Category Archives: Positive attitude towards life

Hard work is really hard

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

-Martin Luther King Jr

 

For many years, it has been a goal of mine to be able to run again, to re-teach my legs this motion, and correct my unsteady gait along the way. I would like to walk with confidence and ease, instead of worrying about falling flat on my face with each step or feeling like a pin ball bouncing off walls as I struggle to walk in a straight line. 

So after taking time away to focus on finding a job, it’s back to physical therapy again. I’ve noticed going back to physical therapy ever couple years has become a reoccurring trend in my life. It’s like losing weight or trying to have six-pack abs, in order to achieve and maintain those results you have to constantly be working at it.  For anyone who has gone through physical therapy, they’ll probably tell you that at some point they hit a plateau or no longer felt challenged. This plateau is something I’ve come across many times and it is frustrating to say the least. Once you hit this plateau, therapists often have a difficult time finding new exercises or thinking outside of the box. (No offense to any therapist reading, this is just personal experience)
 
So when considering therapy again, I wanted to make sure it would be challenging and help me achieve my goal. I found several places that offer exercise-based therapy which immediately grabbed my attention because this was something I had never heard of before. This type of therapy offers a different approach to therapy and encourages the patient to continue working out after hitting this plateau. It sounded like I finally found a therapy that might help me achieve my goals!
Shortly after starting therapy though, I was pretty disappointed. My therapist had me doing things like bridges and planks, all which I had done before. They were challenging but nothing different from what therapists in the past suggested I do. 
But here’s the thing, nothing worth having ever come easy. It will require hard work, discipline, and determination to achieve my goals. As much as I’d love to snap fingers and perfectly walk and run again, that’s not how it works.  For anyone who has tried to lose weight, you know it’s a constant battle and no matter how good of shape you’re in, you have to start with the basics. Once you perfect the basics and set a solid foundation, you are able to build on that. Which is why doing exercises such as planks is important because they’re basic exercises.
“Sometimes God doesn’t give you what you think you want, not because you don’t deserve it, but because you deserve better”
-Anonymous
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Let it go and move on

“If it’s not going to matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes being upset by it”

-Unknown

The other day, I was scrolling through my Instagram, looking at photos of friends and trying to catch up on their latest adventures. After a minute or so, that feeling of comparison started to kick in, the thought of “my life is no where as exciting as theirs” or “why can’t I be like that?”  Than I stumbled upon this quote. Although I’ve seen it a million times before, something about it seemed to grab my attention.

5-by-5

As I struggle to figure out adulthood and my next step in life, I find myself constantly worrying and comparing. Social media is truly a great thing in terms of keeping in touch with others but it also is a great distraction from life and depressing at times. Why is it that we always want what others have and aren’t content with what we have? I’m extremely guilty of this and worry about the most ridiculous things. Mostly why am I not like most people my age? But when I take a step back and ask myself, is that really what you want? Usually the answer is no. My life may have it’s issues and unanswered questions but I’d rather have my issues compared to some people.

A best-selling author, Regina Brett, once said “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” Lately this has been my first thought when I feel comparison started to creep up on me. What is the sense in worrying about the future and making myself upset not being like someone else? Will this matter 5 years or even 5 minutes from now? Eventually we all end up where we are meant to be so why worry about the details of how we get from a to b?

“I’ve learned that worrying, planning, or being angry over something small is often useless because life is full of change and unexpected surprises. Sometimes you have to just let go and hope for the best.”

-Anonymous

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Don’t let life beat you down

“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.”

-Aldous Huxley

 

Have you ever had a dream where you’re fighting against someone in an intense battle? 

After only minutes of battling, you are drained, fatigued, tired, ready to surrender. 

While the other fighter seems so well-trained, agile, energetic, never giving up or showing sign of quitting. And you can’t help but wonder, who is this?! They’re making me look like a fool.

Then you see your opponent, it’s a younger version of yourself!? 
 
Lately at work, I’ve found myself rushing through everyday, going through the same routine, counting down the hours til I can go home and then repeat it all over again tomorrow. Everyday seems monotonous, dull, same old thing day after day. I’m starting to understand the phrase working for the weekend. Instead of being excited for each new day and having a chipper, positive attitude, it’s a struggle to get out of bed most days. My enthusiasm towards life seemed to become non-existent.
 
