I’ve heard the secret to living your destiny is to stop asking other people for directions. Everyone has an answer when helping another find the ‘right’ path in life.
Maggie was a wanderer. She loved to go hiking, and venture off the marked paths. Her tail would wag with delight, while her legs moved swiftly to keep up with a scent she was following. During these detours from the path, I often found the best landscapes to photograph. Maggie never hesitated to walk the unknown, and she always enjoyed the journey.
Our world seems to be filled with people that follow a traditional path, or those that want to pave their own way. From my experiences, people following the untraditional path get asked a lot more questions. Maybe our world can also be divided by people who fear the unknown, and people who crave the excitement of the unknown. The times in my life when I didn’t know my destination, resulted in the most memorable experiences & life changing opportunities.
Everyone is unique. Follow your own path. It just may lead to your destiny.
In the movie, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, Clarence reminds George that ‘no man is a failure who has friends’. Is it possible to have a friend who isn’t good for you?
Maggie enjoyed visiting with the other dogs in the neighborhood. There was one dog that she loved to playfully fight with, and roll around on the lawn of this dog’s property. They would dig in the lawn together and tear at the toys. However, Maggie would never allow this dog into her yard, or play with her toys.
I was always told to choose my friends wisely, as they are a reflection of who you are or what you will become. What about that one friend who is always the daredevil -constantly pushing the boundaries, and difficult to eliminate from your life? What if your spouse provides more of a toxic relationship than a healthy one, but the good times are so much fun? Do we need to have every person we love also in our life?
Maybe Maggie knew it was okay to show her love to that rambunctious dog, as long as it was outside of her own little world; her back yard. Maybe setting boundaries for friends & loved ones shows our love is strong enough to keep them in our hearts, even if we can’t keep them in our lives.
I once had a friend tell me there is no reason we should be friends. We are yin & yen: tea cups vs. red Solo cups, moonshine vs. dandelion wine, sensitive vs. straightforward and benevolent vs. vigilant.
When I was a child, the advice I received about choosing friends was this- ‘Your friends are how others will judge your character’. Maybe our friends reveal the qualities we would like to have, afraid to show, or enjoy admiring in someone else. Isn’t that the key element in friendship- liking almost everything about someone, and having compassion for what you just can’t understand? Aren’t the things we can’t understand about someone make them interesting and, at times, amusing? Is there anything better than laughing with a friend because they think you are crazy, and you laugh along because you know they’re right- but they like you anyway?
As an adult, I learned when you surround yourself with people who are different from yourself; you learn something new every day. I’d like to think this is why I choose my friends the way I do. I am fortunate enough to have a wide circle of friends. I often chuckle at the thought of them all in the same room. I guarantee each friend would be asking themselves- ‘Why did she choose her as a friend?’
And so, to my friends who may question why we are friends? I admire something about you, I want to learn something from you, and I like laughing with you.
Linda Massucci, represented by Hartline Agency, writes family sagas with a constant theme of the importance of family, faith and values. She also dabbles in short stories, educational articles, poetry and photography.
Visit her website www.lindamassucci.wordpress.com for links to her social media pages, published books, and her blogs: Travels with Sissy, Reflections, and Monthly Thoughts from Maggie (world’s smartest dog).
Forty-Five Years….Forty-Five Lessons
by Linda Massucci
My birthday is July 23rd. Every year, someone asks me if I am where I thought I would be at this point in my life. My answer is always the same- ‘I am at this point for only a day, and today I feel great.’ I do try to remember everything I learned from past experiences & become a better person. So far, in my forty-five years, here are a few things I’ve learned.
- Always trust your first impression of someone.
- You can have more than one true love.
- Job experience is more valuable than anything learned in a classroom.
- Just because someone asks you a question, doesn’t mean you owe them an answer.
- You will never find true contentment at work.
- A life of serenity starts at home.
- Always look someone in the eyes when having a conversation.
- Make good manners a life style.
- Say ‘thank you’ to compliments and ‘I’ll try better’ to critiques.
- Heartbreaks do heal.
- Defend yourself when someone is yelling at you, but never match their tone.
- Karma does exist.
- Sometimes things just won’t go your way.
- You grow more from failures than from successes.
- Not everyone is going to like you.
- If you have one true friend, you are better off than having five good friends.
- When you are sick, stay home.
- Never make a decision based on what everybody else is doing.
- Marriage isn’t for everyone.
- Don’t have children unless you really want them.
- Never kiss and tell- it’s nobody’s business.
- Be happy for other people, even if you don’t agree with their choice.
- Give compliments often.
- Smile a lot.
- Mean people remind us what we are capable of becoming without self-respect and pride in our life choices.
- Never try to understand someone’s feelings.
- Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
- Don’t try to understand why the office idiot gets a promotion.
- Do your best even when you think no one is watching.
- Spend time with loved ones as often as you can.
- Take more pictures with your heart, than with your camera.
- Travel a back road at least once a year.
- Treasure every sunrise and sunset.
- Find peace within yourself, not from other people.
