Life is always going to throw us curves. That’s the spice of life, right?
Some curves are going to be crazy and sudden. = “I won the lottery!”
Some curves are going to be crazy and sudden. = “Your job is being downsized.”
And some curves are going to be crazy and sudden. = “You have early signs of diabetes.”
But, really, life’s curves aren’t all that crazy or sudden and here’s why.
There are always signs when a curve is coming.
We simply don’t pay attention to them. We ignore them. We pretend they don’t exist. We think those curves are going to happen to someone else and are stunned when they happen to us.
Think about it. We eat poorly over the holiday season and then are surprised when the scale shows a 5–10 pound weight gain. Should we really have been surprised by this? Eating seven pieces of fudge in a five minute time-span should be a pretty fair indication that the scale is not going to be tipping in our favor.
Or, we keep volunteering to pick up extra tasks at work, because no one else steps up to do them. We’re in a meeting and when a job is thrown out there for someone to do, it’s like crickets take over the room. No one is stepping up, and so we resignedly take on yet another task we don’t have time for in our schedule. Are we really that surprised when we get so overwhelmed we get sick for the sixth time in the last five months?
We talk about being a taxi for our kids. We shuttle them from one activity to another and wear it like a badge of honor when we say that we ate dinner in the car for the third time this week. And then we wonder why we have kids who are cranky and burned out before they hit their teens?
Recognize and respond to the curves.
Just as there are literally signs on the road when a curve is coming, we have to do a better job of recognizing them in our lives and then respond accordingly.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” — Charles R. Swindoll
There’s one word I would change in Swindoll’s quote. I would swap out react for respond. When I react to something, it’s a non-thinking activity. When a bug lands on my nose, I swipe it away. When there is a stick in the road, I swerve to miss it. I don’t think about what I’m doing, I make a quick reaction and move on.
When I respond, there’s a thought-process happening before I take action. I ponder the pros and cons and then I make a decision. Have a plan and then stick to it. This is what we need to do more of in our lives.
Instead of picking up the next piece of fudge during that holiday party, have one piece in one hand and a glass of water in the other one. Enjoy each morsel of that ONE piece and then move away from the goodie table. Drink the water and hold on to it with both hands to keep you from mindlessly grabbing another. Enjoy conversation with others.
When another task pops up for someone to do at work, let the crickets chirp while you think about what you already have piled on your responsibility plate. Chances are everyone is waiting for you to take on the task, because you always do. Wait them out this time, and eventually someone else will speak up.
The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. — Friedrich Nietzsche
Stop being a taxi service for your family. Sit down one night and prioritize as a family. Maybe each child gets one activity one night a week. Maybe you put your foot down and say that everyone is home by 6:00 for dinner, and then you’re home for the night. If a practice is at 7:30, sorry, your child won’t be there. Too many families are letting outside forces prioritize what’s important.
What it comes down to is this: don’t be shocked when the curves come. There are always signs. Stop ignoring them. Stop sweeping them under the rug. Stop letting yourself get overwhelmed. Make the choice to respond in the best way possible for you.
I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime. — Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.