Friendship is something that can be taken for granted. For many people, they have always had friends surrounding them, and it is a blessing. Old, long-lasting friendships are truly a treasured thing for they have endured the test of time; a friendship that has grown and changed just as the people have. It can be rare to find these days. People tend to move with work opportunities and for the hopes of a different life. These decisions impact those friendships simply because distance is a difficult thing to endure.
New friendships are forged, and they become equally as important. They are based in what is relevant in their lives at the time they were brought together. The great thing about new friendships is that they all have the opportunity to turn into old friendships, given enough time. Neither one is more valuable than the other. They are all equally as important.
I am grateful for all the friendships in my life, both new and old. I look forward to these newer friendships growing and ageing along with me, and I truly hope they do. I do not ever wish to take any of my friendships for granted. For me, they are blooms in my garden of life. I want to cultivate them, removing the weeds, and feed the flowers.
I spent yesterday evening thinking back to what the past five years has brought me, and how my life has changed. Yes, divorce will do that to you. But, there is more to it than that. I have realized when I look back at the past five years, I am amazed at how much I have done and how it has helped me grow as an individual.
Not only have I become free from a life (and marriage) that were strangling me, I have opened myself up and become more of who I truly am. I have taken courses and completed two certificates, with the third and fourth ones to be completed shortly. None of which have anything to do with my profession, I might add. They are simply because I enjoy them and choose to increase my knowledge in other areas that interest me. I have dramatically improved my photography skills through practice, mentorship, and coursework, and continue to do so. I have taken myself out of my comfort zone and explored places I would never have expected to go on my own before these five years. I have joined groups and met new friends that mean the world to me. I have plans and aspirations for the next five years that have spiralled off of what the previous five years have provided me.
Something that I didn’t realize when I was in the midst of it all, but when I look back, I can see how much the little bits have changed me over time. Tony Robbins says that people overestimate what they can do in a day but underestimate what they can do in a year. It’s true. I have seen it in myself, and I believe what he has said. I am grateful for my self-motivation to do more. I am glad I have not allowed my life to become passive, but instead, take an active role in what happens in my life. This is my journey, and I want to make the most of it!
The term “self-improvement” has always left me with a cliché sense to the term. What exactly do you mean when you say you’re doing some self-improvement? The term, to me, implies that you felt you weren’t enough as you were. Harsh, I know.
It isn’t what it means at all. In fact, I too, have been working on some self-improvement. I do it all the time, even if I may not use that term specifically.
Self-improvement really refers to bettering yourself as time goes on; to compete with the person you were, not anyone else. We all improve with age, don’t we? Any time we pick up one of those self-help books, or an audio podcast designed to help us with one aspect of our lives or another, we are tuning into self-improvement.
Striving for more is self-improvement in itself. Are you looking to learn a new craft, a new language, or try a new cuisine? Anything that broadens our own experiences is a form of self-improvement. It doesn’t have to be the inspirational, motivational speakers, or the life coaches, the woo woo, or even the subliminal tapes. Anything we do to experience more that our world has to offer is a form of self-improvement.
So, call it what you will, but whatever it is, I encourage you to continue to be a better person tomorrow, than you were today.
This is my self-diagnosis. It captivated me years ago and it keeps me hostage in my safe place. Whatifitis is rooted in fear. It prevents me from taking chances in so many areas of my life: my career, my hobbies, my love life, my dreams. It keeps me frozen in my current state because it is a comfort zone, although comfort zones aren’t always as safe as what they appear to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I have conquered some of my whatifitis, such as taking solo trips and visiting new places with my sons, but it still keeps me in shackles when it comes to other aspects in my life.
It keeps me from taking the what-if leap.
What if I started that small business.
What if I allowed that man to come into my life and my family.
What if I didn’t overthink every single solitary step in my life?
Overcoming whatifitis isn’t an overnight thing. The cure is hard work and determination. There needs to be a realization and self reflection on what I am doing. Is there is any self-sabotaging behaviours present? There needs to be a plan; a schematic to ensure whatifitis doesn’t return to take me back to that place. I have had a glimpse of the freedom from whatifitis, and it is a beautiful thing. I think I am ready to explore that further, and to find a way to cure myself of this condition.
I am certain that we all have times where we experience self doubt. The am I good enough, or the what if they don’t like me, or the I can’t do this feeling creeps into our lives at times of self doubt. I know for certain these feelings come into my life often. I worry about failure because of self doubt. I might not even attempt to try what I wanted because self doubt tells me I can’t do it.
Then, there are times when I have allowed self doubt to win and I see someone else out there doing what I had wanted to do. I realize that they are no better at it than I am. The difference though? They didn’t let self doubt stop them from going out and doing it.
Dreams and aspirations don’t need to be halted because of self doubt. Put yourself out there. You may be surprised at just how much you can accomplish when you put self doubt into the back seat and let confidence take over the steering wheel for a while. Believe in yourself.
Decisions in life aren’t always black and white. How do you choose which path to take when the answer isn’t completely clear? Do you trust your instinct, go with your gut? Do you make a pros/cons list for every option and weigh them out? Do you gain advice from friends, family, and professionals?
