As I glanced at the calendar today, I thought that my eyes were deceiving me. How is it possible that today is only the ninth day of the year, when it feels like the first of the year was a long time ago?! Once I realized that my eyesight was fine, I tried to wrap my brain around the fact that the new year still is in its infancy stage. That realization definitely comforted me, as I reflected on the first full week of the year.
It was not a bad week per se, but it was a very busy and stressful week. My daughters resumed school and their respective extracurricular activities. My job had me working later than usual to keep up with its demands. The recent flooding in our basement and the ongoing issues with our cable television service led to service calls and appointments that disrupted an already busy schedule. Oh, I also started treatment for breast cancer. So, we hit the ground running to begin 2016, and it began to feel like 2016 was hitting back.
While I continue to set my daily intentions and subsequently see them through to completion, the fresh new year feeling got lost along the way, and I ended the week feeling exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I was crossing a lot off of my checklists each day, but I was not feeling good about it or myself. In the past when I have faltered out of the gate, I have used that as an excuse to give up and slink back into the comfort zone that is a virtual prison to wait for another time or another year to try again. But not this year.
No, this year is definitely different in a good way. With every misstep I have made during these first nine days, I catch myself, reevaluate what did and did not work, and keep going. This may sound easy, and perhaps, for most of the free world, it is. I still am building my mental and emotional stamina and muscles, though, and it is a daily discipline of being aware of, not beholden to, my more challenging thoughts and beliefs. Some days, I want to give up and settle for going through the motions and surviving, instead of thriving and living the life I desire. The thought of settling for mediocrity when I know what awaits me is what keeps me going, even when I am given pause and want to stop.
This afternoon, I still was shaking off the heaviness of the week when I arrived at my youngest daughter’s grade school basketball game. Their team has yet to win a game this season, as they are competing against bigger and more skilled teams, but they have yet to be beaten by a team with more heart, spirit, and determination. During the game, they play hard, even when the scoreboard suggests throwing in the towel may be the smartest game plan, and they don’t get down on themselves or each other. They just play on and have fun doing so.
After every game, there are a lot of smiles, laughs, and positive words being shared among the entire team, and you would never know that they were the losing team by looking at them. When they lost 26-8 last week, they were excited, as 8 was the most points that they had scored this season. My daughter didn’t mention the final score, all she could talk about was her blocked shot and her team’s season high 8 points. Today was no different when they lost 31-6.
As I watched my daughter and her teammates celebrate (yes, celebrate) after the game with a trip to their favorite local ice cream store, I was reminded of Harvard researcher and author Shawn Achor’s brilliant quote:
“For me, happiness is the real joy we feel striving after our potential.”
As preteens, my daughter and her friends have discovered that as awesome as it is to win, there is still joy to be found along the way and even in the face of defeat. The fact that they chose to focus on celebrating together did not change the final score, but it is what will help them to continue to show up for the rest of their games ready to try yet one more time.
It is easy to stay positive when winning, but to do so when losing is something most of us have yet to master. These girls may not walk away from this season with a winning record or a championship trophy, but they will walk away with invaluable life lessons, good memories, and solid friendships. They also will walk away with me following in their footsteps, as I continue to set out to choose happiness and faith, no matter what opponent I face and what the outcome may be.
Just one thing each day . . .
Categories: Just One Thing Each Day