Friday, June 22, 2012

Stress and The Unexpected: Rule #4

My grandmother used to say, "Just keep smiling." My mom used to say, "There are no problems, only solutions." I always say, "If it weren't fun I wouldn't do it. See how much fun I'm having?" Other people say, "What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger." We all have our quips. But why? What are we really telling ourselves with these sayings? That we are positive people, and that nothing can get in our way? Absolutely, yes. But if you think about it, these cute little sayings only come out like our china and white linens...for a special occasion. What is this something special...the unexpected. Something has thrown us for a loop. Something that is outside the standard we have created for ourselves. Something we never saw coming. Something has just hit us over the backside, and we need a minute to process whatever in the world just happened! I was thinking about all the unexpected things life has put in the path of my loved ones. From divorce, premature death, and disease to layoffs, lawsuits, and even layovers. These events, with out fail, put a kink in our plans. I was thinking about how my family and friends have handled the unexpected loops life has thrown at us. I am proud to be a part of this group of family and friends, because everyone I know handles these loops with style and grace. Sometimes, when we are hit with the unexpected, it's the little things that get lost in the shuffle. For example, a friend of mine was going through one of these life's loops, and I was with her in her car. With everything going on, she forgot to get gas, and was on fumes. She decides that her home was closer than the gas station, so we drive back to her house. When we pull into her garage, she gets out the fuel used for the lawn mower and fills it up the car enough to get us to the gas station. Sometimes, these loops try to keep us secluded. My mom used to take the bull by the horns with her loop. She would hardly ever feel well, and she adapted a motto, "I can feel bad at home, or I can feel bad at (insert place to go, ie movies, restaurant, shopping, etc.). I'm going to (place)." Then, sometimes, the loop will whittle us down to the bare minimum. How many bags of rice and beans and Ramen noodles have we all eaten during times of dismal finances? I can't eat grilled cheese sandwiches anymore, but those were a delicacy for a while back in the day! So, Rule #4. When I was younger, I was afraid of the unexpected. I would cower away from it, and fight it tooth and nail. Who really wants to deal with any of this crap, anyway?!! After years of learning the hard way, I gave in, and Rule #4 was born: Don't be afraid to improvise. If you hold on to your expectation of what "should" be normal, you will go insane. If you don't bend, you WILL break. You don't want to break. Improvise. Do not be afraid to go with the flow. Eventually, the unexpected will become the new normal. You will end up on the other side of the loop with a "smile", "solutions", "fun", and "strength." Rule #4: Don't be afraid to improvise!!

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