It’s more than a little ironic that as I was preparing to write a blog about dealing with things that are beyond our control, our website got hacked and crashed. There we were – starting to develop a fairly consistent following and then, POW, our access to the internet got hit. I want to thank those of you who have hung in with this for being here.
Part of dealing with things that are outside of our immediate control is being thankful for those things that we do have control of, like the ability to appreciate good things. Part of appreciating good things, I believe, is the ability to prioritize. While I believe that the information disseminated through managinglife.net is important, nobody’s life depends on it each day and therefore my need to panic about a loss of internet connection is eliminated. I believe that life is a process so managing life is also a process. There will be good days and bad days and I can choose which ones I will pay more attention to.
Since no one pays for the blog and we are not paid to produce it there can be no economic impact. In day-to-day life it’s good to keep in mind what economic impact may accompany either positive or negative incidences.
Currency is not just money. Often the things that occur unpredictably in our life carry an emotional currency. When it’s clear that emotional currency is at risk, I advise people to consider a similar risk/benefit scenario as if money were involved. If you are providing far more time, energy and emotion to a relationship than you get in return, you need to reevaluate your participation in that relationship. I tend to enjoy relationships that are predictable and pleasant.
Occurrences in life, such as illness or accident, may be unpredictable and therefore seem unmanageable. You may not be able to manage everything, but you can certainly manage how you are going to respond. The ability to recover from an accident or illness begins with a plan to (1) avoid unnecessary risk, (2) emotionally and physically prepare (be as healthy and strong as possible) and (3) try to predict what you will need for recovery prior to the incident.
I used to tell my students at the University that a good recovery was probably more important than a slick entrance. You can’t always predict how someone is going to respond to you but you can certainly influence your response to them. To a great degree this is a process of being prepared for the unpredictable. The better prepared you are the more you can relax.
Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill. Realistically evaluate the long-term impact of a situation compared to how you feel at the immediate time. Often a series of negative outcomes will make your future seem very bleak when in fact considering each of the incidences separately will help you understand how to deal with some of them. You don’t have to solve all of your world’s problems at once. It is usually helpful to get an outside opinion to help you regain perspective. I recommend consulting people who are objective and don’t allow themselves to become easily enmeshed in everyone else’s drama.
Personally, the thing that has assisted me the most in dealing with life’s unpredictability is my faith in the fact that life is not random. I believe that God does exist and has a plan for my life which allows me the opportunities, through free will to either relax and learn or blowup and react. Anita and I recently got to experience the end of her father’s life. Joe, and his wife Micky, had dealt with the ravages of dementia for more than three years. The emotional and financial cost was extremely high. Even during the most negative of times, the immediate and extended family supported one another to focus on a bigger picture than the day-to-day negativity that accompanies end-of-life issues.
The last hours of his life Anita and I got spend with him. Anita played his guitar and both of us sang songs that Joe had taught and played with Anita. Within minutes of our leaving, Joe left. We choose to feel that we contributed positively and that one day we will be able to play music with him again.
In closing, for this day, I would encourage you all to remember the Serenity Prayer which states “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I encourage you to add the words, “right now” after the words “things I cannot change, and also after the words “things I can”. If there something going on that you can’t do something about “right now” you’re probably better off to relax, draw on the plans you’ve made and move forward with purpose.
Until next time, remember “life is built on choices” choose well and relax.