LIFE IS: about perspective
I live with a sincere belief that we were all created to live a vibrant life. If you’re a human, however, you’ve probably gone through a period of time where keeping your head above water was difficult. Although some seasons of life are easy, others are whirlwinds of uncertainty where proper perspective is hard to find. These moments are often the times where our emotions go back and forth, and back and forth again. One moment, hope is alive, and the next, it seems to escape faster than the air leaving a popped latex balloon.
As a person who is sometimes too hard on themselves, I know the whole emotional roller coaster journey all too well. When life isn’t full of unicorns and rainbows, It’s easy to slip into anxious thoughts and lose sight of positivity. In my own personal experience, I have fallen into cycles of negative thinking and questioned my level of competence. Other times, I've just cried a lot while eating an overwhelming amount of plantain chips. Note: although plantain chips are really tasty, I wouldn’t recommend eating them to cure scattered emotions. Most of the time, emotional eating just leaves me feeling like a busted can of biscuits.
No one should feel like a busted can of biscuits.
The one thing I would recommend, however, is to fight to maintain the proper perspective. In times where my emotions are scattered, I’ve found so much relief in shaking myself back to the right place mentally. Sometimes that’s done through dancing, scream singing, or just by sitting down to remind myself that everything will be okay. Maybe for you fighting means exercising, writing your thoughts out on paper, or cooking something new. Regardless of what it looks like, find the tool that helps you rise above and choose thankfulness rather than criticism, faith rather than fear, and hope rather than pessimism. Fight to live vibrantly.
LIFE IS: The Little Things
We work so hard to get bigger and better things, trying to find that sweet spot of happiness we are sure is out there. We just have to work hard enough/get lucky enough/be pretty enough//be rich enough/be ambitious enough to get it. Once we get that thing/money/spouse/job we wanted, we’ll never want anything again and be happy forever, right?
Well, not exactly. I think we all have that person in our lives that seem like they have those keys to happiness (the perfect job, the perfect family, a lot of money, etc.) but they still seem miserable. I’ve been guilty of rolling my eyes at them. What right do they have to be unhappy when they have it all while I’m thousands of dollars in debt and struggling to pay bills? I’d be so happy if I was them!
But then I catch myself, because that’s just not how it works. There are multiple studies about why many lottery winners are more miserable than before they won the lottery. All the superficial things in the world cannot make us happy. We know this logically, but forget it in our race to find that one thing that will finally make us happy. Happiness is a feeling; that means it’s not something we can buy on Amazon, it’s something we create internally.
I remember that sweet sense of satisfaction and pride I got the day I graduated college. If I’m truly honest with myself, I feel nearly the same sense of happiness and accomplishment when I successfully make a new recipe, or make it through a really dry book. It’s not the size of the accomplishment that counts when it comes to mental well-being. It’s the little bits of happiness that make the day fun.
That’s not to say I don’t believe in ambition. Ambition is the driving force that leads to self-improvement and improvement of society. A little ambition and determination can change the world. I just believe the world could benefit if people spent a little less time trying the reach that peak of happiness that may or may not exist, and look a little more inward to create that happiness.
LIFE IS: Balance
We have all at one time or another physically “ran out of GAS.” It is that feeling that you just cannot do any more.
How many of us realize that we can “run out of GAS” emotionally? This a theory presented in the Y’s Way to Stress Management (Donald Tubesing) called the theory of Generalized Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). What this theory says is the there is a level of emotion stress that is healthy for all of us. The level can be different from one person to the next, but what we all share is that, for the time we spend above the emotional level or line if you will, you have to spend the same amount of time below the line.
Life often forces us to be above the line, whether it be your work, family, social or financial situation or any other of other possibilities. And if we spend too much time above the line, life has a way of forces us to below the line, mostly in the form of illnesses, Heart Attack, Stoke, Gastrointestinal, Depression, etc.
The solution to balancing your life is to spend time on both sides of the line. Now I have always said you do not have to balance “Tuesday.” There are times when balance in not possible; special projects at work, family crises, finishing your degree etc. Just keep in mind that life has a way of balancing itself. It is better that you control your balance. Spend some time below the emotional line - put some GAS back in the tank!
LIFE IS: Fast
My youngest daughter just had her 1st birthday! My how fast time flies! It’s seems like just yesterday I was pregnant with her…
With all the crazy that life brings (work, kids, daily chores, hobbies, etc.) it sometimes feels like we never have enough hours in the day to get done what we need to. Looking back in retrospect, the days, weeks, months go by so fast! Try and leave work when you plan to, and don’t take work home with you! Ask your kids about their days and take as much family time as you can. Save the cleaning for another day… Do that thing you’ve always wanted to try! Try to slow down, take a deep breath and live IN the moment! In EVERY moment, because they really do go by fast.
I’m definitely a Type A Personality, so I often find myself looking towards the future instead of being in the here and now. At times I will even follow my children around as they are playing and pick up each mess when they drop it and move on to the next toy. But I have to stop, remind myself, to just play with them instead. The mess isn’t hurting anything…except all my mental cues that are telling me to clean. Ignore them! You will be happier that you did, I was and am! Learn to be messy, play more, laugh more and find that happiness and contentment to just be!
Life is…“a journey, not a destination.”
This is a quote by famous poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. I have heard this phrase used to describe many situations in life, mostly difficult ones requiring patience. But this remains true even through our most positive endeavors. We are all advancing in life on a journey, separately but also together. We all have struggles, are always learning and growing, and making decisions on which path to take; we are all advancing on our journey. But more often than not, we are focused on the destination.
I personally find myself stressing out about the end result so much that I forgot to enjoy the ride. Everyone forgets while powering through our busy lives. We rush to work and watch the clocks until we can go home, eat a quick meal, get some more work done and hurry off to bed…just to do it all again tomorrow!
But what are we all in such a hurry for? In all of our hustle and bustle we put ourselves through, we forget to enjoy the greatest gift of all: TODAY!
After much worrying and rushing along my own journey, I have learned to just take a minute and enjoy the present experiences we get to take part in. Sometimes it’s not always about where you end up, but how you got there and what you learned along the way.
So make your journey count, because we only get one. Walk the extra mile, and seek the roads less traveled when you can. And try not to worry so much about where and when the journey will end. Enjoy the time you are given today.