- Talk to strangers-you will learn something new.
- Show respect to someone even if you don’t like them.
- Never let anyone insult you twice.
- Not everyone you meet has the best intentions for you.
- Always get three estimates when doing home repairs.
- Never pay the sticker price on a car.
- Always use coupons and ask about discounts.
- It’s better to be admired for your ethics, than for your looks.
- Travel as much as you can.
- Pay your bills on time & in full- you will sleep better at night.
- Remember all your blessings and be thankful.
Linda Massucci is represented by Hartline Agency. She writes family sagas, short stories, and about her travels across America. She loves photographing sunrises, sunsets and the beautiful landscapes across the United States. You can read her blogs, follow on social media, or learn more about Linda at her website: www.lindamassucci.wordpress.com
During our lifetime, we will have an abundance of opportunities to make choices which will effect our lives. Some choices will have minor effects on our life, while others may have an everlasting impact. Every choice we make must be thought and decided with reflection, intelligence, and purpose.
Maggie was a thinker. Maybe this quality can be attributed to her part sheltie part border collie genes. Whatever the reason, Maggie never did anything without watching first. If she was in the yard and saw a squirrel, her tail would raise-butt would wiggle-and her nose would sniff the air. Then, she ran the quickest route to catch this furry critter that always seemed to be invading her territory. Even though Maggie rarely caught a squirrel, her purpose was accomplished- stay out of my territory or I will chase you!
We are constantly making decisions and choices for ourselves; as well as those we are responsible for at work and home. Although making decisions is nothing new in the world of adulthood-the rules in our society have become less black and white, as well as the consequences. Maybe this is the reason we have more violence, quick tempered individuals, and an increase in narcissistic personalities. Instead of what seems to be the need to react instantly, perhaps we need to learn how to reflect more and then respond.
‘Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.’
Victor Frankl, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’
I recently attended a conference on how the brain works. I learned we gravitate towards events that stimulate our brain to become aware of risky behaviors, distrustful people or the possibility of extinction. We enter a fight or flee mode-used during primitive times to protect ourselves from the enemy. Unfortunately, reality television has brought us back to this primitive time.
If you enjoy the Kardashian’s, Bachelorette, or Survivor- consider yourself a sucker. You have been brainwashed by Hollywood to return to your primitive life-style. People who watch these shows are allowing their brains to connect neurons with experiences that validate it is okay to use others for personal gain, view intimate relationships as something that can be shared with millions of people, or justify that how you win isn’t important- it just matters to win.
I remember a time when television informed us of these primitive behaviors- it was called the news. We were aware that mean people exist, and sometimes bad things happen to good people. However, our entertainment shows reminded us there are more good people in this world than bad, and being good should be everyone’s purpose in life. We laughed at the comedies of Carol Burnette- yet she never had to swear or insult anyone’s lifestyle. We admired the love shown between the actors portraying Charles & Caroline Ingalls and John & Olivia Walton, yet they never made a sex video. Even MASH showed how people placed in catastrophic environments still tried to maintain civility, and hoped for a greater good to come from a place of tragedy.
Today, I have over two hundred channels to choose from on my television. However, I am finding the majority of the time, there is nothing ‘good’ to watch. I don’t care to see people shoot, insult or have sex with other people. I don’t believe vulgarity or nudity in a film makes it more dramatic or ‘plot effective’-as I heard from one director being interviewed after his film won a Grammy.
I understand that Hollywood is all about the money. After all, they cancelled Cedar Cove, but have no reservations in allowing the next generation of decision-makers to grow up with the Kardashians. I wonder what type of imagery is created when neurons are connecting, while watching selfish people make a lot of money?
It’s been said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I don’t think this is true. I believe dogs learned how to avoid mastering new tricks by changing their situation…which is a trick in itself, right?
Maggie never liked loud noises. She also disliked when a lot of people were in her house; especially if it disenabled her ability to herd efficiently. If the two were combined, I had one unhappy doggie. A group of people talking loudly in all rooms of my home….excuse me, I mean Maggie’s home. When Maggie was a puppy, she became totally frustrated with trying to fix the situation. However, as she grew older, she learned a trick to pacify her instincts. Maggie would find the quietest corner in the house and snuggle her body against the wall, while tucking her head in her chest. She removed herself from a situation she could not control.
As humans, how often do we try to fix a situation we cannot control? It is our basic instinct to help one another. The characteristics of kindness, empathy, and compassion are qualities we look for in someone to call a friend, spouse, or mentor. Many people have a fear of walking away from a situation, because they may be viewed as insensitive, weak, or self-centered. When we realize what we can and cannot change, it is at that moment we understand the trick being taught by the many ‘life situations’ we encounter. Our character is not defined by how we fix the situation, but how we react to the situation.
Maggie taught herself how to avoid noisy and crowded places, and became a much happier dog because of it. As humans, we must teach ourselves how to respond to life’s many situations. The change within ourselves appears when we have more faith in the lesson being taught, than the outcome of the situation.