Life has a way of beating us down over time. Whether through personal experiences, relationships, societal expectations, or growth. It’s easy to lose ourselves in the mix, to suppress our personality as a way to fit in, and curb our enthusiasm towards life.  But why is that? Why do we allow life to do this?
 
Each day is a new adventure, a new possibility for something great. Yes, some experiences in life cause us to be more apprehensive or more cautious towards certain situations. Building up barriers around ourselves and taking away our enthusiasm towards life. But this doesn’t mean we have to completely shut down and quit being the person we are. We have a choice whether to let life destroy us and settle for what society expects of us. Or to rise above the negativity of others and keep being you. 

“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”

-Henry David Thoreau

smiling

Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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One step at a time

“Some lessons in life can’t be taught. They simply have to be learned”

-Jodi Picoult

Have you ever made a decision and then shortly afterwards, completely regret it? Like you replay it in your mind a million times, thinking “why was I so stupid?! That was an awful decision.”

My mom’s birthday was last week and to celebrate it my immediate family got together at this cute inn along the Chesapeake Bay. (it’s my mom’s happy place…mine too).  The inn has its own private beach with kayaks and paddleboards and is so peaceful. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with all sorts of flowers. All worries wash away when I’m there.

As everyone gets older and busy with their own lives, it’s rare that we all can get together as a family, so I was definitely excited to see everyone. Well long story short, by the time my brothers and wives arrived, I was already laying out on the beach. As my mom checked into the place, my one brother and his wife came to help me walk back to our place. As I started to stand up from nearly falling asleep in the sun, my brother asked me if I wanted to put shoes on before walking. Being stupid, in a rush, and not thinking, I replied no, walking barefoot. After a couple of minutes of walking, I realized this was a bad decision and the bottoms of my feet started to burn. By the time we reached our place, my feet had burned so much that I couldn’t even stand. Both feet had burn marks but part of my right foot turned black like I had stepped in volcanic ash. Trying to be optimistic, I told everyone it was no big deal but inside I was freaking out. It looked as though it was 3rd degree burn on my right foot. I was so disappointed in myself, how could I be so careless?! I had ruined my feet. Upon finally sitting down in the kitchen and seeing this, we did what any intelligent person would do and “Googled”  how to treat burned feet. Since then, my feet have been wrapped with gauze, covered to avoid infection, and occasionally soaked in epsom salt.

During this week while regretting my decision and being disappointed in myself, I tried to remember what was going through my mind as I made this terrible decision to not wear shoes. My first thought, was really stupid. I had decided that it would look totally ridiculous to walk in a bathing suit and shoes. As I thought of this later in the week, my only thoughts afterwards were “what kind of horrible logic is this?! It’s was a beach! No one cares how you look and while at the beach, most people throw all fashion sense out the window!” My second thought was that of being stubborn and determined to keep walking despite the pain. I could have easily asked my brother to give me a piggy-back ride or to get my shoes because my feet hurt. But no, I was stubborn and stupid!

Within a couple of days after the burn, my left foot started to heal and return to normal but my right foot was still black. Although I had protested going to the doctor, thinking it would be useless, I decided to make an appointment and see if they knew how to save my foot. The fact that part of my right foot was black bothered me but it didn’t hurt as much anymore, making me think maybe the burn had affected my feeling somehow, which really made me start to panic.

Well the doctor didn’t prove useless because they said the big black spot is just a really big blood blister and will probably go away in a couple of weeks. I was so relieved to hear that news and to know my foot wouldn’t have to be amputated or permanently look like I stepped in black tar.

Moral of the story, when walking on hot pavement, always wear your shoes. Who cares if your shoes don’t match your outfit, protecting your feet is much more important. You can always buy new shoes, you can’t always buy new feet. And if you’re in pain or need help, stop, tell someone, and readjust, there is no sense in hiding the truth.

Be determined not stubborn.

Determination is positive, is light, and will take you far. It’s a willingness to change as needed, keeping an open mind.

Stubborn is a heavy feeling, a refusal to budge, a negative, closed mind and will take you nowhere.

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Overcoming my fear of the dishwasher

“What is the biggest thing that stops people from living their lives in the present moment? Fear – and we must learn how to overcome fear”

Brian Weiss

For the past several months, my dishwasher has been slowly dying.

