Almost 40 and…
I don’t think I could say that I’ve ever been happier. I really look forward to my 40th birthday next week. Today we went and bought some new bake wear I wanted / needed (new loaf pans, new pizza pans, and new cookie sheets). I still need to get a crisping rack for the oven, cooling racks (those are available at Dollar Tree), and a few other nice-to-have things.
If you’re struggling where you are right now, I have a couple of pieces of advice for you. The first is that life is too short and precious for you to be so unhappy. You have to either get out of the situation you’re in or learn to be grateful. I’ve seen people struggle with both. I struggled with both. People stay in bad situations because they’re more afraid of the unknown and they’ve yet to face a cost they’re unwilling to pay for familiarity. You can’t fix anyone. It’s not your fault they act the way they do. Their behavior is on them. And for the rest of you, you have to learn to be grateful for what you do have and where you are in life. If you’re reading this, you have more than most people. You have Internet. You have electricity. You have access to an education. That doesn’t mean things are perfect. It just means we enjoy the good parts of life while we strive for more. It’s also okay to be perfectly content with what you have.
My second piece of advice is to learn to ask yourself the right questions to help you change your focus and to even help you solve problems. Read Awaken the Giant Within if you haven’t done so already. I linked to it, but it’s NOT an affiliate link. (This blog is NOT monetized outside of when I promote my own material.) It lists the following morning and evening “power questions” as well as presenting other insightful and helpful advice (if you’re willing to absorb it and apply it):
- What am I happy about in my life right now? If you say you’re NOT happy, what COULD you find to be happy about if you really wanted to do so? I have a few I know I can be happy about if I don’t feel particularly happy some days. I am happy that my life and home are peaceful. I am happy my children are productive and healthy. I am happy I was able to start my business.
- What am I excited about in my life right now? If you say you’re NOT excited, what could you find to be excited about if you really wanted to do so? I don’t always have a fall back answer. Today I was excited when my non-verbal son was trying to move over on the couch and he couldn’t because one of our dogs had his head on my son’s lap. My son said slow and clear as day, “I can’t move over.”
- What am I proud of in my life right now? If you say you have NOTHING to be proud of, keep in mind we’re not talking about pride as an “pride cometh before the fall.” We’re talking about something you did that maybe you didn’t know you could do. Maybe you’re proud you’re able to pay your electric bill without asking for financial help from your mom. Whatever it is, it’s okay. You SHOULD take a little pride in yourself and in your abilities. Mine change depending on what’s going on with our little family. I am extremely proud of the fact we primarily buy fresh fruits and vegetables. I grew up without a lot of food so having it in the house always makes me happy.
- What about the above makes me grateful? Being grateful is key to finding peace…even if it is just a moment of peace within yourself because you have one less thing to worry about.
- What am I enjoying in my life right now? Again, if you don’t think you have anything you enjoy, what COULD you enjoy if you really wanted to do so? I could enjoy a hot bath just about any time. With bubbles. I enjoy the fact (most of the time!) that I work from home. I enjoy candles that I have in my office. I enjoy the peaceful home my husband and I share.
- What am I committed to in my life right now? In addition to being committed to the well-being of my husband and sons, I am committed to growing my business. I am committed to being peaceful and content while doing that (everyone knows my CPTSD symptoms can cause me severe anxiety, insomnia, and other little issues).
- Who do I love? Who loves me? And, yes, someone does love you even if they don’t say it. There are people on social media or wherever it is that you project yourself that look to what you say or don’t say…and how you act and they love you for it.
- What have I given today? At the end of your day, ask what you’ve given. Giving is part of how we feel complete.
- What did I learn today? And if you didn’t learn anything, learn something before you go to sleep.
- How has today added to the quality of my life? This is an important question for me because I started working from home for many reasons…one of which was creating a more peaceful environment to myself and doing what I enjoy. Do something that contributes to you building the life you want to have.
- How did I use today as an investment in my future? If you don’t put in the time, you’ll never have what you want out of life. If you don’t put in the commitment and the work, you won’t get what you want out of life. That is no one else’s fault but yours. Taking full responsibility for yourself is the best way to get what you want. It gives you power over yourself.
Problem solving is an important concept. The book Awaken the Giant Within lists five questions. And they aren’t necessarily easy to answer, either.
- What is great about this problem? You know what’s great about the fact that sometimes I feel overwhelmed by everything on my list? It’s not that I’m actually overworked. I clock the time my projects take. How worked I feel (or overworked) is just part of how my brain processes. It has nothing to do with my workload. But, what’s great about it is I’m in demand as a professional writer. And isn’t that the dream that so many people have?
- What is not perfect yet? There’s something that caused the problem, but it’s something that can be fixed. The presence of a problem indicates the presence of an answer.
- What am I willing to do to make it the way I want? It takes commitment AND action to solve problems.
- What am I willing to no longer do to make it the way I want?
- How can I enjoy the process while I do what is necessary to make it the way I want?
Read the book. Start making plans to change your life. Make it a great year.