“No matter how good or bad your situation is, it will change.”
There isn’t a lot about my life that I can say with certainty, but I am sure that it’s constantly changing. I could never have imagined that one and a half years after graduating from college, I would be sitting in my mom’s old office, running a business, and completely independent. I became a home owner, a dog owner, and a car owner practically in the blink of an eye. I write about this topic a lot, but the changes that I have been through in 2011 are so profound that it has taken this long to process them.
The fact that life is always changing is a given, but HOW it changes is a completely different story. How much control do we have over the way our life changes? This is the principle behind luck – that if you’re lucky, your life will change for the better. It’s also the principle behind prayer, that if God is listening, he/she/it will make things go your way. Though, I always laugh when the corollary to this message is touted, “If God brings you to it, he will get you through it.” I think this is a perfect example of the fact that no matter what we do or what cosmic beings we implore, good things and bad things will come our way.
Even that last sentence raises an interesting question: What makes an event good or bad? Surely, you think to yourself, some events are bad by any measuring stick, while others are always good. What about your house burning down – that would certainly be bad, right? Well what if it took your house burning down to make new friends, reassess your priorities, and meet the love of your life? Of course, this is an over-the-top optimistic view of the outcome, but my point is much more subtle. The thing that really makes a life event good or bad is your attitude. For instance, if you win 10 million dollars in the lottery, most people would think that’s good. Well what if by winning the money, you become infamous (in a negative way), lose all of your friends, and squander it all on foolish purchases and investments? In that case, winning the 10 million has become a negative event in your life.
I lost my mom this year. That was a bad thing – the worst thing that has happened to me thus far in my whole life. My life will never be the same without her. I have missed so many opportunities to spend time with her, and if I ever have children, they won’t get to know her. She would have been such an amazing grandmother.
I lost my mom this year. This has caused me to grow up and learn to be responsible for myself faster than I ever thought possible. This has given me a fresh start to figure out what I want out of life. This has caused me to be more empathetic to loss and to reach out to friends and my remaining family. I have grown closer to many people, and I have done a lot of good with what she taught me.
“This has been a year of losses, but I am happy with who I have become.”
That was a card on PostSecret that I read this morning. It succinctly describes exactly what 2011 has been for me. It has been a year of loss and a year of growth. It has been a year of pain and a year of joy. It has been a year of suffering and a year of progressing.
And in 2012, I have a plan and a path to follow. But I had a plan in 2010, and look where that led me. So now I am resigned to the fact that no matter how many plans I make, life is unlikely to yield to my will. But I retain the power to shape my life events by changing my attitude.
Have you ever had one of those weeks where plans just fell into place, life was wonderful, and you got to see nearly all of your favorite people? I just did, and it was great! Let’s recap…
Last Wednesday, said goodbye to my roommate and my Little for winter break. As much as I’ll miss them, I enjoyed the quality time of taking Little to the airport and meeting roommates’s parents. That evening, I had choir practice as usual, and it was wonderful and fulfilling. I have been out of town a lot this fall, and I haven’t made it to nearly every practice, so I always appreciate those I’m able to attend. Following that, I had my weekly Wednesday conversation with my college Roomie. We’ve been keeping this up with shocking regularity for over 6 months now, and I feel like it’s really strengthened our friendship. I was lucky enough to see her twice this year, and I’m going to visit her in March!
Thursday evening, I had delicious Mexican food with my sorority alumnae group. Those ladies are always a blast, and I even met some new members at this event!
Friday afternoon, Lyds and Yuri popped by to sell me a textbook and give me giraffe presents – oh, and to see my decorations. That evening, I had game night at my house with Chelsea, Molly and Eric. We played ‘What’s Yours Like?’ which was ridiculously fun and full of laughs. Add pizza, beer, and lots of hugs and it was one of my favorite evenings in quite awhile.
Saturday morning, a large contingent from the Dog Park group met up for a special breakfast/cooking event! I’ve gone every year for the past several years, and it was just as great this year – beautiful and festive. That afternoon, Regan came over and we ate fondue and rented The Help on RedBox. And then that evening, I attended a neighborhood game night which was full of sugar and inside jokes.
Sunday morning I got up for church EARLY because we put on quite a production, with all 3 choirs and children’s bells too. It was a beautiful service (both times) full of wonderful people. I sat between Rebecca and the lovely Barbara, who told me, “I’ve never sat down-voice from you, and let me tell you, it was such a pleasure, you have a beautiful voice.” That was such a flattering compliment from Barbara, who is an extremely talented alto section leader. Sunday afternoon, Stacy made me a wonderful crock pot roast, and we watched her Yule Log on TV and talked about food and friends. Then we made a quick trip to the dog park before I left for Christmas Town. The “girls” and I had a great time looking at all the lights and visiting Santa!
Monday evening, I had what I hope will be an annual tradition – a gift swap with Cathy, Brian and Stacy. They all gave me some of the coolest giraffe presents I’ve yet encountered (Lyds did an equally wonderful job with the mug and giraffe glass set). And we just had a great evening – with dinner, TV specials and lots of laughs. They’re part of what makes the Dog Park group feel like family.
Tuesday I met up with Lyds for a spontaneous lunch, because though hardly a day goes by without talking, I sometimes go weeks without seeing her. Not the case this time, as I just saw her Friday, but I won’t see her again til after Christmas. Then in the evening, Carlie and I enjoyed dinner at Five Guys followed by half price movies – New Year’s Eve, so good! – and fun times. We normally hang out every Monday, but the half price deal is only Tuesday, so we switched for this week. We’re all counting down the days until her pregnancy comes to a fruitful end, at which time I am on-call as a babysitter for Henry.
So as you can read, it’s been just a wonderful week. I couldn’t ask for better friends – seriously! I love them, each and every one.