Let Go

When I look back on my life, I begin to see what was probably obvious to everyone else: I’ve been a control freak. In college, I tried so hard to find new friends that I effectively scared them away from me. Instead of letting things happen organically, I tried to force it.

As more of a tomboy, I sought out the friendship of boys. And as anyone could guess, that often led to trouble during my college years. I found myself on accidental dates. Or worse: the time I asked an acquaintance out for coffee.

I really wanted a friend and he was someone I admired. I knew he had no romantic interest in me. I just wanted to talk and maybe become friends. He didn’t reply to the message I sent. That’s the last time I remember interacting with him.

There were so many times I did this to myself. I worried and clutched tight when I really needed to let go. Letting go is one of those things that sounds so simple yet always leads to a struggle. It could be key to happiness for so many people, myself included.

If I could just let go of my grip, some of the bad things would blow away. And that would leave my hands open to receive the good things life has to offer. This is the great lesson at this time in my life.

I switched to a new job. It’s not perfect for me, but I really can’t complain. The atmosphere is tenfold better, which was enough for me to accept a pay cut. Except I actually ended up with a raise instead.

Everything seems to be lining up, except one tiny detail: it’s temporary. It could end if funding doesn’t allow them to renew my contract. And as a recovering control freak, that is downright terrifying. (Perhaps this is when I am forced to recover? Can a control freak be forced to do anything she doesn’t want to?)

Maybe life’s trying to help me with this self-improvement project. This job could be exactly what I need in ways I could never have guessed. Worrying isn’t going to help my situation. So I’m trying to just sit back and enjoy the ride, wherever it may lead.

It’s time to let go of the worry, anxiety, and anger. It’s time to start fresh with open, empty palms. That way, when opportunity sweeps in, I’ll be ready to catch it.

Cheers to letting go.

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Photo credit: another.point.in.time via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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Stormy Skies

It’s hard to see the sun when you’re in a the middle of a storm. For so long, I was ready for change. I begged for it and dreamed about it. Now that I’m in the middle of it, I realize how difficult change can be. Not for my mindset, because I’m open and (hopefully) really ready for it. It’s just: Change uproots what you know and replaces it with the unknown.

We’ve moved. It’s official. All of our stuff is in the new house waiting to be unpacked. Our old place is empty now. There’s no turning back. I’ve been working at my new job for  a month and a half now. And it’s been hard. So much harder than I ever expected it could or would be.

The truth is, I’m stressed out and unhappy. But I have to believe this will change after I adjust to the new routine. The job wasn’t what I expected. I feel misled by the description I was given. I feel duped. I uprooted my family’s livelihood for this?!?!

Then I remember the cute farmhouse we’re renting and how it really does feel like my own. I already have pride in it, even though it’s just a rental. And I like it so much better than our last rental. Also, there are adventures to be had in the new city. I’m so excited to get to know some new people and to explore a place with so much opportunity.

It’s just….the career. This is the awful pattern in my life. And I’m really tired of the vicious cycle. To top it off, my husband is still job-searching and the bills are still coming in. And we have to replace the engine in his truck (a repair costing around $5,000). With Christmas days away, it compounds the stress. When I hear Christmas songs on the radio, Scrooge rises up in me and declares, “Bah Humbug!”

I’m trying to make the most of it. This too shall pass. And I do see a break in the clouds. I do feel like there’s hope. I’m not sure why or how, but we will get through this. And in less than a month, we get a fresh start with a brand new year. We can hope to see more positive months ahead. Time will tell.

Until then, I’ll keep staring up at the clouds, trying to see past the gloom to the shining sun behind them. Perhaps this calls for a fresh cup of tea.

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Photo credit: byronv2 via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

 

Instantaneous Me

We are a society that demands and encourages instant gratification. It’s the reason people struggle to stick to their budget–they want what they want and they want it now. It’s the reason some people overeat or binge on junk food. They must have their food now, no matter the caloric cost. It’s why people actually buy those diet pills that promise weight loss in just two weeks. They don’t want to sweat it out and lose the weight naturally (and slowly) through habit changes.

We are an impatient people.

But despite our desires for instant results, life changes and progresses in baby steps. Sometimes the steps seem so insignificant that we don’t even know how we got where we are now. We can’t retrace our steps.

I want change. I think that’s quite obvious from my previous posts. But I wanted a big, explosive, life-changing event with instantaneous results. I wanted to be propelled forward into that grand, picturesque future. But life doesn’t work like that. There’s growth that must be had along the way. Instant results are bad for us. As it is said, the struggle brings character. It makes us stronger. Wiser.

