I don’t know about you, but I, for one, am glad to see 2014 go bye-bye! Not to say that it didn’t have it’s high points. After all, I did get married and got to enjoy many special moments with some of the most important people in my life. My husband finished school and we are looking forward to him starting his career. Many of my close friends gave birth to beautiful babies whom I get to rock, get my baby rocking fix, and return to their proud parents. (I am a sucker for rocking babies!) Every year has it’s ups and downs, which I try my best to appreciate both. However, it seems that this has been a very challenging year for everyone! Or am I imagining this?
It seems that all of our instant-gratification, social-media, “looks over substance” obsession may be getting the better of our society. The victim mentality seems to be more commonplace than those heart warming stories where you hear of people overcoming extreme obstacles, and actually appreciating those obstacles. After all, if you never face adversity, how else do you learn how strong you are? I had once considered myself a very resilient person, but have lately felt like a big wimp, who is often brought to my knees by the seemingly never-ending obstacles.
You can locate a never ending list of articles stating the importance of expressing gratitude, focusing on the positive, etc. After running for and visiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the last 5 years, I have often felt very guilty for even thinking that my challenges amounted to a hill of beans. How quickly we can realign our perspective when we think about children staring cancer in the face on a daily basis, or parents watching their child fight through treatment, or worse, losing their battle. We berate ourselves thinking how people facing cancer would “be glad to tolerate (insert daily inconvenience here)” so we should just get over it and “be happy.” Expressing gratitude and appreciating the positives in life is essential but that does not mean the same as allowing ourselves to succumb to negative situations.
After losing two friends to breast cancer, in a little over a year, I feel we must revisit the thought of tolerating any and every circumstance we find ourselves. I can’t help but feel that we would be cautioned to stop taking life for granted. Life is too precious to continue in any situation that creates prolonged, unnecessary stress. Does this mean shying away from every challenge in life? Nope. Does this mean just quitting every single time the going gets rough? Not at all! I am simply suggesting that while in those challenging circumstances, we step back and analyze the situation. Notice I never said play the victim and complain endlessly about the situation. Do your best to learn from the situation (because there is a lesson to be learned in EVERY situation), find a way to contribute to possible solutions, do your part to maintain your dignity, and if the situation still only contributes more negative than positive, PLAN YOUR ESCAPE! Some things may be escaped immediately, dead-end relationships, toxic friendships, etc., while other things may require more preparation. You don’t want to ruin your future by skipping out on a job when you have bills to pay, insurance and retirement to consider, not to mention what that looks like to future employers if you decide to just cut and run. Plus, it would do little to your self-esteem to bail on something you committed to!
Looking ahead to 2015, I am keeping in mind those things that have challenged me in 2014, and doing an inventory of what needs to be changed or eliminated so that I can make the most of my time here on Earth. By not taking life for granted, I am honoring those whose time was cut short, and hopefully creating a better me, who is there for all of those important people in my life.