My husband used to call me Lucky Laura, saying how things in my life always seemed to come up roses.
Send me to cover a story in the Gaza Strip with an obnoxious AP photographer who mouthed off to armed guards who responded by pointing machine guns at our heads and I’d manage to make them laugh by offering chewing gum to shoot him. Put me in Times Square 20 minutes before the show starts and I’d find free on-street parking. Tell me to go to hell and I’d smile and wave to you from heaven.
Lately though, it seems my “luck” has turned to “fu*k.”
It started when I decided to write a book about spreading my husband’s ashes on cross country RV trips rather than bury him in one place. The trips got me through the worst of the grief, but I basically haven’t seen the light of day since. We’re talking 16 months of nights, weekends and holidays all spent locked in the garage working and reworking the pages until I’d often break down in tears. Some of that had to do with the subject matter, of course, but a lot of it had to do with frustration over wanting nothing more than to give up and get a normal life back.
But none of that is why I changed my computer password to the f word plus “my life” a few months ago. It had more to do with the everyday things that sometimes get the best of you, the things that make life come up smelling like the dog’s halitosis for which the vet charged me $150 to basically prescribe a toothbrush. Or the things that sneak up on you like poison ivy that’s now covering half of my body or my daughter’s eyeball rollings whenever I dare to speak to her unless it involves handing over my credit card. And let’s not even talk about having to pay $380 to get my car out of the tow pound after misreading a parking sign on 14th Street the other night when celebrating turning the manuscript in.
No one truly wants to hear it.
As my father always says, “Complaint Department Closed!”
While we think venting can help relieve stress, experts say it can actually do the opposite. Knowing this, I decided to try adjusting my attitude instead.
Here goes how:
1. Either start replacing “Why me?” with “What’s next?” or keep it to yourself. The phrase “Why me” weakens us– gives us a victim mentality and makes us feel incapable of dealing with situations– whereas “What’s next?” gives us a feeling of control, almost like bring it on!
2. Be happy for what you have, don’t cry for what you want. It’s hard to feel grateful when you’re dealt a blow—no matter how big or small it is. Still, you have to look at the positives in life rather than dwell on the negatives.
3. Quit blaming. Blaming others for your problems only serves to prolong the hurt and makes it harder to let things go. It brings negativity into our lives. So just stop. If something is meant to be, it will happen. That’s it. Deal with it and move on.
4. Don’t give in. This is a tough one. When it comes to fear and despair, you have to fake it till you make it. And, sooner or later, you will make it.
5. Never give up. No matter where you’re at or what you’re going through, don’t give up. Try just one more thing; maybe it’s just the thing that will resolve it for you.
Meanwhile, I will change my password back to what it was before: Unfu*kmylife!
Photo credit: FUNIGY.com