So here’s the funny thing I’ve learned about life: you get what you give. I, as people often do, started to think several weeks ago about what I was going to do to improve the new year. Many choose to label these “new year’s resolutions” and promptly do away with them when the year isn’t so shiny and new any more. I decided to take a new tack this year. Figuring the huge grandiose ideas were not the most attainable, I opted to start small.
I have set two rather straightforward goals for myself. One is rather simple, but harder to abide by than I expected: don’t leave anything on the bathroom floor. I know, this may sound silly to some, but I have a really bad habit of bringing my clean clothes that I’m going to wear for the day into the bathroom before I shower, taking off the dirty clothes, and leaving them in a pile on the floor. In the grand scheme of things I know this may not seem like a big deal, but it always has bothered me (my bedroom floor, now that is another story). We are only about halfway through the month and I’m doing really well. I haven’t once left the clothes on the floor for more than a few minutes after getting out of the shower. I consider this a coup.
As for the second goal, it has been a bit more challenging. I have decided I’m not going to have any more bad days. Last year was not a great one for me. To briefly recap: I was unemployed for the majority of the year, I was really sick with bronchitis five times in 2011, and I had ridiculous car issues costing thousands upon thousands of dollars. So to improve over last year won’t be much of a challenge, I hope. Not having bad days I’ve convinced myself is very simply mind over matter. Sure, bad stuff is going to happen. I’m allowing for exceptions if God forbid there is some kind of monumental loss in my life, however, that doesn’t mean I’m going to allow it to consume me and take over my life.
One of my favorite quotes from my high school yearbook senior year was “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” This is so damn true, but I don’t realize why it has taken me fifteen years to come around and recognize this fundamental truth of life. Yeah there are going to be moments when you are pushed to the brink. When that one person who always gets under your skin picks a day to unload on you it will be hard to let it roll off your back, but if you don’t, what do you gain? What does holding on to anger and fighting fire with fire get you? Life isn’t about winning arguments. It is often about surviving. To survive you must adapt to your surroundings and adjust accordingly. The trees that bend with the wind don’t tend to snap.
This is not to say that you should just sit there and take whatever crap people throw at you. Don’t be a doormat. But you can choose to walk away from an untenable situation, or kill them with kindness. It is amazing what a smile and a kind voice can do to diffuse tension. One thing I am personally trying to do is to be more communicative. I have, on occasion, been known to hold back and sit on things and think too much. Scenarios spin through my mind and often out of control. Had I simply asked a clarifying question to the parties involved, things may not have happened the way they did. Headaches, annoyances, etc. could have been avoided and hurt feelings could have been spared all around.
For my part, I am trying to become a better me. I don’t want to change who I am, because I like me, most days anyways. I just want to continue to strive to improve and ameliorate myself to get to that place I want to be. I’ve learned it isn’t about having what you want, but much more so wanting what you have. Embrace the good in life. Don’t seek out the negative. I guarantee you it is out there and you will find it. Don’t start creating conspiracy theories whether it is at work, with friends or family. If you are unclear of why someone is asking something of you it is perfectly acceptable to politely ask them why they want to know. I also promise you that if you look for the positive things in life you will also find those, they are just sometimes hidden and you have to dig for them.
I’ve never shied away from hard work in my life. I’ve had my fair share of challenges and tend to excel when difficult situations are thrust upon me in work and academic environments, so why can’t I adapt and apply those skills to my personal life? Guess what? I’ve decided I can. So here we are, on day 17 of the new year and I have yet to have a single bad day. I’m keeping a positive outlook on things. Sure I could bitch and moan about this or that, but really where does that get me? I will vent of course, but harping on the negative is a thing of the past for me. I choose to make them all good days. I won’t let others bring me down. It is my goal to bring others up. Who is with me?