I have alluded to this word in an earlier post, but it’s a BIG, important word in our lives these days. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as a society, we’ve become accustomed to allowing people, events, or circumstances to decide how we live our lives…as if we have little or no control – and very few choices. In other words, those things make the perfect excuse when we can’t be bothered to adjust our attitude.
This thought came to me today when I received an email from a friend in the Midwest – the same Midwest that is expecting up to a foot of snow or more in some places, on top of the already-existing snow. In addition, there are predictions of possible large accumulations of ice and temperatures soon to drop below zero. Some of you reading this may live in the Midwest and wonder why that even comes to mind for me. Well…I moved to Florida in 2005 to escape not just the snow and ice of the Midwest, but also to escape seemingly unending days of dreary gray clouds. My husband and I craved sunshine. Although neither of us was ever “tested” for Seasonal Affective Disorder, had you been in our house during some of those rough winters, you would have been able to give us that diagnosis without any testing! Our attitudes reflected the skies.
That largely influenced our decision to move to Florida and I have never regretted that choice. Do I miss friends and family I left behind? Certainly. And another thing I miss is the change of seasons, primarily for the beautiful leaf colors! But for my own well-being, I needed to be where the sun shines more often than not. People even ask why I didn’t move farther south in Florida. Simple…I wasn’t looking for high temperatures, I was simply following the sun. That was a choice that made sense for me. And the sun led me to Ocala, which is also horse country – a bonus for my animal-loving self.
Certainly, there are other choices we make – some big, some small, all with consequences. If I decide to eat an orange scone from Panera every day (and believe me, I could!), a relatively “small” choice in the big scheme of things, there could be any number of consequences – extra weight, fatigue, diabetes, less money 😊, and the list goes on. So, I make the choice to only indulge with the orange scone as a special treat. That doesn’t make me a hero, obviously – especially since I sometimes then substitute Lindt truffles for an orange scone!
But it does help create a pattern of choices in my life that will benefit me as other choices crop up.
Every day, I have to choose to exercise and eat right. Most days, because it has become a habit, I choose well. Sometimes I don’t. When I don’t, I feel the difference, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
I try to choose how I will spend my money besides my basic living expenses. Yesterday, I splurged and bought a nice tea kettle, as I have decided a cup of tea in the afternoon is quite pleasant. My Keurig coffee brewer doesn’t heat the water very hot, so a tea kettle was a gift to myself…but it also was a non-essential purchase. Since I try to limit those, just like the orange scones…I try to reflect on whether something is worth the “sacrifice” of whatever I will give up – extra cash, energy, good health, etc. Then I make a well-informed choice.
Here’s the one thing I want to make sure YOU consider about YOUR choices. Your attitude is a choice. Plain and simple. It’s easy to fall prey to using what’s happening around us as an excuse for a poor attitude. I get it. And I do that from time to time myself, even though I try hard not to. I have to really ratchet up my self-awareness to make sure I don’t get mired there. Health issues, financial pressures, work overload, difficult people, too many obligations, relationship problems, the political environment, things on social media or the nightly news (FYI – I have made a choice NOT to watch the news) – need I go on? All of these can affect our attitudes, but ONLY if we allow it.
Are you going to allow it? It’s your choice!
“Talk” to you soon! And in the meantime, if you need me, I’m only an email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.