Friday, September 2, 2011


Here is the story of my life over the past week and a half. It has a happy ending and a moral, so don't give up on it too quickly.

It goes like this: school, work, homework, church, sleep. To be specific: 15 hours worth of English classes. Only. English. Classes. 30 hour work weeks with shifts beginning at 4:30 or 6 AM. Several hours of reading every night. Church groups 4 nights a week. And I was just kidding about sleep. It's not really a character in this story.

But the worst thing about the last week and a half is that I let the above paragraph make me whiny, grumpy, self-pitying, and downright negative. Whenever I talked I was annoying even myself, but I just kept complaining and drawing everyone's attention to all the things I had going on. I even began letting myself believe that I was simply going to be miserable most of the semester. 

As I was driving home from an event Tuesday night I had an epiphany: 

I don't want to live my life waiting for the day to end.

I'm always telling other people not to wish time away, to make the most out of everyday, and to learn to love the things in life that we can't change. Yet, I let all of those core values that I claim to cling to slip far from my mind. I've been doing so much changing over the last month or two, but I almost let some of that get unraveled- and for what?

The thing is, there's no point to it. Complaining, negativity- it has no benefit for anyone. It's just foolish to choose not to be happy. And I do think, to some extent, it's a choice we make. I know that life isn't always going to be good. I'm not an idiot. But I genuinely believe in the power of positive thinking, and I don't think that our happiness is as directly linked to what happens in our lives as much as it is to how we handle it and to what extent we let it shape us. Life's beauty is really just a matter of our perception. The right perspective is like capturing a picture with the right light- it doesn't change what's actually there, but it makes the way we see it more beautiful.

So, the moral of the story is: think good thoughts. It's so simple. You've heard it all your life. But sadly, we have this innate tendency to gravitate toward negativity. I don't think we have to choose to be negative, and a lot of times we aren't completely aware we're doing it. But when we constantly make a choice throughout the day to cleanse our thoughts of that negativity, life is completely different. Try it. As you go through your day tomorrow, guide your thoughts in a positive direction. Look for the good in people, and find reasons to enjoy everything that you do.

My current positive thoughts:
Autumn is approaching and it is the best time of year. I have a job. And at that job I get to interact with people in a friendly and genuine way. I can run 7 miles without stopping, and 2 months ago I could barely run 1. I am creative, and have the means by which to express that creativity. I have the best people in my life. My wounds from the last year are healing into scars that almost don't hurt anymore and they remind me of how strong I am. I am feeling confident, empowered, independent, and valuable. I am inspired by so many people and things and I know that I can inspire others. I can take 15 hours, work 30 hours, run 20 miles, read 300 pages, spend 3 nights at church, and maintain a social life all in one week. And when I say 'can,' I really mean 'get to,' because Lord knows every single one of those things is a privilege and I intend to treat it that way.

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