Not Just A Pollyanna!
I’ve been ruminating on this post for a while. As you can tell, I try to have an upbeat approach to most things. Yet, sometimes, with these blog posts, I’ve wondered if readers ever roll their eyes or think I’m just some fluffy Pollyanna.
Although I have always been a glass-half-full optimist, I believe that I’m also grounded in reality. I was fortunate to enjoy a stable, protected, happy childhood as a solid foundation from which to springboard into the world. As I entered adulthood and life brought its various experiences – good, bad and otherwise – my world view and life philosophy expanded. There’s a lot of garbage out there! But, as Anne Frank said, “I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Always, my family supported me with unconditional love and encouraged me that I could do whatever I dreamed and put my mind to do.
All of this is merely by way of background in The General Development of Dawn. However, what is REALLY at the heart of my blog philosophy of Choosing the Better Life (and some of my potentially eyeball-rolling comments) can be pinpointed more exactly . . .
As I alluded to vaguely in my About page and background blog posts, my life turned upside down a few years ago. I don’t like to discuss it, and certainly not in such a public forum, but let’s just say it involved large scale emotional trauma, deception, public humiliation, heartache and the carpet of my entire life being pulled out from underneath me from several corners at once. Not much fun, to put it lightly.
I was not nearly so optimistic in those dark days. I really was in more of a survival mode. A dear friend, who had suffered extreme personal tragedy in her past, thoughtfully passed on wonderful words of advice – just live your life in 15 minute increments until you can face more. Don’t worry about the rest of your life, or next year, or next month, or next week, or tomorrow, or even the next hour. Just get through the next 15 minutes. Brush your teeth. Take the dog out. Just get through the next 15 minutes.
Peace and Progress
Eventually, I came out of the fog and found peace within myself again. With renewed Faith (having leaned on my spiritual beliefs harder during those dark days than I had in quite some time), I determined to find and follow my inner nudgings. As I did so, I began to wonder about the next phase of my life.
Well, now I’m in that next phase, and it is WONDERFUL!
But it’s NOT because I live on an island (though that helps).
It’s NOT because I’m spared the office grind (though that helps, too).
It’s NOT because I’m in a good relationship (yup, another helper).
It IS because I am just so very thankful for all the good in my life, down to even the smallest of things, and I try not to take anything for granted.
It IS because I remember the sting of so many negative feelings, emotions and experiences and am so thankful to be in a better place in my life.
It IS because I’m aware that it is those very experiences that pointed me toward the happy path I now travel. Having experienced such “dark days,” I am oh-so-appreciative of these much lighter days. Even a “bad day” now is a good one!
Like Everyone Else
I still have plenty of everyday problems just like the rest of the population.
Things break. Friends disappoint.Family annoys. (Mother, of course I’m not talking about you!)Relationships pose misunderstandings or differences to work through.Dogs get ticks. Finances have to be treated carefully. Loved ones encounter health and other challenging issues. I experience sadness, frustration, anger, resentment, loss, grief, hurt, stress, etc.
It’s just that I remain – at all times – thankful for the good in my life, even in the face of whatever the issue of the day is. And I make a conscious effort – although I have to remind myself some days – to Choose the Better Life, take the higher road, don’t sweat the small stuff, and all the other cliches that have nuggets of wisdom in them.
So, I’m not a Pollyanna. It’s just that I’ve experienced awful stuff – like so many of you – so I don’t let the regular crapola of life weigh me down. I’m grounded in myself, centered in Spirit, at peace and comfortable in my own skin. When things go awry, I remind myself to hold steady on that even keel and not get caught in the swirl.
The Better Life
This Choosing the Better Life blog is about all of that for me, conveniently packaged in an island setting. I’m not here to tell anyone else how to do it – only you can figure that out. It’s also not to promote island living for everyone! Plenty of people would not enjoy days without electricity or water, a complete absence of shopping and big box store convenience, or the small town everyone-knows-everything communal living. For me, however, it is bliss (well, most days).
Other Bloggers Weigh In
While I was working up this blog post, I “happened” to come across another blog along those lines. Written in a more cavalier tone than is my personal style, the blog post by Jonesy entertained me immensely and captured many of my thoughts about it all. Check out “Hey Everyone! Come see how great my life is! How NOT to be a Douche Bag Blogger”
Also during this time, I came across a lovely blog post by Jodi Chapman of Soul Speak about how we define the “story” of our lives – and how it influences how we feel about it. (By the way, one of the best benefits of having started a blog is that I’ve “met” so many wonderful, interesting, clever, like-minded bloggers!) On her blog, and as she’d love for any of you to do, I shared the “old” story of my life and contrasted it to my “new” story:
- OLD: I’m tired. I’m overworked. I’m stressed. I don’t have time for friends and fun. I live too far from family. I hate winter. I’m sick – again. I’ve had nothing but heartache in relationships. I’m reeling from emotional trauma. I let others determine how I feel. I’m lonely. My beloved dog is the brightest spot in my day. I’m Type A to the max. Life doesn’t feel as fulfilling as it should. I feel like I’m just marking time.
- NEW: Endless sunshine and water views buoy my spirit daily. I enjoy seeing my family more often. I love having time to be happily domestic at home and social with many friends. Deep, steady, solid love fills my heart. I am healthy and rested. I’m content within myself. I’m still highly organized and detail-oriented, but I can go with the flow, too. I take each day as it comes and am open to how the future will unfold. I am thankful for the abundance of good and Grace in my life. I still love my dog but we’re no longer co-dependent. 🙂
In Conclusion . . .
I believe it is an internal mental/emotional/spiritual shift that matters as much as, if not more than, any external factors in determining how we feel about the lives we are living.
So, the next time you read one of my life-is-great blog posts, please pause to notice where maybe life isn’t totally great but I’m choosing to focus on the good and appreciate that. And then feel free to continue rolling your eyes at me!
Cheers to your new story for your own life and to Choosing The Better Life for yourself in small ways every day!