Thursday, January 29, 2009
Life Lessons As I Approach 62: Live Life With A Proactive Attitude!
In these times that Warren Buffett (the richest person on earth and a savey investor and advisor to Barack Obama) calls "The Pearl Harbor of the economy", there is a sense of unrest and instability everywhere I turn.
There are countless meetings at the college about budget cuts, deep concerns about losing jobs, and a general malaise about when and how things will turn around. The floral person at Safeway is terrified about her cut in hours as is the person at Starbucks who made my espresso. They voice these fears in lieu of saying good morning. The temperatures in Spokane are cold, ice and snow still cover the ground, and many students wonder after all the work of college if there will be jobs to apply for. Things seem bleak and the media forecast calls for more of the same.
More than once in the past few weeks I've heard myself say outloud..."I'm so glad I know Jesus."
Now please don't imagine that this post is some form of a lecture about spiritual life. It isn't. I don't want to suggest that because God is in the center of my life that I am a pollyanna and don't react when I see the huge cuts in my teacher pension.
This post is about what keeps me going when things get tough and having a proactive attitude!
As my 62nd birthday approaches next week, I have made a "gratitude list"...things that I am truly grateful for...no matter how the stock market is doing. My knowing that God loves me is at the top of the list. Every day I feel a deep sense of well being because I'm not alone, and I am deeply loved, flawed as I am.
Also on my gratitude list is my "Proactive Attitude" about life. I inherited this sense of being personally empowered from both of my parents, especially my Dad. Being born with one hand, some parents might have pampered their daughter and only child. Some might have worried and focused on what I couldn't do, rather than what I could do. Not Mark McColm! He used to say "If it is to be...it is up to ME!" He role modeled being proactive at every turn, and he taught me to do the same.
To me living life with a "Proactive Attitude" means several things:
1)I spend time identifying and following through on long-range goals for myself.
2) I feel in charge of making things happen.
3)I feel responsible for my own life.
4) I am driven by a sense of pupose.
5) I am able to choose my own actions.
6)I work to focus my efforts on things that I can control rather than things I can't control.
7) I am driven by my personal values.
8)I believe with all my heart that there are abundant opportunities that await me so I expect great things.
These are all "mantras" I constantly heard from my parents along with one liners like "you can be anything you set out to be!"... "You can do anything anyone else can do if you work hard!" I heard these positive affirmations so many times that they seeped into my bone marrow!
My generation, the Baby Boomers, have never had to really cope with terribly difficult times. Unlike my parent's generation, many baby boomers have role modeled a life of self-indulgence and that having "things" will make someone happy. That never has worked, and it doesn't work now.
We never lived through life events like the great depression, WWI and WWII, and several enormous recessions. My parents did and doing without and having less made them work harder and appreciate what they had earned even more. They didn't expect things to be easy. They would have taken any job, or several jobs, to keep food on the table. Dolores and Mark, and so many others like them, felt responsible for their own lives. They went after life and never felt victimized by it. I never heard a "why me?" growing up. More often I would hear, "Why not me?"
I grew to believe that tough things happen, and you don't "cave" when they do. You aren't a victim and you have NO right to quit.
One of my favorite quotes says:
I am not helpless, I am not hopeless, and I have NO right to give up on myself!
So today I'll go off to SCC with a proactive attitude! I'll take the lessons of my amazing parents with me...wherever I go! I'll put on my favorite CD and let Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin's voices fill the air as my students come into room 239.
I'll remember that God loves me, and I'll let go and let God.
And when asked how I am, I'll say what I've said all week-
"Thanks for asking. I'm "Blessed Beyond Measure!" (a favorite quote I learned from my daughter Amy:))
And to all of you who read this...my prayer is that you too would know the lesson of my parents... that you can have a proactive attitude. It's a choice! There are abundant opportunities that await YOU! Expect great things!
God Bless! Love Linda
"We are all just walking each other home." ...