I started this morning off researching trips to Hawaii or Mexico. 30 minutes later, I had a mini-freak-out-session that I wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage.
That’s how life goes sometimes. One moment you’re planning epic trips. The next you’re going crazy because you may not be able to feed yourself this week.
Why was I researching trips? Because I’m ready for a get-away. I’ve been in this massive transition the last couple of months and I’m ready to finally breathe a bit.
However, as I was researching trips I came to the unfortunate conclusion that I had very little money for this epic trip right now. I paid quite a bit to move across state, rent a place while also trying to pay my mortgage back in Washington, and oh yeah, my fiancé has yet to find a job (no fault of her own but that’s what happens when you move to a resort town during the winter season.)
Things are tough! But I know I’ll get through it.
As I came to this conclusion, I quickly went into feeling-sorry-for-myself-mode. It’s natural. Especially for anyone who is used to a life where they can essentially live the way they want to fairly comfortably.
I’ve always had a safety net. Something to stop me from free-falling or feeling overwhelmed. However, with my recent career and lifestyle change, I’ve given up that safety net.
So what changed? I won’t lie, I’m still concerned but I realized that this is EXACTLY what I wanted for the past year. I wanted to be in a situation that forced me to be thankful for what I have.
Pay attention to that last part. Be thankful for what I have.
This phrase is so easy to say, but much more difficult to understand and actually do.
If you’re focused on things you don’t have or things you want (i.e. a trip to Hawaii or Mexico, maybe?) then you are forcing yourself to be unhappy. You are ruthlessly putting yourself in a horrible situation you can’t get out of happily.
I’ve personally tried to “minimalize” my life in the last year or so for this very reason. I’ve tried hard to take away possessions that don’t add value to my life and focus on the things that do. But I’ve never really had this epiphany where I truly feel happy because of those actions.
While sitting there wondering how I’m going to get through this I realized a few things:
- There are millions of people out there in the world that have it far worse off than me. I have a great family, a roof over my head, a job on the mountain, and I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world (biased? Maybe.)
- There are many things I can do to watch my spending and/or take advantage of the free things I have. I can live a more examined life.
All of a sudden, I had this feeling come over me. Almost a sense of happiness that I was in this position. I thought about the laid back days of snowboarding I’ve had so far and how many more will come my way. I thought about the fact that my office has a view of the chairlift at my local ski hill and I have a free pass. I thought about seeing my entire family for Thanksgiving for the first time in 3 years. I thought about coming home to my fiancé and her daughter every night, happy to be home.
I may be struggling in one area of my life I’m not used to, but I’m succeeding wildly in other areas. Areas I sought out to succeed in just a couple of months ago.
When you find yourself in a situation where you’re depressed or worried, take a hard look at what it is that’s causing that. Is it because you’re not getting something you want? Stop looking outward and start looking inward to get you through these times.
You’ve got a good life. It may be different from your friend’s or than that famous family on TV or even then you imagined it, but you’ve got a good life. You just have to focus on the great things you have. Be determined that you will make it through. Let that desire motivate you to push through, but don’t let it get you down. Give up the thought that you need or will have everything.
The next time you are down (and you will be) jot down why it is that you feel that way. Search for the root cause though, no feelings or emotions. Now write down the few things that this situation is taking away from you, if any. Now, are those things really so bad to lose? Maybe you can’t get a certain someone a Christmas gift this year. Is that really so bad? At least you still have that person in your life and I’m sure they’ll be okay with it.
Now, jot down some great things you have in life. These are to remind you that there’s still good going on in your world. You still have things to look forward to. Still have support.
And most importantly, talk to someone about your problem. Having someone there to support you, who genuinely understands your problem and cares, makes all the difference. Pretty soon your enormous, life-altering problem becomes a small speed bump in this giant parking lot we call life.
For free updates from Coffee & Warm Showers, subscribe via email.