Day 171. Good Attitude

A friend sent me an email yesterday.  It was one of those ‘forwards’.  Very unusual for her to do, so I read it.  There were some great thoughts in it, about dealing with DIGITAL CAMERAstress.  They all made me stop and think, but I just loved this one:

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

It just made me smile.  Because it’s a great philosophy.  Because life is always throwing us curves.  And we can either find a way to make the best of it, or we can spend most of our time on this earth miserable.

Personally, I prefer ‘happy’.

When my dad died, a colleague sent me a note.  It was a long time ago, and I don’t remember everything she said.  But I do remember this quote:  “Life is what happens when you’ve made other plans”.

Same idea.

Our lives are full of surprises.  Some pleasant.  Some not so much.  But we can turn them around.  We can turn them into something pleasant.  I know, because I’ve done it.

Long, long, long ago I was visiting a friend who lived in New York.  My purse was stolen the first day I was there.  It was never recovered, and I spent the weekend with no money or credit cards.  We were young.  She had no money.  I suppose we could have stayed in her apartment and moped about.  But instead, we went out and explored the city, on foot.  We walked everywhere.  Including through Central Park.  We found all kinds of things we could do for free; and had a great time.

Almost as long ago I was on holiday with another friend, in Miami.  A day or two in, I got sun poisoning.  So much for going to the beach.  Don’t feel too sorry for me, though.  The doctor was single.  I thoroughly enjoyed that detour.

Trying to buy my first house wasn’t all smooth sailing.  Had an offer rejected one time.  Lost out on a bidding war the next.  After several fruitless searches I realized my ‘wish list’ and my budget weren’t properly aligned.  I stepped back for a year.  Saved more money.  Also ended up earning more money.  My priorities changed.  My dream house was just sitting there waiting for me, when I decided to try again.

My life has been full of the unexpected.  Delays.  Cancellations.  Misunderstandings.  Screw ups.  Break ups.  Break downs (as in cars breaking down and leaving me stranded). Oversold flights.  Reservations not honoured.  Bidding wars lost.  Roads closed.  Doors closed.  Doors slammed shut.  Offers rejected.

Hell, sometimes it’s been nothing more than getting lost and finding myself nowhere near where I’d planned to be.  And with my lousy sense of direction, getting back on the right track was never going to happen.  So I explored where I was, instead.

Turned set backs into adventures.

The point is, never expect life to go as planned.  There’s a job you won’t get.  A flight you’ll miss.  A relationship will go bad.  A deal won’t go through.  A trip will be cancelled.  A restaurant will be closed when you get there.   A date won’t show up.  You’ll burn dinner.  You’ll be forced to move.  You won’t get into the movie.  You’ll be stranded somewhere.

Take a course or learn a new skill while you’re waiting for the next job opportunity.  You’ll be worth even more.  Do something productive while you’re waiting for another flight.  Find another restaurant.  You may be pleasantly surprised.  It may turn out to be more enjoyable than the first one.   How exciting would that be?  Can’t get into one movie?  Try another.

Make it work for you, is all I’m saying.  Make it count for something.  Make it positive.  Do something constructive.  Don’t feel sorry for yourself.  Don’t moan about it.  Don’t be a drama queen (or king).

Listen to Bobby McFerrin:  “Don’t Worry Be Happy”.

24 thoughts on “Day 171. Good Attitude

  1. Before I read this post I saw a headline in the paper announcing a detour from the George Washington Bridge that will last until the summer. What, me worry?

    Who says I have to see my grandchildren this year? Who says I can’t spent my life’s investments on renting a private helicopter to fly over the messy scene? Why says I can’t move up to Maine and then drive down to see the g’kids from the opposite direction? AmI getting the gist of your philosophy?

    • Not sure I was being that literal when I talked about ‘detours’ 🙂 Sorry, though. Sounds like a royal pain. It that the ONLY route to get from where you live, to where they live. I am assuming it won’t really be impossible to get there, just slow and frustrating, right?

  2. Agreed! My life has been full of detours and unplanned journies. If I hadn’t been open to that I wouldn’t be in advertising (a happy accident), married (answering a phone call from a friend of a friend), living in Texas (deciding to go for it), or with three dogs. Heck, if I didn’t have a “you only go around once” attitude I wouldn’t have traveled as much as I have or even started the urban farm. Bravo for this reminder of life’s what you make it and it’s harder (but better) to be happy.

    • Exactly!! It makes life so much more interesting and rewarding. It’s a great adventure. And, frankly, it makes us stronger, more resourceful, more independant, more seasoned and more interesting, too. Plus these mishaps and surprises give us something to blog about.

  3. This is a lesson I am learning. Having anxiety disorder makes this difficult, but the one way I see that is a positive is that if I finally kick it completely at 21 then by the time I’m 30 I’m gonna be one strong lady…So even if at times I find it hard to see the beauty in the detour, I’m working on finding it and I think that’s the first step 🙂

    • WOW! Good for you. That is a HUGE first step. All the best. You’ll do it, because obviously you want to. And that’s more than half the battle won already. 🙂

  4. There is no bridge that can’t be crossed successfully – there is always someone on the other side holding out a hand to assist.
    Love the line “turned setbacks into adventures”

    • Well, now that you mention it, matbe you’re on to something. Without a plan, nothing can get messed up. No plan. No detour. It’s a beautiful thing. Wish I’d thought of it 🙂

      • I’m not a total hedonist, but I do think that sometimes too much planning seems like asking for trouble and life is way too short to ask for trouble 😀

        I know a young woman in her 20s who has young children and also has an extraordinarily detailed life plan for the next 15 or 20 years… and all I can think is “nothing is likely go like you think”. I hope she can enjoy the detours too.

      • Oh God, I agree with you! Who can imagine what you’d want that far ahead? Not me!

        I’m talking about things that don’t go as you’d hoped or planned this week. Or if you decide you don’t like the guy you’re dating 2 or 3 months into the relationship.

        The most in advance I’ve ever planned anything was my trip to India. I started doing research about 6 months before I went because there is so much to see there, i was confused about where I wanted to go and what kind of experience I hoped to have.

        And that almost got derailed because the terrorist attacks in Mumbai happened 2 weeks before I went and there were a couple of people on the trip who wanted to cancel.

        Luckily the rest of us convinced the travel agent to go as planned.

        Those are the kind of detours I mean. And plans, by the way.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with this post!! This past year or so that I’ve been single, I’ve really taken a step back and just allowed life to happen, enjoying every encounter along the way. Before, I was always worrying about someone else and when I finally made time to do what I wanted to do, I fell in love with this kind of living. I take those detours and I thrive off of them. I’m loving it 🙂

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