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Fire Extinguisher

At 15, I had a 15-year plan. Some of my goals were to be: a Duke alum, a coroner (ehhhh….), married right out of college (yikes!) and a mother of three by 30 (double yikes!!). In fact, at this very moment I should be pregnant with my firstborn…a son (pffft). These days, when I think back to that plan, I grin. As humored as I am by it now, I’m even more relieved that things didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. Obviously at the time, the plan seemed like the only way I’d truly be happy, yet in less than two years many of my “aspirations” were at the very least modified and at most completely reversed.

 Thank God life doesn’t go the way we’d like it to. Thank God we get older and (typically) wiser and figure out who we are, who we’re not, what we want and what we don’t want. If I’d known at 15 what I’d go through in the next several years and where I’d be today, I would have barricaded myself in my bedroom for fear of what lied ahead. There’s been some tough times. Not just bad moments—really big disappointments that tendered pit-of-the-valley stretches and left me wondering how and why I should pick myself up and keep going. Some of these low points were self-inflicted. Others were more reactionary and the result of persons who I cared about hurting me deeply. Sometimes I recognized the set back right away and was quick in rising above, and other times I didn’t even realize I was in a downward spiral until I hit the ground. But that’s the point. There was a ground. There always is, no doubt. And there’s no doubt you can pick yourself up off of it. The question is when will you pick yourself up? And in what fashion?

 Life is short. When someone we love leaves us, we often lament that we didn’t have more time to share with them, regardless of their age. So why spend any time wallowing in misery or boiling in rage at a misfortune? The answer’s easy: because it’s natural to do this; I would bet that it’s easier to remember negative situations than positive ones (evolutionary psychology, anyone?). Therefore, we must be intentionally positive. Actively optimistic.

 Not everyone will like you. People will hurt you unintentionally and sometimes intentionally. It will be upsetting and infuriating and may shake your world.  However, if you realize your worth, you will neutralize your intrinsically negative feelings with positive ones. You will temper your desire to seek revenge by migrating from the hurt and gravitating towards people who are worthy of your trust, your respect and your love. You will kick butt and take names (of people who will help you kick more butt). You will trip on bumps in the road but be aware that you are too far ahead but also too short on time to revert or halt. You will think of past plans that didn’t quite work and you will think of those times or those people who temporarily rained on your parade of life. When you do, hopefully you will smile, sigh with relief and continue optimizing.

  1. ezec posted this