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Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinion at all. –G.C. Lichtenberg

Once you form an opinion, you show that you care. And caring means you have to feel it when things don’t go your way. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my friends, “I wish I could just not care.”

But caring is also what makes us human. How dull would life be if we didn’t feel? Ironic that a main sign of depression is “loss of interest in normal daily activities,” or basically, not caring.

There goes our piece of mind.

The secret of happiness is to make others believe they are the cause of it. –Al Batt, in National Enquirer

The other day, my friend thanked me and told me I helped him in a way no one else could.  I couldn’t  take the credit for anything he accomplished, but I did appreciate his gratitude. It made me happy, and made me want to help even more.

They say, based on certain happiness research studies, that the real key to happiness has something to do with gratitude. The people who seem to be the most happy are those who can find things in their life to be grateful for.

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. –Eckhart Tolle

There are a lot of quotes on the past, the present and the future. It seems people are, in some form, always juggling the three.

There is the past, where all events and experiences shape us into who we are today.

Then there’s the future, for which we plan and prepare for.

And ultimately, you have the present…each ticking second that we’re in.  

I’d like to believe we can all find a way to live in the present. Enjoy each moment for which we have it. But factors from the past will always impact the present. And it’s true the future may never come… but what if it does?

That said, I think we can limit how much of the past and future we let into our lives. Take each moment for what it is. Stop dwelling on the past–we can’t change it. Stop worrying about the future–it doesn’t help. Instead, focus on the moments we’re in–it’s what we have.

A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise. –Niccolo Machiavelli

A year ago, my credit card statement was getting a little high. In a fit of self-anger, I immediately cut my card into tiny little pieces. Gone.  A few months down the road, and there were some financial issues I needed to deal with. I called up my company, reported the card lost and got a new one. Soon I was spending a  little here, a little there, and yesterday I looked at my card statement. Needless to say, my card is lying in tiny pieces. 

I don’t get it. I promised myself this wouldn’t happen. I was so sincere that I’d keep my spending under control. So why couldn’t I keep that promise? At any given moment, we can have the most honest intentions that lead to real promises. Change a few circumstances, let time pass, and those intentions can sometimes be forgotten.

In another situation, I’m stuck. There are some promises I want to believe, despite a clear history against it. But when it really boils down, I think it’s the intentions that have me fooled. These promises are made with the best intentions. But things just seem to keep changing, and the follow-through can be easier said than done.

Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like. –Lemony Snicket

Dinner at my parent’s house was never up for negotiation. “I’m not running a restaurant,” my mom used to say. “You’ll eat what we’re having.”

My parents made the best spaghetti. And stir-fry day was fabulous. But their meatloaf reminded me of cat food, and I was never too excited about green peas. Still…we ate what we were served.

As an adult, I can appreciate the different meals they made us. I had a healthy childhood with a variety of nutrients. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes I didn’t…but I can’t imagine the health issues I’d have if they would have catered to my sweet childhood requests.

In a less simple sense, I wonder if fate doesn’t work the same way. Sometimes we’re happy with what we get, and sometimes we hate it. And sometimes we think we know what we want. But when looking back down the road, how often are we suprised with the way things had to happen?

Every beginning is a consequence – every beginning ends some thing. –Paul Valery

Most of the time, you’re so focused on new events that you don’t even notice what chapters in your life are ending. Inevitably it has to happen; that’s how we grow. But sometimes it’s hard to look back and realize the things we used to have and the things we had to give up. Did we fully appreciate the moments? And how sad that we rarely get a proper goodbye.

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” — Paulo Coelho

I give up.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that. Or how many times I’ve felt that. Or how many times I’ve heard that from other people. It’s like sometimes, everything is stopping us…no matter what, we can’t win. That must be a sign…right? It’s just not meant to be. So we let it go.

That’s when I think we syphon out our real dreams.  Because obstacles are just there to test how bad we really want something. And it stops the people who don’t care enough. So when we keep standing up, and keep fighting and finally get there, we can appreciate it that much more. So rather than get upset and angry at all of these barriers and problems… perhaps we can look at them as tests to see what we really want out of life. What are we willing to go that extra mile for?

A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure. –Segal’s Law

My roommate always says how impressed and proud she is that I have a 4-year degree.  Now granted I’m happy about it and it wasn’t exactly easy, but I never really thought about doing anything else. It was always: First you graduate high school, then you go to college. For four years I took classes, got the necessary credits and followed the path to graduation.

The truth is, I think it’s after graduation that the hard part begins. Once the paved path to graduation is over, the world opens up. You no longer have a single, simple goal of finishing your degree. You’re just… done. So what do you do with your life? You make a lot of decisions, go down a lot of different paths and are never quite sure what the outcomes of the other decisions might have been. Sometimes, you’re never quite sure what time it is.

Sometimes it's nice to stare into a reflection and get lost in that world...

Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him? –Calvin and Hobbes

Growing up, I looked forward to a lot of exciting things. Christmas meant Santa Clause and presents, Easter meant the Easter bunny and an egg hunt. Even losing a tooth was exciting, as I’d look foward to a visit from the tooth fairy.

Eventually, my big sister was kind enough to inform me that these were all creations of my parents. A whole new reality set in and I looked at things a little differently.

Every day we go through life assuming, accepting and believing things based on experiences and what we’re told. I guess we have to in order to live. But it’s obvious that reality is different for everyone, and can be altered at any time. I wonder how the world felt when they learned it wasn’t flat? How else will we alter our realities?

The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places. –Author Unknown

I use to have a room in the basement of a split-level house. Sometimes at night, I’d get settled on the couch upstairs watching a movie. By the time it was over, I was quite content to stay put. Of course, I always woke up in the morning curled in an awkward position with an uncomfortably stiff neck. Sure…it was good idea at the time.

Clearly this was a small and insignificant “parking place” in life, but only the beginning of many more to come. It can be so hard to get up and move on when you find yourself comfortable. Maybe you had your eyes on another prize, but why can’t you stop when you feel content?

Because eventually the morning will come and you’ll have wished you made the effort. I think parking places can be fun…like a scenic drive, exploring the view. But only if you’re capable of pushing yourself through when it’s time to keep moving.

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