It has been my experience that often things do not go as planned and you can make any seemingly disastrous event something fun and memorable: itâ€™s all about your choice of attitude.
This is especially true when you add four kids in the mix! A few examples of how some of my simple plans have gone awry:
PLAN: A christening with the kids wearing their gorgeous silk outfits purchased for the occasion, surrounded by our friends, family and church community.
REALITY: A christening with one child refusing to change out of her cute pink sweat suit. Refusing in a very vocal and decidedly non-church-like manner.
RESULT: If you convert all of the photos to black and white everything looks fine. And, we now have a fun story that makes our family unique and adds to the sense of belonging to each other through our experiences.
PLAN: To put the house on the market in the morning.
REALITY: My son figured it was a good time to flush his favourite Power Ranger down the toilet to fight the bad guys in our plumbing system.
RESULT: A late night visit from the plumber, a huge bill, a roll-you-eyes story and the house still went on the market, only a day later than originally planned.
PLAN: To get the house tidied up and the dishes put in the dishwasher so we could spend the afternoon at the beach.
REALITY: Dish soap and Dishwasher soap are not the same and we returned to a kitchen full of suds.
RESULT: A huge soap fight and a very clean kitchen. And a layout, of course, which told the story.
PLAN: Spring Cleaning in my house includes a dumpster. In that dumpster goes all non-essentials and non-loved items not previously donated.
REALITY: Someone (yet to confess) decided my old Toshiba laptop â€“ which was home to over 30,000 images, two novels, a dozen or so outlines and plenty of historical data â€“ was ready for the dumpster.
RESULT: A lesson in â€œdoâ€ not store. (My one little word choice keeps showing up!) Like many of us, I plan to do things â€œlaterâ€ and often later does not arrive. This was a reminder that there is no time like the present and if itâ€™s important, do it.
Chalk all of these, and many other, stories up to what makes life full and interesting. This stuff happens to everyone, all great plans donâ€™t happen quite as expected. You really do have to prepare to be flexible and have your sense of humour firmly in place. A camera doesnâ€™t hurt, either!
I choose to be happy. Iâ€™ve spent much of my life surrounded by negative and unhappy people; my defense mechanism has become my choice to find the bright side. It is so easy to get sucked into the mire of negative, and I spent a lot of time there. Then I learned it is so much more rewarding, for me and those around me, to take a kinder more positive approach. It was a hard skill to master, but worth every effort. For the most part, Iâ€™m successful, though I do have my moments of challenge.
For those moments, I ask myself the same few questions:
- Is it worth the fight, argument or grief? Sometimes you have to choose to be happy rather than choose to be right.
- Is it a situation over which I have any control? If no, move on. If yes, be responsible, deal with it firmly (do not be wishy-washy) and move on.
- Is there any humour to be found? If there is, and there always is, laugh. A big joy-filled belly laugh. Everything looks better with a bright smile and a laugh that reaches your eyes.
I am very clear that there are tragic circumstances that force us to look at things differently, for a time, but Iâ€™ve managed to survive my husbandâ€™s cancer, my sonâ€™s near drowning, and my own near-death hospitalization with a reinforced belief that there is always a bright side. Even in the most desperate of times there is light and hope and kindness.
Recently our family has been going through unexpected change, which has resulted in a number of events that were not considered even a few months ago! Not one to let things get me down for long, Iâ€™ve taken our current situation and made the most of it. Fortunately, my kids are equally resilient and are looking toward our future with a kind, positive and adventuresome attitude.
No doubt, going forward, my scrapbooks and photo albums will continue to be filled with celebrations of our imperfectly perfect lives â€“ evidence of our existence. It is what we have chosen to do.
How about you? How can you take another look at a situation and find the positive? The rewarding? The challenge? How do you find your bright side?
With my four active children: Claire (15), Cole (14), ChloÃ© (12) and Caden (11), I live in Oakville, Ontario. I am on a quest to take 46 years worth of experiences lived and skills mastered and apply them in some practical and creative manner. I am a dedicated uni-tasker, insatiably curious and generally opinionated; I have a big laugh, a love of neatly folded laundry, an aversion to talking on the phone and I am in constant search of good light. I am enjoying my journey and looking forward to what comes next! Come and follow along, visit me at: Embrace Life.