Keep Your Chin Up

By Melissa • May 27, 2016

Just like every one of us, I have made my share of bad decisions in my 50 years of living. What if for every mistake you made, there was something positive you could take away from it? Just like "flattery gets you everywhere”, so does positive thinking. On the other hand, negative thinking takes you to the road of hopelessness and despair. I don't know about you, but that is not where this gal wants to go. With a positive attitude packed in your "toolbox", you can find the "silver lining" in every situation.

For me, 2010 was a big turning point in my life. My husband was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure and would need to be on dialysis for the rest of his life. The worst part was that because he had a pre-existing condition, he would not be eligible for a kidney transplant. He was only 48 years old! He couldn't drive anymore, so I had to provide the transportation to and from dialysis, pick up his numerous medications, take him to weekly doctor appointments, and cook him special dietary restricted meals. Because of the demands in taking care of him, I ended up getting laid off from my job. I was devastated! I had NEVER been without a job, since I was 15. We lived in a small house, near the water at the time. I remember, every day, I would take my dog down to the beach and let her swim, and as I watched her carefree attitude, I would desperately try to find an answer to all of my problems. Needless to say, I never did find the answer that day. I was so overwhelmed and in utter despair. My husband was dying, my daughter was going through typical teenage rebellion, and I no longer had a reliable source of income for our family. I would go to sleep at night in tears, and wake up in the morning in tears. I remember the night when I got home from work on my last day, and told my husband that I had lost my job. I thought he would be mad at me, or give me a lecture about not being responsible enough, etc. Instead, he said, "you need to look on the bright side". "What bright side", I said. "You have always wanted to spend more time at the beach, and now you have the chance", he said. "How can I enjoy the water, or anything else for that matter, when we are completely broke, your dying and I have no idea how long we can financially survive like this?" His response to me, were words that I will never forget. He said, "you can enjoy anything, if you put your mind to it."

Now, three years later that he has passed on, I have been trying to carry this message of hope and inspiration forward in my life. It wasn't easy to change my negative thinking, but I am happy to report that I am now working at a job that I love for the first time EVER in my life, I have less than a five minute commute to work, a great boss who is helping me get my self-confidence back, a decent salary and a Masters degree. When my husband died, we still had a teenaged daughter that needed raising, so “throwing in the towel, and checking out of life, was not a choice”. The only way out of despair, and negativity was for me to put one foot in front of the other. When times are tough, and they will be at some point, for every one of us, positive thinking will get you down the road, where negative thinking will bury you deeper in depression and despair. Do not give up on yourself, no matter how many mistakes you have made in the past. Remember it's not where we are going that really matters, it is how you get there that makes your life worth it.

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