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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the Sunny Side of the Street...

Life can be so unpredictable at times.  One minute all is right with the world, the next you are trying to figure out which end is up.  Changes, transitions, they all take place in our lives.  There are comings and goings, weddings and divorces, births and deaths, our life is in constant motion.  Some are good and welcomed; still others are looked upon with dread and fear.

During the holiday season we somehow become much more aware of this constant movement in our lives.  We hear of tragedy and the comment invariably is, ‘Wow!  Too bad this happened right before the holidays, it is so sad.’  On the flip side, when good news is shared, we may hear someone say something to the effect of, ‘Awesome, what a great way to kick of the holidays.’  

It seems that events happening this time of year are somehow connected to the holidays and how they will be affected.  It is almost like a barometer of sorts, indicating whether the mood will be happy and joyful, or sad and unpleasant.  

As I drove today, I reveled in the beauty of the freshly fallen snow, took in the sight of it.  I love snow; it just seems to provide a beautiful blanket, covering life’s imperfections.  As I admired nature’s handiwork, a tow truck went by bearing a vehicle that had been involved in an auto accident.  From the looks of it, not a simple fender-bender, I said a silent prayer hoping that no one had been hurt.  Immediately, however, the sight of this car flooded me with memories of my daughter, her accident, and the condition of her car.  I was instantly doused in a wave of sadness.

As I waited for the traffic light to change, I took stock of all the cars, and was reminded that some people may not make it home today.  I shook my head, trying to dispel these thoughts, who needs such negative thinking, and since when did I become so cynical.  It made me realized, however, just how susceptible we all are, and for those of you, who like me, have lost a loved one, how simple triggers can bring on an avalanche of feelings, emotions and thoughts that we sometimes cannot control.  

But yet, I drove on having somewhat successfully sent my thoughts packing.  I smiled as I greeted people, started doing what needed to be done, and began going about my business.  I needed to focus on the tasks ahead, finish taking my final exams for my classes, maybe get some last minute holiday shopping in, and so on.   A subtle reminder to me that life does go on, whether we want it to or not.  

I know that this time of year is not easy for many people, not just those who have suffered a loss due to death, but for so many other reasons as well.  In our area, so many people will be losing their jobs after the holidays; as yet another business prepares to close its doors.  Some of you are recently separated or divorced, and this may be your first holiday alone.  Others have relocated due to job transfers, military duty, or looking for a better life, and find themselves away from all that is familiar and their families.  

Our lives are a constant stream of change and we cannot alter its direction at times, we simply find ourselves riding this stream, hoping that the stops along the way, will be good, and in the event that there is difficulty, we can find the strength to bear it and carry on.  For so many of us, it may seem at times as if there is no hope, no way out of a current situation, and we get dragged into all the negativity that comes along with it.  

It seems easy enough to say, come on, get up, shake it off, and for many of you, there are people around you telling you just that.  The key is to help yourself think positively, to help yourself find the good in all that is around you.  It can be done, even when there seems to be no way out of where you are at right now.  

 I found a link that listed ways to improve your outlook, appropriately called ‘How To Stay Positive When You Know Your Life Sucks.’  Not necessarily my choice of words, but to the point and direct, just the same.  The following is a list of what is recommended:
  1. Ground yourself.  Realize that you need to get to know who you are and what your needs are, and make the choice to follow your own path. 
  2. Look on the inside.  What are some qualities you have that you like about yourself?
  3. Prove those negative thoughts wrong.  Change your mind.  Every person matters to someone.
  4. Appreciate what you see.  Look in the mirror.  Find some beautiful thing about yourself...
  5. It’s all how you look at it.  Remember, there are people who seem to have it all who are miserable, and yet others who appear to have nothing, who are very happy.
  6. Determine how your life could be better.  Make a few reachable goals and your own strategies.  The first step is usually the hardest – getting help or admitting you need it.
  7. Get motivated.  Give yourself a boost by focusing on what is important to you personally.
  8. Remember that some things can pass with time.  There will be tomorrow...
  9. Reminisce.  There will be many great moments in your life – don’t let a few obstacles get in the way.
  10.  Don’t stop yourself from feeling the joy.  Let yourself enjoy life even if you’re not at the best place you could be. 
  11. Develop a gratitude journal.  At the end of the day, write down five things that have made you happy or appreciative that day- not necessarily big things, even small ones count. 
  12. If you feel persistently sad, unmotivated, anxious, hopeless or fearful, seek professional help.  Remember there is always somebody there who wants to help you.  You are valuable!
You can read the entire article at WikiHow.

There is always a way out of whatever circumstances surround us.  I have had my share of ups and downs, achievements and disappointments, and yet I find that I am still able to smile, able to enjoy life’s pleasures, like watching snowflakes sail their way through the air.  Find what works best for you, what helps ease the sadness, and above all, know that you do not have to go it alone.  There is always someone else who has walked in your shoes, who understands your pain, and has worked their way through the disappointments.  

Enjoy the holiday season; find the beauty in all that surrounds you.  Think of those important people in your life; whether they are still a big part of your life, or no longer with you.  Let your memories carry you through this season, and throughout the year.  Above all, be good to yourself, take care of YOU.  

Blessings! and until we meet again.

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