Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives. And if things don’t work out, just take another shot.
We all want to live a better life…we want to live the life we always dreamed of. That isn’t always easy, though, is it? If you’re like me, you had a plan for your life. No matter how much you plan and work toward goals, things never seem to work out quite like we had thought they would. This post will give 6 steps to live an abundant life, even when plans take a detour.
2015 was a bad year for us, so it goes without saying that we were glad to see it go. We had almost begun to feel cursed. Sam’s dad was re-diagnosed with cancer, my dad’s health problems (mostly crippling arthritis and severe diabetes) got worse, and Sam felt trapped in his work (he works online from home) and graduate classes.
I left a job that I (mostly) loved for what seemed like a better opportunity a couple of hours away, but I just wasn’t happy there. I couldn’t stand not being close to family, especially while they were sick. So I took a job back home that required making home visits, even though it was a complete career shift and my heart wasn’t in it.
Just when we were so glad to say goodbye to 2015, I was attacked by a pit bull on a home visit the day before New Year’s Eve. It clamped down on my dominant hand and almost bit completely through in one place. I’ve spent the last week between visits to the ER, surgeon, and various doctors. I have occupational and physical therapy to look forward to. I guess 2015 wanted one more jab before leaving us for good.
Yeah, we’ve wallowed a bit in self-pity. But you know what? I’ve learned a BIG lesson this year.Sometimes bad things that happen put us on the path to the best things that will ever happen. Click To Tweet
I’m thinking hard about not returning to that job. I afraid to return to that same job that puts me in danger of dogs and meth labs, among other possibilities. It would be hard to go down to one income, but we know how to save and live simply.
Maybe not working will be temporary until something in my “real” career line of higher education opens up. Maybe I’ll give blogging full-time a go at it.
Regardless, I’ll have more time to focus on what’s most important in life. And you know what? I learned the golden rule:The best things in life aren’t things. Click To Tweet
I’ve made a plan to live an abundant life, with as few regrets as possible.
1. Family is the most important thing.
I want to make the most of the moments I have with the people who mean the most to me. Those moments don’t have to be spent in glamorous or adventurous ways. Don’t take anything for granted, even the moments in the living room, on the front porch, or in the backyard. Spend as much time with those you love while you still can.
2. Spend time doing what gives you energy instead of what takes your energy.
About a year ago, a friend gave up a good job with great benefits that most people in our town hope and dream for. She took the plunge to move to “the big city” (which really isn’t that big to anyone but us) and works in an entry-level retail position that pays much less. She doesn’t regret it. She’s happy because that “great” job drained her energy.For every setback, God has a major comeback. Click To Tweet
Find out what makes you happy, what gives you energy at the end of a long day, and figure out how to do it, even if as a hobby.
3. Be positive and grateful.
I hate to admit it, although those who know me already know this to be true – I have a critical personality. I try so hard not to, but this is the single most difficult struggle in my life. I’m really good at criticizing or complaining about anything or anyone.
Critical is another word for negative….you know, the opposite of positive. Have you ever noticed how being around someone negative affects other people? It makes them negative, too!! This makes you look bitter, even if you’re not.
It’s important to look at things in a positive way and appreciate all the gifts we’ve been given. Life is hard, but we have each other to lean on and make it all worthwhile. The small things are worth appreciating.Start each day with a grateful heart. Click To Tweet
A smile or a laugh can completely change a situation or someone’s day. Be positive, and let it rub off on everyone around you. A positive attitude can be just as catching as a negative one.
4. Get your finances under control and get out of debt.
Money isn’t everything. We all tend to look around and want what others have. But the richest people in the world, with all the material things anyone could ever wish for, may be the most miserable. Stop comparing yourself to others! Remember the golden rule? It’s worth repeating.The best things in life aren’t things. Click To Tweet
A simple life is a less stressful life. It’s impossible to live a meaningful, happy life when you’re constantly stressing about paying the bills.
So often, we try to fill up empty areas in our lives with things. It doesn’t work. Fill them with people and experiences instead.
Cut back on purchases and start paying off your debt and saving for retirement and college funds for your kids. Work toward having a small pot of money available if (when) something happens. You won’t feel trapped if you have a small safety net ready.
5. Make a bucket list!
A few months ago, Sam and I each made a bucket list, then compared them to see which ones we share. We made an agreement that whichever of us passes away first, the other will have to complete unfinished items on both lists. Well, I hope Sam chases a tornado someday, because I sure never want to!
When you make life about experiences with the people who matter most, you start to live your life differently.
6. Live in the present.
It’s great to plan all the things you want to do one day, but don’t forget to live in the present.Don’t get so caught up in preparing for life that you don’t take time to live it. Click To Tweet
Recently, I’ve noticed that years have slipped by without me even realizing it. Where does time go? As a child, I remember a single summer seeming to go on for what seemed like forever. Now I’ll talk about something that seemed like last year, when it really happened ten years ago!
There’s no time like the present. Start doing some of those items on your bucket list – without blowing your budget, of course. Spend time with those you love, and live an abundant life!
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