My Life Would be So Much Better If….

I think at one point or another, everyone has said this to themselves. My life would be so much better if… If I moved, if I could buy a house, if I had kids, if my kids were older, if I had a different job, if I had a job, if it wasn’t raining out, if I didn’t have so much debt, if I didn’t have so much to do, if I didn’t have to clean the house, if, if if….

Cabin fever has set in hard for me. My job has been taking a lot of brainpower and time lately, including time at home at night and on weekends. The weather has been cold, and I don’t see much sun once I get home. Therefore, I haven’t been going for a walk at night or getting outside much at all. On my way home from work today, the thought passed through my mind that it would be nice to live in a warmer climate.

You've had those days too, haven't you? Just that one thing will make our lives better.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to follow that with - no, life wouldn’t be so much better if I lived in a warmer climate. I continually get emails from my parents in Florida complaining about heat and humidity, along with wind. They sit inside in their air conditioning as much as we sit inside with the furnace running.

Why though, do we default to this mindset? Why do we think something big has to happen for our lives to be so much better? As I pondered that thought all the way home, I decided that attitude plays a big role in our life. Now there are times when a big change is necessary; however, I am referring more to the times when we think it is just that one change that will solve everything.

There is a belief out there, one I totally agree with, about picking your attitude. No one tells you what attitude to take, what to say, how to behave, or what you must feel. We choose all of these things. I’m not going to go so far as saying we are masters of our own destiny; I believe we play a role in it, but I am not one to defend that statement very well.

So if I can pick my attitude, then I can believe my life doesn’t need a big change to be so much better. For example, there really is no reason why I am not going for a walk at night other than being lazy. I know that taking a walk would clear my head from all it has to do at work, and would energize my body. There are also plenty of winter sports to partake in, if I decide to do them. For example, I love snowshoeing, and could do it more often if I chose to. 

A recent snowshoeing day. We bundled up,
 and enjoyed being outside.

If the house is too noisy, or my husband is watching a movie I don’t like, I have the choice to go in another room and read a book instead of stay with the noise. If dinner is too stressful to make, I can make a simple one. If our children are fighting, they are probably bored and could use some attention instead.

There is no bed of roses and things are not greener on the other side of the fence. Wherever you are or whatever you do, your attitude comes with you. If you are a negative complainer, that is going to travel with you even if you switch jobs or move cities. If you feel your young children are a burden, you have the attitude that they are causing the burden. When they grow older, you will find another way to feel they are a burden.

So how do you change your attitude to feel that right now, right where you are is a good life that doesn’t need a big change to be so much better?

You start small. You start by accepting that you are the one who can change. As I mentioned above, there is nothing stopping me from going for a walk in the winter. I have plenty of warm clothes to bundle up in. If you don’t like your job, start by polishing up and/or developing some skills that could be transferred to another job and then start looking. I just read a really thought-provoking book by Cal Newport, So Good They Can’t Ignore You . He makes some good points about liking your job more when you are really good at it, no matter what your job is; rather than chasing a passion driven job.

If you are in debt, start to reduce your spending and impulse buys; little by little, you can pay off your debt. I have read about many people who like Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball Plan for debt reduction.

If your young children are draining, try to set some routines and consistencies. When you are tired, the last thing you want to do is enforce consistency, but again, it is like my walking - the benefits are quickly seen.

While these ideas may be too general, or not applicable to your exact situation, if you start thinking about how you can change your attitude, instead of changing the physical situation you are in, you might find small ways to begin molding your current physical situation into one that is a better life for you.