The next step in the process of putting together a better life is to take steps toward improvement. You have no choice - these will certainly have to be small steps. A broken person can't conquer the world when they can barely conquer the hour. You have to start again slowly. Take it step by step, and piece by piece. One day at a time, you build a better life.
I know, I'm sick of hearing that too. In fact, I think if I hear "take one day at a time" one more time, then I'll scream. And yet, it's the best we've got. It's all we've got, really. The big picture really is made up of the small, daily decisions and opportunities we take advantage of each day. Even the screen you're reading this on is made up of billions of small pixels. If one of them went out, you'd know. If many went out, you wouldn't be reading this.
So how do you do this? It's really a two step process. First, you have to reframe your parameters and expectations for your current reality. I think we all know that what we considered "ideal" just a few months ago won't work today. Too much has happened, and too much has changed. It's shocking, but by this point we should have moved into an acceptance of the fact that our reality isn't stable. Now, we need to reframe our expectations to match what we've got. What was a perfect day in early March isn't going to happen, so what would make today a great day for you? This is where gratitude comes in.
I'll readily admit that even a few months ago, I would have referred to this as lowering your expectations. I don't see it that way anymore. Now I see it as healthy adaptation. For example, my favorite TV shows are things like The Mandelorian, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Supernatural? Well, some of those shows are over, some are on season break, and everything is out of production, so what do I like now? I'm enjoying the Father Brown series, and I got excited when I found Unsolved Mysteries rebooted on Netflix last night. Are these my usual things? They aren't as high impact, but they are a variation on what I like. I've discovered some new things. It's good enough to make me happy. The higher impact scifi, mystery, and drama will be back but for now, I'll enjoy what I got. I've even discovered some new interests along the way.
This leads into the next step, which is to open yourself up to your new reality. Make a commitment each morning to do the best you can every day, and give thanks for what you've got. This is a unique opportunity for you to explore things you might not have considered before COVID-19 sent us topsy-turvy. Take a look around for opportunities to learn, grow, try new things, or go ahead and do stuff you've been "meaning to do" for a while but haven't. For example, I've organized a new scifi/mystery book series, rewritten Domino twice with the help of beta readers as Book One of that series, and I've written five chapters of Phantasm, Book Two of the series. Writing is something I can do right now that helps me to process my current reality, and frankly it makes me happy. Why not write? I've also been diligent about keeping house and keeping up with my workouts while working from home, because I mean to enjoy all of the benefits of that as much as I can, for as long as I can. I know reality will change again. I'm determined to make the most of the blessings I've got right now, while I have it, so later can be greater days.
The final step in this journey of small things is to give up what isn't working. Here, I'm going to address an elephant in the room. You know that the COVID-19 and quarantine crisis have caused you to rethink your life. Big events like that always cause something of an "identity crisis," and it's normal to wonder if you're on the right path. But before you make any huge decisions, why don't you take stock of the smaller stuff in your life and see if there are some routine things that need to stay or go. For example, if you've been working from home these past few months, have you resented not getting a promotion, or not being accepted in a certain clique? Has it bothered you to have your circles tighten up, and not be in contact with as many people? Are you actually happy with your work when you don't have people standing in your doorway all the time, wanting stuff? We really have gotten back to basics lately. Who have you discovered yourself to be since you've been away from those worldly pressures? Is all the stuff you used to worry about worth it? Think it over. There might be some things, circumstances, traumas, or thoughts that it's time to let go of. I'm not saying quit your job or abandon your friends, but it wouldn't hurt you to quit stress and worry. In fact, that would be a great gift.
Small things really do make up the bigger things in life, so it makes sense that this is where change really happens. Open your eyes to what you have today, and make the best of it. If you do that enough times, you might be amazed to find yourself in a whole new season of life.
That's all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.