It was a classic Michigan week for sure: Unseasonably warm temperatures on Monday, followed by two days of 60 mph gusting wind. This left everyone’s lawns looking exactly like they had a week ago, before lugging leaf bag after leaf bag out to the curb.
I fretted about the leaves for a bit, wondering what we would do with them, and when we could find the time to rake again. Turns out, in the morning I got my answer: It would have to wait until spring.
Overnight, temperatures dropped 30 degrees and we woke up to a blanket of snow that covered everything — trees, driveways, streets, decks, cars and lawns, leaves and all.
Admittedly, I’m a self-proclaimed summer person, but even a lover of summer cannot deny the pure beauty of the first West Michigan snow. To tell you the truth, I think I’m not just a summer person, but actually an all-around outdoorsy type. So, I strapped some running spikes onto my shoes and headed out for a run, breathing in the cold, fresh air, and laughing at my 9-year-old dog who decided to join me with the renewed excitement and energy of a puppy.
As I ran through the winter wonderland we call home, it occurred to me how fortunate I am that I took up running so long ago, and that it’s something that’s become a natural extension of my life. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions made is to exercise more, and here I was lucky enough to have that one covered.
I wondered, though, what then should my resolution be? I thought about it as I continued my run and was able to come up with several ideas. The fact that these thoughts were kept within the confines of my mind is a big step in regards to my first resolution:
(1) Try not to blurt out every thought that enters your brain. This habit is the main source of a whole lot of annoying issues, including talking with my mouth full, interrupting, not listening, and inadvertently convincing people that I’m crazy as they overhear the conversations I have with myself in the aisles of Meijer.
(2) Stop grabbing arms. Yes, that’s right, I’m an arm grabber. When I actually partake in talking with someone other than myself, I tend to reach out and grab the person’s arm as if emphasizing our solidarity in this profound or humorous moment. I never realized I did this until my kids pointed it out and threatened to put a dog zap collar on my wrist to make it stop. Not long ago, we were in a restaurant and I was chatting with the waitress when she reached out and grabbed my arm. After she left, I looked at my husband and said, “Yeah, that is really kind of weird, isn’t it?”
(3) Get more sleep. This one will probably be my biggest challenge. I’ve never slept well, but when I was young I just powered through it, forging ahead as if I had all the energy in the world and no one was the wiser. Now that I’m older, I not only feel exhausted, I look it! With my slow movements, dark circles under my eyes and lackluster skin, I’m fairly confident that I could be an extra on the “Walking Dead,” with no makeup required.
(4) My final resolution is to simply slow down — and, actually, I think this one should be at the top of everyone’s list. In our busy lives and overly full days, it’s easy to get stressed, overwhelmed and irritable, forgetting to even notice much less enjoy life’s little moments that make us smile — you know, like a happy dog, a guy snowplowing in shorts and the natural beauty all around us.
It’s a lot to work on, I know, but hopefully, before long, if you run into me in the Meijer parking lot, I won’t be looking like a zombie talking to myself and grabbing people’s arms, but instead smiling at some little thing that just made me happy — and I hope you are able to do the same.
Happy holidays and the happiest of the new year!
— By Kelly Kalis, Tribune community columnist