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Stop worrying, slow down and learn to laugh

August 23, 2012
By MIKE HUGHES - Times Leader Staff Writer (mhughes@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

In perusing Facebook the other night, I came across a picture post that read "God is the GPS of your life. Sit back and let him lead."

Whether you believe in God, any God, or not, it's easy to think that your life has already been planned out in front of you. You're behind the wheel, constantly reacting to traffic flow, detour signs, deer crossings, etc.

I knew what the poster was trying to convey. I agreed with him for the most part.

But being this was Facebook, I couldn't resist the urge to interject a little humor into what was primarily a serious posting done so for its meaning.

My response?

"Well then who told him it was a good idea to program in the scenic route?"

I thought it was funny anyway. But in that response was also veiled a somewhat serious sentiment. When?

When are things going to turn around? When is life going to get easier? When will it be my, yours or our time to shine?

Let's face facts. Good things are going to happen to you in life. Bad things will happen too.

Seldom does the good equal the bad. Rarely are the percentages bordering on what you would call fair.

You can hit a run of good luck where everything seems to go right. Then, life is good.

You will also experience a run of bad luck where it seems nothing is going your way and it's almost as if life is trying to pick on you.

I've had some good experiences the last four or so years. Some I'd even call great. But there have been plenty of bad experiences as well.

I was laid off for a time. That was fun. I also got divorced. I don't recall programming that into the GPS of life, but yet, there it was. Call it a detour in my life's metaphorical vehicular itinerary.

But even through the bad, there is always something good you can fall back on: your kids, your job, even a good song coming on the radio at just the right moment to put a smile on your face.

It doesn't have to be a monumental experience. No matter how bad things get, you can always find some small ounce of positivity if you look hard enough.

It's taken me a while to see that. But I've been living by two phrases that have got me through the worst days and even the best.

No. 1: Don't worry unless there is

something to worry about

This deals with the difference between what is and what may be, what could be, what might be. I have long since abandoned dealing in possibilities.

Insurance companies deal in what ifs. I don't. I found that if you spend your entire life worrying about what "might" happen, then all you will do is worry.

Worrying accomplishes nothing. Now don't get me wrong, sometimes you have to plan for the future. You have to consider all possible angles and how you will react in certain scenarios.

What I'm referring to are those situations where you stress and stress over something that is out of your sphere of control.

Problems happen. That is a given. More often than not, they are unavoidable.

So why dwell on something that you can't change. All of the worrying, self pity, outbursts, the anger ... none of it is going to change what has happened. Deal in the now. Deal with what you can change.

OK, so you lost a job. What are you going to do to fix the situation? Do you wallow and wonder why this is happening to you or do you suck it up and get to finding a solution.

No one said it's easy. But dwelling on something you can't change does nothing more than make you feel worse about an already bad situation.

No. 2: Laugh, it helps

This is probably even more of a helper than the first point.

Find something that makes you laugh, anything, and make sure you have a lot of it.

For me, I'm a huge fan of stand-up comedy. The more raunchy, the more off-the-wall, the more politically incorrect, the better.

Comedians like the late Patrice O'neal, the late Greg Geraldo, Carlos Mencia, Lewis Black and even good old Ron White have gotten me through some rough spots.

I have their CDs. I have digital copies on my computer and on my cell phone. I keep a trusty pair of headphones handy for those just in case situations.

I could be having the worst day ever, and a few minutes of blissful and raunchy ignorance streaming through my speakers or headphones is enough to snap me back into reality and get me out of a tough spot.

It helps me focus. It gives me a chance to look at all the positives, whether they be plentiful or few in number.

And it helps to let me know that tomorrow is a new day.

My good days have outnumbered the bad recently and for that I'm thankful. It's not always been the case. And it's not the case for everyone.

But not matter what you're struggling with, know that it will eventually get better ... one way or another.

Just sit back and enjoy the ride - even if it is the scenic route.

Hughes may be reached at mhughes@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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