Friday Fodder – Firsts

Once upon a time…

I have often been falsely depicted as an evil spirit who preys on mortals. In truth, however, I am neither evil nor good, but merely a force of nature and order. Death is a fundamental part of life and, as the Grim Reaper, it is my duty to claim the souls of the deceased to maintain the balance of nature. I do not “kill” mortals. I merely guide their spirits to the next realm and it is not my place to judge souls or determine what will become of them. Still, my commanding presence tends to tremble bones and chatter teeth in spite of my gentle disposition.

When you’re the Grim Reaper, you don’t really make a lot of friends, let alone go on many dates. After lonely millennia, something came over me last week and I simply decided to throw caution to the wind. I did it – I signed up for online dating! Risky, I know – I didn’t even have a decent picture of myself. But ‘firsts’ are exciting, and who knows what will happen? 

Now here I am on my way to my first date with Angelina. Oh dear, I must be lonely! I can’t believe I am going on a date with the most annoying angel in all of the heavens. We spoke briefly one time when she was a little girl’s guardian angel. The little girl passed suddenly in an accident and I, just doing my job, was on my way to retrieve her, but Angelina would not hear of it. She was furious! She kept saying it was my fault and begging me to change the girl’s future. At the time I tried to explain to her that I couldn’t do anything about it, but she refused to listen. Of course, I have never actually seen Angelina in person. We only ever spoke over the phone but I will never forget that voice – the most shrill awful thing I have ever heard! I am guessing she must have had a change of heart since that day. So here I am, waiting at the restaurant.

After being seated at the table, ten minutes went by, and then ten minutes more. I detest tardiness, after all, Death is always right on time. Looking around, it dawned on me that Angelina was probably not late, she was more likely to be a ‘no-show’. Preparing to leave, I quickly scanned the menu to see what I may have been missing. Then, when I looked up, the most beautiful woman I have ever seen entered the room. Honey-blonde curls framed her delicate face. Her long flowing white gown gracefully danced around her as she moved. She smiled at me and waved. My jaw dropped so far I could have sworn it hit the table. I was immediately overwhelmed that I was about to have dinner with an angel (no pun intended).

To ensure I wasn’t dreaming, I pointed at myself making sure it was me. She nodded and smiled as her voluminous curls bounced. 

I stood and began stepping forward. I buttoned my jacket and ran my fingers through my hair. Pressing my shoulders back, I gave her “the look” and strutted toward her. She opened her arms going for a hug and I opened my arms to greet her. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. The sultry music and soft lighting. Her beautiful dress flowing, honey curls bouncing and sweet lips smiling. It was all so perfect until… she walked straight passed me.

Doing my best to play it off, I walked right into the first person I laid eyes on – a buck-toothed mousy-haired girl. Her tightly waisted dress highlighted her perfectly square figure.

I swung the awkward hug around to follow the beautiful woman as she breezed past. Then I froze for a moment in time, looking back to find her hugging none other than Cupid. No one else would dare wear a sleek red tuxedo and greased-back hair. Cupid! My arch-nemesis – that little diaper butt dufus always gets everything he wants!

I quickly regained composure and pretended to carry on a conversation with the confused-looking mousy-haired girl. Paying her minimal attention, I continuously looked back at Cupid and his astoundingly enchanting date. Turning back to the buck-toothed girl:

“Angelina, is that you?”

“Yes, it’s me!” She screeched, bursting my eardrum.

“Oh. Wow. You look… great.”

“Thanks, is that our table?” she chirped.

Doing my best to gather my thoughts, I pulled out her chair as she walked toward me to sit down. I was consumed by Cupid and the blonde woman a couple of tables down and must have pulled the chair further than I thought because when I finally looked down, Angelina was on the floor.

“Oh, my darkness! I do apologise. Are you alright?”

“Haha just landed on my tush is all! 

She climbed up from the floor, pulling on my suit for support, and ripped the seam.

“Oopsie! I can fix that!”

Before I knew what was happening, Angelina had taken my suit jacket.

“Uh, ok.”

I sat in the seat across the small candlelit table. The waitress came and took our drink orders. I ordered water with lemon and Angelina ordered a black cherry cola with gummy bear frosting.

“So, have you had any interesting jobs lately?” I asked, doing my best to be polite.

