“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”—Leo Rosten (via creatingaquietmind)
There have always been Haters, but with the ubiquity of the Internet, Haters now gather together, vent and feed on one another, and hone their craftiness — without ever leaving home. In fact, some people are going to hate this story, but that’s OK, because haters gonna hate!
This is a thought provoking article. I’ve been coming down on all the snarkiness that abounds online. Hate is bad, so we hate hate, but in hating hate, we become Haters ourselves. Words to ponder.
The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce will be awarding two ATHENA Awards this year, its traditional ATHENA award and the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award. The criteria for both awards is available at www.fwchamber.org/athena
Yes, I am one of “those.” I believe that the start of a new year does represent a clean slate; I am a bit sentimental about that. And even though, looking back, I can think of very few resolutions I’ve actually accomplished (those extra 10-15 pounds have been around for YEARS), I believe that the act of self reflection and goal setting is its own kind of success, and so each year, I list what I hope to accomplish. There’s something about the start of a new year that inspires me to believe that I can make the big changes I want and need to make, and this year, I definitely have some big ones up my sleeve. So here goes…
1- Read more: specifically 2-3 books per month minimum. I’ve already started this habit and have been devouring books faster than I can get them checked out of the library. Now that I have my Kindle (thanks Brother), I have a feeling I won’t have any problem accomplishing this goal.
2- Learn to knit. Okay, this one sounds ambitious, but I am almost 100% sure that I can make this happen this year. At Christmas, my sister-in-law showed me some of her latest knitted creations and inspired me to try my hand at the craft.
3- Go to the gym. Last month, Jon and I joined a gym, and so far, we have been going regularly 4-5 times per week. I want to keep this up. As we learn to incorporate activity into our daily lives, I believe that more healthy habits will follow.
4- Be more aware… of myself and of others. This is something I am constantly thinking about and working on, so it needs to remain on the list forever and ever. This is one of my biggest struggles. I have a tendency to become complacent and go with the flow- it’s comfortable and easy. What happens then is that I get tunnel vision. I start to think only of myself and the easiest ways to get through the day. What I’ve found is that, often, the easy way is far from the best way- not only for me, but for those in my life. This goes hand in hand with my next resolution…
5- Focus on my priorities. I once lost sight of my priorities and in turn almost lost everything that was important to me. While work, friends and volunteering are important, nothing is more important than family. All else could disappear, but I need my family. This year, I will continue to devote my attention to remembering my priorities so that I can say “no” when outside obligations interfere; so that my family knows they are at the top of the priority list, always.
6- Lastly, be a better wife. Through awareness and focusing on my priorities, I hope to become a better partner. I admit it, I can be hard to live with. I suck at communicating. I can be super defensive. I have a tendency to fall into selfish patterns. But Jon loves me anyway and he deserves a better partner.
Wowzers… that’s a lot of stuff. So, let’s be realistic. I don’t expect to conquer all of my faults and change my life overnight. In fact, some of these may remain on my New Year’s Resolutions list for the rest of my life. I’ll take it one day at a time.
Remaining positive is hard work…there’s the stress of work, volunteer roles, family, friends… there are bills and sickness and house cleaning and it can all be a bit much. Throw in a few months of grey days at the height of Indiana winter, and it’s enough to send me into the deepest depths of despair.
Several years ago, I started subscribing to a variety of “positive thinking” e-newsletters (one channel of information I used in order to train my mind to remain positive and aware no matter what curveballs life threw my way). It’s been hard work, but it works most of the time. The past few weeks have been tough though. I’ve been overcome with grief more times than I’d like to admit, and I almost gave into it completely a few weekends ago… just let it sweep me right on down the river- a total loss of control. I spent that day in bed- the ENTIRE day. But the next morning, I woke up, I faced the day, and I just kept on living because that’s the only choice we have. That dark spot shook me though- it scared me, and so I’ve hunkered down and turned my attention inward again- focusing on those mental exercises I use to keep a positive mindset.
Today, while skimming one of my daily positive e-newsletters, I read this and wanted to share it. I don’t want to wait until it’s too late to live the life I’ve always wanted, and neither should you.
by Bronnie Ware
“It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.”
For many years, I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”—Mother Teresa (via thereclamationproject)