My Outlook: Looking for ways to live it up

By Shelley Luedtke

    When I was a teenager my family owned a couple of small businesses at the provincial park and campground located 30 minutes from where we lived. I ended up with a fantastic summer job helping run a mini-golf course and paddle boat rentals.
    One weekend some family friends came to visit. They had a son who would have been about 10 years old. Because he was younger than the rest of us and wouldn’t have wanted to hang out with the older kids, my dad told him he could play as much mini-golf as he liked. For the next couple of hours, he ran from hole to hole sinking shot after shot as often as he could. When he completed a round he went back to the beginning, and did this over and over again. His parents told him he could maybe slow down and enjoy himself a bit more, but he said he wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to play as much as he could and insisted he wanted to “live it up.”
    My family was at a theme park on a beautiful summer night when our girls were quite young. As a final ride of the night our youngest daughter and I selected a spinning favorite while my husband took our older daughter for a return trip on one of the roller coasters. There was no longer a line-up for the attraction Madi and I were riding so we got right on. When the ride ended it was announced that anyone who wanted to could remain in their seats and ride again. So we did. And then again. And then again. Our heads spun for quite some time after that but who was going to pass up that opportunity?
    An opportunity exists when a set of circumstances makes it possible to do something. Although deferring the late-night stroke of luck at the theme park may have kept Madi and I from a dizziness-induced headache, there are other opportunities we should never pass up.
    Never pass up an opportunity to give. The simple act of sharing out of what we have been given impacts others…and changes us.
    Never pass up an opportunity to listen. Count yourself blessed if someone trusts you enough to want to speak the thoughts on their minds.
    Never pass up an opportunity to laugh. It triggers the release of endorphins, reduces stress hormones and boosts immune cells, and to top that--it is often something we do in community with others. What a gift!
    Never pass up an opportunity to say you're sorry. Living gracious, forgiving lives means living fuller, more loving lives.
    Never pass up an opportunity to give encouragement; to say thank you; and to acknowledge effort. Kindness to others has physiological ramifications including lowering blood pressure and reducing anxiety, but more than that it gives us an opportunity to bring something good into someone else’s life.
    Never pass up an opportunity to fail. Every mistake made is evidence that we are trying, striving and setting goals. We may not get to where we want to go—but we may also end up in places we had never dared to dream.
    Never pass up an opportunity to take a chance. It may not work out as hoped. Then again…it might.
    Never pass up an opportunity to express words of sympathy, to call an old friend, or to start a conversation with someone new.
    Never pass up an opportunity to cuddle a baby, sit with a senior, or hear what’s on the mind of a teenager.
    Never pass up an opportunity to be humble, to be honest, and to work hard.
    If we really want to live it up, we should never pass up an opportunity to live in a way that brings out the best in ourselves and looks for it in others. That's my outlook.

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