Attitudes and choices


Life, it is often said, is what you make of it.  Simplistic, I admit, but it's true.  We've all had occasions when we've become engrossed in the bump and grind of the daily routine of work, raising children and taking care of a home.  Being married to, or the parent of, someone in the military also brings a unique set of problems (and the inherant stress) such as the feeling of being lost within the long months of a deployment.  When it comes right down to it, though, how you react to and deal with each and every situation is determined by the choices you make and the attitude with which you make them.

We've all had those days where from the moment you get up nothing goes right (perhaps something very much like waking up within an episode of A Day in the Life of Airforce Family 0>;~}) and no matter what you do the forces of nature just seem stacked against you.  Sometime around cleaning up yet another spill and the dogs chasing from your yard the worker who is there to fix the broken septic line, you reach a point where you just have to laugh, because if you don't you'll cry.  You make a choice.  You can continue to rage against Murphy and his minions, or, instead, you can choose to no longer let your mood and attitude be ruled by circumstances that are really beyond your control.  Because what isn't beyond your control is your attitude towards them.  You can choose to let the day get under your skin, or you can choose to let it go.

In the past thirty years, my family has been through more life-threatening surgeries, diseases and  middle-of-the-night phones calls relaying the unthinkable than a small town population combined -- starting with a triple by-pass open heart surgery back in the days when the surgery itself was considerably more dangerous than the condition which necessitated it.  Stress?  Oh yeah, we've had stress, my friends, right here in River City.  So much so, that nowadays, an angiogram/angioplasty proceedure is nothing more to us than a flu shot is for a vast majority of other families.  And each time we add yet another hospital ID bracelet to the collection (Yes, there is a collection; Yes, it's large.), friends and aquaintances are genuinely amazed at how we "do it" time and time again, and "doesn't it get you down?"  To which the answer is, "Of course it does.  We'd rather laugh instead." 

Case in point, the results from the head region of a recent full-body test my mother went through was negative for anything of concern.  Or, as the test results stated, "unremarkable".  Which, of course, was a prime opportunity to take note of the scientific proof that while they did find a brain, what they found was unremarkable.  No one is spared the snarktillery in my family.  And the setting or seriousness of the situation matters not.....like the time I told my Dad that the ER doc had written S.O.B. down on his chart -- just to see the look on the doc's face.  Afterall, we knew it meant *short of breath*, but the doc didn't know that we knew that.

We choose to laugh.  You say it's not that easy.  I say it is.  Because when it comes right down to it, everything in life is about making a choice.  You really can choose to have a good day in spite of the temper tantrums of a two year old and deployment gremlins that keep rearing their little purple and green-haired heads.  You can choose to let someone else's bad mood spoil your good one or not. 

Free will.  It's one of the greatest gifts we've been given.  You can choose to exercise it or not.  You can choose how you react to any given situation.  You get to make the choice about how other people and their moods affect your mood.  And it all begins with one choice:  What is your answer to one simple question -- how do you want to live your life?

For me and mine?  We choose to laugh. 

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