If You Don’t Like Something, Change It; If You Can’t, Change Your Attitude

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There are many things that we have no control over in this world. We never know what the weather will be like, we aren’t prepared for job layoffs, our bodies can fall sick or break bones and so many more things can happen. Sometimes this can make us feel powerless and confused, but more often than not, it is about the frame of mind that you bring to the table.

I am a proud Chicagoan. Anyone who lives in and loves Chicago will tell you that we are always prepared for rain, snow and sun. Many of us keep umbrellas and blankets in our cars because you can never tell what might happen between one day and the next, much less one hour to the next! This past week, we had 70 degree weather as well as snow. It is what it is and although it’s not ideal, most of us expect and accept it because we love this city. That said, there are things in life that are a little tougher to roll with.

When something comes out of left field, you have a choice to make. Usually one’s first instinct would be confusion and concern, but then you come to the big moment. After processing this new information, are you going to be angry, excited, frustrated? How are you going to make this new piece of data fit into the larger picture?

My children attend two separate schools, as is fairly typical in the Chicagoland area. They are about 1/2 an hour away from each other and – since there’s only one of me and my husband is out the door before we wake up – my son takes the school bus. He enjoys the bus and has been doing this for years now, so it’s really not a big deal for any of us. The first year he took the bus, school started at 8:30am, so bus pickup was at 7:30am. Early for a first grader, but we were all awake at that time anyway, so again, not a big deal. Each and every year, the bus pickup has gotten earlier. A few years ago, the school start time got moved to 7:45am and – as of this year – bus pickup is at 6:40am. Now, I’m not a morning person, but when it comes to this decision, this is not about me. My husband and I have discussed the pickup time (it’s very early for a child!) versus the alternatives many times. There is absolutely nothing that we can do about the bus pickup time. It is completely out of our control. So our options are: a) keep him there and deal, b) move, c) switch his schools, d) carpool, or e) he doesn’t take the bus and I drive both kids. Without boring you with all the details, in the end, this is absolutely the right school for him. We don’t want to move, there is no one to regularly carpool with and in order to get my daughter to school without a hassle, I really can’t drive them both every day. So our decision is to keep things as they are. And if that’s the choice we’re making, we need to make our attitudes match. We love this school for him. He enjoys taking the bus and has never once complained about the process, so good! We are happy because we have decided to be.

This is clearly not as serious a subject as many of us face, but I chose it for a reason. It is not only the larger things in life that we need to change our attitudes about. The little things add up. Where you were once having a nice day, the four smaller things that have now hindered it can send you on a path to negativity. It happens to everyone in the moment, but it is what you choose to believe day to day that will keep you in a positive place. The small stuff is just that – small stuff. The dentist says that you need to floss or you will get a cavity in this tooth. If you start flossing, you can be appreciative and thankful that they let you know. No cavity! You’ve now saved yourself pain and money. If you don’t start flossing, you get that cavity – and are angry with the world. Do what is within your power to change things. And if you can’t change them, change your attitude. It really is all up to you.

One Comment

  1. Just like that prayer, I like. God grant me the courage to change the things I can. The serenity to accept the things I can not change. And the wisdom to know the difference.

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