Thursday, August 30, 2012

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

Looking back at something I wrote almost exactly 5 years ago, (See here.) I can't help but think man, I was a smart little 21 year old! Maybe that's what saved me in so many situations in life. But still I am no perfect human being and can always use this reminder. 

Life isn't something that happens, with you just a passive bystander to all it's whims. I admit, certain things are totally out of your control and there is not a thing you can do about changing them. But the one thing you can change is your attitude.

I have always felt strongly about the notion of having a positive attitude. I remember when I was 17 and failed my driver's exam for the first time, initially I came home and cried and cried until I could no more. I thought of nothing more than how mean and evil my examiner was, and how he must have just had it in for me and failed me for all these frivolous reasons that he made up (removed hands from wheel to fix her hair when approaching a stop sign...basis for failure, really?). Then I remember thinking, I can't change what happened but now I have two weeks to practice the hell out of driving, two weeks to prove that I can do this. I thought of all the people I knew, who weren't the brightest crayons in the box and how they managed to learn how to drive, so I certainly could too! Then I thought about all the people who were inspirational to me. There are friends and family I know, who always take struggle with stride keeping their chin up no matter how demanding life got or how stressful the situation became. To me, thinking of these examples motivate me at times when I am feeling discouraged. 

It was just something about my attitude that changed. Whenever I'm faced with difficulty I tend to get discouraged for a bit, I simply don't do well in adverse situations. I end up focusing on everything wrong with the picture and turning completely pessimistic abot the future. But then when I've wallowed in enough self pity, something inside me kicks me to think "no, if you just change your outlook, this entire situation can be totally different." It was the same feeling I had when I failed parts of the CPA exam numerous times. I would get so discouraged upon learning that I failed by just 1 point! One stinkin' point, those test graders could easily have given me me that on open ended questions, that I so rightfully deserved and it was all their evil plotting to make boatloads of money off of me knowing it was the only thing that kept me away from this license. And again I'd have to remind myself that I can't change how the judges grade, so there was no sense in dwelling on that and instead to focus all my energy on changing my own game plan so I could succeed.  

At the risk of making this post way too long I wanted to add something that I feel fits well with this topic. This whole situation reminds me of the saying

 "If the mountain won't come to Mohammed, Mohammed will go to the mountain."

I found the below excerpt describing the meaning of this quote from doing some online research (gotta love my buddy Google), so don't quote me on the validity of this:

"It has its origin in a legend about something Mohammed (peace be upon him) said when he was asked to prove his prophethood. He raised a hand and ordered a nearby mountain to come to him. The mountain, of course, did nothing and Mohammed then declared that this was proof of God's mercy, because if God had granted his wish, Mohammed and those around him would have been crushed by the mountain. He then said he was going to go to the mountain and thank God for his mercy.

The meaning of the expression now is that you sometimes have to do things for yourself instead of expecting the world to give you what you want."

This makes so much sense to me. I just started at a new job and the first week which normally should be a breeze was tough! I have a manager who makes work his life. It's a Friday afternoon and the office is deserted except he's got me here being on conference calls and working on presentations due in two weeks! I can't change this, but I can change my attitude. We cannot expect God or people to do things for us all the time. And certainly we should not keep complaining about everything that is wrong with the situation at hand, instead keep hope that brighter days will come and use that hope to channel a positive attitude. With the right attitude you can bring yourself to achieve the things you want, instead of sitting around waiting for them to come to you. 

Friday, August 24, 2012


I know I'm always trying to keep things positive here, to keep myself upbeat and to learn from each experience that challenges me. But let's be real for a sec. Some things and some moments beg for candid, unsweetened opinions. Here in, no particular order, are a list of things that get under my skin and make me work hard to keep my chin up (while still trying to keep hope in humanity). 

·         Men who use the bathroom and leave the toilet seat up at someone's home. This is not a men's room, its a coed bathroom. Heck, It's not even a public restroom where the next person doesn't know you (and how unhygienic you are). Please show some courtesy and regard for others. And if you really are going to put the seat up can you try not to get urine everywhere so I'm not totally gagging as I clean up afterwards?

·         Can people please be real? I love sharing; everyone who knows me knows that. But I don’t appreciate it when people who I chat with daily ask me a gazillion questions about my future plans and expect me to provide truthful answers, yet when I turn around and ask them about what’s going on with them, they give tight lipped responses. Friendship is definitely a TWO way street, don’t expect me to share honestly if you are being shady about your own business. Because clearly in that case we aren’t friends, you are simply using me as a tool to figure out what to do with your own life. I gladly provide advice or help when necessary, but it’s just hurtful if I treated you like a friend and then I find you’re moving into a new place or getting a new job from someone else.

·         Facebook. I have an extremely complicated relationship with this social media platform. I enjoy how it allows me to connect with my siblings, close friends and well wishers. But I am beginning to grow tired of the unnecessary drama it brings at times. The amount of oversharing that everyone does is already past my level of comprehension. But I actually had someone delete me from their friends because apparently they always commented on my pictures/status yet I never did the same. So they felt I was not a good friend and made it a point to tell my sister before deleting me. My response was “uhh ok..why didn’t she just talked to me about it? You know, the way normal people get over their issues..” Facebook gives people  a peek into the lives of others and usually all they’re looking at is an illusion. Yet they somehow feel closely involved in these moments and build up all these expectations of the people they view, feeling as though they possess authority to judge and critique.

Another gripe I have is how its become the only mode of communication. I am at fault for doing this myself at times, but I’m working to stop. Pick up the phone and call someone don’t facebook message them! Maybe if you haven’t talked in years it’s a good way to catch up, but if you’re planning the 4th party in the past 3 months and trying to coordinate dishes maybe a quick conference call could sort out the details rather than a message chain that drags out for weeks. Done. Over it. I can’t even speak about it anymore.

·         People from the motherland, please keep in mind vowels when you send messages. I know you are an educated bunch, so I am unsure if it’s due to haste in completing the message or an attempt at typing in the ‘cool hip’ lingo, but to most of us vowels are in important part of a sentence. ‘im rlly hppy fr u’ is not a real sentence even if it gets the point across (and thank you!).

·         When people ridicule their spouses in front of others. It isn’t funny, its just awkward for everyone else around you. So stop it and be thankful for the wife/husband you have who sees the good in you and puts up with your social weirdness.

·        When I drive around the block three times just to insure that my kid is sound asleep, only to park the car and turn around to see him smiling like he’s got the energy of three quarterbacks who threw back a pack of red bull before a big game. (WHEN OH WHEN DOES IT GET BETTER???)

·         Crazy intense back and shoulder pain! As the massage therapist put it yesterday while trying to get out knots the size of golf balls, I’m “literally caring all the weight of my burdens on my shoulders”. Growing up/old isn’t always fun my friends.

Ok I think I'm done for now, ahh that felt better! If for some twisted reason you enjoyed reading this, then check out the remainder of my griping here since (sadly) most of them still apply.