Along with cultivating a life filled with gratitude, the greatest mental shift I have made this year has been coming to terms with the extremes in life. It seems my husband and I are currently living through the stage of life that simultaneously includes extreme work pressures, health issues (ours and friends’ and family’s), financial loads greater than we ever imagined in our carefree 20s (hello mortgage), worries for our children as they grow and thoughts on aging (mostly in terms of our parents in their 70s and our own retirement someday / hopefully).
It all feels so intense some weeks.
I finally realised the extra-intense periods and issues serve to help me appreciate the “normal” periods I used to complain about.
My husband’s work load seems forever intense and I bemoan the fact that we never have weekday family dinners as he gets home between 7 and 8pm.
Then he is hit with a two month frenzy that sees him working past 9-10pm most nights and through weekends and public holidays. What was that I was complaining / talking about before? Oh yeah, how great it is for him to be home between 7 and 8pm every night in time to tuck the kids in. Perspective is a bitch, but an honest one at that.
I am cranky about my screwed up hormones, thyroid condition and genetically high cholesterol levels that all require medication that I can’t even seem to remember all the time. Taking a bunch of pills and seeing my doctor regularly makes me feel like I am an old lady before my time.
Then I learn of yet another friend battling cancer or losing a loved one and I am suddenly grateful that I am here every day for my girls and that I can take pills that do not make me feel wrecked. I can make peace with my normal.
Over and over through the months I am given opportunities to put things in perspective and find my silver lining. It is always there if I am willing to look. Even my husband can see it now. The other day he called with a bad – news – good – news phone call. The bad news is a major project fell through which will put him under pressure at work. The good news (which he switched to rather fast) is this means we can actually look into finally taking the girls to America this year – Lulu is almost 7 1/2 and has never met my extended family and Alice was last in NYC for her first birthday almost 8 years ago. Our plans were on hold as this project coincided with my dream of spending Thanksgiving in the States. As much as we need work, we need a holiday and family too. Silver lining indeed.
I was so happy to see that my husband did not dwell on the negative after spending so much time focused on that project. I think our family’s focus on “what we have” has really trickled through to our way of life. Our ability to bounce back from setbacks and essentially “snap out of” things more easily has definitely increased. I tend to look for the lesson to be learned and usually can find one being offered.
As always life is full of trade-offs, but if we are still alive and kicking and screaming we are doing pretty well aren’t we?
It’s all about perspective!
Do you look for silver linings? Are you living in the era of life extremes?
Find your simple,
Image credit: flickr user robteasdale99