Recently I had a rough week. I had a birthday and a pretty significant one at that. My car got broken into, my husband and I had a fight, and one of my students changed my last name on my classroom door to something not very nice. I felt like Alexander in the children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
My fortieth birthday was on a Tuesday. My entire day consisted of people telling all the terrible things that would start happening now that I turned the big 4-0. Apparently, I was going to start gaining weight without being able to take it off, I was going to start growing hair in places that I didn’t want to grow hair, while the hair on my head was going to start getting thinner. My eyes were going to go bad, my knees were going to get weak, and my libido was going to disappear. Awesome.
Wednesday my husband and I got into a fight. It was not a major, earth-shattering fight, but it was still a crappy fight. Well, forty is off to a great start I told myself sarcastically. Thursday I walked out to my car to leave for work and found that it had been broken into. Forty just keeps getting better and better. Friday a student pointed out to me that my last name on my classroom door had been replaced by words that can only be formed by an upset high school student. I told my co-workers the name tag story at lunch starting it off with ‘Well, forty just keeps getting better and better.” Later that night I called my sister and told her all my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad stories of the week, making sure to let her know how awful 40 has been so far. Trying to be the voice of reason, her response “What does that have to do with being 40?” Whatever…she didn’t get it. I went on to tell my story multiple times to many people, emphasizing how crappy 40 has been so far. That night I went to bed and found a note that my daughter had written to me. She made a list of all the pros and cons to being 40. Obviously, she had been listening to all of my complaints, and when I saw all the things I had been saying coming from the eyes of a 13-year-old my perception changed. Was her list of cons, filled with things like grey hair, saggy boobs and gaining weight really what I was focused on? Every little thing that happened that week I turned into a negative because I turned 40. Wow! The power of perception really hit me. I had the power to be overcome with negativity and see everything in a negative way. But, I also had the power to change my perception and see things in a more positive light. I’m not saying every single circumstance in life can be easily perceived as a positive, but it is definitely better going through life seeing the glass as half full!
I was forty. Forty times while I have been alive the earth has rotated around the sun. Forty really is just a number and not that bad of one. I had a fight with my husband. Although fighting isn’t fun, it doesn’t change how I feel about him, or how he feels about me. Someone broke into my car. Well, at least there was nothing of value in it. Bad name on my door. I guess at least it was spelled correctly! Perception is a powerful thing and the more you do something, the more you do it. The more you see things negatively the more negative things will be. The more positivity you can find in situations, the more positive the world will be. Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, “Loving people live in loving worlds. Hostile people live in hostile worlds. Same world.” Next time you are having an Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day type of week, try to change your perception. Perception is powerful and you can decide which world you would rather live in…Alexander’s world or Dr. Dyer’s world. It is your choice.