do you agree that pranksters should have free reign every April 1st? This is an open forum, so share your thoughts. And…
So, has anyone ever mentioned to you that as they got on an elevator, the person already riding gave them the heebie-jeebies? But they got on anyway. What?
If your gut tells you something isn’t right, then you need to rethink your circumstances. The whole “hair standing up on the back of your neck” thing exists for a reason. It’s your nervous system saying, “Danger, Will Robinson, danger.” (If you weren’t alive during the mid to late 60s, you may not get this reference.)
So why do we refuse to trust our gut? It’s simple: People are socialized away from doing so. When we mention that something gives us a bad feeling, people often say, “Oh don’t be silly…”
This steering away from our feelings starts when we are young. Children have a keen barometer, but early on they are encouraged to look away from their natural inclinations. Before you know it, they are stepping on that elevator.
So next time you just don’t feel right about something, trust your gut. Even if nothing comes of it, why take the risk?