“Optimism is an elected attitude, a form of emotional courage.” Julia Cameron
Optimism is something we choose in spite of the way things are…or seem to be. The world is often a scary place. It is big and filled with lots of different people that are often hard to understand and get along with a lot of the time. People tend to talk about the troubles and woes of life rather than the happiness and rewards.
It is best to not let circumstances determine how we think. It isn’t easy to face challenges, some of which can be overwhelming if we allow our fear to be bigger than the challenges. Optimism requires some work. It doesn’t just happen. Really, it is easier to just give up and be pessimistic. What a depressing thought!
Anyone can survive daily life, but it is a person of courage who thrives.
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“For me, losing… isn’t failure, it’s research.” Billie Jean King
In life sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Of course, winning is everyone’s goal and first choice for the outcome of any event or circumstance. However, where there is a winner there is also a loser. That’s just a fact of life.
When we win life is good, we feel good and are happy. Not so much when we lose. Being the loser makes life a bit difficult, and we feel bad and sad or mad. But failure isn’t always a bad thing. It’s all about our attitude.
Often, we learn more from losing than winning. We learn where our weaknesses are and what we need to focus on to be better at what we do. We learn where our strengths are and how we can use them in the future. If we are smart, we learn how to lose graciously, and most importantly, remembering what it feels like to lose…we win graciously.
“Christmas is a stocking stuffed with sugary goodness.” Mo Rocca
Christmas eve we would hang our stockings for Santa to put little surprises in. They weren’t those big fancy stockings they were our own socks, the ones we actually wore. We didn’t have a fireplace mantel so we hung our socks on our bedroom door knobs and when we moved to a bigger house they were hung on the stair rail. I thought I was quite smart the year I hung up one of my knee socks. But Santa was too smart for me and he filled up the extra space with scrunched up newspaper.
Christmas morning we would dig in those socks to see what goodies we would find. There would be a small toy when we were little and some small gadget when we were older. There would be new socks and maybe a comic book. When we were older there was perfume for me and cologne for my brothers. Yes, there was sugary goodness, too. Chocolate and peppermint candy, peanuts and bubble gum. In the toe of the sock there was always an onion. Just to remind us we weren’t that good.
The Christmas stocking is my favorite memory of Christmas morning. It reminds me of my mother’s love and humor. We were often at odds. My temper would flare and she would put on her pea mouth and give me the silent treatment but there was always something like that silly onion in the sock that let me know she loved me in spite of our differences.
“It is wise to accept that (human faults) are inevitable. Factor that in and keep going.” Alice Walker
I think the happy people of the world understand that everyone has faults. They accept that all of us are imperfect beings. But they don’t accept that those things that make us less than perfect keep us from having a good life. What keeps us from good happy lives is the belief that where we are and what we do are permanent with no hope of change.
Yes, there are some things that cannot be changed and we have to accept that, do our best and move on. Without a doubt life is challenging and takes effort and energy to do our best. Sometimes our best is just taking the next step and then to keep on going.
Faults are a fact of life. But they don’t have to be the main attraction.
“Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination.” Christina Scalise
One of my goals for 2019 was to clean out the clutter that had accumulated. There was a lot of clutter because I am a pretty good procrastinator when there is something I don’t want to do. There are things I don’t want to do that get done because if they aren’t done…well things smell and look awful and people will talk about me behind my back…and really because I can’t stand it when some things aren’t done.
Anyway back to my goal of decuttering. It’s done! Took three pick up truck loads to Goodwill to be done, one in the spring, one in the summer, one last week and a lot of stuff went in the trash. This may make me sound like a hoarder but I am not. My brother was a hoarder so I know from first hand experience what hoarding looks like.
To be truthful, there are a few things that I probably should have given away but I didn’t. They are things I don’t use and don’t really need but for now they are still here. Maybe someday they will go out the door but for now they still have sentimental value to me. That and I am afraid my mother will haunt my dreams if I give away some of her treasures.
All in all it feels good to open closets and armoires and drawers and see only things I actually use…sort of…I got tired of trying on clothes that I really like even though they don’t fit. Hey, I might lose the pounds I have gained in retirement, you know.
The other goal was to paint my apartment. I painted the kitchen then hired someone to paint the rest of the place. Except the doors. There are 18 doors and since no ladder is needed I decided I could save a few dollars and do them myself. I have three more to paint. Procrastination is in full bloom! I do have until midnight December 31 to have them done 😼
I have made the decision not to have goals for 2020. It feels good to know there will be no procrastination stress.
“Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.” Wendell Berry
Most people seem to think joy is something that just happens and only when good things happen. Often they think that one is either a joyful person or not. I think these thoughts are a bit sad and I think they are confusing joy with happiness.
It is true, we are happy when good things happen and unhappy when bad things come our way. But joy does not come and go. It is not dependent on circumstances or events. Joy is not simply emotion like happiness. It is a seed planted within us, and when cultivated over time its roots draw on the well-spring of our heart and it grows. The health and strength of that well- spring requires our vigilant tending and care.
I am usually happy and in good spirits but not always and no one would call me a happy-go-lucky kind of person but there is joy within me. Joy, for me, is the foundation of my life. It wasn’t always so. There were many years when I didn’t know joy, it wasn’t a fact of my life. I denied its presence. I won’t go into how joy became a reality in my life, I will just say it had to do with getting to know and spending time with, you know Who.
Joy is given to each of us. Being filled with joy is a choice. That’s a fact!