Shortly after I graduated high school, my mom and I decided to redo our kitchen; new counters, new cabinets, new appliances, new everything. Along with choosing the design for the counters, backsplash, and cabinets,; there were several changes I made to the layout so it would be more accommodating for me. First of all, we had a wall knocked down, making the kitchen bigger.  Also, we installed a wall oven so I no longer had to worry about bending down and falling into the oven like Hansel and Gretel. We had several pull-down cabinets installed (great for the vertically challenged) and positioned the stove top near the sink so when making pasta noodles, the pot could just be slid across the counter and drained, instead of having to carry a hot pot across the room (and most likely burning myself). But my favorite thing, which was not cheap, was a dishwasher with drawers!
Years ago, as I was relearning to walk after cancer and radiation, I used to fall quite often. Imagine a baby first learning to walk, except I was 8 years old, was overweight from steroids, and my falls definitely caused a little more damage. My poor knees have permanent scars from some of my greatest falls or those scraps that kept getting reopened. I used to have the tendency to fall into things and break them. The dishwasher happened to be one of those things, one with a single door that pulls down  I landed on top of the door several times when it was open, nearly breaking the door off and causing it to leak as it ran. Needless to say, I felt terrible when this happened and avoided the dishwasher at all costs when it was open. I became afraid of a dishwasher.
So you can imagine my surprise when I found a dishwasher with drawers that I couldn’t break. I was actually really excited about a dishwasher! It had two separate drawers just like a dresser, both equal in size, and you didn’t have to run both at the same time. Sometimes I loaded and washed only the top drawer, other times I loaded both drawers. And the best part was, if I lost my balance accidentally, I didn’t have to worry about breaking it!
dishwasher
But as the saying goes, all good things come to an end and after almost ten years, the dishwasher started dying. The top would no longer drain properly and one day, it just stopped working. So we were stuck with only the bottom drawer, minimizing the amount of dishes we used and more than often, just hand-washing them instead. Then after about four months of this, the dishwater started to make a terrible grinding noise when it was on. I was worried it was going to start a fire, my mom was worried it would flood the kitchen. We attempted to have someone take a look at it and fix it but it ended up that a dishwasher with drawers is so rare and only manufactured by one company so finding someone was next to impossible. So we decided it was finally time to get a new one but were quickly reminded how expensive the dishwasher with drawers was compared to standard dishwashers with a pull-down door. I even searched ADA websites because honestly, dishwashers with a pull-down door are not that user-friendly for people who are wheelchair bound or have other physical limitations. But I couldn’t find anything.  It baffles me how able-bodied people and companies don’t consider these things sometimes, how a simple appliance is not always user-friendly when you’re disabled. After debating over whether the cost would be worth it to get my dream dishwasher again,  I decided to face my fear of breaking the dishwasher and go back to using one with the pull-down door.
After going to Lowes and testing out the doors, I swallowed my fear and bought one with a very sturdy door that would not snap immediately if it was accidentally bumped or fallen on top of.
But something I realized in this process is that my walking is not like it was 20 years ago. Yes, I may not walk straight, have a slight limp, stumble at times, and walk as if I’m drunk but I am no longer an overgrown baby first learning to walk. I do not fall everyday like I used to and thank goodness for that because my knees can’t handle that much falling anymore.  I have better control of my walking, and am more aware of my movements.  Through therapists and coaches, I have learned what works best for me. For example, saying “slow down” is not always good for me. I learned that walking slow also gives my brain too much time to disrupt the signals it sends to my feet. Therefore, what starts out as good foot placement becomes bad foot placement and could result in falling. It is best for me to walk at a steady, controlled,semi-quick pace, not giving my brain time to think or mess up things. This does mean I should walk fast, not a good idea, but is just something I’ve come to be aware of with my body.
The style of my new dishwasher may have some negative memories attached to it but my fear and past experiences should not dictate the present moment. I am a different person now compared to who I was 20 years ago and I am not going to let my fear keep me having clean dishes. So bring it on dishwasher,  I’m not afraid of you!
Live with intention,
Be bold in the face of adversity,
Live the life you were destined for

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Accept yourself with no exceptions

“Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to happen every time, it is about accepting that whatever happens is the best for that moment”

We all have had those moments where we go to check Facebook for a quick second and end up spending a half-hour on there, scrolling through our news feed, comparing ourselves to other people. Asking ourselves questions the entire time like “They look like they’re having so much fun and do so many cool things, why is my life so boring?” Or “I wonder why they didn’t invite me? Maybe there’s something wrong with me.” Or “How do your selfies look so perfect? It takes me at least 5 shots to get a picture I don’t hate.”

