Taking life one day at a time Seven Things to Think about Change and Challenges

By April 30, 2020 No Comments

“Ain’t you thinkin’ what it gonna be like when we get there?  Ain’t you scared it won’t be nice like we thought?”

“No,” she said quickly.  “No, I ain’t.  You can’t do that.  I can’t do that.  It’s too much – livin’ too many lives.  Up ahead they’s a thousan’ lives we might live, but when it comes, it’ll be on’y one.”

                    • John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

There are a thousand different lives ahead of us, and we never know which path will be ours.  We turn the corner and – Surprise! – it’s something great, or a complete blindside.  We just don’t know, and worrying about the future takes the joy out of today!

That doesn’t mean that we should just forget about plans, goals and dreams… it just means we can focus on best preparing for whatever comes our way.


  1. Spend time with the right people

Whether you have good times or bad, the right people will be there for you, sharing your joy and supporting you in sorrow.  Build relationships with people who shine from within and feed your soul.


  1. Accept what is

Sometimes we have a vision in our minds of what we think should happen, and then it doesn’t.  Something different (better, worse or just different) happens, and we wonder why our vision isn’t reality.  When we deny what is, we suffer.  Why?  When you resist, you get stuck in old thoughts and behavior patterns.  You can’t see a better way, and you can’t find a new path.  The only constant in life is change, and by embracing change, we are able to live our lives to the fullest.


  1. Have plans (A, B, C, D)

We all should be planning for the future, but we also have to accept that it might not be quite what we envisioned.  That’s where plans B, C, D, and the rest of the alphabet come into play!

A few years ago, leaking roof damaged our house (creating a stunning indoor lake in my daughter’s bedroom upstairs and a complementary cascading waterfall downstairs).  Until the big issue can be solved, we adjusted with moved furniture, and buckets catching water!

Just like furniture can be moved either temporarily or permanently, we all can re-arrange our lives and roll with what has happened.  Having options and back-up plans make it a lot easier to change!


  1. Become a saver

Having some money tucked away can be really important, not just for long-term retirement, but for the little things we might not even realize we want or need.

But what about saving a memory – a special day or moment in time?

When we celebrated our first anniversary, Julian and I had a perfectly magical day.  We jokingly said we would put that day away in our memory bank for some lousy day ahead.  Fifteen years later, our entire family had the flu and body aches that meant none of us could even move.  I decided to make a withdrawl from my memory bank and envision that perfect day while I way lying there.  It didn’t make the aches go away, but it did make the days go a bit faster!


  1. Cherish the present moment

Look at how little kids and dogs live… right in the moment!  A sunny day means playing outside, rain means jumping in puddles and snow means PLAY!  Dogs and kids don’t think about the meltdown they had last week, or the mess they’ll have to clean up later.  They just live.

When we fully live in the present, we let go of regret about the past – which we can’t change – and worry about the future – which we can’t predict!  When you find yourself filled with worry, take a deep breath, and release it to your Higher Power.  You cannot control the future; you can only live it when it comes.


  1. Value what you’ve learned and experienced

Regret can haunt us all – and stop us from fully living.  We can look back on our lives with guilt, regret, and anger.  Or we can value our “mistakes” for what they are, a learning opportunity to be a better person.  We are only human, and that means that we’re not perfect.  We’ll say and do things that weren’t our best effort.  We’ll miss opportunities that others grabbed.  So, the next time you start to regret something, turn it around.“What can I learn, how can I grow, what can I do to make things better?” Let it move you forward.


  1. Work to always be the best version of yourself

We all have our challenges, and things that bring us down.  It’s hard to be the best version of ourselves when we see no future.  But by doing so, we spend less time focusing on the hard parts of our life, and more focusing on what we CAN do.

Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way.  When my dad had terminal cancer, his light and love was shining in a whole new way.  He took part in experimental treatments that could paralyze him – so it might help someone else.  He was interviewed for a training film on how to talk to the terminally ill.  He raised his spirits to fully embrace every important family get-together, no matter how much pain he was enduring.  He cherished life in a whole new way.   Yes he was sad and afraid, but he also LIVED those final years with love and wholeness.

I – on the other hand – cried, prayed, obsessed, resisted reality and felt helpless.  Nothing I did changed the future.  His cancer was still terminal, and so was my attitude.

It took a while, but I let go of the regret and learned a beautiful lesson on how to fully embrace life to be the best version of myself.

Today, I watch another loved one suffer, and I work each and every day to be the best version of me.  I still pray and cry, but I also laugh, and most importantly LIVE.  I know that her suffering will end some day, but in the meantime, I want her to live the best life she can!


We don’t know what tomorrow will bring – good or bad – since life is a rollercoaster ride.  The only thing we can do is go along for the ride and live it to the fullest.