I’ve overlooked so many baby steps. I don’t know how I got where I am today. I couldn’t do it over again in the exact same way. But I am here. And those little steps–those tiny changes–got me here. Some were so small that they felt insignificant. But together, they created my life as I know it today.

I’m too impatient. I want the big screen TV without the big screen budget. Life doesn’t offer credit cards. You can’t get what you want without the actual resources you need. But in the end, I think we’re all fully equipped for the future we’re meant for. We just have to have the courage to use those resources. The courage to act. To risk. To let go. To be patient.

Even a change in mindset can be a step in the right direction. The key is to keep moving. Something great lies ahead, but it’s not the end; it’s just a place along the path. A place to linger and enjoy the view. But the sun is hot and you’ve got to keep moving. One foot in front of the other. One good thing at a time with anticipation of the next one ringing in your ear. Avoid the snakes on the path. Stop. Breathe. Learn. Be grateful. Therein lies the reward.

We just have to be patient.

The Luckiest Day of My Life

Photo credit: kaibara87 / iWoman / CC BY

Do you ever wonder why the person who expects the worst always seems to get the worst? It’s that whole “just my luck” business. When people say, “That’s just my luck,” they are implying that they never have good luck. Most of the time that’s just an exaggeration, but some actually believe that they don’t get any breaks in life.

It’s strange how the world works sometimes. I’m beginning to realize that my attitude needs some adjusting. I’ve been too busy searching out the worse scenario to see the good things happening around me. When you’re just waiting for the next bad thing to happen, it tends to fill you with unnecessary fear. And fear can ruin your day over and over again unless you learn to let go of it.

So instead of always speeding towards a stoplight in anticipation of it flicking to yellow or red, I need to sit back and just accept whatever may come. It’s not going to kill me to wait for a red light and if I get green, that’s a nice bonus to my day.

Maybe if I relax and let the dice fall as they may, the circumstances might fall in my favor. Yesterday, I decided to test that theory. I got a little angry at something that happened at work. Instead of stewing about it, I just let myself feel it and found something else to do to release that anger. Sure enough, it started to diminish. Instead of expecting my day to get worse, I just dealt with what I had been given and moved past it. And it kept me from ruining my own day.

Then, on my drive home, I didn’t rush or get uptight about traffic. I just leaned back in my seat and tried to remember to relax. Usually, when I’m rushed and in a hurry, I hit red lights at every intersection. But today, in my relaxed state, I was met by more green lights than red. And I didn’t get upset by the red ones. It made my mental state so much better when I walked in the door to greet my husband.

Did the fates align and produce good circumstances because of my attitude change? No. I’m sure I don’t hit as many red lights as I think I do. I just make mental notes of the red lights instead of the green ones. And in doing that, I choose to make myself miserable. But not anymore. Now, I want to choose to be joyful and full of hope. I want to remember the good stuff.

We have much more control over our lives than we often choose to believe. We may not be able to wield our circumstances to our will, but we can choose how we react. There’s something to be said about taking things as they come and making the best of the circumstances we’re given. It’s easy to focus on what we lack instead of seeing what we have. We have to choose the right kind of focus.

Too many times, I’ve made myself the victim instead of empowering myself to change with the circumstances and to accept what may come. If you believe yourself a loser, you subconsciously set yourself up to do things that make you a loser. I am my own worst enemy. *Cue the Lit music*

New Year’s Day is coming up, so it’s the prime time for some self-evaluation. I’m tired of playing the victim. I’m better than that. I will accept my circumstances and focus on the good things that come despite the bad I’ll also encounter. I’m not going to call this a resolution, because you condemn it by giving it that name. (How many New Year’s resolutions are broken year after year?) This is a change I’m choosing to enact.

There’s some truth to making your own luck. You may not be able to make yourself win the lottery, but you can make yourself feel like the luckiest person you know. It’s all perspective, after all.

 

Photo credit: kaibara87 / iWoman / CC BY

Team Change

Photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/89927155@N00/331574242/">Fonzie's cousin</a> / <a href="http://foter.com">Foter</a> / <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">CC BY-NC-SA</a>

 

I see now that one person cannot change the world alone. It may look like someone single-handedly saved the day, but they had help. Something as vast as world change only happens when we team together. Though one person may be the leader or stand in the spotlight, it took a whole group of people to get him or her there.

No one can be an expert on everything. That’s why a team with the right mix of components and expertise can be so groundbreaking. One person shouldn’t be expected to know it all. That’s why you chose your teams wisely. You get the computer guru on your team so you don’t have to try to figure out how to code. This is obvious with any company or organization out there, so why do we overlook it concerning the world?

