I have this theory. Our lives are like a good book and we’re living it one chapter at a time. There have been some chapters in my life I have really loved! Staying home with my daughter when she was a baby is one. Sure, I walked around smelling like breast milk and at times, felt a bit stir crazy. But overall? It was simply incredible! I also remember my experience at graduate school where I met friends I will always cherish. I wish I could spend as much time with them now as I did then. I had my own business for awhile and the flexible schedule is something I still think of fondly. There’s something euphoric about running errands in the middle of the day when the stores are not full of the hustle and bustle of the 9-to-5 crowd. I also value meeting my husband, Shawn, and going through this life-changing experience of molding our lives together.
There have been other chapters that have left me wondering what the heck was going on. I’ve gone through periods where nothing was making sense to me then, and some are still a mystery to me even now. But one thing I have learned: I am going to keep turning pages. Sometimes I’m just curious to see what’s going to happen next and the anticipation of what I can apply in this current, nebulous (if not strenuous) chapter of my life. It helps curb the dread in an otherwise dreary day. Not only “this too shall pass,” but “this too might come in handy again some day.” It’s a double dose! Today may be difficult, but I get to look forward to better days while at the same time learning new life skills, because today’s difficult situations, I’m certain, will help me through something in the future. How exciting! It reminds me of the concept of reincarnation…except living it all in one lifetime. I either figure it out in this chapter or it will come again in another chapter.
I just read a recent blogpost by MJ Ryan where she suggests asking three very critical questions when facing difficult times:
- If anything could be right about what’s happening, what could it be?
- How could I turn this to my advantage?
- What opportunities has this situation created that I could capitalize on?
These are key questions for taking today’s life lesson and translating them into the currency of tomorrow. Sometimes the lessons are profound: knowing you will never allow someone to treat you like a meaningless, bumbling fool again. Other times, the lessons are not so extraordinary, but still important: you appreciate this summer cold because you know how incredible “normal” is going to feel soon. It’s taken me some time to reach this point and I confess there are more days than I care to admit that overwhelm me. But I’m learning, and it encourages me to know that even if I may not like this page or this chapter, overall, its a really good read!