Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. ~Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book
Today’s “Feel-good headline” reads: Mom Celebrates The Best 18 Years Of Her Life; it is on my social media page, I posted it this morning. The byline following the headline (at the bottom of the page) describes my older son’s 18th birthday. While we are celebrating this milestone birthday, I can’t help but include in this celebration, two weeks of abundance and gratitude due to a simple change of perspective.
Nearly three weeks ago, my friend shared a story about an 87-year older man who talks of living though Polio, Diptheria, and Vietnam protests yet remain enchanted with life, even with COVID. The story goes on to say that he was able to look beyond the printed headlines by creating his own.
When the pandemic started, I tuned into the news and paid attention to the number of positive COVID cases and deaths. By the end of the first month, I was done and turned off the news, yet it was hard to avoid the topic: social media, headlines in the newspaper, and talk amongst my friends.
The story of the 87-year-old man inspired me to become enchanted with my own life by creating my headlines. On July 8th, I posted my first “Feel Good Headline”: Woman Bids Gray Hair Goodbye. The byline: “It was worth the 125-day wait: bye-bye gray, hello blonde!” along with a photo of my hair, freshly highlighted after nearly four months of COVID shelter-in-place.
The next day, my feel-good headline, Woman Makes Blackberry Pie For Her 82-year Old Father, with the accompanying byline: “One pie for my dad + one pie for my husband = two happy XY’s,” matched with a photo of my blackberry pie, sans one large wedge.
An acknowledgment of mundane tasks, and changing the perspective, makes the task feel less trivial when you see the impact the completion of the job has on others.
Over the next few days, I continued to post a feel-good headline followed by a short sentence or statement.
Young Man Delivers Fresh Scones To Thank Neighbor –”A local neighbor needed chicken wire and posted his request on NextDoor. One neighbor’s request = less stuff in our garage and unexpected bonus of fresh scones.” I was able to help a neighbor, remove an unused item from our home, and enjoyed scones for breakfast for several days.
Teen Boy Helps Around The House – Without Being Asked: “Grateful for the help, tired mom puts feet up and enjoys peace and quiet in the backyard.” My younger son’s efforts allowed me to take some time for myself.
As I rode my bike in the neighborhood, feel-good headlines came at me: Little Free Library, A Lifesaver During Pandemic: “The county libraries are closed, but in the meantime, this LFL has been chock full of good reads. I’ve borrowed, returned, and added a few of my own. Today’s read: 101 Things To Do With A Bundt Pan.”
Along with my feel-good headline, I include a photo: a photo of our dog, a picture of books, a photo of the backyard, something that adequately represents the headline.
One day, enjoying my coffee in the backyard, my feel-good headline was: It’s A Pawsitivily Happy Monday: “It’s easy to forget about COVID-19 when Cody the rescue is always smiling and wagging his tail.”
In our backyard, the following day, the sound of buzzing grabbed my attention. As bees flew from one flower to another, a feel-good headline came to mind: Steady Bee Traffic In Lavender: “There has been a steady stream of happy bees moving from the lavender to the jasmine today. The birds have been busy at the feeder as well. Despite all the traffic around the feeder, it’s a peaceful day in the backyard.”
Christmas In July: “Making chocolate chip cookies for the XY’s hairdresser (her annual birthday batch). I’ve used the same holiday tin for her Christmas batch for years. Since she always returns it empty, it makes sense to fill it again,” flowed out as I mixed butter and sugar for chocolate chip cookies.
My headlines help keep me centered, and at the moment, the pandemic is the furthest thing from my mind.
Last week, Man Gives Daughter Fresh Bloom From His Garden: “Upon hearing I was tired and fighting a headache, my dad clipped a rose from his rose garden and sent it home with my husband, telling him ‘This will help Karen feel better.'” This was one of my favorite headlines, reminding me about how much a part of my life my dad is; that simple gesture was full of compassion and care.
On the heels of that headline, a few days later, my headline was Daughter Makes Dad’s Day: “My dad never wants me to go out of my way to cook for him, but minestrone is so easy – and delicious – that he never refuses. A big bowl + a crusty loaf of fresh sourdough = a full tummy and happy dad.” Cooking for my dad was no longer a chore; instead, it was something that I did that came from a place of love.
Humor has also come into play while writing my feel-good headlines: Woman Has The House To Herself For 53 Minutes: “I had a whopping 53 minutes of an empty house today – except for Cody, who followed me around. – I got a lot done in those 53 minutes, but my favorite: an empty laundry hamper (which won’t last long). Keeping a clean house while everyone is home is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.”
Gratitude and the Universe also have been a byproduct of writing my headlines: Gift Card Found After 18 Years: “I’ve been cleaning out photos and cards as I prepare to send one out of the nest. Two days before his 18th birthday, I found a bunch of newborn pictures: tucked in between them, a card along with a gift card from Nordstrom. I love it when money shows up expectedly. Thank you, Universe!” and yesterday’s feel-good headline: Woman Finds Beloved Discontinued Sandal: “My most favorite sandal, the sandal that throws me back to my childhood days of “The Saltwater Sandal” was discontinued by Ecco years ago. Mine were well worn and are more than 12 years old; they are like slippers. After five years of on and off again searching, I found another exact pair on Poshmark!”
The simple headlines have pushed the “pause” button on the negativity in the world and enjoy each moment.
Today’s headline, Mom Celebrates The Best 18 Years Of Her Life: “We are celebrating Kev’s arrival 18 years ago today. I remember bursting into tears after walking through the front door of our home the day we brought him home from the hospital; I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. There have been many tears, lots of laughter, hugs, sleepless nights, worry, and a few disappointments over the past 18 years. Yet, what a wonderful teacher he is: patience, perseverance, hope, and empathy – he’s not perfect, but he’s perfect to me.”
Today’s headline and byline will help carry me through the next few months as he prepares to leave for college and start the new chapter in his life. Maybe the headline will be Son Heads Off To College, or Mom Watches Son Spread His Wings And Fly or perhaps, 18-Year Old Kid Changes The World. Regardless of the headline, one thing I know for sure, life is much more enchanting when you create your own.