The other day, I said to someone, "I absolutely love living here in Eureka Springs!"
Then, this got me thinking about the evolution of my life and caused me to introspectively ponder why I love it here so much and why did life happen here at this exact point in my life.
Isn't life just so interesting how it maps itself out? I mean, if I discovered Eureka Springs in 1990 and moved here right out of college, from Boston, the experience would be so drastically different than what it is today.
First of all, I would be thirty years younger. I'd have more student loan debt and very little in savings. I'd likely be single and certainly still figuring out if I liked guys more than gals, oh, and I'd probably still be shaving my face twice a day because my jet black five o'clock shadow used to reveal around 3:45pm every damn day all through my twenties and into my thirties.
These days, I look at myself in the mirror and I still see that 20 year old young man from 1990, with the jet black hair, and that innocent, invincible "king of the world" stare looking back at me. I still feel as vibrant as ever and tremendously young at heart.
Obviously, it's much easier to spot the physical changes about us as we age. Yet, with all the circuitous paths that carve-out the trajectory of our lives, there are many things internally about us that change and evolve as well. They are harder to see but they're there if you look deep enough.
I've been keeping track of what those internal changes have been for me and so I thought I would take a moment to share a bit about the sorts of changes that I have been feeling inside ever since I stepped foot onto the soil of Eureka Springs back in June 2018.
I hope these resonate with you in some way and allow for the possibility of some inner reflection for yourself as well.
After years of gel, hairspray, name brands and labels, I have learned not to bother about a crease or a spot on my shirt for it is my personality, demeanor and attitude that speaks louder than my appearance.
It's been many years of loving my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my pets, my family and my friends. All of that love has shaped me into the man I am today, but the incredible journey of loving myself offers me a tremendous gift of life enrichment every day.
I have come to the realization that I am not “Atlas." and that the world does not rest upon my shoulders.
I have stopped bargaining with independent vendors. I know that a few pennies more is not going to break me, but it might help the vendor save for his/her child's school, or daycare or diapers or food.
I give compliments freely & generously. Compliments are a mood enhancer not only for the recipient, but also for me. Also, on those occasions when I am the recipient of a compliment, I never, NEVER turn it down. I simply just say "Thank You” from the most genuine place deep down in my heart.
I vote with my feet. I walk away from people who don't value me. They might not know my worth, but I do.
I remain calm, cool & collected when someone plays dirty to outrun me in the rat race. I am not a rat & I am not in any race.
I stopped telling others, mostly the elderly with wandering minds, that they've already narrated that story to me many times before. That story they keep telling makes them walk down memory lane & relive their past. It is not my place to take that away from them.
Although this is one I am still working on, especially with my spouse, I have learned to do my very best and not to correct people even when I know for certain that they are wrong. Peace is more precious than perfection.
I tip well. The extra money brings a smile to the food & beverage attendant and sometimes I even get a hug which makes me all warm inside. I also remember how I felt, back in the 1990's, when I was a food & beverage server in Boston and a customer did that for me.
I am no longer embarrassed by my emotions. It’s my emotions that make me human.
I have learned that it's better to drop the ego than to break a relationship. My ego will keep me aloof, whereas with relationships, I will never be alone.
I apologize when it's appropriate. I have learned that an apology is simply a gesture to another person that you value the relationship over your own ego.
I have learned to live each day as if it's the last. After all, it might be the last.
I do what makes me happy. I am responsible for my own happiness.
Happiness is a choice. You can be happy at any time if you just choose to be! So, why wait? It isn't necessary to be 50, 60, 70...etc? We can practice all of these things at any stage and age.
As I reflect on this, it makes me realize, ironically, Eureka is not a destination that I was meant to find, it is a journey I was meant to experience.
Eureka Springs intended to find me - and for that, I am so very grateful.
Eureka! It has found me!❤️