Some decisions aren’t as monumental as others, but when they are, many things hang in the balance. What compels you to choose one path over another is different for each one of us. While I may be sitting in this situation right now, I am trying to gain as much information as possible from as many sources as I can. I want to make the right decision, not just the right decision for right now.
So, while I am busy trying to make my best decision, I feel rather absent minded when it comes to other areas, pushing them to the back burner as it were. Single parenting, while rewarding in itself, is also very challenging. Adding major decisions makes it even more challenging. To those who are sitting in a similar position as I am, my heart goes out to you.
Every day we have the opportunity to affect someone’s life. How we choose to do so is up to us. Will we make a positive impact on someone, or will it be negative? How we choose to approach any given situation is up to us.
I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to see many different people from many different spectrums of life. I know that I have the power to make their day miserable, or to try and turn it around and make a positive impact on each person I see in a day. I know that there are people who are looked through instead of looked into. I don’t want to just look through people. Nobody wants to be invisible.
When we choose to be someone’s happiness, the effect multiplies. When we take time to truly be present in the moment, we show that person that they matter. Connect with them, lock eyes so they know that you are listening. You might be amazed at what happens!
When we show that people truly matter, their best comes forward. I was able to get a smile, more than once, from an elderly man who was perceived as being difficult by others. Beyond being able to get a smile from him, he also sang for me.
Not only was I part of his happiness, he became someone who gave me happiness in return. Will you be someone’s happiness too?
As we sit here in the dead of winter’s stillness, it is this time that I often consider more in depth the goals I had planned for myself. We are now three weeks into the new year, and it gives some breathing space for those lofty ideas that seemed so wonderful during the holiday season. This is either the time that those goals tend to fall to pieces, or that they become solidified.
One goal is nearly complete, and I had given myself until mid year to get there. That one makes me quite happy. Another one has still been untouched, but if I leave it for too long, I will miss my timeline goal. It gives me a feeling of warning, so I best get to working on it as well. Yet another goal has been in progress, and I am happy to be consistently plugging away at it. I have a wonderful friend who encourages me, pushes me even, in the very best way. I know I will be better for it, and for that I am very grateful.
I find that setting goals does help me initially. Reviewing those goals and making plans helps me take them to completion. I have taken steps and looked into workshops that I plan to take, and I have registered for classes for the fun goals that are for my personal development and enjoyment.
If you set yourself goals or ‘resolutions’, where are you at this three week mark? Are you going strong or have you decided it was a bad idea? Will you modify yours or slog through it?
I had a gentle reminder last night that it is important to celebrate the little things in life. Sitting here in my fourth decade of life, I think of things like birthdays as something that come and go. Do I make a big deal out of my kids’ birthdays? Yes, of course. Would I consider doing the same for my own? Absolutely not.
Last night, we celebrated a dear friend’s birthday. It was not a hallmark birthday, just a birthday. He invited a few of his closest friends and families, and we went bowling. The kids had a blast, and so did the adults! Afterwards, we went back to his place for cake and wine, and played couple games.
Why do we (or perhaps just I) not consider celebrating our own birthdays? Yes, there are many of them once we get to this stage of our lives, but why not celebrate them with youthful vigour? It certainly is one way to beat winter depression, and it created some fun and lasting memories along the way.
Lose a minute, not a life. I read these words five days a week as I drive to work. I see them because they are on a sign outside an elementary school that I pass by every day. I’ve read them, and they have made an impact on me.
Lose a minute, not a life. It seems so simple. Slow down, be patient. Pay attention. Why is this so difficult for people to do sometimes?
I have a story that needs to be told. It doesn’t have a tragic ending, although it could easily have been. Earlier this week, I was driving home. It had been a long day at work. I had just given a blood donation after my workday ended, and was finally making my way home. It was maybe a half past six in the evening on an early January Thursday. Living here in Canada though, it was already dark as it typically is in the sleepy months of winter. I was minutes away from my doorstep, and slowed to make my right handed turn into my neighbourhood as my turn signal clicked like a metronome. I had a large diesel truck behind me, clearly impatient for me to turn move out of his way. I had also noticed that there was a lady walking her beautiful dog across the street where I was turning, but slightly ahead. She did everything right; she was crossing the street in the designated crosswalk zone. She waited until it was safe, knowing I was turning. What she didn’t realize is that this driver behind me wasn’t able to see her. She couldn’t have known that he was going to be impatient and cut into the next lane to speed past me. I watched in horror as I sat in my car, unable to help her, as she had to run to escape this accelerating metal battering ram.
Her life was spared by a literal inch.
LOSE A MINUTE, NOT A LIFE screamed inside me. I was shaking, and can only imagine how she could have felt. I regret the inability to be able to report the licence plate. It happened too fast, it was too dark, and the plate was too dirty from winter roads. I regret that I did not turn around and check on her.
I made my way home, traumatized by what I had witnessed. I sat, head in my hands and cried. Why can’t everyone just lose a minute, not a life?