Life can be stressful. We all have days where we feel uncertain of what the future may have in store for us. Sometimes it seems as if everything is going wrong.
Just two weeks ago, I got into a car accident. While my children and I were left unscathed, my car was left in need of a full face lift. In that moment, I was freaking out and livid-as a single mother basically living from check to check, I had no idea where the money was coming from to cover yet another fiasco. Just a month prior, I had laid out what I believed to be an ironclad budget with hopes of getting back on my feet after a tormentous last three years. It’s safe to say I ate my feelings that entire week: Starbucks, pizza, wings, more Starbucks. It wasn’t until reading my devotional one morning, that I realized it could have been worse-a lot worse. It was definitely the equivalent of feeling guilty for snapping at you kids just minutes after hearing “The Word” at church.
While it’s true, the accident will set me back another three months, the reality is I should be grateful for my family’s health as the person who hit us fled the scene without a care in the world. Not to mention, just a year ago, I didn’t own a vehicle. I walked everywhere rain or shine, sleet or snow with my buggy in one hand and my daughter in the other. If anything my accident was a wake-up call. I have been in quite a funk over the last six months-mad over money, lack of sleep-and had taken much for granted.
Although, it’s easy to take even the smallest things for granted in a society hell bent on getting one up on the next person, we are all in the same boat and often need a reminder that we’re doing just fine. For instance…
1. You paid the bills this month, and maybe even had a little extra to spend on something you’re passionate about-a hobby-non-necessities. Sure it may be painful to see your check dwindle away, but the point is you have yet another month with a roof over your head, electricity, hot water-you see where I’m going with this.
2. You’re employed, for however many hours, at whatever rate, you are earning money that helps provide for you and your loved ones. It’s not failure if it doesn’t look the way you thought it would – you’re able to stand on your own two feet.
For me, this was major! In 2013, just three months before my second child was to arrive, my employer terminated my contract as he was worried I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my duties and raise two kids solo. As you can imagine everything in my life began to unravel. I lost my apartment, car and was forced to couch surf until I gave birth and could make other arrangements.
Thankfully, the go-getter in me wouldn’t allow me to give up. I walked into nearly a dozen PR and media outlets that month-baby bump on blast and resume in hand, until just one person gave me a shot. A part time writing gig-paying just enough to cover my bills.
3. You’re not worried about where your next meal is coming from. There’s food in the fridge and can goods in the pantry. While this may seem menial compared to other items on my list. You may be surprised how many of those around you are missing meals, just to put a little gas in their tank to get to work the next morning or better yet, take a hot shower.
4. You have one or two close friends. Not to shame #girlsquadgoals, but people worry far too much about the quantity of gals pals they have. A little life will eventually teach you that your squad count has no bearing on how much you feel acceptance, community, or joy. At the end of the day, all we really want are a few close people that get us.
5. You’re not the same person you were a year ago. This is key! You’re learning, evolving, and can identify the ways in which you’ve changed for the better. Believe it or not personal growth is the key to success on all levels, be it personal or professional.
6. You’ve got goals. Even if you’re exhausted and it feels miles away, you have a dream that you’re working towards each and everyday. This doesn’t necessarily mean winning “The Voice,” or becoming “America’s Next Top Model.” It can be as simple as finishing that Bachelors degree you’ve been putting off since high school or taking a leap of faith.
7. You’ve experienced some real hardships. While you may be saying to yourself ‘well that doesn’t seem right,’ life’s challenges are our best teacher. Whether you just ended a long term relationship, a friendship, or are stuck in a job rut, you can reassure yourself that while life did not get any easier, you are walking away smarter.
Life’s challenges are our best teacher.
8. You don’t let pride get in the way of asking for help. We all need help sometimes. Don’t let embarrassment and shame talk you out of speaking up. Even if you don’t get the answer you wanted, be proud that you were able to put aside your own dignity to possibly better your life.
This also applies to your career. Never underestimate the value of a “stupid question.” Asking questions about a position, promotion, or raise, shows that you understand and value achieving growth through learning.
9. You know there’s more to life than material possessions. In today’s society, it’s easy to get caught up trying to “Keep Up With the Joneses.” Truth is, trying to find happiness through objects doesn’t last. Fortunately, knowing is half the battle. If you’re aware that happiness doesn’t lie in material possessions, such as a new car, the latest handbag or a bigger house, then you’re placing more importance in the areas of your life that matter: relationships, family, career.
10. You’ve chosen happiness on your terms. You’ve stopped chasing everyone else’s definition of happiness, and began to pave your own path.
At the end of the day, how well you play the game of life comes down to the sum of your choices. Throughout life, you’ll be faced with difficult decisions. You can face them head on, act and learn or let them hold you down. Always remember that if you reach this place, it is good to remind yourself and be grateful for what you do have: a future, with endless opportunities.