Then yesterday, I saw this image, and read these words. And my mind went... ZING!
"Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be."
Wayne W. Dyer
Yes... being at peace. It's a place most people seem to struggle with, but for some reason it has always come fairly easy for me. Contentment... peace... pure joy at being alive, however you name it, I've been lucky. I would say that "decide to be happy when you wake up" kind of approach to life is an attitude I got from my darling mum. I have to thank her for that. I have joked in the past that it was probably because I have such low expectations. A friend said last night that she's always amazed at how many people have such a sense of entitlement, that life owes them something, just for existing. This is exactly why this quote struck home for me.
I often think back to the time we were living in Gosport, when I was in my early twenties. Jim and I were sharing a rental house with a couple of single guys. Looking back at that place now, I realize it was pretty tough. Jim was starting our first business and was hardly ever home... which is where I was most of the time. Money was very tight, but we'd made the decision that I should be at home with our two kids. For me, there really wasn't another choice. Mark and Karen were both still in diapers, we had no washing machine or dryer, so there was a big pile of hand-washing to be done every morning. I didn't drive so we walked everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Even up St. Anne's Hill Road, which seemed at the time to be the longest hill ever. It really was only an overpass, but on wet days when I couldn't hang the washing on the line, slogging it up that hill to the laundrette in the pouring rain, with two kids piled into the pram, heavily weighed down with wet laundry, the dog by our side... well, it was flippin' exhausting. How could I possibly have taken ANY pleasure in this existence? Amazingly enough I did. I can bring back that feeling now... being in that steamy room, drips running down the condensation on the windows and the damp smell of clean washing in the air. With my two lovely kids chattering away to each other, happily playing with the toys I'd brought with us, I would settle down and dive back into the book I was reading and steal a few precious moments for myself.
And even though there were long evenings, once I'd put the kids to bed, spent looking out the bedroom window, waiting for Jim to come home, for some reason, deep down inside I was happy.
I'm forever thankful that I am blessed with the ability to see the beauty around me everywhere, even on the darkest days. I can easily take pleasure in the small happinesses that come my way.
I've been trying to write something about what life has brought me so far this year... "New Beginnings", but being completely honest with my words is proving difficult for me. This is an unusual set of circumstances, I don't normally have that problem.
After a lifetime together, the last 8 years with Jim were incredibly hard. They were hard for us both. Jim had so many struggles with his health and with his self-esteem. He had such a hard time coping with being sick, he'd always been so fit and so strong, and his dependence on alcohol just took over his life. I don't think I need say anymore than that...
I honestly believe the choices I made during that awful time have saved me. When I made the decision to become my own person, and to consciously live a purposeful life before it was forced upon me was an incredibly powerful thing. It's the only way I've been able to cope with the challenges I've faced, both personally and with our business, since Jim finally left us in March this year.
It's because I made peace with those decisions, that I'm still loving life. And I do feel at peace and even full of joy when I wake up every morning. At first it made me feel guilty, but after a while I realized that it was ok. To quote another friend, "It is what it is..."