What’s around your next corner?
Just when you think you might be getting your sh** together another curve ball gets thrown your way. Sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better. But it’s actually that very uncertainty that I love about life! It gives me hope every single day that no matter how things are right now, anything can (and often does) change in the blink of an eye. And what I worried myself senseless about yesterday becomes a distant memory when today’s good/bad/uglies happen! Sure, it’s that same uncertainty that often plagues me with doubt too, but I choose to let that uncertainty inspire me in the hope that just as easily one’s life can appear to turn to crap, it can just as quickly/easily take a turn for the better and remind me that I am truly blessed. Because, like most things we worry about, “This too shall pass”… and it will probably be replaced with something else for you to think/worry about!
Last Thursday I spent some 5 hours at the Wesley. I thought I was pretty clever to use the time between tests/appointments to catch up with a dear friend, my ex boss, and the lovely wife of one of my doctors whom I hadn’t seen for a few years. In other words, I chose to fill in the extra time doing pleasant things instead of focusing on the long day and the less-enjoyable aspects of the day! Later that day, I poured myself a glass of wine (doctor’s orders) and choosing to be positive I thought to myself “Aaaah…home at last! That’s the last of a long round of hospital visits for at least a few weeks – I’m nearly there now”. But little did I know that later that night I was to be reminded yet again that while I may think I am “nearly there” and in control of some things, there are many aspects of my life that I can’t control. Sometimes life has it’s own plans for us and it’s our job to just make every moment count instead of worrying about our control of the future. You see, I actually ended up BACK at the Wesley by midnight – and did I see THAT visit coming? No way!
“Ooops! I did it again!”
At 11pm I logged off my computer, unplugged my beloved iphone (or as I like to call it, my i-fibrillator!) and put the dog in with my daughter who was working on a Uni/nursing assignment on the phone with a friend. As I closed her door behind me I noticed that my son had gone out and left his bedroom light on (again!). Rather than call out to my daughter to ask her to turn it off when she went to bed (trust me, the thought did cross my mind but I predicted her response would be “Can’t YOU do it?” and quickly decided it wasn’t worth the angst) I proceeded down the stairs to flick that switch and that’s when, quick as a flash, life changed once more!
“Down she went like a sack of potatoes!”
My little “chicken legs” failed. Quite unceremoniously I tumbled down those stairs again – head-first into the internal door to the garage. (I’m starting to wonder what’s with my family and crashing into garage doors?!). After a midnight re-visit to the Wesley (Emergency this time) to rule out a head injury, I was reminded once more how lucky I really am! One minute you’re sitting-pretty thinking the worst is almost over when in reality you’re actually just about to start another journey you never bargained on.
Even though I do feel like I’ve been hit by a mac-truck, I’m sharing this story in the hope that it will simply remind all of us “control freaks” that life is not static, and there are so many things OUT of our control. But just as life can change in a negative way, equally there also lies the potential for positive changes. Just when you might be thinking you couldn’t get much lower, things can and DO change for the better. It’s that feeling of anticipation – of not ever really knowing what’s around my next corner – that I’ve clung every time I’m faced with a new challenge. I know that whenever we find ourselves facing unexpected difficulties, illness or problems, life also has the capacity to present us with blessings, windfalls and other wonderful things too! And it’s that hope/belief that I simply refuse to ever give up on.
It’s not so important WHAT happens to us – it’s more important HOW we choose to handle it…
I recently received the email below from a friend and thought it was well-worth passing on. It’s an important message that I often talk about in the True Style Stakes. “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. It’s not what you wear it’s how you wear it. And in the end, true style really all boils down to attitude.” We will all face challenges in our lives – our own share of crap – that’s a given. But life will also send us lots of blessings too if we choose to look for them – just as this guy did…
We all have choices – which will you choose?…
“John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, ‘If I were any better, I would be twins!’ He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him,
‘I don’t get it!’ You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?’
He replied, ‘Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or…you can choose to be in a bad mood I choose to be in a good mood.’ Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or…I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or…I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
‘Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,’ I protested.
‘Yes, it is,’ he said. ‘Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.’
I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw him about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied,
‘If I were any better, I’d be twins…Wanna see my scars?’
I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
‘The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,’ he replied. ‘Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or…I could choose to die. I chose to live.’
‘Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?’ I asked.
He continued, “…the paramedics were great.”They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a dead man’. I knew I needed to take action.’
‘What did you do?’ I asked.
‘Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,’ said John. ‘She asked if I was allergic to anything ‘Yes, I replied.’ The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Gravity”
Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.’
He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude….I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ Matthew 6:34.
(And after all – isn’t today the tomorrow you worried about yesterday?)
Cheers, Big Al x