Tag Archives: serenity prayer


A week or so ago, one of my schools had their end of year staff meeting.  Each grade level made a presentation reflecting on the year. Some were funny.  Some were sentimental.   My favorite one was the fifth grade which had each of their students make a poster using only three words to describe their year. They took a picture of each student holding their poster and put all of the pictures together in a slide show.  I don’t know these kids but I laughed and cried like I did.  The pictures and the messages were priceless. Their posters said things like “Ready to shine” and “Good memories forever”.   A few were really funny like the one that said “Did some work” and “I’m outta here”.  The most memorable one for me was the immigrant child with the poster that said “Finally I’m Free”.   
This got me to thinking about what my reflection poster would say about this last year.  This is what I came up with.  


Most of my life I’ve been uncomfortable with change. I have craved stability and sameness.  Maybe it was my tumultuos childhood, maybe it’s just the way I’m wired but change has always been a little bit scary.  So scary, that I stayed in an unhappy marriage for way too long.  There is comfort in our daily routines and knowing what to expect.  I like feeling in control.  In fact I’ve been accused of being a control freak. Not sure I’d go that far (ok, maybe I am) but I like my little stable world. 

The last few years however I’ve had to reexamine my thoughts on change and acceptance.  I have learned that there is very little in life I can actually control.  A series of health problems, family tragedies and personal hardships put me in a tailspin.  As I struggled to make sense of my life that seemed to be spinning out of control I latched on to this familiar saying. In fact I printed this and put it strategically around my house and at work.  While I give a lot of credit for helping me deal with painful life experiences to a wonderful counselor, I also have to give credit to this simple powerful little prayer.  If you are familiar with the origins of this verse you’ll know that these words change lives.  Over time my attitude began to change. I found myself saying "it is what it is" more often. My whole life I'd been a worrier until the day I realized worrying was like rocking in a rocking chair.  It'll pass the time but it won't get you anywhere.  I conciously decided to stop worrying about things I couldn’t control and to take control of things that I could…like my attitude, my health, and my finances.  I had to learn to accept things as they were. I had to accept that when someone else says "you're not the boss of me" they are absolutely right.  I am only the boss of me.  My thoughts, my feelings, my actions and responses are the only ones I control.  What a difficult thing this has been for this old hard head to learn.


A year ago I was really struggling with arthritis in my knees.  Taking care of a very large high school was taking a toll. I had toyed with the idea of asking for a reassignment but fear held me back.  I had been at the same school for seven years.  That’s a long time.  I had friends there.  I was comfortable there.  That’s when I had to ask myself if I was truly living by the words that had become my motto.  

As it turns out I did change schools and it has been a good thing.  Everyone says “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” but you know what…sometimes it IS. Sometimes change is good.  Sometimes not knowing what might happen next in your life is exciting.  I tell my son all the time “If nothing changes, then nothing changes.”  I’m usually telling him this as I lecture him about getting a better job and informing him that he can’t live in my basement forever but hey, it applies. As someone once said…We can’t sail on to new challenges if we’re afraid to lose sight of the shore. 
So my reflection for this last year is "Don't fear change." because seriously…if the only thing you change on a regular basis is your underwear we need to talk.
“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” -C.S. Lewis


Be Happy

Be Happy

Everyone says "time flies" but I'm not sure I agree with that.  Flying is obvious.  I think time creeps.  It crawls along unnoticed until one day you wake up, look in the mirror and ask yourself "Where did the last thirty years go?"  I never had a particular fear of growing older, I just didn't want my life to go by too quickly.  I like my life. I'm enjoying it.  I'm in no hurry to reach its end. I remember when I turned thirty someone said "you're going to love your thirties" and he was right, I did.  But how come no one said that when I turned 40?  I remember when my oldest turned 9, I was very aware that his childhood was half over.  I thought to myself "Have I taught him at least half of everything he needs to know?"

When I was 18 I thought I knew everything. Let me tell you now I knew nothing. This girl didn't want to go away to college and leave her boyfriend. She cared more about the boy than her future.  She was going to marry her high school sweetheart, have a bunch of babies and live happily ever after.  HA! The bunch of babies part is right.  Life since then has not been easy (I'll save those stories for later) but I would not go back and change a thing about those post high school years because of them babies. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I still see this girl. 


Yeah if I look real hard I can still see her, but most days I see this lady. She's fatter, she's older, she's got gray in that hair.  But if I'm being honest I think I like this chick better. Sure, I'd take the old me's body back in a heartbeat but on personality and wisdom this lady is winner hands down.  In my teens it was all about boys and friends and having a good time. In my twenties I was raising babies and surviving.  My thirties were about change and struggle. I guess it's too soon to say what my forties will be about.  Can you say while you're still in the middle of them? If I had to guess I would say my forties will be about self discovery and growth but mostly I hope I can say my forties were about contentment.  Being happy is not easy sometimes and for some people it's a real struggle. Thanks to a great therapist and some real work inside my head I have come to the realization that happiness is a choice.  You can choose to be miserable and negative or you can choose to be positive and happy.  I'll take the later please. It's a no brainer. Who would choose brussel sprouts over chocolate chip cookies?  DUH. Nobody likes getting old but it's a part life…Lion King…Circle of Life and all that. It's a hard concept to grasp but it's true…you are as happy as you make your mind up to be.

So if you're in a funk about getting older put your big girl panties on and deal with it.  Growing old is a privilege not given to all.  Life is too short to spend it being a sour puss cranky pants. If you can't figure out how to be happy, get some help with that. (I'm serious.)  Look at me – I'm old, fat, poor and getting gray, but I try every single day to wake up being grateful for my life and the people and things that are in it. Be happy people…at any age….we have much to be thankful for.