Pride. We think we can swoop in like Batman to save the day. But unlike Batman, we aren’t capable of handling a full-on assault, while saving bystanders from collapsing buildings, while holding a conversation with the archenemy, while clutching a baby in one hand. Superheroes make great stories, but they truly are a work of fiction. I still aspire to change the world, but I’ll easily admit that I need some help in doing so. I’m special, but not that special.

Too much multi-tasking wears us down and burns us out. We are actually less productive when we have too many tasks going on at once. Humans were not meant to do everything all at once. We are better off specializing in a few things instead of a couple dozen.

I have been guilty of multi-tasking with housework and errands during my lunch hour. I’ve accomplished long lists, which gives me a temporary moment of pride, but it also leaves me more worn out when I come back to work. That’s really not the point of a lunch break. We need rest and we need to treat ourselves to a break so we can come back to work rejuvenated and refreshed. A frazzled person is much less likely to work efficiently or to incite great change. They need someone to share the load so they can do what they are best at.

I think it’s time we all stop thinking of ourselves as so damn special that the world can’t go on without us. As it has with everyone who has gone before us, the world will always move on. When Albert Einstein died, we didn’t stop analyzing and trying to understand the world. He just started a new way of thinking.

It doesn’t matter who you are. The point is to do what we can to leave the world in a better state than it was when we first arrived. Then, we have to trust that someone will pick up where we left off and carry the load when we’re gone. THAT is how you change the world.

It’s not as glorifying as being the most important person in the world, but it’ll do.

 

Photo credit: Fonzie’s cousin / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Black Moon Tides

Lumen Christi

Change is in the air. So much so that even the moon is going through unique phases. On Thursday, there was a black moon. That means that there were two new moons in a 30 day period. Kind of like a blue moon, except that the moon is blacked out. This moon was also a supermoon, which means that it was slightly closer to the earth during its orbit and appeared larger than normal. Tides were higher as well.

Unfortunately, the sky was white with clouds all day, so I couldn’t see it for myself. But that didn’t stop my husband and me from celebrating it. It can get kind of mystical, but some people believe the black moon is a sign of fresh beginnings and that hidden truths will be revealed. Sounded fun to us. We went out to a fancier restaurant than normal and I finally gave in and got that expensive salmon on the menu. It was delicious. We drank martinis instead of beer. We did what we could to change our normal routine. It was refreshing. It was a way for us to welcome change.

The Chinese New Year began the following day. I’m not one of those people who like horoscopes or predictions of how the year is going to be, but I looked it up for this post. They are saying that it’s going to be a year of conflict, where people stick to their principles and won’t compromise. Of course, your personal prediction for the year depends on what your Chinese zodiac is.

I hate reading stuff like this because you have a tendency to make it happen the way it predicts if you believe the prediction is true. So instead of a terrible year, as it predicts for me, I choose to believe in a year of prosperous change. Things are going to get better for me in 2014. I will make my own fortune and pave a new road. There are good changes up ahead. Not because of the moon or the year I was born, but because I have the power to choose to make it different. I am in control of the decisions I make and the way I interact with the world and the problems around me.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to lucky, prosperous 2014. May we all make strides to a better life for ourselves this year. I’ll keep you updated.

Photo credit: Eustaquio Santimano / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Main Character Mania

I am the main character of my own story. Duh. Sounds obvious, I know. There’s always a moment at the beginning of the story where the main character (MC) is going about their daily life never realizing that everything is about to change. A chance meeting, an event, or even something that seems minor can change the course of their entire life.

I feel like I am that MC, but I’m waiting, expecting, hoping for that change. And maybe that’s why it hasn’t come. The story can’t really begin if the MC is expecting the change to occur. Predictability doesn’t shape us the way random chance does.

Change always sends the MC off in directions he never anticipated. And despite the bad, there are always some good things to hang on to along the way. I mean, if Frodo didn’t leave Bag End, there would be no story. If Harry Potter never went to Hogwarts and learned magic, there would be nothing to talk about. We need those pivotal moments to push us in another direction.

Fiction mimics life. And in life, those unexpected moments can change us. They can push us into an adventure or give us ammo to conquer our inward struggles. Often, the change is not something the MC welcomes. We need to be bent out of shape before we can be molded into something better.

I feel like I’m at the beginning of my story. My daily life is nothing to write home about. When people ask me what I’ve been up to, I don’t have anything interesting to say. But this can change. I hope to be swept off into something bigger than myself. Here’s to expecting a new and exciting year in 2014.