Taking a look around provides perspective

Published 8:45 pm Saturday, August 8, 2015

This week has been one for the books. Work was crazy, wedding plans got crazy, life was just all over the place.

I’ve always been extraordinarily good at overloading my plate. I cannot say no. I tell myself that I won’t take anything else on for the moment, and then a friend says I really need your help with something. What can I do? I, certainly, can’t say no, so I say yes, and pray it can temporarily be placed on hold.

This may be starting to sound like I’m complaining, but I’m not. Nor is it a humble brag, where I get show off everything I’m involved in. This is me taking a moment to look out of my whirlwind and notice, everyone else is doing it, too.

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To the man who forgets his manners for a minute and gets a little smart, I get it. You’ve got a thousand things you’d rather be doing. Or to the woman that rushes by without saying hello, I know you probably just didn’t see me. You’re in your own head, in your own to-do list.

Truth is compared to some of the people I know, my plate is just about empty.

I may have a stack of magazines piling up that I haven’t had time for, or maybe I just really haven’t gotten as much down time as I’d like. But I know people with to-do lists as long as mine if not more on top of raising children. I, for one, couldn’t even imagine having kids right now. That’s a whole different set of responsibilities that never go away.

That’s something we all should more — look around us and realize that not only does someone have it worse than we do, but most people have it just as bad as we do. Some of us are blessed with wonderfully, beautiful personalities that can cover up the struggles easier. I, for one, was not. Stressed? Tired? Worn out? All of the above? I’m out for the count. I’m shorter, I’m moodier, and I’m much more likely to burst into tears — kind of like a small child. And I’m willing bet more people are like me than the first type.

We live in a strange society where we’re accused of being self-centered, as evidenced by every minute detail of our lives on Facebook or the Selfie Era, and yet we don’t take time for ourselves for the things we need selfish about.

I recently saw a blog floating around Facebook where the writer explained why they had stopped prioritizing work over their workouts. Whether or not that’s the right thing to do, I do thing the writer was onto something. We do need to prioritize our own needs. You can do that without being selfish.

Figure out what makes you a better person —whether that’s working out or spending time with the Bible — and just do it. Schedule it in. Make it so that you’re doing whatever it takes to keep your mental self in shape.

This is my greatest struggle. When I come home from work, I just want to veg out. But I feel so much better when I spend time writing and exploring my thoughts, reading, taking a yoga class.

And then, once you’ve realized you’re not alone, you’ve taken a moment for yourself, think about all the things going right in your life. Maybe it’s as simple as a roof over your head, running water and air conditioning. Maybe it’s the family and friends around that make your life better.

It’s easy to name off our complaints, but it should be even easier to name what we’re thankful for. It shouldn’t be an activity saved for just Thanksgiving or even the month of November. We, as Americans, have plenty to be thankful for.

The first step to enjoying life is noticing the positives all around you.

Julia V. Pendley is the Lifestyles editor at The Daily Leader.