September 30. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” (Anonymous)
It’s always raining in my life.
No, that isn’t a sentence of despair or depression, just an observation. The truth is that, in some form or another, there is always something going on in my life that isn’t ideal. There is always a bit of a storm somewhere. It might be something at work, something at home, something with a family member, or something with a friend, but there is always something. In some way, for some person in my life, there is, and always will be, a storm to weather. If I spend my life waiting for perfect weather in order to be happy, then I will spend a lot of days in misery.
Stormy weather is a fact of every day life. It is a fool’s folly to believe that there can ever be a time when everything is going perfectly. Oh, it might seem like it for a short time, but the next challenge, the next hurdle, the next pot hole in the road is right around the corner. Oh wait, I am using a weather metaphor here…the next rain cloud is gathering over head.
Not so long ago there were a lot of quotes in this book about optimism. I wrote several posts about how my outlook on life determines how I deal with everyday circumstances. If my outlook is downtrodden, then every issue looks like a mountain, and every raindrop looks like a hurricane. But if I keep my head about me, if I keep my outlook positive, then those challenges become smaller and smaller, until they are nothing but a drop on the windshield, or a pebble in the road.
To a large extent, I get to choose my outlook on life. Most days, and most of the time, I have the ability to choose whether to be upbeat and optimistic, or downcast and pessimistic. I say most of the time because there are some days when I am just too excited to even consider being anything but positive. Sadly, there are some days when it is really hard to break through the doldrums and spin up my positive side. That’s just a fact of life too. No matter how upbeat and optimistic I might want to be, there are those days. For me the key is to see them for what they are, deal with them quickly, and get back on that positive slope.
Today’s quote is all about adaptability and cooperation. If I know that there is rain in the forecast, I can either choose to grouse and complain, or I can find a way to enjoy the rain. I can adapt my way of thinking to the reality of the world and I can cooperate with the inevitable, or I can spend my time resisting what I cannot change.
A few weeks back we went on our last camping trip of the Summer (we have a Fall trip planned as well, so the camper isn’t put away just yet). For the week leading up to that trip, the weather forecast was in a constant state of change. One day the forecast showed nearly no chance of rain for the weekend, the next day it was at 80%. Another day, and another change. It was truly unpredictable. When the weekend came, Saturday morning was sunny and warm. We were all outside having a great time, and making plans for a roaring campfire for the evening. Then, the weather changed. By dinner time it was pouring rain, and continued to do so until well past 8:30pm.
My first, gut reaction to the rain was very negative. This rain was washing away some really great plans I had, after all. But very quickly we all decided to adapt. We put up tents to sit under for dinner, we pulled out games and movies for the kids, and the adults all decided to play Catch Phrase for the evening. Eventually the rains past, and those who didn’t go to bed early still got to have a campfire, albeit with some of the wood wet from the rain.
The key to that evening, for my anyway, was adapting my attitude to the situation. I could have just sat in my camper for several hours waiting for the storm to pass. I could have been upset at the circumstances, and spent my time wishing it was a clear and star-filled sky. But what would any of that have gotten me? I would have lost time with friends waiting, and lost energy complaining about something over which I had absolutely no control. Instead, I decided to dance in the rain. The result was a fun filled evening that none will soon forget.
It’s always raining in my life. That’s a fact of my life, and probably of most people’s. Today my reflection is on making sure that I spend my time dancing in the rain, instead of waiting for the storm to pass.