I’ve been sick the last few days. I feel like dog shit- well I guess that would only be true if metaphorically dog shit feels like a sinus infection and bronchitis. I’m on an antibiotic that makes my guts churn, an inhaler that keeps my heart rate in the fat burning zone, and steroids that have me doing loopty loops on an emotional roller coaster. I took my shleppy self to the store to get some food and based on the quality of things I brought home I would have been better off staying home and suffering with the 12 decent grapes left in the bag and the container of shaved parmesan cheese that I’ll probably end up shoveling in my mouth like a goblin at some point tonight anyway. Amongst the mismatched items I did manage to grab a pint of almond milk cookie dough ice cream that’s cradled in my lap as I’m typing. I’m about 92% sure this deliciousness will be exiting my body, in a potentially violent manner, before this post ever hits the internet. Being me is really the cats meow some days.

Maybe it’s the steroids, or the accelerated heart rate, that has my thoughts down rabbit holes today. I’ve thought on things and thought on them some more and come to a conclusion. Thinking, in general is a great thing. Our lives are only as good as the quality of our thoughts, right? It’s this overthinking that kills the good brain cells. It’s like the game Tetris. A thought floats down and I’m like “I’m just gonna put that right here” and then different shaped thoughts start falling and falling faster. I make the pieces fit as long as I don’t focus on any one piece too long. The moment that L shaped one comes down and I’m spinning it around and looking at angles in detail before I know it shit starts stacking up and I don’t care if anything fits- I’m just trying to keep things from reaching the top…..chaos at it’s finest.

It almost feels like a deliberate game at times. I probably shouldn’t focus on that for long…..or at all. Oohhhh! Is that thought in the shape of a decagon? It has to be. There’s at least 10 sides for me to spend way too much fucking time looking at. While overthinking my overthinking I discovered a small pocket of thought goodness. People give me a lot of credit for being a strong person, for coming out the other side of tragedy intact. All of that was a mental battle that I continue to fight. But the key, at least for me, was to stop taking things personally.

I had a choice to make after Ken died. I could raise my fists to the sky and ask why me? or, do what I did. In 2013 he asked me if I would be willing to move to Minot and for as many reasons as I had to say hell no it was the right things for him so selflessly we moved in 2014. The last year of Ken’s life was one that he had wanted for a long time. He got to spend more time with his kids that year than he had the previous 5. He bought the truck he had put off, he had a job he loved, we bought a beautiful home, and if you asked him on any given day he’d tell you he married the girl of his dreams. He died entirely too early in his life but I find peace in knowing that I’m not a victim or being punished by his death but that I helped make his last trip around the sun one that brought him more well rounded happiness than he’d had in over a decade.

Our brains are these incredible organs that receive 11 million bits per second from the human body to process. It’s believed the brain thinks between 12,000-60,000 thoughts per day with the majority of them being repetitive or out of habit from the day before. A staggering 80% of the remaining thoughts we have are negative. 80%?!? I actually don’t find that number too far out there. I’ll reference something I said earlier and that is that we are only as good as the quality of our thoughts. Trash in/trash out.

But how the hell do you cancel the negative committee meetings that meet in your head? Maybe the trick is to right size things and give/not give them priority. Am I worrying about things that haven’t happened yet? I am so guilty of that. Anticipating what’s next so I can counter balance has knocked me off balance and robbed me of happiness more than I care to admit. Am I assigning value to something that won’t positively impact my life? Am I viewing my life through someone else’s lens and driving my thoughts away from what I want and where I want to be? I strongly believe if something doesn’t bring you joy it’s not worth your brain power unless you’re going to invest in how to change the situation.

Somehow negativity still seems to creep in on those things that bring us joy. More often than not it’s the anticipation of pain that turns living in the moment into an orchestrated event where every move is watched, judged, and measured. It’s natural to gravitate towards things that feel good and the thought of them not being available can kick our thoughts into overdrive. In our internal panic we forget that the human objects of our joy have a mind of their own and while we’re grasping to pull them closer we tend to smother them. I will raise both my hands on that one- guilty. But thankfully time and experience have both taught me that not everyone that comes into our lives is meant to stay and that’s ok.

Stop and think about all the people that have danced across your life’s dance floor. There are undoubtedly some that stepped all over your feet, others that were off rhythm no matter how hard you tried, there are some you couldn’t get close enough to that ended up tap dancing on your last nerve, a few just walked across the floor to get to another partner, and there are some that we still grab and boogie with when our favorite song comes on. It’s unfortunate that we only get half a song with some and for others, well, the turntable could have burst into flames at any time. But each of these people filled the exact time and purpose they were meant too and we survived them and ourselves.

To stop the negative thoughts that occupy your mind you need to change your view on the things that feel heavy. Life is filled with so many opportunities to choose between victim or victor. We have the choice to attract the energy we give off and spread good vibes. To understand two very important things about love- love didn’t hurt you. Someone that didn’t know how to love you hurt you and that we have the opportunity to embrace the fact that love is a feeling not a decision and there’s nothing wrong with loving people who aren’t “your” person- the world needs more expectation free love. It’s ok to stop apologizing for how you repair what someone else broke. It’s perfectly ok to know the truth by the way it feels and don’t compare your life to anyone else’s. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon- they both shine when it’s their time. Appreciate the madness you traveled through to find yourself and remember most of all that life is a verb.

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