Part Two: Still building on the theme of “What the hell is going on here?“, I want to know what you do when life takes a left turn and heads down a road other than the one you thought you were going to be on.
Since I’ve always been a pick-myself-up-and-move-on kind of person, a new road is usually just a new adventure. But lately, I don’t know what it is: is life taking too many left turns? Am I tired of all the surprises? Am I fed up with not knowing where I’m going? Is the scenic route really all it’s cracked up to be?
I don’t know that I have answers to those questions but I do know this: I don’t think I’d be comfortable being a weenie cry-baby, a whatever-you-want-to-call-it when you can’t (or don’t want to) pick yourself up by the bootstraps and move on. So that means I write what’s in my head and I try to get the words out where they can make some sense.
Obviously, I’m not very good at being “in the moment” right now. My moments are not what I want them to be, and apparently I’m not very good at trying to make them be what I want them to be. (Now it sounds like I’m talking in circles!) I find myself wondering how to go about being in the moment, right this moment. I feel like I’ve done everything one is supposed to do to be in the moment – meditated, om’d in the sun, smiled at little kids, petted dogs, sipped green tea – but the moment is eluding me! My brain works on overtime: when am I going to be able to walk across the street without worrying about collapsing in the middle of the crosswalk? when will I be able go for a hike (even a short one) by myself and not worry about falling down a cliff or something? what if I fall while I’m walking in a parking lot and crack my head on someone’s fender? when are the doctors’ bills going to stop coming in? Ack! My brain is crazy! And it’s making me crazy!
I no longer feel like I know how to make the best of the situation, whatever it is. I feel like I’ve lost my mojo, whatever that is. I feel like I’ve screwed everything up and I don’t know how to un-screw it. I’m having a tough time being grateful for the moments, whatever they are.
There! That’s the answer! That’s the way back. Gratitude. I knew if I wrote enough about what’s not working that I would eventually come up with something that will work. I’m willing to give it a try. Lord knows I’ve done this before – and just why is it that I can’t remember what I’ve done before so I can do it again?
This is what I’m going to do:
- start writing a gratitude list. Again. Seems kind of a dumb thing to do but I know from past experience that it works to refocus my mind on the positive things in my life and not the negative. I’m going to write down the things I’m grateful for and I’m going to start by listing the people in my life – and then I’m going to add that it isn’t raining today, and it isn’t supposed to rain tomorrow. After that, we’ll see where it goes from there.
- since I’m going to be in one place for awhile longer, write about places to go in the Portland Metro area (or wherever I am) that are inexpensive or free to go to and experience, places you may already know about but haven’t been to for awhile, places that might be new to me and you, and places that won’t break the budget (because we all know there are plenty of things to do that will!).
- take a chance that being “out in the world” will help me clear the cobwebs out of my brain, get my mind back on track, and maybe some of that living-in-the-moment gratitude will show back up, as well. It’s a chance I’m willing to take right now. I don’t like these feelings of despondency and discouragement and I want them to go away!
Making the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in, whether it’s a health-related issue, a change in our available finances, or our lives are changed up by divorce, death, marriage or something else, is really the only way to go but if you’re anything like me, sometimes life gets heavy and dark and way too complicated.
Maybe it’s really just this simple: remember to take each moment as it comes, be grateful for the day, give thanks for the breaths we take, and live each moment as it comes, no matter how “good” or “bad” it seems. If you’re struggling with every day life like I am, if answers seem far away, if “reality” appears to be overtaking your days, maybe you’ll join me, wherever you are, and start a gratitude list. Write something down every day, even if it’s just one thing – the sun shining, the air we breathe, cheeseburgers and tacos (I’m grateful for whoever it was that thought up those things!), pretty spring flowers. Then the next day, write down another something else.
Spend some time out exploring your city and the area around it; find something new to do that doesn’t cost much – a picnic in the park for dinner instead of sitting in front of the TV one more time, a flower festival that you haven’t been to before (or even if you’ve been, go again!), a museum of old relic farm tools, happy hour with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile (happy hour food is usually cheap!).
If you do, I’d love to hear from you. Tell me about your adventures and I’ll tell you about mine. And about that gratitude list: I’m going to commit to writing down three things every evening before I go to bed and I’ll do it for a week. Then we’ll see how it goes…
And if you have anything you do that helps you out when life takes a left turn, please share. I know I’m not alone and I know you aren’t either.
Can we do this together? Yes, we can!
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I’m grateful for fresh fruit! The featured photo of this post, shown on the main page of this blog and also below, was taken at a little restaurant in Silverton, Oregon called 3 Ten Water. They have an awesome menu (the breakfast burrito was super delicious and huge!) and the story of serendipity of how they came to be is interesting, too.