Caregiving

Don’t overlook the good things

It’s easy to forget that even when things aren’t going the way you would like, there’s often good to be found in the moment.

Bike riding is one of my favorite things to do, and in summer it is my main aerobic activity.  When I’m really on my schedule, I do three days on the bike and three days of lifting. It doesn’t always work out quite that way, but it’s my weekly goal.

For those of you who don’t live in Detroit, we have a beautiful island park here called Belle Isle.  Although Belle Isle has some car traffic, it generally travels pretty slowly. Early in the morning, when I ride, about the only traffic I see consists of walkers, runners and other cyclists.  There is also a designated bike lane, so I feel much safer than I do on a busy city street.

It’s so pleasant to ride around the island and see barges, Canada geese, gulls, motorboats, competitive rowers, and people fishing, playing on the beach, or just hanging out.  The scene is very calming.  Going around the island once is about 5.5 miles. I generally go around twice, and I’m working up to going around three times in under an hour. Right now I average about 13 miles an hour.

Last week I had finished my second spin around the island and had put my bike back in the car. That means taking off the front wheel, putting it and my helmet in the trunk and the bike in the back seat of my two-door Mercury Cougar. Yes, I’ve had the bike three years and I still don’t own a bike rack for my car.

I then get my yoga mat out of the trunk, along with my phone and my keys, plus a giant rubber band I use for stretching. I found a shady, bird-poop-free spot, threw out my mat and then I went back to my car to get my water bottle.  Except I didn’t have my keys.

Uh-oh.

The infamous lost keys

The infamous lost keys

Two women (I believe a mother and her adult daughter) helped me look in the grass for them. Nothing. After helping me look for about 15-20 minutes, they let me borrow their phone. As I dialed 911, a police car drove up, thank goodness.

But the officer couldn’t unlock it either. Detroit police don’t routinely carry those thingamabobs that can unlock old style doors like mine.  Sigh.

The officer in the vehicle, Officer Larry Keelan, offered to drive me to a friend’s house about 20 minutes away. They would be able to drive me home where I could get my other key, then take me back to the island to unlock my car.

Well, my friends weren’t home. And so Officer Keelan drove me back to the island, where he let me use his personal phone to call my husband, who called a tow truck. I thanked Keelan profusely for his help, then watched him drive away.

It was gong to be about an hour wait for the tow truck, so I took one last look in the grass for my keys.  As I looked carefully and methodically, I didn’t really believe they were out there.

Less than 20 steps away, there they were, staring at me from the grass. They weren’t locked in my car after all.

So I called my husband, cancelled the tow truck and drove home. Yippee!

We go through life, working hard, tending to our business, and it can be easy to forget the good things that happen every day in Detroit. Two women helped me who didn’t have to on that day. An officer drove me on a futile trip, and he let me use his personal phone. He didn’t have to do that either.

I think food is the same way.  Sometimes as we’re trying to watch what we eat and fit in exercise, we get discouraged because things aren’t going well or we can’t make it all work. Or, we don’t ask our friends for support. But we forget the rewards that go with living a healthier lifestyle. We forget how good we feel when we work out or eat a good, healthy meal. You feel better. Sometimes you take that good feeling for granted, and you forget what it was like when you didn’t feel so good.

So, pay attention to the nice things that happen to you, especially during the bad times.  If all else had failed, I could have walked to the police station, which several years ago I could never have considered doing. Whether someone is helping you or you’re doing it for yourself, it all makes you feel good, cuts back on your stress and makes you a more pleasant person. And who doesn’t like that?



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