Over the past few months, I've listened (and tried not to listen) to so many people bitch and moan that I'm done. Honestly, I'm sick and tired of people taking things for granted and that includes other people and operating under the assumption that the world will always function the way you want it to because it always has. (Disclaimer: this blog is not directed specifically at one group of people. It's the result of months of observation, including what I've seen personally and witnessed on social media across diverse groups. People need to appreciate what they have).
I listen often to others complain about Millennials and their sense of entitlement. Unfortunately, there are a lot of adults in their 30's, 40's and 50's that behave the same way. Guess what? The world owes you nothing. Zero. Sometimes bad things happen to good people- they lose jobs, can't pay bills and they get sick. People suddenly die and sometimes without warning they walk out on you when you need them. You can't control the hand you're dealt in life, but you can control how you play the game.
It's been my experience that when bad things happen (and I've had more than my share), you need to focus on the things you can affect. Things you can change. I can't change that my child is sick, but I can stay upbeat and positive and fight for answers. I couldn't do a darn thing when my hubby lost his job this Spring but we never talked about it as anything more than a blessing in disguise (and we didn't talk about it in public either which really shocks people). I can't fix many of the problems in my life, but I can shift all my energy to the things that I know I can impact and move on from there. Because I've never taken anything in my life for granted, my reaction to adversity is different from most and it seems to be one that works. Here's how I know.
I listen to the things that my teenager says. She knows she's lucky to live in a great neighborhood in suburban American with pets and lots of nice things. She understands that when the start of dance season rolls around that she may be eating more peanut butter and jelly and may not get new jeans. She knows that when school starts she may not make it every day but she plans to work hard and get straight A's- because knows she can. She doesn't feel like anybody owes her anything yet, she takes nothing for granted. When she has a good day, she embraces it with so much gusto it's a pleasure to see. On a bad day, she tries hard to not complain or blame anyone else including herself.
When I look at how my sick child handles herself and adversity, I can't help but think that there are lots of adults out there that could spend a little time reflecting on her situation and then take a peek at theirs. If a child who spends a great deal of time in bed and in pain and just as much time at doctors can put a smile on her face every day then so can you. If she knows at 14 that it's not helpful to bitch all the time or complain on social media then maybe she's got the right idea. Maybe she's pretty wise (and I'm not saying she's perfect because she like all of us is far from it, she just may have the right idea when it comes to attitude).
We, as parents, have to model the behavior that we'd like our children to display and it starts when they're really little. You may think that your young child doesn't pick up what you're saying or how you're feeling but your wrong. They seem to understand much more than we give them credit for and it's apparent when you listen to them speak. You can often hear your own voice. It's no mistake that my child approaches her life the way she does. She's been sick for most of it. She just didn't know until two years ago. She was treated like every other kid her age until her health got in the way.
If I've learned one thing the past few years it's this- never take anything for granted. Everything can change in a blink of an eye and you have to be ready to respond. While complaining and feeling sorry for yourself may work short-term, they do nothing to move you forward or to fix the situation. The people who have the most grace are the ones that deal with problems quietly while they try to find solutions with a smile on their face. They don't point fingers or blame others because they understand that it won't help. They also understand that somewhere out there is a person that has a situation far worse than theirs and they remind themselves how lucky they are.
Life is short and sometimes it's not fair. That's a fact. Sometimes it's tough but remember, someone else is praying for the things you take for granted.