I get excited when things go right. I’m thrilled when they go according to my plan. According to personality tests, I’m not much of a melancholy personality (meaning someone who likes their clothes perfectly pressed, enjoys a schedule, and makes lists for fun); but enough challenges have presented themselves in my life that over the years, I’ve come to despise the situation and sometimes myself when things go awry.
I don’t know if it was a situation, an opinion, or something I assumed about other people, but I used to think that because others were having success or had something that I was working for, that everything was going perfectly for them. They had nice clothes, a cool car (or two), a fancy degree, a big house, and nothing went wrong in their life. Somewhere along the line, I abandoned the very real truth that whatever I wanted, I could also have and more than likely, I was three feet from gold.
Not everyone who lives in extravagant wealth, or any kind of financial security, was necessarily born that way. I have no first hand knowledge of whether I was born into any kind of wealth or not because when I was almost 4, my Dad passed away. As anyone can imagine, things, including financial responsibility are left up to the widow at that point. My Mom always did what she could to provide, but without the contribution from my Dad, things grew tighter and tighter. That’s not to say everything comes down to money, but it is a big deal when you grow up without it. And just like a kid who finally gets something they want, as soon as I got my hands on any money of my own, I got excited and spent it all – all the time. I wish I could say I know now what I spent my money on 10 years ago, when I was 16 and had my first job; other than one of those candy bar cell phones and make-up, I don’t know!
Then begins that scene of my life that some like to call “real life”. When I was a teenager, I was in a hurry to grow up, be married, have kids, and just be rich. Now that I’m 3 ½ years away from entering my 30’s (!!!!), I sometimes want to forget the world, build a fort, and sing along to boy band music while I cuddle with my teddy bear and color in my Clifford coloring book. I’m not married, no kids, and I’m working my way up in the world. I meet a lot of people and a lot of times, they have a marriage (whether good or bad), kids, and everything I thought I wanted right away. I’ve come to realize, though, that it’s a blessing in disguise that I don’t have those yet. I don’t have that extra responsibility weighing on me while I’m chasing my dreams.
So what’s been my biggest problem? Any financial difficulties I may have now are a direct result of choices I made in the past. Just like if I had chosen to get married before I was ready, to give myself to any one of the guys trying to get something from me, or if I chose to drink my problems away, I would have had consequences to deal with. No matter how “bad” I think things are (because they don’t match my ideal situations), I’m reminded by looking at the world, that things could be a whole lot worse. I could have many more odds stacked against me.
The world is hurting and the hurt is obvious when we see the homeless man on the sidewalk, children begging for food or going without medicine, and anyone involved in a 5 o’clock news story. Others hurt, too. I’m sure it surprised us all that Robin Williams suffered from depression, among other health problems. But because I used to think that everyone who had what I didn’t, including money, was not in pain or suffering, I never thought about real problems spanning economic classes.
Once I look outside myself, I realize how much I really have. I’m not married. I have no kids. My Mom and I help each other, so I have a teammate. I have friends who love me for me and respect my aspirations. I have dreams and goals and an urgent drive to accomplish them. My finances have done a 180 and are only getting better (I suggest reading what God thinks about finances – everything is 100% true). I have all the opportunity I could ever need. I have a good head on my shoulders. I have great health. I’ve even been re-connected with my family. I have everything.
Things won’t always go the way I want them to. When I relax and enjoy the ride of life, knowing I’ve done all I can do, everything will work out…usually better than my selfish perception of perfection.
Now, equipped with everything I need, including a positive mindset, I choose to spread the good things. People are watching, even when I don’t realize it. I don’t want to do or say anything unless it helps others feel love, empowerment, and a sense that they too can overcome.
I encourage you to do the same. Be kind. Show love. You never know who’s watching, who you influence, and who needs to be smiled at by a stranger. You never know what anyone else is going through. Be the example and treat others the same way you want to be treated.
It starts with you counting your blessings and not seeking “perfection.”