Sometimes when I sew, I turn on Dr. Oz. That was the case last week when I was hurriedly making myself a new apron for Thanksgiving. I was very thankful I did, because this episode validated something I’ve long known to be true.
If you’re sad, bored or unhappy with your life, a change would do you good. My girl Sheryl sang about it years ago, and Dr. Mehmet Oz’s father-in-law, Gerald Lemole, a respected surgeon and author himself, discussed that very thing on the episode called “How to Get a Super Brain.”
Not in the same words, but the meaning was there. Dr. Lemole said to find balance in life, you need four things:
1. You need love.
2. You need to feel useful.
3. You need to have something to look forward to.
4. You need to have gratitude for what you do have.
Simple, but profound – especially the something to look forward to part, which is missing in so many lives. How many people do you know who are stuck in a rut and never do anything fun or anticipate anything that will be a diversion from the mundane?
I can’t live that way – I have the need for change and something to look forward to embedded in my bones. My daughter inherited it, and I think my grandson did too. (When we left The Wonder Place the other day, where he and cousin Nathan had a great time, as we walked out the door, he asked,”Can we come back here again real soon?” And don’t even mention Christmas. He’s pinging already.)
We’ve been told it’s a character flaw, but it’s not. Dr. Lemole said so!
That trait was a serious bone of contention in my first marriage. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “You’re never satisfied!” But anticipation doesn’t mean dissatisfaction. Looking forward to the next thing doesn’t mean you’re unhappy. Au contraire.
Having so much fun on a trip that you immediately want to plan the next one isn’t a bad thing, is it?
Being so pleased with how the room you just painted looks that you start planning the next project immediately doesn’t mean you’re crazy or flawed. Or unsatisfied.
In fact, it probably means that you’re more satisfied than people who never do or change anything.
For me, nothing says excitement like travel. I really am always planning the next trip. John will vouch for that – and I’m sure I try his patience, too, but at least he understands my wanderlust. In 2014 we’ll have our 10th anniversary, which, at our ages needs to count as a biggie, so we’re already tossing around ideas of fabulous places to go.
That’s something big to look forward to. So is the birth of our fifth grandchild, to come in April.
But as a movie hound, I also get excited about coming attractions, which is a pretty simple way to get a “looking forward to it” fix. Last night we saw Skyfall, which is shockingly good for a James Bond movie, though too long (and ridiculous if you don’t suspend disbelief). Javier Bardem is crazy-good as a crazy master criminal.
And we saw so many new previews – so my list of movies to look forward to grew by about three, just as it did at Lincoln and just as it did at Flight. SO many good ones to anticipate.
I also look forward to new-release CDs by favorite artists, new books by favorite authors, visits with my adorable grandchildren. Parties. A walk with the dogs on a beautiful day. A good conversation with a good friend.
You get the picture: Little things can do the trick for Nos. 3 and 4.
We should all take lessons from dogs, who get excited by the least little thing.
Anticipating something fun or something good is so important. So is being open to change.
It really will do you good.