During brunch on Sunday, the bathroom had a smell that brought me back to the bathroom in my church growing up. Strange as that might be. It reminded me of the decor, the darkness of that dank basement where we had Sunday School and other such memories. It was not an uplifting place so the memory of the bathroom did not bring me to have a smile on my face. More a reminder of memories from childhood.
It amazes me how easily a smell can bring you back to a moment in time. You can run the play-by-play of events through your thoughts, reviewing what happened when that smell is brought to your senses. I have had it when smelling a specific food, an item of clothing in my closet, linens on a bed. At times the smell brings back wonderful memories, and other times it is a reminder of a past that might better be forgotten. Sometimes a smell of certain foods is nostalgia of childhood, and then when we are able to recreate those recipes, the taste is nothing like the smell to us. We have grown up, changed, and honed our taste buds.
At times a lotion or hair product might make me think of my grandma, a type of make-up my mom, and an aftershave my dad. Even if I have not seen them for 15-25 years the smells are ingrained in my thoughts and memories and nothing can take that away. Smells trigger memories, and we are quickly jettisoned back to a moment in time as we try to recollect why the smell reminds us of something. When we do remember, it is as though we were 10 or 12 or 20 again. A smile might cross our face, or a tear fall towards the ground.
Are there smells that trigger specific memories for you?
The dilemma of going on vacation — coming back from vacation to an inbox full of emails. I know how many emails I get on a daily basis, and multiply that by the number of days away makes for a long time to catch up when you return. I hate to think about all the emails I will have when I return from vacation before I go on vacation.
“The car and truck maker has implemented a new program that allows employees to set their email software to automatically delete incoming emails while they are on vacation.
When an email is sent, the program, which is called “Mail on Holiday,” issues a reply to the sender that the person is out of the office and that the email will be deleted, while also offering the contact information of another employee for pressing matters.”
That would be amazing. What baffles me a bit though is it says offering contact information of another employee for pressing matters. I am a bit of a customer service buff. So is that like writing to a store that happens to be closed and their auto reply is to have you send them an email during the hours they are open? What is the person who emailed the individual on vacation supposed to do if they do not have a pressing matter? Make a reminder for themselves to contact them again a week later? Feels like it would be amazing for the individual on vacation, but not such great service for the person who needs their help.
Separate from needing help, what about organization emails that share pertinent information? Those I assume would get deleted as well? That does not make sense to me either. Part of sending a mass message like that is to inform a large group of people at one time. The sender assumes the recipient will read the information and consume it at their convenience. It is up to the recipient to retain that information, but if you were on vacation and had “Mail on Holiday” you might miss out on necessary information to do your job.
I can be ornery. I like to do things a certain way, and I have a hard time apologizing. I am not sure how that happened in life, and how I became so stubborn. I actually think it is an artifact of growing up so fast. My mom became sick when I was 12. The next four years were filled with her. Taking care of her, cleaning our house, paying bills, using food stamps to buy groceries, finding my own way to/from school and other events, the list goes on. It was all up to my sister and me to figure out how to take care of my mom and figure out how to navigate our own lives. In my own way, I grew up so fast, and had to figure out things on my own, that I almost designed my own life very early on. Maybe they are/were coping mechanisms, but those critical years (when I should have been out playing and getting into trouble) I was just trying to keep shit together.
A recent Seth Godin blog titled: “Notes, not received” made me think about how maybe my childhood hardened me into not being the best at giving praise or approval. I rarely got it myself, so how would I learn to give it out to others? The third and last parts are what specifically stood out to me:
An expected apology rarely makes things better. But an expected apology that never arrives can make things worse.
An expected thank you note rarely satisfies. But an expected thank you that never arrives can make things worse.
On the other hand, the unexpected praise or apology, the one that comes out of the blue, can change everything.
It’s easier than ever to reach out and speak up. Sad, then, how rarely we do it when it’s not expected.
I still have so much to learn. I could definitely be better at work, at home, and with friends/family at unexpected apologies AND praise. We probably all can. We all probably have urges and then decide to not act on them. This is my reminder to try harder, let go more, and say what is on my mind. Hopefully it is a good reminder for you too.
I woke up at 4:45 am Sunday morning and could not sleep or get comfortable. I thought about just getting up. Instead the thought that came to me was to just lay there and be grateful. A long list of things came into my thought and eventually I fell back asleep. I woke up an hour or so later, not able to sleep and still uncomfortable. So I did the same thing.
I have had pivotal moments in my life when I have woken in the middle of the night and could not get back to sleep with very strong thoughts about another person in my life. Whether I had an intuition that something was not right in the world, or a moment of pause about a specific individual. Early on when I would have these pitch-black-middle-of-the-night intuitions, well they freaked me out. Over time I learned to stop, be quiet, and listen. Depending on how coherent I am I might lay there and pray, or think about how I can support and think good thoughts for the world situation or individual that woke me from sleep.
Waking in the wee hours of Sunday morning was not about a person, but it was a full body reminder for me. Why did I have to lay in bed unwilling to get out of my cozy bed to take moments to be grateful for my amazing husband, family, friends, colleagues, home, work, etc? The list went on in my head. Even to specific worldly pleasures, such as my new favorite sheets that I was laying between. That utter euphoria I felt for all the goodness in my life (does not mean it was perfect) reminded me to take more moments in the day to acknowledge that goodness. Why not before I fall asleep at night? Or at least on those nights when I do not fall asleep the instant my head hits the pillow… Who am I kidding? That never happens to me.
This is a reminder for you and for me. Be grateful. Keep it inside or let it ooze out and tell those that you are feeling gratitude for them. Snuggle in your bed and appreciate the sheets that have you smitten. Watch the video of your niece laughing over and over again. Forget the struggles that you have for a few moments and just be head over heels grateful for all the good in your life.