Happy Monday! Let’s start with the traditional Minnesota greeting: what’s the weather like where you are? We’re getting an icy rain that’s supposed to turn to snow, so I’m at home with my dog today and after this weekend there’s no place I’d rather be. Today I thought I’d take a little trip down memory lane to a conversation back in January. I went to see a play and decided I didn’t want to drive to the theater. Instead, I took an Uber. After a morning of driving people who weren’t interested in talking, my Uber driver was ready for a conversation. As we chatted, he made so many statements that were great life reminders that I pulled out my phone to jot them down. Here are a few.
1 // Stress is part of life.
Have you ever fallen into that trap of trying to create a stress-free life? I have. I think sometimes we have a tendency to try to avoid stress or stressful situations. And when we face stressful situations we just want to be free of them; we yearn for a time when we won’t feel that way.
And yet there are always stressors in life. So maybe instead of trying to create a stress-free life, we should learn how to handle that stress in a positive way.
My reaction is usually to worry about whatever is stressing me out, which isn’t a positive way to handle that stress. There are some things I’ve worried about endlessly that have turned out to be nothing. And there are some things I’ve worried about that became legitimate. The thing is: I worry when I feel like I have no control over a situation that’s stressing me out. If I’m able to take control, I do something, and I don’t worry about it as much. If I can’t take control, I worry.
Take control over whatever you can take control of a situation and do what you can to prepare for whatever comes your way. Turn your stress into action. If you can’t take control, try not to worry out about it and find other ways to relieve that stress: get some exercise, meditate, read the Bible, play music, paint. There are so many things you can do to try and relieve that stress and anxiety.
I realize this is easier said than done, mostly because I can say it but I’ve never done it. Also, it will be easier for some people than it will be for others. Still. What will be will be. If you sit there worrying about it, whatever is going to happen will still happen, and you’ll just be a bundle of nerves over something you can’t control anyway.
2 // We take life too seriously.
I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in work, the “hustle,” and bettering ourselves that we forget to enjoy it. Read that novel that you’re going to have a hard time analyzing, but is fun and just enjoy it. Take a bath just because, not to cross self-care off your checklist for the day. Go for that hike and don’t worry about taking your camera or your phone to get the perfect Instagram shot. Stay in Savasana for as long as you want to after that yoga practice and relax, don’t worry about moving on to the next thing right away.
I fully believe in working hard and working to become a better version of myself, but I also believe in having fun. It should be just as natural a part of our life as working.
3 // We all have our own path.
Comparison. It’s been talked about quite a bit, especially now with Instagram and Pinterest being such a big part of our lives, but lets really dig deep. Is there something that you’ve always to accomplish? Something that you haven’t accomplished yet and look at others who have and think, “How?” Or, “Why didn’t I prioritize this more than I already have?”
Sometimes our comparison comes from recognizing that we put other things before this big thing we wanted to accomplish and wondering why. I know that’s the case for me. I’ve always wanted to successfully publish a book, but I haven’t yet, and particularly in recent years I know there are things I prioritized above sending out a novel to agents, one of my next steps in my quest for publication. I had my reasons for doing so, but in the last year I’ve asked myself, “Why?” Things haven’t panned out as I anticipated they would, so why did I do that? I’ve looked at all of the people who made their publication pursuit a priority who now have books out that people are reading, enjoying, and talking about. Why didn’t I stay in place a few years ago and just focus on publishing a novel? Why wasn’t I like them?
But through it all I’ve had experiences that have shaped who I’ve become. These experiences have allowed me to grow in ways I wouldn’t have if I had stayed where I was. And now I can move forward with these experiences that I can take with me into my writing. Maybe I would have published a novel by now if I had stayed put, maybe I wouldn’t have. I know I wouldn’t have met most of the people I’m closest to now. I wouldn’t have had some of the experiences I’ve had. Yes, some of them I wish I hadn’t gone through, but most of them I wouldn’t want to give up. So now I can regroup and move forward. My path wasn’t theirs, and that’s okay.
4 // So live it up, girl!
At this point we had talked about the things we do for work, the things we do for fun, and my (at that time) upcoming trip to New York, and he exclaimed, “So live it up, girl!”
Life is adventure. It’s such a cliched phrase, but it’s so true. The things we do for work, the things we do for fun, the places we visit, the people we meet, it’s all part of the adventure. So live it up! Look at everything you do as an adventure and live it up.
What are some pieces of advice you’ve received recently?