“Yesterday I was assigned an elderly lady. She was so nice! I was with her as she carried her groceries across the street when I saw the cutest little kitten. It looked starved and confused, so I raced over and led it to the fish markets for scraps. When I came back there seemed to have been a commotion. People were everywhere and an ambulance was driving away but I couldn’t find the old woman. I went to her home to see if she was ok, but no one was there. There was a note on her door that said she went to get groceries, so I assumed she must have forgotten something and went back to the shopping centre.”

“Oh, my darkness. What was her name?”

“It was something like Es.. may?”

“Ester?”

“Yes! That’s it!”

I sat there stunned. Angelina smiled blankly at me, completely oblivious to the world around her. I half wondered if she was new at this. The waiter brought our drinks out and I was about to order the steak and lobster when Angelina insisted we get the spaghetti and meatballs to share.

“So why did you decide to start online dating?” I asked, quickly changing the subject.

“My friend Vanessa started online dating and showed me your profile,” she said winking and smiling oddly at me. 

Uncomfortably, I looked away from her gaze. The waiter ended the awkward silence by bringing us our food. I twirled a noodle around my fork, ready to take a bite. Angelina searched the plate and started slurping at the same noodle. She closed her eyes and leaned in for a kiss. I froze, eyes wide, not knowing quite what to do. Then I just bit off the noodle and pretended like I hadn’t noticed. But Angelina continued to lean toward me. I was pinned to my seat and couldn’t move back any further so I had no other choice but to close my eyes and hope it was going to be short. I sucked my lips into my mouth and froze. She leaned back away from me, grinning. I felt spaghetti sauce and saliva all over my face. I was mortified in both terror and disgust.

“Oh, dear. I had better go and clean up. If you will excuse me,” she blushed. Then weirdly she winked at me and promptly left the table. Immediately my mind went into overdrive devising an escape plan, when the waiter came by with a note. It read…

“I am sorry I had to leave so suddenly. My sister just broke up with Cupid. We can pick up where we left off next Friday at 7:00 pm. xoxo.”

I wasn’t sure if I should be happy about the breakup, confused how Angelina could be related to the exquisite blonde-haired angel, or sad about having to endure another date next week.

“He said anything worth doing should scare you a little, and that some of the greatest stories began with a journey.”

― Mindy Mejia

Moral of the Story:

Is it possible that “anti-routine” is the best thing you can add to your regular routine? It might sound contradictory, but research into brain health and longevity suggests that new experiences are essential to a long and happy life. Adding novelty to your schedule is the best way to stay fully engaged, energised, and enthusiastic. Otherwise, you simply burn out from boredom. You only have one life – don’t allow it to become a snorefest! Repeated routines and monotony slowly eat away your soul. When you shake things up, you activate new neural pathways and reengage with enthusiasm. Life is all about experiences. Our past experiences shape the person we are today. Our new experiences can shape the person we become. Novelty is so important to wellbeing that researchers have identified something called “neophilia” – the desire to have novel experiences – as a predictor of longevity. People who actively seek out new experiences throughout life live happier, healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives.

New experiences and challenges are the keys to help you break out of routines and ruts, and to create a sense of energy and enthusiasm. You can have all the right ingredients for an incredible life: love, respect, abundance, and so on, but without novelty and challenge your recipe ends up as a bland soup of sadness and disengagement. It is comforting to have a routine, however, experiencing new things brings us balance, which ultimately leads to contentment and happiness. An engaged brain is a happy one. When you try new things, you give your brain a chance to come alive and get back in the game. After all, the quality of your life is really the quality of your experiences. If you want to raise the bar and feel fully alive, then challenge yourself to find new ways to try new things and add plenty of ‘firsts’ to your life. New experiences and fresh perspectives bring more optimistic and buoyant feelings. Even if it’s just driving a different way to work, try something new today!

“A mind that is stretched by new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

― Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Affirmation: I am open to having new experiences & leaving my comfort zone!

I now step out of my comfort zone to become the person I believe I can be. I am adventurous and I love trying new things. I overcome fears by following my dreams. I am the captain of my ship and I choose how my days unfold. I stand up for myself by expressing how I truly feel with kindness and honesty. I choose ‘firsts’ to feed my spirit and focus my mind. My happiness radiates out to everyone I come in contact with. I love to experience new people, new places and new things. I am stronger, wiser, and more confident with each new day. I am choosing and not waiting to be chosen. I believe my talents and skills make things better wherever I go. My heart is open to whatever life has in store for me. I am open to new experiences and I inspire those around me with my attitude and actions. I love to innovate which is why I am always first.

“Start even if you don’t know how.”

― Wendy Tremayne

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