Dr. Suess Cat in the HatHave you ever eaten green eggs and ham? When you were a child, did you wish that your cat wore a big top hat, or that a Fiffer-Feffer-Feff lived nearby? These familiar ideas are widespread throughout the world thanks to children’s author and cartoonist Theodore Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss). Today these and so many of the ideas penned by the late Dr. Seuss continue teaching me valuable life lessons.

Case in point: If I ever feel like things such as chores or menu ideas are getting routine, I often find a wonderful sense of fresh creativity when I consider how to do things Dr. Seuss-style. While the hubster and I have yet to cook green eggs and ham and we don’t know any fantastical talking creatures that preen their four fluffy feathers in an oval mirror, we do know the importance of whimsy and bringing a sense of joy and an expectation of good to life’s adventures.

Tomorrow would have been Dr. Seuss’ birthday. And every year around this time at least one media outlet mentions this man whose use of rhyme, trisyllabic meter, and delightfully imaginative characters played a role in at least several million childhood adventures. As you go about your daily routines and take care of your various obligations this week, consider how a bit of Dr. Seuss-like spontaneity or creativity could add that extra dash of laughter or joy to the activities at hand. Some ideas to kick things off:

Meal Monotony Over-Ruled

  • Each week try to make one new dish not currently in your repertoire. Green eggs and ham could be this week’s new meal. If time doesn’t allow for this, make ingredient substitutions to your standard fare.
  • Add a few simple touches that make things a little more special: mint leaves in each person’s water glass; or cilantro, basil, or parsley sprinkled over a main dish for a tasty garnish.
  • Purchase a fruit or vegetable that you have never incorporated in your menus and introduce it at the dinner table this week. A pomegranate, an ugli fruit, or a leek could jazz things up quite nicely.
  • If you pack lunch for yourself or a family member, put the meal in an attractive to-go bag. If you usually use a plastic shopping bag (gasp!), purchase a reusable lunch sack in the diner’s favorite color. If you use the same reusable bag with frequency, add some whimsy by enclosing a love note or a joke written on a brightly-colored post-it.

Clothing Intervention

  • Challenge yourself to add a creative touch to your outfit every day. This element of whimsy could come in the form of an appealing accessory (scarf, jewelry, or interesting nylons) or it could involve fun socks, a ruffled shirt, or a creative outfit color combination.
  • Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend money to brighten your wardrobe. Hop online and research “free clothing swap” options in your neck of the woods. (Bonus points: this activity will encourage a closet decluttering adventure.)

Eradicate the Routine Doldrums

  • Do you need to wait in line at the post office on a weekly basis? A little advance planning goes a long way and will help you make great use of your wait time. When you reach the service counter, extend a friendly greeting to the postal employee. You’ll make their day.
  • Do you feel like you drive the family taxi cab rather than your own private vehicle? Or does the amount of time you spend commuting to and from work make you want to learn how to fly a small airplane instead? Make your drives more enjoyable with a few simple solutions. If you usually listen to the radio or music, relish the quiet and keep the electronics in “off” mode. This could help you in carving out some quiet time every day. Or if you don’t listen to the radio or music very often and would like to have some audio entertainment, consider borrowing audio books and a variety of CDs from the library for your listening enjoyment.
  • Does your weekly grocery trip seem to happen on auto-pilot? Set no-stress goals for yourself to make this activity more interesting. Your goals could involve timing your grocery run (only if that won’t be stressful), selecting new produce to introduce to your weekly menu, or taking time to gather ideas for new menu options (especially in the ethnic and natural foods sections).

Weekend Fun

  • Do you tend to do the same recreational activities? Mix things up a bit by visiting a local street fair or cultural festival, eating at a new restaurant, or hiking in a park that you’ve always wanted to visit.
  • Do your weekend adventures mingle with that which you know? Look at the weekend calendar section of your local newspaper and do one new activity every weekend for a month. You’ll be amazed at what you learn about your neighborhood, your city, and the interesting places you otherwise may not have discovered.

And as Dr. Seuss says, “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” Make it a great day, and don’t hesitate to celebrate the areas where your routines are brightened by Dr. Seuss’ wisdom.

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