Let's face it, life has its ups, downs, and sharp curves, and we all experience them. Looking back on this year, my first impulse is to say that it started out fairly well, then took a downward turn. Not a steep hill, but slowly going down. So there have been times, especially during these holidays when crawling into a hole or at least bed with covers over the head sounds divine and the only way to survive. Adopting Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" as my theme song and heaving heavy, morose sighs are my usual response, but I've had some new thoughts on this.
It's easy to let the holiday rush and fuss, and the super highs we experience during these last few weeks of the year leave us tired and worn out. Emotional highs are good, but, like sugar highs, the crash when they're over are sometimes too hard to bear. Those times when we crawl into a fetal position come too fast and too often. My highs haven't been all that high, but then a couple of things happened.
The night after the day after Christmas happened. I've been diligently working on revisions from hell and had gotten to the point where I didn't know where to go with the scene, so I decided to leave it for the morning and go to bed. We all tend to get a little maudlin when we're tired. Being worn out, especially mentally, makes it so much easier to see the negative things that have happened or are happening. That was me. And suddenly I realized that all wasn't as bad as I kept thinking. Good things had happened recently. Okay, not so good ones, too, and those were what I'd been focusing on. How easy it is to miss the good things, especially the small ones, when we're down in the dumps. As soon as I had that stunning thought that there had been good that I'd not embraced as I should, I felt a smidgen better. So I thought a little harder. I found two, specific things that made me take notice.
A month ago, I vanquished dark clouds that had hung over me for something that had happened way back in high school. It took the simple act of stuffing my bad feelings aside and saying hello to the person who I hadn't seen or spoken to for 35 years. In fact I've tried not to even think of it. What surprised me that day was that, afterward, I felt proud of myself. I felt good. About me. A little over a week later, that person called me, and we talked on the phone for nearly an hour. (Let me say that I nearly didn't answer the phone when I saw the caller ID.) But it was okay. It didn't hurt at all, and because of it, I've put those bad times behind, where they belong. Now I can smile.
Christmas Eve, there was a knock on our door, and outside stood a man holding a plastic sack. The neighbor introduced himself, and handed me the bag. "It's a ham," he said. "Can you use it?" Well, color me shocked. Apparently he's gotten to know my grandsons and thinks they're great. (Obviously he doesn't know them as well as I do. ;) ) It wasn't until I went into the house, after talking with him for a good ten minutes, that I realized who he was. To be honest, I wouldn't have picked him as someone who would bring me a ham or even have a conversation with, civil or not. And it was okay. It didn't hurt at all.
How do I say this? It isn't the things that happen that make us angry or sad, it's our thoughts about them. Granted, life has its disappointments and sadness. But it also has surprises and happiness. If we focus more on the good, instead of wallowing in the bad by thinking and worrying about them, we find that it's a pretty decent turnover. It's those little things, like a hello or a ham that can make a big difference.
With the end of this year coming to a close, it's a time of reflection for many. A time to look back and decide what changes we want to make. I'm not one for making New Year's Resolutions. I know ahead of time that they'll be broken within days. But if I want to make the most of the rest of my life, I will have to make one. Not a resolution for the new year, but one to be carried out each day. An Each Day Resolution? Each night when I go to bed, I'll find one good thing--one thing that made me smile or laugh--that happened during the day, and then focus on it. And it won't hurt at all. In fact, it will probably make me smile.
Anyone want to vanquish the blues? Would you like to join me on the Each Day Resolution and see if this experiment works? Life, itself is an experiment, so let's make it a great one.
And I did not whine. Well, just a little in the beginning. ;)
If you're looking for help on how to get through the holidays, check out 'Tis the Season of Madness, over at my blog, Diary of a Mad Romance Author. You'll find links galore! It isn't too late to start.