~ ~ ~ ~ ~The above is a part of a response to a comment on an earlier post. It opened a door to some thoughts, and I thought I'd complete them.
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I've learned to laugh as much as I can about life's challenges rather than letting it drag me down. It doesn't mean I never fall and skin my knees. I think sometimes we become so caught up in a a routine that we set for ourselves for one reason or another, that we forget about or overlook some of the real joys of life. We forget to "stop and smell the roses."
I think I'm doing that now. It doesn't mean that there aren't times when I'm nervous or angry or sad. It seems that those negative emotions are short lived, and I'm able to adjust my focus before falling into the rut and staying in the uncomfortable place. As example, with all the problems I encountered during my trip here from KC, I could have fallen into negative thoughts . . . "Why is this happening to me?" "I don't deserve this." "I must not be living my life right." I'll admit that some of that crossed my thoughts while it was happening, but I refocused on thoughts such as . . . "OK, now I know I can't do that again." "I should have realized that; I need to listen to my inner self more."
There is positive in every event, I think. Many times in my life I've forgotten about that, so when something went "wrong," I failed to find the positive which was my life line and my way out of the negative wallow. So, wallow I did! I suppose, at least theoretically, there can be situations that are just plain bad or negative. I can't think of one. And if there is such, I hope I never can think of it, because that would mean that I couldn't find my way out. Having that escape hatch is vitally important to living, for being able to move ahead and avoiding being weighted down in a mire of negative events and/or emotions.
Since my arrival in NM I've continued to turn my thoughts to the positive side. When I think back on that trip and what could have been the outcome, I'm really thankful that I've turned the corner and finding the fun and the joy of each step. I daily remind myself that I have a choice in how I live my life, the responses I will have to people and things I encounter along the way. I'm simply choosing to live on the sunny side of the street. I know that may sound glib to some of you, but I believe that it is a choice that each of us makes. We attract to us the same as what we send out. We chose our realities. We create our own realities, and I'm not willing to allow my life to be a heavy burden. I want to soar, and I will! I do!
I'm retired now. I have time to stop and smell. I know that is not a luxury that most of you who read this feel you can't do, because your life is filled to overflowing with work so you have a roof over your head and food on the table; children and their activities; spouses with a claim to part of your time; and extended families to keep in touch with and care for. I still have to deal with a lot of that myself, without the small children in the home or spouse. I realize how hard it is to make everything work, for everyone to have their needs met in families where all adults (regardless of 1 or 2 parents in the home) work to be able to meet a very demanding schedule as most of us do in the world we face every day.
We all know how accurate hindsight is. I've wished I had been home with my kids more, and I've wished I could have done more to make their lives easier. I'm not being critical of those of you who are living with horrendous schedules because you want your families to have life's comforts. In fact, with today's economy, many adults do these schedules just to have life's basics. There were times in my life that I worked for that very reason . . . in order to put food on the table, I had to work. So I'm not being critical. Been there, done that! I'm simply able now to slow down and reflect over my life, and I recognize how much time I spent caught up in the insane whirlpool of demands . . . demands of trying to pay off debts, provide for the children, trying to put myself through school at an unconventional age, covering expenses for the kids activities, and on and on. There are as many "reasons" to have incredibly demanding schedules as there are people out there.
My life has changed a lot in the past two years, and oh, the lessons I've learned. I resented not being able to be home with my children as they grew up. I resented having to work full time while going to college and helping my son get through college at the same time. I resented working to keep our lives solvent when my husband was disabled and our income cut drastically. Because there were so many pressures related to financial responsibility, I kept working and eventually, it consumed me. I resented a lot of aspects of my life, and it took a toll.
I went through my daily schedule for many years with a suitcase full of resentment strapped to my back. I was pretty much bent double with it. I've finally put the suitcase down, straightened my back, and looked life directly in the eye. Finally, I can see that I was the one who filled that suitcase with unpleasantness. A few months ago, I opened it and began to let the negativity go. The phenomenon of that is that I naturally slowed down and began to see the positives in life. The roses were there, I was just bent over so I didn't see them. Interestingly, now that I'm walking with a different posture and a different attitude, I'm not seeing the negative crap that I was eye to eye with before!
Why am I writing this? I'm not really sure. I suppose it is cathartic for me. But I think I also wanted to say to those of you who are younger, still raising families, caught up in the rat race, and feeling stretched to the nth degree . . . stop doing all that for a moment and think. Is that really what you want? I'm guessing your answer includes a statement similar to this: "If my family is to have what I want, what they want, I HAVE TO DO THIS." OK. That's a choice. But in the end of your rat race are you going to wish, as I do, that you had opted for more quality time, more fun memories? I'm just saying I do. It would have meant less "things," but more positive memories.
I love the positive focus of my life now. I'm enjoying the roses. I wish I had enjoyed more roses 20 or 30 years ago. That's all.