Being An Optimist is About More Than Just Making Lemonade
4 weeks ago, I cracked my ribs in an unfortunate and very non-heroic shower accident. 2 weeks ago, we had to quickly move back into a home office situation for reasons too complex to discuss in one blog post. Last weekend, my husband and I were sideswiped by a transport truck on the Interstate in the middle of Indiana.
They say things come in threes, right? Well, that’s been my three for the past little while. All that while work is busier than ever, my hubby and I are trying to get going on our house renovations, and I’m trying to get in shape.
People have always considered me an optimist, and while it’s true that I generally try to roll with the punches (the odd bout of anxiety aside), at times like this, it puts my optimism to the test.
It’s been an overwhelming, at times emotional, and thought provoking few weeks. But there are a number of things I’ve realized through it all. Here’s the short list:
- Regardless of all the physical pain I’ve felt in the past several weeks, it’s nothing compared to what some people have to go through daily. I am healing. I will make it back to the gym soon. I had to deal with doctors and x-rays and painkillers and I didn’t have to pay one cent for that because I live in Canada. I am fortunate.
- I am incredibly fortunate to have the best business partner in the world, the greatest team (go Team Jester!), the most supportive husband, parents, brother and extended family I could ever ask for. They have been flexible, smart, and have kept things moving forward in spite of the chaos. I’m loved, and I love.
- Nobody was hurt in the car accident. Everyone who has been involved, from the other driver to the State Trooper to my insurance company have been helpful, friendly, kind and calming. It could have been so much worse and we are incredibly lucky to have walked away with nothing more than a banged up Saturn. Hell, I’m just lucky that I have a car to drive most days – I know it’s a luxury that a lot of people can’t afford. It might be old and not even have power windows, but it’s mine and I paid for it with my own hard earned money. I’m so fortunate to have that opportunity.
Sometimes the challenges of day to day life can get the best of us. When I’m online I see it quite often; people complaining because they were cut off in traffic, because they got to their son’s soccer practice only to find out it had been cancelled, or because their boss is a jerk. All of those things are stressful. The things I’ve gone through in the past few weeks are stressful. But they are nothing compared to what most of the people on this planet are going through right now.
People tout the “power of positive thought” all the time. But sometimes it’s hard to think positive, especially when you’re in the midst of stressful and chaotic things, and ESPECIALLY when you’re in pain of any sort. But the truth is, making lemonade from the lemons in your life can be hard work. It takes conscious effort and presence to turn a negative into a positive, to not dwell on the bad, and to move forward through adversity to get to the other side.
Optimism is the harder road to follow. It’s easy to log into Facebook and bitch about how life has done you wrong. It’s simple to whine and moan to your coworkers. It’s a lot harder to examine the adversity in your life and find the good. But trust me, when you do, you’ll be in a much better place. Because lemonade tastes a lot better than lemons, don’t you think?
How do you deal with adversity?
Every once in awhile, often on Mondays, I log in to Facebook and my status is that I’m in a rotten mood so I’m going to share three good things in my life. Every time I do it I get tons of responses. I think people just forget to do that because you’re so right, glass half full is harder, but it actually feels good to do!
I’m sorry you’ve had a hard go of things lately and I’m glad everyone is ok!
Lara Wellman I’ve seen those posts, and I think it’s a wonderful practice. You and I are cut from the same cloth; as writers, we need to be able to write about our feelings. But it’s the emphasis you put on your situation that’s so important. It’s how you react that dictates how things turn out. Thank you for sharing!
We have faced quite a bit of adversity over the last few years with Mr D suffering serious health issues that spanned over 5 years (including two situations that were potentially life threatening). Two things we found really powerful during this time were taking a back to basics approach to life and work. We often over complicate life unnecessarily and stripping everything back, simplifying and gonig back to basics helpsenormously. The second thing was having a string self care programme. In the face of adversity it is easy to neglect yourself but that only makes things harder. Prioritising a self care programme really helps navigate the storms of prolonged periods of adversity.
I am abig believer that mindset does play a big part too.
Ali_Davies self care is all-important, Ali, and it’s often the first thing that gets overlooked. I had an insane amount of stress last week and momentarily forgot the self-care and BOOM – I got sick. So now I’m fighting a cold, but realizing that getting enough rest and focusing on my own needs are critical to getting through the challenges. I’m consciously moving towards positive and away from negative – just shifting that mindset has made a world of difference. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve also faced a lot of adversity in the last few years: divorce, no second income, 2 kids to support, workplace bullyling, unexpected large bills..I’ve been in survival mode on my own for so long I don’t even remember what it’s like not to be always scrambling, reacting, protecting. But somehow, through it all, I bounce back to my usual optimistic self. Like Ali, I prioritize self care when the going is especially tough. If I fall, it all falls so I have to take care of myself to be there for my kids. I remember health–it’s always been good for all of us and that’s the most important thing of all. And I think of the Haitians my parents met in La Gonave who only have a small hut and one chair, but they are full of laughter and happiness. When a visitor comes, they offer that one chair and all of their family’s evening meal to the guest. if these Haitians can be so happy with only a hut and a chair and no evening meal, how much more fortunate am I–I should be able to find happiness in a life that has so much more than that. I think of that and it helps me put things in a better perspective. I am richer than I think.
jkaser perspective is everything! And I think the other thing that we need to do in the face of adversity is keep moving – keep building things, creating, and doing positive things. The projects you’ve been working on lately are an example of that. Keep up the good work and continue to shine your light!
The question is not if you fall down. Rather, do you get up?