Thursday, September 6, 2012

Don't spend too much time worrying "what if?"

I took my daughter to the doctor this week for her 6-year-old checkup. The night before, and a few times in the morning, we had this conversation:

Ivy: Will I have to get a shot?

Me: I don't know, sweetie, we'll just have to wait and see.

Ivy: It will hurt if I get a shot!!

Me: I know it will hurt, but it only hurts for a second and then it's over. Plus, we don't know if you need a shot so let's not worry about it just yet.

Ivy: But what if I have to get a shot??!!

Another example. Someone I know has 2 little girls and told me that his wife watches MTV's "Teen Mom" and worries, "What if the girls end up like this??!!" I think we can all agree that show is extremely disturbing for many reasons (mostly the outfits and the butchering of the English language), and no one wants their daughter to become pregnant as a teenager, but... sitting up at night worrying about your 3-year-old losing her virginity (and her fashion sense) as a teenager is not the best use of mental energy.

We all worry. We all lose sleep over things we can and cannot control. Ultimately, however, we figure out a way to deal with whatever happens, good or bad. My advice to Ivy is to try to make smart choices and try not to put yourself in bad situations, but whatever happens, we'll deal with it, and we'll deal with it together (regardless of whose fault it is!).

If you must spend your time thinking "What if?" - spend it dreaming about fun and exciting things to come, instead of worrying.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

There will always be someone better off than you, there will always be someone worse off than you

We've all heard the expression the grass is always greener on the other side. The way I see it, although the grass may be greener, if you look closely enough you'll probably see crab grass, dandelions, mushrooms or dog crap.

Having perspective is one of the most important lessons of life - being able to see things from other points of view and having a sense of where you fit in the world. When things are not going well or not turning out the way we want, we often look at others and resent their success or happiness instead of focusing on improving ourselves. I, for example, am currently unhappy with my job situation, and often find myself feeling jealous of
1) people with short commutes,
2) people who love their jobs and are truly passionate about what they do, and most importantly,
3) lottery winners.

Instead of wasting my mental energy sitting and seething, I should be spending this time
1) being thankful I have a job,
2) focusing on the good points of my job, and
3) looking for a new job.

So when you're feeling like things could not possibly be worse, or that no one has ever experienced anything as horrible as you are currently experiencing, look around. Most often you'll see that you fit somewhere in the middle.

(And for the record, I really do need to get a new job, so if anyone knows of a high paying / short hours job, please get in touch with me!)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Be present in the moment

Looking forward to something fun in the future is something that gets us all through the day. We look forward to the weekend, a vacation, a visit with a good friend. Sometimes the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is looking forward to going back to bed at night.

There are also things that we look ahead to with some degree of dread - Mondays, dental appointments, looking at your credit card statement.

I often find myself sitting at work thinking about being anywhere else and doing anything else. Then when I'm at home my mind drifts toward what's coming up next, whether business or pleasure, and I find myself distracted from the activities at hand instead of fully engaging.

My advice is to make it a practice to be present and focused in the moment. You will be more efficient with tasks that have to be done and will get more joy out of the activities you choose. You'll be a valued friend and family member and will appreciate your relationships more.

Life moves very quickly - learn to appreciate every minute.