It happens every morning. As I look toward the window for any hint of the weather outside, I am thinking how glad I am to have another day. A fresh new day. Yesterdays angst, mess-ups, lost moments, etc. can be, and should be, left in yesterday. The day is stretched out in front of me and that is where I want to keep my focus – out front, ahead of each step – and I have, finally learned to do just that because … I now own each day.
Shirking ownership through attitude.
There was a time that something as innocuous as the weather could impact my day. Summer has always been my favorite season and I thoroughly enjoyed all the outdoor activities that it allowed. If I woke to anything but sunshine it was not out of the norm for me to question the point in getting out of bed. Well, okay, perhaps I didn’t take it to that extreme, however, because of the way it affected my attitude I may as well just stayed in bed.
Growing up, I would race through my chores so I could get outside and play with my friends – bike riding, jump rope, climbing trees and swimming, most of all, I loved swimming. If it was a pool day and there was even a hint of a cloud hovering in the sky my heart would plummet and take my mood right along with it.
So, from a young age I, basically, taught myself to allow outside factors, uncontrollable ones at that, the power to wield influence or outright control over the way I approached each day. Over the years it was clear I was shrugging off any sense of responsibility for my disposition when facing a new day. It was a habit developed as a kid placing all my hopes on sunny weather so I could hit the pool, beach, lake – whatever the swim plans were for the day. Ironic, huh? To love the water yet feel grouchy over rain. I looked at everything around me for the happy-feel-good feelings; hey, I wasn’t about to take responsibility for my mood.
Taking the bull by the horns
I remember a conversation with my mother towards the end of her battle with metastatic breast cancer. She had come to some realizations about her life and expressed a sadness, well, actually it was more of a frustration mixed with anger towards herself. I can still see the look on her face as she said “now it’s too late.” It left me wondering why it is we tend to seek and make all sorts of positive changes in our lives only when it becomes too late.
After mom died I had a renewed desire to take a hard look at myself – it was time to take the bull by the horns. I wasn’t really sure if that bull was representative of me or of my life. Actually, it ended up being both … working on my attitude spilled over into my life and I finally started, slowly but surely, taking responsibility for everything and anything to do with my life.
Even though I was a scheduled person (thanks to the German in me I was forever making lists) I would still allow all the unforeseen elements that tend to crop up on any given day the control to drive the day in any old direction. Combined with the part of me that stuck to schedules and, well, it was a recipe for stressful days and something had to change. Yes, bring on the bull, grab the horns, and hmm, now that I have it what do I do with it?
Control it. Own it. Be responsible for it. Put on my big girl, er, shorts and grow up. Or, as the song goes, ROAR. Whatever the step taken, I just needed to take a step … and that led me to ask myself another question.
Do you live life or does life live you?
Go ahead, read that sentence over again. And again. Don’t feel bad if you’re scratching your head – I can still see my husbands expression when I asked him that question. It’s a twist on the oft used cliché “Get busy living or get busy dying”. If I was going to accept full responsibility for my happiness, for what I would and would not allow in my life – and stop being a doormat – it was time to take ownership of each and every day.
Embrace the day … No matter what it brings!
I knew I had turned the proverbial corner when I looked out the window one dismal, windy, damp spring afternoon and there was a song in my heart … okay, so that part about the song isn’t only sappy but something I made up. However, I was in a good mood. I was thinking about this, that, and the other – everything but how horrible my day, my life, surely would be because of such terrible weather.
The point is, I wasn’t allowing something in my environment to shape, influence, warp, dampen my mood. As the days rolled into weeks then months, it became easier to embrace the day, each and every day, looking at it as a new start.
This may sound a bit trite but every morning really is a gift. Every morning is a try–again opportunity with the day stretched out in front of me … ah, yes, but then, I don’t need to go into all that since that is where this whole conversation began.
I don’t want to give the impression that each and every day is an exercise in euphoria. It wasn’t, and isn’t, easy for me to always remember my own culpability for each day … and there are definitely days where I want to pull the covers over my head and hide from the world. But, overall, I think I can honestly say I have taken or rather, perhaps I should say accepted, ownership for each day.
What about you? Do you own each day or does it own you?