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Julie Seedorf: Kindness helps keep us alive when life is hard

Sprinkled Notes by Julie Seedorf

 

I learned a few things about myself this week. I previously knew some of these things, but in the game of life, I lost perspective.

First, on my learning experiences is the Wow Zone. The Wow Zone is a game and entertainment venue in Mankato. Kids love it. My husband and I met our son and grandson there for a little fun. Remember fun?

I made my first note to myself as we were maneuvering the mini golf in low light with glow-in-the-dark golf balls. I recently visited my eye doctor for new glasses, and he informed me my eyesight was not what it used to be. In the low light, my vision was a little blurry, and I could not see the slight rises on the course.

Second to having problems seeing in the low light and having my family guide me, was my crooked toes. I knew my balance needed work, but on a course, in low light with rises and lips and sides, I could not feel my way with my feet to a stable ground and had to be very careful so I didn’t fall. Let me give you a little tip; those mini golf clubs make great canes.

Next up was bowling. I haven’t picked up a bowling ball in at least 25 years. It took a few lines to get up to snuff, meaning at least knock a few pins down. Bowling was never my forte. It wasn’t the actual physical endeavor that caused me the problem; again, it was my eyes — only now everything was too bright. Out came my new brown-lens sunglasses. I have to give my grandson credit; he never said a word after the first strange look. But it worked. Another note to self: always wear sunglasses inside when the lights are bright; risk embarrassing your grandchildren.

I had fun at the Wow Zone. My grandson and I challenged each other with a video game where I got to test my driving skills. We laughed and giggled. I felt invigorated. I was a kid again, and I knew I needed to do this more often. It brought the playful child inside of me out of the dark.

Another bright moment in my weekend came when I realized I no longer cared if I was left out of a clique from my years in school. The group is still there. I am not a part of it. I used to feel not good enough, but now I realize not everyone is meant to hang with each other. It isn’t a testament as to my not being good enough or not being liked; maybe I am not liked — who knows — but it is a fact, people are different and gravitate together when they have common interests and old friends stay together a long time. My feelings were about my own insecurities, not any disses that were given to me, just probably imagined in my mind. It’s time to let those old feelings go.

This weekend I also found random acts of kindness matter. I received an unexpected gift in the mail from a friend. To me, it was a huge gift. It was something on my bucket list I wanted, partly because of sentimentality, but it couldn’t happen because other expenses had to come first. I literally broke down and cried, almost sobs. My crying was not about the object — although it will hold a place of reverence in my home — my tears were about the kindness. That random act of kindness touched my heart at a time when I so needed kindness in my life. Kindness doesn’t always present itself in our lives easily. I hadn’t realized how much I needed kindness this weekend.

Now, after this long diatribe, I will sum up in a few short sentences what I learned.

When we get older and our bodies and health begin to fail, we may need to make adjustments. Stop denying what is happening, and try and adapt whatever way we can. We need to not care about how we look to the outside world, but do what makes us comfortable so we can keep on experiencing life. And it is acceptable to ask for help if we need it.

Playing is important. Peter Pan never wanted to grow up, and maybe we shouldn’t want to either. I want to keep finding that child inside of me and play with things I used to experience but quit doing because I thought I was too old and others wouldn’t understand my silly behavior.

The only reason I feel left out comes from the insecurities inside of me. I let myself have that feeling. Old feelings die hard, but it is time to let them go and let bygones be bygones.

Kindness matters. Feeling kindness from someone else keeps us alive when the going is tough. Passing that kindness on to others keeps the fuel of life going. It dulls the rough edges and makes life better. The world would change if we passed kindness along the way we pass cruel words down the table.

Adjust, play, accept yourself, be kind and give thanks this week. I will try, will you?

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Thursday. Email her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.