There’s a channel on my Roku called CHOW that offers short segments on food related topics, like cooking and new restaurant trends. My favorite segments are from a series titled, “You’re Doing It All Wrong.” During these segments, chefs and other foodies share the right way to do things, like open a champagne bottle or eat sushi. And sure enough, 9 times out of 10 I find out that I have in fact been doing it all wrong. Let’s add to those mini life-lessons from CHOW, the ridiculous amount of time I’ve spent on Pinterest in recent weeks pinning a number of “life hacks” that have made me begin to wonder how in the world I’ve made it this far in life without understanding the miracle that is vinegar and baking soda. (Seriously, who knew?)
Then there’s Facebook, the land where friends and acquaintances seem to have their lives completely together. You know who I’m talking about; they’ve found the perfect job and are speeding ahead at a furious pace in their chosen career, live in a fabulous house, have well-behaved (and gifted) children/pets, an adoring lover who is also their best friend, and are somehow managing to save for retirement and their kid’s college educations. With all of these images floating around – these examples of how life is supposed to be and how you’re supposed to be living - I’m sure that I’m not the only one who occasionally takes stock of my own life and wonders if I’m doing it all wrong.
The title for this post has actually been rolling around in my head for a while now. Perhaps it’s the realization that I’ll be turning 40 this year and, for some strange reason, this milestone in life seems like it should be pivotal in some way. Or maybe it’s because I know quite a few people who are taking stock of their lives right now and wondering how the hell they got here and why they aren’t where they had planned to be. Whatever the reason, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time contemplating my life and whether I’m on target. There have even been several moments where I’ve muttered aloud, “Life: Youre doing it all wrong!”
I mean if I’m being honest here, 2012 was a rough year for my family and me in many ways. There were times that I just shook my head and wondered what in the world I’d done to be the recipient of such negative karma and to be faced with such tremendous obstacles. From losing my job in February to having a tree fall on our house in October. From being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis to watching our once healthy savings be replaced with a mounting stack of bills. 2012 really sucked in many ways.
That said, if you asked some of my friends or acquaintances about me, they might describe me as one of those people who have all facets of their lives together. Should you snag an invite to one of my kid’s parties, you’ll likely find that I’ve used the knowledge gained from Pinterest and CHOW to put together a nice spread of delicious food, while also pulling off some pretty cool games for the kids. Peruse my Facebook page for a few minutes and you’ll find funny pictures and videos of my kids, posts about my excitement for a new project I’m starting tomorrow, and updates about the changes we’re making to our house that is now being rebuilt.
Is this because I’m hiding the bad parts of my life from others? Nope. Is it because I only choose to share the most amazing things about myself with others? Nope. I’m pretty transparent and probably share more than most would find comfortable in a public setting.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie
Last night was New Years Eve and my husband, Fred, and I happily said good-bye to 2012. But before we did, we took a moment to remind each other of all of the fabulous things that happened this year.
- I took 2 months off and spent some quality time with the kids.
- I started Project Moxie and reconnected with a long forgotten passion – writing.
- Our daughter graduated high school and started college.
- Our 6-year old learned to ride his bike and started kindergarten.
- Our 3-year old was potty trained. No more diapers!
- We welcomed our dog, Pugsley, home and finally got the boys over their insane fear of dogs.
- My best friend got married and honored me with the Maid of Honor role.
- Fred started a new career and completed his degree in Cyber Security.
- We survived the end of the world. Again.
The list goes on, I assure you. In fact, the list of all of the things for which we are grateful is substantially longer than the list of our painful experiences. The reason I’m happy – truly, deeply happy – is that I live in gratitude. I am grateful for my family and for my health. Grateful for my brain and my friends. Grateful for a healthy sense of humor and for beautiful sunrises.
This isn’t to say that I haven’t felt sorry for myself on occasion. I have shed many tears this year and I have complained to those closest to me about my hardships. And that’s okay, because living in gratitude doesn’t mean that every moment of your life you have thank the frogs and the forests and the sun and the stars . . . that’s just silly. We are human after all and unless you’re the Dalai Lama, I’d guess you haven’t fully mastered that whole inner peace thing either. Hell, even the happiest person I know who completely embodies the living in gratitude concept (Hi, Garth!) has bad days, too.
I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to look at others in your life and admire their accomplishments and maybe even be a little jealous. It’s completely normal to be disappointed in your fumbles and frustrated with the seemingly endless obstacles that life keeps throwing at you. But do yourself a favor and remember that it’s just a moment in time. If you can inject gratitude into your mindset, you’ll soon realize that you have more to be grateful for than to be sorry about.
So go ahead and take stock of your life from time to time and if you happen to find something you’re not happy with, then resolve to change. Manage that internal voice of yours and take accountability for your own perceptions of the world around you. Yes, there will be days (even weeks or months) that absolutely suck, but remember that it’s just a moment in time and you will prevail.
And to that notion that I might have this life thing all wrong, I’m pretty sure I don’t. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say:
Life: You’re Doing It Just Right!