Admit it. We’ve all been down that road, comparing ourselves to the people around us. Even the most confident and self-assured people are guilty of this. If you have never done that, well kudos to you.

Tonight I had my high school reunion and to be completely honest, I was kind of anxious about it. Seeing what everyone has been up to is awesome and how much everyone has changed. I am so happy for my friends and everything they’ve accomplished. But at the same time I couldn’t help compare myself, it’s human nature.

So after throwing a pity party and momentarily freaking out about my life, I started to come back to reality. The thing is although I am happy for my friends, I would never want their lives and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want mine. Where I am in life right now may not be where I expected to be but as we all know too well, life is a wild journey. Having expectations just leads to disappointments.  And comparing ourselves to others is pointless. The world would be incredibly boring if everyone was exactly alike. When we accept ourselves and love who we are, we become empowered and respect ourselves. Therefore attracting respect from others too.

The other week, I met up with a friend for brunch. After spending hours catching up and laughing, we both went our seperate ways. As I was heading home, I thought how nice it was to see my friend and what great things she’s doing with her life but of course, I started comparing myself. Because of my disabilities, I will most likely never be able to drive and although it seems like no big deal, I feel like it holds me back in life. As my mind started to think how if I could drive, my life would more exciting like hers and started to get depressed, my mom and I were rear-ended. Everyone was fine thankfully and besides some minor damage, the car was okay. But in the quick second, I remembered why I’m glad I don’t drive. As a cancer survivor, I would rather go out in another way besides a car accident. Maybe something a little less dramatic. But moral of the story, guess that’s what I get for comparing myself to someone else.

“When you know yourself, you’re empowered.  When you accept yourself, you’re invincible”

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Shouldn’t the end come first?

Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes

As I mentioned in another post, one of my resolutions for this year is to read more, to learn more, and to broaden my worldview. Books, articles, blogs, whatever I can get my hands on. Recently, I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This book truly challenged my way of thinking and caused me to examine myself. It is a book I will go back to throughout my life and read over and over. This book is filled with so many great insights on how to approach various situations in life and how to constantly improve yourself.

As the title obviously states, the author describes the 7 habits to becoming more effective, whether in your work environment, with family and friends, and in life. Although each habit really spoke to me, the second habit really stood out to me,  Begin with the end in mind. In describing what he meant, the author asked the reader to imagine being at a funeral-their own funeral. He continued to ask who would be there, what would they say about you, etc. Then he asked if the answers to those questions would align with what your hopes would be. In other words, would the people you hope to be at your funeral be there? What would they say about you? Is it what you would want them to say? Or remember you as?

Although I think most people would say positive things about me, I’m not quite sure about my immediate family. They see sides of me most people don’t, my negative side, my impatient side, my moody side, and my favorite, my “just don’t bother me or speak to me” side. (my brothers use to add an adjective before Beth, it was their special name for me-no, it wasn’t beautiful)

I can only imagine what my stepdad would say, probably she’s a nag, bossy, and, impatient. “Always complaining about something whether I don’t do the dishes, if I track mud through the house, or if I chew too loudly.” After thinking about this, I realized I need to try to be more patient with him, understanding, and communicate my ideas better instead of nagging.

The same goes for my brother who is two years older than me. We have never really gotten along, always arguing about something, constantly fighting, or nitpicking at each other’s flaws. The things he would say about me  I’m sure wouldn’t be pleasant. But when I think about it, I am pretty awful sometimes and need to work on being a better sister instead of placing all the blame on him.

There’s a popular song by Tim McGraw about living like you’re dying that discusses what’s like to live each day knowing it might be your last. Although we all don’t really dwell on the thought of dying someday, it will happen. How do you want to be remembered?  When you imagine your funeral, who do you hope will be there? What do you think they will say? Is it what you hope they would say? And if not, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying”

-Tim McGraw

wildflowers

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