The choice is ours
I've noticed, along this road we're on, that staying positive has to be worked at, gently perhaps but worked at nonetheless. It's very easy to see the negatives, to think about what went wrong and to wish life could be different but none of those things are helpful or good for our well-being so maybe we need to find another way. For a very long time after Ash's diagnosis I blamed other people, I thought 'this is what tipped him into dementia' and 'if only that hadn't happened he'd be ok' and sometimes I was consumed by an anger which made me miserable and had me railing at life and thinking sadly about how life might have been. That anger has now passed and, mostly, I can focus on the positive but events over the last year haven't made that easy and I've gradually come to realise that I need strategies to help myself. I have strategies to help Ash of course and strategies to help me help him but these aren't the same thing, these particular strategies are just for me, to help me get through life and thrive while I'm doing it. When I'm travelling the world on my treadmill or lying in my new bedroom planning the view I'm going to create when it's warm enough to get into the garden, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I need to make my life better. Jake and the 7 year old are of course top of the list very closely followed by my friends who've been nothing short of wonderful but then there's the other, small stuff. You'll know by now that I like things which make me smile and, whereas in the past I've just bought things I need, now I look and look until I find a version of whatever I need that gives me a feeling of satisfaction and makes me happy. That takes a little more effort but it's definitely worth it. I've let go, both actually and metaphorically, of what irritates me, upsets me or makes me angry, I've looked for ways I can make my life easier and I've found several approaches which make a difficult situation easier to accept. One of my best, and most recent, discoveries has been a positivity podcast https://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/sb5kh-808c7/Paul-McKenna%27s-Positivity-Podcast which is made up of a series of half hour interviews with famous people who do their best to look at the positive side of life. Almost every one has been fascinating but the one this morning gave me pause for thought. Paul McKenna asked Richard Hammond (of Top Gear fame) what one piece of advice he would give to anyone listening and Richard replied that he would say not to be in a position where they ever thought 'I wish I hadn't been so miserable'. This really struck home with me because it feels as though I spent an awful lot of the last few years being miserable and I have to tell you that it's not something I plan on doing again. Life really is too short to waste on despair for whatever reason so my plan is to use the strategies I already have in place, add new ones as they're needed and make sure that the rest of my life is lived to the full even if, right now, there are constraints. Life is what we make it and we have to choose whether to enjoy what we have or to be miserable. Personally I'm choosing happiness but which will you choose and, if you choose happiness, what strategies do you have?
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