Hanging on to past sadness and/or anger does nothing to help you lead a better life. Fear exists when we get too worried about the future. [Read more…]
The year prior to last was frankly put, lousy.
We had some health issues, which, as you know, are not only frightening, but also expensive. To make matters worse, what I thought was a very successful business model suddenly collapsed as if built on rotten toothpicks, leaving me financially scrambling. I’m fortunate; I’ve always put money away for a rainy day, but this was a downpour.
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said,
“That which does not kill me makes me stronger.”
So, I guess I am sturdier for the experience. Yet, I retained scars.
One result was that I hunkered down, even as the tides began shifting. I looked for where I could shrink my life instead of how I could once again blossom. Because I attempt to live simply (all things being relative), there wasn’t a great deal to prune. I was faced with decisions akin to, “How can I save three dollars on the power bill? Is it really essential to patch the roof now or can we wait? How long can I hold off before replacing my brakes?”
Don’t misunderstand, we muddle up our existence with all too much unnecessary clutter so, if given the luxury, living within one’s means is admirable and even virtuous. However, unless one is extravagant or wealthy (or both), he or she can only cut so much fat before grinding away through bone.
Eventually, I was fortunate enough to be confronted by someone willing to have with me one of those unpleasant — but many times necessary — “courageous conversations.”
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The first coolest thing was when our ages hit double digits. Then, something else new and exciting was always around the bend. At 13, it was my Bar Mitzvah. Sixteen brought a driver’s license; 18 ushered in the newly earned right to vote; 21 celebrated with (too much) champagne. There was always another reason to move on to the next year. Bring ‘em on. Line ‘em up! Don’t stop!
However as John Mellencamp lamented in, “The Real Life,”
It’s a lonely proposition when you realize/That there’s less days in front of the horse/Than riding in the back of this cart.
Aside from the fact that it should be “fewer days,” (sorry, I couldn’t resist) the concept is spot on. It’s macabrely humorous that as soon as one begins to realize he’s on the downward slope of the hill, vainly pumping the brakes, the calendar’s pages flip ever faster. When we were young and immortal, time crawled at a fossil’s pace. As the clock ticks louder, it also accelerates.
The result is many of us begin to poorly affirm what aging is about, viewing it negatively.
I mean, yeah, sure, there’s that “death thing” looming out there, which does cast a pallid gloom on post-middle-age. Yet, spending my remaining (hopefully) many years bemoaning a natural and unavoidable process seems a pretty rotten way to appreciate those very years, wouldn’t you say? Therefore, I thought it would be good to wrap my brain around the cool things about getting older so whenever yanked to the getting-older-sucks magnet, I can repel easier.
First, the hastening stride of time allows a much richer appreciation of “smaller moments.”
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As the story goes, a couple is concerned about the huge gap in attitudes between their two sons.
One lad is a confirmed pessimist, his sibling the decisive optimist. Wanting to advance the cynical child’s outlook and guard the other from disappointment by teaching him that things don’t always go as expected, the parents come up with a scheme.
On Christmas morning, each youngster awakens to find his own sizeable, wrapped present. The dour child opens his and discovers in it the ultimate building set. As if on que, his demeanor sours and he whines, “There are too many pieces, I’m know I’ll lose a whole bunch of them and then I’ll be sad. Why would you do that to me?”
The upbeat sibling, on the other hand, unwraps his only to find a dirty, rusty horseshoe atop wads of paper. Undeterred by what appears to be a mean, lousy gift, he eagerly starts digging through the papers excitedly proclaiming, “Wow! There’s got to a pony in here somewhere!”
Attitude, our outlook on the events that make up our lives, will either elevate or ruin us because it determines our actions and therefore the manner in which others react to us.
I normally don’t write “how-to” columns but a coaching client recently asked how she could become more upbeat, so I thought, “What the heck, might as well share it more widely.” Making our planet a bit more cheery, one reader at a time, here are four of the more common reasons one’s attitude can take a trip to the dumpster.
Reason #1: All-or-nothing thinking
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Take time to be alone more often than you think you need to.
One of the prime triggers in engaging in a bad habit is looking for a way to give to yourself, especially if you’ve been very busy and overwhelmed. When we don’t take time for ourselves, we end up “rewarding” ourselves with our habits. It’s a way of taking care of ourselves in the moment, but it doesn’t feel so great when we’re done.
If you want to improve the chances you’ll stay on program and you won’t suffer from a “guilt dessert,” take a few minutes to be alone every day; long enough to decompress.
It doesn’t have to be very long, just long enough to get yourself centered.