"Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."
- Abraham Lincoln
This has long been a favorite quote of mine. One of my best friends in middle school gave me a book mark with these words on it, which I then hung on a cork board on my wall. I saw it every day until I left home for college.
These words are not meant to diminish the serious reality of depression and other mental illnesses. The friend who gave me this little, but well-loved, gift struggled with bipolar disorder. I myself battled depression for over four years. These illnesses are real, and if you need help, seek it out.
But even through those years, I went back to these words for encouragement and motivation. I think one of the greatest struggles of my adult life is realizing that I cannot do everything. I cannot be everything to everyone. I cannot accomplish every goal I ever dreamed up. I cannot be everywhere at once. I cannot. As I've grown in my adult life, I've accomplished many things, and to some people, that might give you some sense of power. But the many demands on my life that I have been able to fulfill have, for me, also highlighted the many things I could not do. I had to start making sacrifices. Saying no. Letting go.
In this new year, as I started thinking of resolutions to make, the list got so long that I gave up. I realized again that I cannot do it all. I have to pick...maybe I can actually do one or two of the most important things on my list. But I will never be able to do it all. Not like I wish I could.
And I feel helpless.
Life is beating me. (Double meaning intended)
And then I remember this quote.
And I remember that I can. always. choose.
My attitude is mine.
My thoughts are mine.
I can choose joy. I can have a positive attitude. I can hold my tongue instead of saying something mean or hurtful or negative. I can focus on all of the amazing blessings in my life...my husband, my beautiful baby, my family, my friends, my work, my home, my dogs, good food, time well spent.
I can choose how I spend the hours I do have in the day. Maybe I cannot do everything, but I can spend my time well.
I am not a victim in this world. I am not defeated. I can choose.
I make up my mind to be happy this year.
That is my resolution.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."