I truly am blessed! Deep in my heart I know that more than I know anything else. Despite my share of perceived negative events (Dad died, job loss, business failure, Jack’s health)…I am happier now thatn I’ve been in any time prior.
There is an old saying that when life hands you lemons make lemonade. I believe that when life hands you the challenges all it takes is a simple perceptual shift in order to convertsthose lemons into a refreshing thirst quencher.
I won’t tell you that any of these events have been easy. Quite frankly they all suck. (There is no other satisfying way to express that for me.) By shifting my perspective to something that feels better I don’t stay frozen in pain or fear. Here is how this has worked for me:
- Dad died 2 weeks ago at age 82. It was a sudden, unexpected loss and to compound it all of my relatives live into their 90’s. I was unprepared… to say the least. While I would give anything to have my Dad back when I think about it I realize (1) He did not suffer (2) Had there been any attempt to save him he’d be a vegetable and knowing my Dad that would have really made him mad and (3) Dad was starting to have problems getting around. Had he needed a wheelchair or any type of assistance he would have been miserable. So when I look at this tragic event…Dad lived the life he chose and died as he preferred, quickly.
- Job Loss – 25 loyal years to a company that was acquired by a mega company. I went from stability, great income & benefits, good people to the exact opposite and isolation. Now I see that this career ending event (1) Freed me to purse a dream that I didn’t even know that I had until I was no longer employed. (2) We have almost 1500 “friends” on Facebook and a community that supports and inspires each other.
- Business failure – We invested in rental homes 4 years ago when the market was hot. Through a series of rookie mistakes and taking advice from self absorbed gurus our losses far exceed the value of the homes. I’ve learned to (1) Trust my own instincts above “guru” advice. (2) Anything that we’ve “lost” has no real value in my life anymore. (3) There is relief that this burden is being lifted and we live a much simpler life. I wish I’d embraced “simpler” years ago…but I am grateful that I have it now!
- Jack’s health – Jack has both a chronic form of leukemia & skin cancer. There is no cure for the leukemia though there is treatment for the skin cancer. What I realized coming out of the initial panic over these diagnoses is (1) Nothing immediately is going to change (2) Nothing is more important than our marriage and love and (3) All the “things” hold no meaning to me anymore.
There are good and bad events in life. How you experience life is not a result of any event. What we choose to do with life’s events determines if we are happy or miserable.
I choose happiness! What do you choose?