Day 184: Loose My Way and Getting it Back

The last few weeks have brought with them one of the biggest lessons in my life.  There were no big catastrophes or bad news.  It was just a bunch of little things that helped me lose my way and getting it back took some doing.

Let me explain.  Life is full of different compartments.  You have your home life, your work life, your interests, your friends and family, your contribution, your associations, etc.  At different times in life you might have a great personal life and a bad work day, or a fight with your partner the same day you receive an award for volunteering.  Usually, successful people have a fairly good time in all of the above.  On a scale of 0 to 100, they might have one or two areas at a 90 and the rest of the areas between 80 and 90.  People who are not successful might have one at 80 and everything else at 50 or below.  It is up to you what you do to get your life on track where the sun shines on all areas and you have an 80 or above in all areas of your life.

Following the school grade analogy I started, I had a week about four weeks ago where I had a 30 on four areas of my life:  my health, my family, work and my writing. Now, keep in mind, the scores on each area of your life are subjective and are yours to determine.  For the outsider, I might have a great life. For me, it was just one thing after another.  I’m not used to getting so many little things cause so much damage to my life.  Like I said in the beginning, there was no major tragedy:  nobody died or was diagnosed with a deadly disease, we did not lose our home or jobs.  It was small things: a spat with a loved one, an interview that never happened, an opportunity that did not materialize.  A day off that was not approved and news about changes at  work all conspired to make for a crappy week.  For some reason, that threw me for a loop.

Usually, I find the silver lining on everything and I recover from bad news fairly quickly.  This time it was different.  It was one of those occasions where it just brought me down, dropped my energy level.  If I could have, I probably would have crawled under a rock and waited for the month to be over.  I had definitely lost my way and now I needed to find a way to get it back.  Life goes on and you start looking at your perspective.

I have often said that life is not what happens to you but what you choose to feel about what happens to you.  Attitude is really important to get everything you want out of your life.  So what did I do?  I did the opposite of what I always say and I just cried a lot, felt sad and cried some more.  Then I sent my family on vacation so that I could have the place all to myself.  In the beauty of solitude it hit me.  Even though I did not lose anything big, I was mourning for a dream that died that week.  The fact that I did not fully recognize how much that opportunity meant to me was the reason why I did not understand why I was so sad. More importantly, we are all so busy that sometimes we miss the signs of how much we want something and how much it hurts when we don’t get it.

So I got up one morning and I started thinking about my attitude again.  I am usually the one with the positive outlook, thinking there is a reason why everything happens, looking for the lesson, hoping for the best.  I am the one who loves my job, even if it is not what I was expecting to do in my late 40s, loves the opportunity to write all the time and learn more about social media.  I don’t watch a lot of tv to not distract myself from my goals.  Instead, I have been eating gelato like it is going out of business, watching every crappy show on tv and just sulking in my pajamas.

I’ve had enough.  Today I took out my notebook and started looking at what I love about my life right now.  I started writing everything that I am thankful for.  Little by little, the fog is lifting.  We all have bad days and we all have different ways of mourning situations.  Not every tragedy has to be big in order to affect us and it is ok to cry if you did not get that seat at the table.  If you want to be invited to the next party, you have to prepare yourself, be better than yourself right now and watch what happens.

I am working hard to improve on all areas that affect my chances.  What are you struggling with today?  What are you doing to improve?  Leave your story in the comments below and share this with your friends.  Thanks.

Tears for the Past

For the last few months, I have been crying a lot.  At the most inopportune times, I will feel sad, and the tears will come.  There have been entire days when I have been crying for the silliest things.  I thought my hormones were getting the best of me and then I understood that these are tears for the past.  Let me explain.

When I was young, I did a lot of great things.  I was a good student, I learned ballet, piano, tennis and computers.  I was a 3.8 student most of the time.  I got accepted into the best college in Puerto Rico and I got married at 21.  I had a beautiful daughter at 25.  And then, I lost my focus.

I used the birth of my daughter to chicken out of challenges for the next 20 years.  In all honesty, there were times when challenges at home were more important than anything else and I did quit two jobs to stay home with my daughter.  To me, I brought her into this world and I should support her no matter what.  There were other times when I could have done my job and had my daughter happy and I chose to go home, and that is when the problem started.

I lacked high self-esteem.  My self-esteem was demolished in my teens by a group of idiots that don’t deserve their names ever mentioned.  So every time I wanted to go pursue a dream, those voices would come back.  I let them come back.  Soon, I stopped challenging myself.

I don’t have a lot to say for myself.  I have two big wins:  my daughter made it to 21 with a good sense of values and no drug use.  I do have a marriage of 25 years.  Those are the pluses.  On personal matters like education, challenges, starting my own company, I am batting CERO!!!  And that is an opportunity.

I let myself go physically, mentally and spiritually.  I have allowed those voices to grow bigger.  And now, I am 46 and I realize that I have not done any of those big things I wanted to do when I was younger.  And that is where the tears from the past came in.  I am feeling sorry for myself, I guess.  I was thinking that I had done nothing with my life and so, I would cry for seemingly no reason.  I did that until yesterday.

I came home from work with a fire on my belly.  There is an opportunity at work that I may or may not qualify for.  Every one of my coworkers is encouraging me to try, and this would be the time to tell you that I work at a place very different from any other place I have ever worked at.  Even on bad days, people are always encouraging you to succeed.  They actually make you do an annual progress report and actually review it with you.  They give you feedback and give you actual goals that you can work on.  They provide you the tools to make that happen.  The worst boss in this company is better than some of the best bosses I’ve ever had.  They care about the bottom line and about the people making that happen.  I am not used to that.  I admit, I find it overwhelming at times.  Yesterday was different.

You see, normally, as flattered as I am when people recognize I can do something, I will normally not go for it if my stats are not to par.  Yesterday, I started wondering why I always do that.  For the last two years I have been working on  changing my patterns because I don’t want to “do what you always done to get what you always got”.  And one of the steps in that process is questioning myself on my choices.  So when I started realizing that I was procrastinating on filling up that application, it dawned on me what the tears were about and what I am doing to myself.

I can either keep crying every day about the fact that I feel I wasted 20 years of my life and then look back 10 years from now and cry for wasting another 10 years.  I can also move through the tears and start doing what I want to do and apply for all those opportunities and some I will get and some I will not.  Let management figure out if they want me with less than perfect numbers.  That is not my job.  My job is to go for my dreams and make the next 10 years the best of my life.  Who knows, I might actually get there.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because you are probably facing something similar in one area of your life.  You are probably wondering where the time went.  And if you spend too much time wondering, you will have wasted even more time.  So don’t waste any more time crying over what is gone.  Concentrate on the present.  Take it one day at a time if you have to and live to the fullest.  And yes, some days living to the fullest will mean nursing a bad back or a cold with some books and some medicines in bed.  Other times living to your fullest will mean traveling through places you never knew existed.  It does not matter.  What makes the trip interesting is that you are taking it.  Even if you cry through the entire trip and you don’t think you have anything to show for it at the end.  The experience of life is what we do every day, and one that we can do over every day.

So get your hankies out, start walking and let me know where the dream is taking you in the comments section below.  Good luck.