My life is a rollercoaster. Today I am on top of the world; I can see the whole amusement park and all the possibilities before me. Then, in a heartbeat, I am falling; fast, breathtaking and scary until I close my eyes so I can’t see rock bottom. Many of you have experienced the same, whether in your personal life, professional life or maybe your past life. (I can get metaphysical today peeps)
For me, these feelings of up and down began back in high school. Everything there was a test run for the future; relationships, exams, social pressure or lack thereof. I kept hearing that these would be the best years of my life. Strange, it didn’t seem like it all. I seemed to do everything wrong. Even applying for college was a test of faith and wills.
Let’s hit the fast-forward button a few years to college. Associates degree in hand, I had decided that art wasn’t going to work out, but English and Marketing was a better option. I wanted to go certain schools. My friends and I spent hours discussing how to improve our chances of acceptance to the four-year universities. After much trepidation, I finalized my applications and submitted them. Fear of “academic probation” for my first semester led me away from Brown and to Fairleigh Dickinson. I found out after my first week on campus that there was an internship (and job prospect) right up my alley, and so my life was set. As you can probably guess by now, that elated feeling didn’t last.
It began to feel like no matter what I did; life was never a smooth path. With reference letters in hand, promising opportunities would lead to obstacles. Even when I did get something I wanted, it led to another stressful problem. And so it goes. I was exhausted and couldn’t find the light at the end of my tunnel.
Eventually, I figured out that events surrounding me were not causing my ups and downs. It was my perspective. I would attach myself to specific outcomes, and then be devastated when things didn’t work out as I planned. I know, you think you went through this as well, and if I had just taken a different view, my emotional state would have been more level and healthy. Reflection has made me realize that some of those setbacks were insignificant. I am learning that no matter what happens, life goes on, and I need to make the best of whatever comes my way. Challenge is a part of life, and it shapes our personalities and sometimes our destinies. I am accepting now, of all the inconsistencies, by creating peace within my world. Let me share some simple techniques with you lovely peeps.
- Practice Self Care. Be honest. When was the last time you did something nice for YOU? We spend most of our time working, running errands and being there for others. We are constantly stressing ourselves out by overdoing it, and we need to stop. Make some time just for you. Listen to your favorite tunes, meditate, take a walk. Read a book. How about a hobby? Nothing more soothing to me than hearing The Cure in the background while getting down with some charcoal and my vellum pad. I like getting my hands dirty😊. By taking some time for yourself, you will feel more centered, balanced and at peace. It gives you something to use when life throws you a curve ball.
- Look at the Bigger Picture. Bad things happen to everyone. Sometimes they are so painful they alter your entire life. But, everything heals in time, so there is a silver lining in that storm cloud. A few years ago my husband suffered a massive heart attack. It changed everything about our lives, including our business. I’m not going to lie and say it’s been an easy or fun ride, but good things still happen in our world. We watched our children graduate from high school and be accepted to top universities. We celebrated both bar and bat mitzvahs. We spent some quality time together playing video games. I know, weird, but Zelda has a very big space in our hearts and lives. It let the kids bond with their father after serious adversity. It brought about sanity amongst the fear and craziness of life. It is essential to laugh and enjoy every moment while we can because you never know. No matter how horrible, know that you have the strength to move beyond it. The future holds both good and bad, but if you can survive one painful, frightening experience, you can do it again. Remember, some of our biggest challenges teach us important life lessons.
- Practice Patience. Sometimes I feel like my life is unraveling at the seams. I wonder all the time what my future holds. I’ve had a career change, am looking for that second income and I am nervous. I wonder if in five years I will be in the same place. I hope I’ll be in a better place. It creates some serious anxiety folks. Tension, fear, unnecessary angst – all unhealthy stuff. It’s rough, but I am trying to be more patient. I’m trying to ignore the little (and some bigger) things that bother me. I’m trying to use my fear to focus on being productive. When I am more patient with people and things around me, it is easier to deal with whatever life tosses my way. I’m learning to let go. Meditation and mindfulness help.
We all experience disappointment as well as lucky moments in life. If you’re tired of riding that coaster, get off. Step back from the line and reflect on how you respond to those ups and downs. Inner peace (which I truly hope to achieve) comes from appreciating our lives, with all the weirdness, bumps and potholes along the way. Know that the road ahead has some unexpected twists. Those twists will challenge you and help you grow as a person. Yes, life is scary, like that big drop on the roller coaster, but if you can manage to keep your eyes open, you’ll come out stronger and more secure on the other end.
Stay motivated and caffeinated!😉☕