You might say that my musical interests are, let’s go with, eclectic. I listen to Pandora in the background while I’m working and whenever I hear a new song that I like, I click the little thumbs-up button. At the end of nearly every week, I go to that ‘thumbs-up’ list, screenshot a picture of the new songs I liked, send them to my husband, and before the weekend’s done they magically appear on my playlist. He spoils me with the gift of music. But, one song that’s not on my playlist, but probably should be, is an out-of-this-world 1962 classic sung by Jet Screamer with a bodacious drum solo by none other than George Jetson, called Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (that means I Love You).
George can jam. Seriously, that dude knows how to rock out. The drum solo in this song his daughter Judy’s penned, Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (that means I Love You), was performed on the show, The Jetsons, and was legend–wait for it–dary! Initially this ‘old space dad’ was so nervous to perform alone that he even tried to hide under his drum set. But rock star Jet Screamer encourages George by saying, ‘You can do it!’ (It’s so funny the way he says it, too!) Judy follows that up by cheering, ‘Zoom, Daddy, Zoom!’ Apparently, that was the future space way of telling her dad to ‘just do it’! Sure, Jet Screamer knew how to woo the girls with his voice, but George slayed those drums. If Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah means I Love You, then encouraging others to ‘just do it’, to live life fully and fearlessly, is certainly a wonderful way show someone you love them.
Zoom, Zoom, Zooming into the present, there’s a country song out this summer by Brett Eldredge where he complains that he can’t change the world; heck, he can’t even change a flat! But, in the long list of things he laments he can’t do, he says he finally finds “Somethin’ I’m Good At”. Isn’t that how it goes? It’s so easy to concentrate on what we can’t do. Apparently, our brains prioritize everything bad over anything good because they are wired that way. That stinks! To make matters worse, negative experiences are sticky…meaning they stick in your brain’s long-term memory instantly. So, what about those awesome experiences…well, they can be sticky too…IF you intentionally dedicate a good 12 seconds or more to appreciate them. “Negative stimuli produce more neural activity than do equally intense… positive ones,” explains Rick Hanson, Ph.D. and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. This is likely why so many people never get past the list of things they can’t do to finally find something they’re good at. Dedicating that extra 12 seconds to solidify the good mojo into your brain will keep the positive and negative in balance!
Another roadblock might be that we get overwhelmed because we really do want to do something big—like change the world. When maybe it would be acceptable if we simply started by learning how to change a flat. Think of how many stranded motorists you could help if you mastered the art of tire-changing. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but if you’re stranded far from home in the dark of night, a good tire-changing samaritan who knows his way around a jack is a lifesaver. Perhaps changing the world does begin with changing a flat. You have to start somewhere right?
With both of our children off living their own adventures, my husband and I are getting back in to the dating world again. Technically we’ve been dating since 1984, but now that it’s just the two of us, we need to figure out this new normal. So, both my nieces and my team gave us a good place to start.
The Restaurant See and Say: My two nieces helped me with this one. It’s your average run of the mill See and Say, just like you had when you were a kid. This one does happen to make farm animal sounds, but that’s not really important to this 2017 dating game! When it’s been one of those days where we’re both dog tired and don’t have the energy to cook, going out to eat is a great option. But where? Sometimes choosing is half the battle! Not anymore! Not if you own the Restaurant See and Say! This dating decision-maker is activated simply by pulling the string. Round and round it goes, where it stops is where we will go! So far, we’ve only used it once, but Grains and Grill was wonderful that night—you should try their Chorizo Nachos, they are crazy good!
The Date Night Jar: This jar was a gift from my friend-workers and holds a dozen or so date options for us to choose from. Once we select a numbered date night stick from the jar, the bag contains a corresponding numbered gift that adds just a little something special to an already fun date night adventure with the love of my life. This is a gift that just keeps on giving and we can’t wait to go on all the dates that my amazing team has planned for us. After all those dates, we might actually get pretty good at it!
It just goes to show that no matter what it is, changing the world or a change in your life, you have to start small. Peter Kageyama speaks to this in terms of community-building in his amazing book Love Where You Live. He crazily advises leaders (like me and you) to do something contrary to our aspirations: “Aim Low”. Wow! I’ve never in my life worked in the world of ‘aim low’…ever! But, he’s just quirky enough to make me keep reading and I liked what he had to say. He elaborates by explaining that when you want to build up a community that you should “start with lightweight, fast, and inexpensive projects to get started. Gain confidence and experience by completing something simple and build from there.” And, I love how he finishes this thought, “It would be great to have a home run in your first at bat, but in reality, you would just like to get on base and maybe score a run.”
When it comes to changing the world or even our small part of the world, our kneejerk approach is to think big because bigger seems better. But, you can’t run a marathon on Day 1, nor should you try. Starting small, or aiming lower, like Kageyama calls it, can lead us all in the direction of bigger things to come—one success at a time. As Grant County has recently hired Cathy Weatherspoon to be the Executive Director of Thriving Families, Thriving Grant County (ThrivingFamilies@GiveToGrant.org) we’ll start to see much more of this. Grassroots involvement of Grant County citizens who have ideas and want to actively participate in making this community of ours a little bit better each day, month, year. All in an effort to get more and more people to say, “Eek Opp Ork Ah-Ah, Grant County”—because, no matter where it might be, I think you should all love where you live! Grant County by choice.