Friday seemed a long time coming, and I woke up feeling relieved that the weekend was close at hand. The past seven days seemed endless, and yet there never seemed to be enough hours in any one day. I seem to feel this way a lot lately. Still, I’m not unhappy about it. It’s just surprising. I tend to generally view this period of my life as a time when things should be slowing down. My kids are adults. My time is mine again (in theory.) Instead, there’s always something happening, projects to tackle, family or friends seeking help. There are plenty of social opportunities, and I participated in a volunteer project with some of my work mates recently. Every day I get more deeply involved in the business at work. Ultimately, I’m glad that my life is not boring. And I’m happy to see myself being less selfish with my time. Sometimes I just feel the need to stop a moment and take a breather.
I’m working every day on viewing my circumstances from a different perspective. While I used to be so quick to jump to a place of frustration when things didn’t go as planned, I’m now working on being grateful. For all of it. The difficult coworker doesn’t seem nearly as difficult when I consider that her constant presence in my work-life might be meant to teach me something about myself. I’m able to slough her off a lot quicker these days, and even … dare I say it? Appreciate her at times. Challenges that don’t go my way feel less defeating when I see them as a chance to tackle something from an angle I hadn’t considered. And success feels so much sweeter! If and when I remember to relax and let go of my knee-jerk reactions, everything can be an opportunity to better myself, to stop letting the things of this world have such an iron grip on my state of mind.
In just the past week, I’ve learned that my best friend’s cancer has returned. A neighbor’s young daughter is unexpectedly pregnant. A coworker’s mom suffered a massive stroke and the outlook is grim. A friend is in his eighth month of a medical leave from his job and desperately wanting to get back to feeling productive. Others are in a brighter season. Everywhere I turn, there seem to be joyfully anticipated babies on their way. (One of them is the first grandbaby for my friend with cancer!) Two unemployed neighbors found new jobs. I could go on, but you get it. We’ll all have a turn. Life is filled with good and bad. It’s not how much luck, fun or fortune you have. It’s how you manage to face the difficulties, and all of it, that determines whether or not you’ll be happy day in and day out.
I’ve heard it my whole life – that feeling sorry for yourself gets you nowhere. But it’s a concept that never really sunk in for me until I got “old.” When I woke up yesterday morning, it was with a slight sense of reluctance. There was a lot awaiting me not only at work, but in the weekend ahead. I had no concept of how to rein it all in. But there was also a voice reminding me to stop worrying. I didn’t have to have all the answers at that very moment. And somehow by the end of the work day, I’d made some real progress. I didn’t even feel that I’d had to fight that hard to get where I needed to be. The weight on my shoulders seemed to have lifted.
I find myself praying a lot more these days, asking for help for those who are struggling. But I also ask that I will see ways I can help. What words can I offer? What can I physically do to help someone else? I ask for help in getting out of that selfish state that makes it so easy to think that either I can’t help, or someone else will cover things. I remind myself to be thankful for the good stuff, and even for the things I’d rather not have to deal with. And in doing so, I’m better able to see how fortunate I am, and have been in my own life. I look back on things I’ve always wished I could change about my life, and from this distance, I can see that they held a purpose.
This weekend doesn’t hold any hope for slowing down. We somehow have to empty three bedrooms worth of furniture and belongings into some other place in the house, and then rip out the old carpeting in those rooms before the installer comes on Monday to put in the new carpet. I’m running Fun Night for our couples bowling league tonight. And since my parents have suddenly decided they’re ready to sell their house … tomorrow, my sis and I will be helping clean and purge in preparation for the showings they hope to start having within a couple of weeks. I’d kind of rather be doing anything else on an early spring Sunday that promises to be warm and beautiful. But whatever! We’ll figure out how to make it good.
I’m in a pretty good place.