We have all heard the phrase Life isn’t fair. Some of us who have read the Bible are familiar with the story of Job. In the Book of Job, Job is presented as a family man who lives a good and prosperous life, but is eventually beset with horrendous disasters that take away all he has, including his family, his health, and his property. Job struggles to understand his situation and begins a long search for the right path that will get him out of his extremely difficult situation. Against all odds, with God’s help, Job is restored to a semblance of his earlier existence.
Now I hear you saying, because I said it myself when I read it, that’s great. Everything went all hunky-dorey with Job thousands of years ago and that relates to me how? Life isn’t fair. I get it. I did all the right things. I was a faithful loving wife who worked hard and went to church. Where did it get me? Divorce, suffering from financial ruin, my kids leave me every other weekend and my mom is dead. How’s that working out for ya, San?
I know that people have it much worse than I do. I know that it rains on everyone. The reason I am writing this today is because I have been thinking about what Joel Osteen wrote in Your Best Life Begins Each Morning. He wrote, “What kind of attitude do you have when you do the right thing but the wrong thing happens to you.”
To be honest, not great. My attitude sucks sometimes. It really sucks. I get out of bed and reach for my coffee and stumble into the kitchen to make breakfast for my kids with all sorts of bad words swirling around in my brain. One morning I was getting the kids’ lunches ready and I opened a box of Scrabble Cheese-its. You know the little orange crackers with one letter stamped on each.
Well I spelled out F$^& YOU and spelled out both my ex’s name and his affair partner. I cracked myself up. Just to spite them I ate their names. I threw the F$^& YOU crackers back in the box and shook them up so I didn’t sent a vulgar message accidentally to my son’s elementary school via his lunch box.
Early morning is the time of day for me to feel sorry for myself. I cry because I miss my mom. I cry because I am single and I am broke. I start to sniffle because I am only half way through my weight loss. San 4.0 (which is what I named my reinvention of myself at 40) is proving to be the biggest and most powerful change in my life. So what kind of attitude do I have? Once I get through my early morning pity fest, I begin to perk up.
Attitude. It sounds good. Have a great attitude! Have a great attitude through foreclosure. Have a great attitude through divorce. Have a great attitude when your ex-friend who was sleeping with your ex-husband drives your ex-Lexus. Once you finish laughing and pointing at the screen shouting “She Be Crazy!!!”, I need you to take it in. Especially, if you are going through trauma and need inspiration.
I found out the hard way that what happens to you most times that is awful, unfair and just plain rotten is often out of your hands, but the one thing you can do is make your own choice as to how to respond.
Now that I am a few years post my divorce things look clearer. I see women who divorced the same time as me getting divorced for the second time because they jumped from the frying pan into the fire. I see women who divorced the same time as me eating themselves to gigantic proportions and spewing out bitterness between bites. Then I see me.
I won’t say I will win any awards from moving on with my life because I did it slowly step by careful step. My weight went up and now it’s down. My depression went dark and now it’s light. My faith has wobbled and bobbled like my tummy on the treadmill and yet like my post-two baby tummy, it’s still there.
The one thing that saved me, and you can a call it attitude, or a great sense of humor, or me just being me was the choice to see the funny in the situation. It really is possible to see the silver lining in a rain cloud. Here are some of the bright sides I found in my own journey through death, divorce and financial ruin.
I am a free woman who can search and find a love that is so much better than my marriage or I can choose to stay single– but either way I am going to enjoy every minute of it because I can.
My kids go to their dad’s every other weekend and that leaves me with time to read, dance, go out to dinner, sleep, watch movies and create friendships that would be crowded out if I didn’t have a break when my kids’ are their dad’s.
My kids go to their dad’s every weekend and come home loving me, appreciating me, wanting to be with me in a way that they would take for granted if they had me around full-time every day. Our relationships are stronger because of it.
I can be the mother I want to be without someone yelling at me, criticizing me and berating me for letting the kids eat popcorn in my bed (so I sleep in crunchies and wash the sheets and vacuum in the morning), for letting the kids do naked cannonballs in the pool on hot summer nights, and for eating brownies for breakfast and scrambled eggs for dinner. We have fun and our house is full of love and laughter. What is the point of life if you don’t enjoy it?
I learned that I am much stronger than I ever knew, that I could handle an enormous amount of pressure and still shine, and that I could weather any storm that blows my way and still come out battered and beautiful and bouncing with style.
Attitude does that. Making the right choice when things go wrong does that. I have not sold myself out. I have not sold myself to the highest bidder. I have not taken the easy road unless it was the right thing to do for me. Attitude, belief in yourself and a sense of humor helps you make the right choices when things go wrong because in the long run you will be glad you did. Short term pain. Long term gain.
I could have made a lot of bad choices for me and blamed it on death, divorce and financial ruin. I didn’t go there. I didn’t let life choose for me. I chose for myself. Sometimes the right choice was lonely. Sometimes the right choice was painful. But the right choice never let me put my head down at the pillow at night and toss and turn with regret.
Bouncing with Style is making the right choice for you free from excuses and reasons that may lead down a path away from who you are. Bad things happen to all of us. The question I have for you today is what attitude do you have when doing the right thing ends up giving you the wrong results?