inspiration

How to have a bad day

I have bad days. And I have really horrible days. I would really like all my days to be good days–but that’s not realistic. I’m going to have bad days. I’m going to have days when I wake up tired and cranky. I’m going to have days with bad news and things that go wrong.

So how do I learn how to do deal with the bad days so they don’t become downright awful days that I deeply regret?

Here are five ideas.

1. Acceptance. 

I can’t change the past. Or predict the future. And sometimes, I just have to accept what is right now. Even if it isn’t what I want. I can’t change certain things, and trying to change them by worrying about them over and over isn’t going to help me or anyone else. I have to accept things I don’t want to: I make mistakes. I get cranky. I have off days. But I can accept those things, because they happen. They are real. Accepting it makes it way easier to deal with.

2. Forgiveness. 

I need to forgive others, I need people to forgive me, and I need to forgive myself. Forgiveness means I’m going to let go of anger and resentment and shame. I’m going to realize that mistakes are not definitive. And I’m going to keep trying to do the best I can.

3. Release Expectations. 

Sometimes the reason I have a bad day is because I was very much expecting Plan A, and then I have to deal with Plan B (or C or Z) instead. When I hold on to Plan A, I am miserable. But Plan A only exists in my head. I can let go of it. I can get rid of the expectations I had for perfection and happiness and just exist with life as it is. I can embrace Plan B and accept things aren’t going according to plan. Because Plan B is the right plan: it’s the plan that actually exists.

4. Remember Priorities and People. 

Sometimes I prioritize things that are not very important–like having a clean house or getting everything done on my list. I need to take a step back and realize my real priorities: family, becoming a better person, and serving others. People are more important than things. When everything goes wrong, there are still people who I love and who love me. They are more important than the things that went wrong.

5. Let the bad moment stay inside that moment. 

Sometimes I have a bad day because I had a singular bad moment and I spent the rest of the day worrying about it. Sometimes I have a bad week because I had one bad day. I’ve been learning to isolate those bad moments and not let them ruin my whole life. I made a mistake–it happens. I don’t need to drown myself in guilt and then punish myself over and over by making more wrong choices. I can forgive other people for their mistakes. I can choose to move forward and upward.

And if someone around me is having a bad day–I can apply those same things. I can accept that they are struggling, forgive them, release the expectations I had for them, love them, and then hope for a bright future. I’ve had bad days where I’ve sat on the computer dealing with problems in a sour mood–and my husband starts to make dinner, reassures me that I’m fine and it’s okay, and loves me instead of criticizing the fact that I have gotten way off track. I am so grateful for that. I try to give him the space and love he needs when he has a bad day too.

Bad days don’t last. Because usually, life is pretty awesome if we care to remember how many good days we actually have.

 

essay

Changing Passions

I’ve changed a lot over the years:

  • At one point when I was young, I wanted to work with animals when I grew up because I loved animals so much. I grew up, and I don’t even like animals very much anymore.
  • I also thought I would write and publish young adult novels. I used to read young adult fantasy novels all the time and I thought I would read them for the rest of my life. And while I still read them on occasion, they are not my favorite books. I read more boring books now, like lots of nonfiction.
  • I loved Harry Potter. And I still like the books, but with everything Harry Potter is now, I don’t care for it very much.
  • I majored in English and philosophy. And it was great for that time in my life. But if I were to go back to school again, I would major in something like economics.
  • I was quite a shy person and I would have considered myself an introvert, but then I became a stay-at-home mom and I suddenly figured out that I love being with other people.

Now, these things were huge parts of who I was. And they changed. And I know that I’m going to keep changing as my life continues. I’ve gone in completely different directions than I ever thought. I’ve changed so many of my opinions, viewpoints, and fears. I’ve changed what I like to do. I’ve changed parts of my personality and how I act.

There are certain things that have stayed the same and I expect will stay the same the rest of my life, particularly my deepest held convictions like my faith in God, my love for family, and my desire to be a good person.

But so much of my life and who I am right now is temporary. It won’t be that way for forever. It isn’t really who I am in the long run–it’s just what’s happening right now.

Sometimes we think when we are young that we’re going to decide who we are going to be for the rest of our lives and we’re just going to go forward with our plans and live the life we imagined. But in my experience, life gets a whole lot more complicated than that. We change and evolve. It’s a good thing–I think I’ve gotten better over the years, after all. And while I’m not achieving the same life goals I had when I was young, I’m still working towards good things.

Change is good. Because the person who I was before is not quite as capable as the person I am now. Some things I thought were really important turned out not to be very important at all. Some things that were afterthoughts have become the primary focus of my life.

And I’m happy to be here, right now, even if this isn’t the life I envisioned. Because who I am right now and the life that actually happened is a whole lot better than I ever expected.

essay · my life

Happiness

Happiness is not dependent on circumstance.

Every other time we’ve moved, we really wanted to move. We moved after months of job searching, or after living with my parents, or after living in places we didn’t like. But this last time, while we felt like it was time to move, we liked the life we had. I felt like I was part of a community that I didn’t really want to leave.

Some days, I miss my friends, schools, and my house. Our new life is frankly a whole lot harder: I’m homeschooling now, my husband works longer hours, I’m really far away from town, and I gave up my green yard for a yard full of cactus and red sand. My house is smaller too. It’s taking some adjustment.

But I realized something one morning: my happiness is not dependent on my circumstance. Which means that I don’t have to like where I live to be happy. Happiness does not wait for life to be perfect–it can be here now.

Sometimes I fall into a trap of thinking that I have to see the good in everything. And sometimes, things are just hard and unpleasant. And I can accept that. It’s part of life.

I don’t have to love the paint color on my walls or enjoy my rather narrow kitchen. I don’t have to love every minute of spending all day, every day with my four children. There are things about my life right now that I don’t like and I don’t want. And that’s okay. Because I can still be happy.

It’s takes a lot of pressure off myself to say that I don’t have to enjoy every minute and I don’t have to like every single part of my life–and to then realize that I can still wake up smiling.

There are so many good things, and the good things are enough to outweigh everything lacking. And even when the difficult and hard things are completely overwhelming–it’s okay to cry. I don’t have to be happy all the time to have a happy life.

It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to dream of something better. It’s okay to feel whatever I’m feeling.

Sometimes I beat myself up for things that I do that aren’t even wrong. I expect myself to fit in a weird, impossible framework that I built up in my own mind. The perfection that I think I want isn’t practical–and it doesn’t exist.

Life isn’t perfect. Life isn’t fair. Life will always be sort of hard. That’s what life is–a roller coaster of ups and downs as circumstances constantly change.

So happiness does not need to wait–it can happen right now. Even if my house is a wreck. Even if I’m really tired. Even if I didn’t accomplish anything in a day. Even if I don’t particularly like where I live. Even if my life looks so different from I ever imagined–and I still wish for dreams that I’m not sure will ever happen.

My happiness isn’t dependent on any of that. Happiness comes not in the accomplishment, but in the trying.

So I’m feeling happy. Not because my life somehow got easier, but because I decided to stop expecting the impossible.