Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stuff I learned in 2014

It's been kind of a long year. A whole lot has happened, yet in some ways I still feel like I am in the same spot. I figured out some things I want to fix, and I'm doing OK, but feel like I have a little ways to go. I thought it might help to look back at what I actually learned and accomplished in 2014.
I learned that positive thinking actually works. I allowed myself to visualize the way I wanted my life to look on my 40th birthday - and it happened. To be honest, I thought I had a hold of the whole positive thinking thing a while back, but I really don't think I truly "got" it until this year.
I learned that you're never too far gone to start making better choices. Earlier this year I made some horrible, icky decisions (yeah, it was pretty bad). I thought there was no way to recover from those mistakes, but have since figured out it was as simple as forgiving myself, and then saying, "no more."
I learned that my life will probably never look the way I thought it would. More importantly, I learned that's OK with me. My happiness doesn't have to be like everyone else's, it just has to make me smile.
I learned that my past might shape me, but it doesn't have to define me.
I learned that a person is never too old to learn patience. I also learned that patience is not an easy thing to learn.
I learned what faith really is - and I learned that it works.
I learned was reminded that the most important people are those who will tell you the truth, even when it is not what you want to hear.
I learned that when you build walls to protect yourself from the bad, you also block your blessings. Letting people in is a risk - but it's one that's worth taking.
I learned that a lot can happen in a year. I'm ready to see what might happen in 2015.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Give big

I know a lot of people who like to say they hate "stuff," they don't need material things to be happy, they have learned to appreciate the people and memories in life. Etc, etc, etc.

I agree with it all. People are more important than things and happiness isn't found on a shelf. But there's still no denying - I love to shop.

I disagree that the ideas are mutually exclusive. A person can love to shop and still appreciate all that she has.

I spent some money on Black Friday, Cyber Monday...and all the surrounding days. On stuff for other people, and yes, on stuff for myself.

Today is Giving Tuesday. I will spend a little today, too - just not on stuff. Today I will support the causes that mean so much to me. Causes that help boost the lives and spirits and self-esteem for kids in my area. Organizations that make a difference in my community.

If you have an organization that you love, today is a great day to carve out some of your holiday-spending budget and give back. Or, volunteer your time - or just do a random act of kindness for someone.

The littlest things will make a big difference.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." ~ Dr. Seuss

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region

Girls Incorporated of the Greater Capital Region

Monday, November 24, 2014

Choose happy

I am going to let you in on a little secret: Starting around November 15, I start wishing it would just be New Years Day, already. Sure, I enjoy my time with friends, and I like all the yummy food the holidays offer. Anyone who knows me knows I love Christmas presents (giving and receiving, thankyouverymuch). I get a kick out of some of my holiday decorations, since I'm a sucker for glitter and sparkle.

But damn, if this time of year isn't tough.

Between the extra family stress and the fact that my traditions are...well....non-existent at this point, I'm about done with decking my halls. I just want to eat a little food, watch "It's a Wonderful Life," reflect on a few good memories, and hope for the best as I turn yet another page.

Since I live with depression every day of my life, I know what to do and how to manage. I am thankful to be in a position where I can actually choose to be happy. I wasn't always here; happiness was once nothing more than a fuzzy idea that seemed totally out of reach. So I know just how lucky I am.

I have learned ways to find happiness. When that fails - I have learned how to create happiness. I have learned that, if you're lucky, happiness really is a choice - one you have to make every single day.

But it's still tough - and I know I am not the only one. So if you know someone going through a tough time, here is a good list of things not to say.

If you're going through a rough time, just remember - January is coming. Until then, if you need a smile, let me know. I'm sure I have one or two to spare.