You know…through my years on this planet…especially those I have been adulting, I have realized that there are definitely good times and bad times. I have come up with so much to say about the day to day and realize that each and every event or time in our life is unfolding with us center stage. Even if it isn’t what we wanted or thought it would be.
One of my all time favorite broadway musicals is RENT. The message through the entire performance is that there is “No Day But Today”! We live 525,600 minutes (some of you sang that, didn’t you?) in a year and how do you measure that time? I would like to think I measure the time in lessons learned and progress made.
No one is perfect, but everyone is perfectly themselves and I can promise that you won’t be let down if you see your progress and don’t try to be what others believe is perfect. I have a few more tips that I have learned along the way. They may be hard pills to swallow, but once I truly started believing these facts, I started to be happier – glow as a couple ladies have told me recently (and no, I can not be pregnant – it is in fact medically impossible, so don’t go there – ha!). I want to share with you these truths that I am now full fledged believing – see what you have to think about them…
I was 3 months pregnant with Charly when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I had a friend who came in to talk to me at work. Nichole’s mother had lost a battle with breast cancer years before and she knew how hard it was to be faced with loosing a parent. She told me that it was very hard and totally unfair, but that I needed to look to God to see what the reason was with this. What was I supposed to learn from this situation? I often think of this conversation when a chapter in life ends or begins even – what am I supposed to be learning? Often times, I learn that life is not fair, but no one promised it would be, right? Its in these times of greatest adversity that we must pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and see what we are made of.
During this same time, I was also introduced to the saying “God wouldn’t give you more than you can handle”. I am not so sure I believe that malarky either. LOL I will get to my journey with God and finding his love at some point in the future, but I am pretty sure the God I love, cherish, worship and was created by is all about love. If he tests us by throwing additional hardships our way, I don’t believe it is being done out of malice or spite. I also don’t think it is a competition to see how much we can handle. Obviously, there are times people can’t handle life and thusly have too much. Whether those people hurt themselves or others, there was too much thrown at them at that particular time. I would like to believe that this wasn’t in the master plan and that those too weak to continue doing life were still loved. Life is full of plot twists – and maybe I believe more strongly in “rolling with the punches”.
I have learned a lot about happiness. It is important – paramount almost in my mind. That doesn’t mean I don’t have down days or shed a tear or two, but I believe being happy is one emotion I can actually create in myself. You know that sentiment of “fake it till you make it?” I firmly believe that if I think I am happy, one day I will wake up and it will be authentic. I am here at this moment in my life. It took a second to realize two other things about happiness though to bring me to this point: one, no one is responsible for my happiness except for me and two, it is no ones fault if I am unhappy except my own. We are in control of our circumstances and our mindset. I choose to be happy. With this choice, my days are brighter and I am more pleasant to be around. Try it and see for yourself! It is magical almost and improves relationships all around you.
Many people look at happiness as a “good” emotion. I have learned that emotions are not positive or negative – they are simply emotions. I recently watched Susan David’s TED talk about emotional courage. She jokes about not wanting to deal with any “bad” emotions and how that is a dead persons goal – emotions are emotions. Some of our chapters are laden with sadness, fear, anger, disgust, but they can also be overflowing with joy, hope, surprise, gratitude, pride… There are good and bad connotations that go with emotions, but they aren’t really good or bad – they just are what they are at the time. My ex-husband said I was not myself for a year after my grandmother died. I was grieving her being gone. Grief is an emotion. It is something we deal with as part of life, like all emotions. Maybe we like feeling some better than others, but no matter what, they should remind us that we are alive.
And sometimes, they remind us that we are vulnerable. I was recently introduced to Brene Brown’s work and I am so glad that I was. She believes that being vulnerable – going all in 100% knowing we could fail or get hurt – is brave. It is actually one of the bravest things we can do in life. She promotes the truth that courage is in fact contagious. Each and every time we put our chin to the wind and show how courageous we are, we help someone else become a little braver too and strengthen the world. You know, there are times in life that we fail. That what we thought would be isn’t. And we have to learn from those hard truths, with our brave faces on and move forward – not crawl into a hole or bury our heads.
Truth is, nothing in life is guaranteed. When dad was diagnosed, his neurosurgeon said that everyone will die someday and that no one knows the true answer to when that is. Because of this fact, I find it very important to let everyone know exactly how I feel about them. If I love you, you will know it. If I don’t, well, I won’t be as pleasant, but I am not too confrontational, so maybe you get off the hook a little. I just want to make sure that no matter what I feel in the exact moment – sadness, anger, frustration for example – I will not hang up on you without first telling you I love you. This goes for all of my family and friends – you will know where you stand with me, because tomorrow is not promised. Each day we get the privilege to wake up and put our feet on the floor – to stretch and take a deep breath. It may be the day we get hit by the proverbial bus, or a real bus. Shit happens. We may not get to wake up again and there is no way I am going out with a regret on how I left it with someone…and if they go out, that is a guilt I don’t want to be left with.
I was in a meeting recently with a guess speaker as well. In a room full of business people, he said that yesterday is a cancelled check, tomorrow is a promissory note and today is the cash. How very powerful is that statement? I think of it often. I can’t change what happened yesterday and worrying about tomorrow is a waste of today. As long as I am learning and moving forward, I have to seize the day and make the best of each opportunity.
Looking at life as a book makes so much sense to me. It is full of characters – some are introduced to serve a purpose and come and go in our lives. Others are mainstays and will never falter. Some you think are forever grounded and permanent fixtures in your life and then you get thrown curve ball and realize they were in fact just to get you through a time or serve a certain purpose. These too can be hard truths and cause sadness in our lives. But no matter what we find in our narrative of life, I can guarantee each and every chapter is special. It makes us who we are and defines each and every aspect of our being.
Thank you for reading my philosophical thoughts on life. I would love to hear your thoughts! Maybe I should have listened to Dr. Clark in college and changed my major to philosophy? LOL