This was a question a family member asked me in an E-Mail.
This will probably be the last question he will ever ask me. LMAO
This was his question how do you seem to stay Up Beat all of the time. I admire you for having this great outlook about you. You never seem to get down - how do you do that? Believe me I have tried.
Wow That is a good question. First let me say I haven't always been this way. A few things that have happened to me in the past few years have brought me to this point in my life.
I will try to explain, they may not be in the order that they occurred but each and every one of these things have totally changed my life and the way I view things.
When my Dear Bubba passed away I was not doing very well. One of her dear friends that started in kindergarten with her and went all through school with her said Joe would you mind if I give you a little advice. I said of course not. She said number one Bubba would not want you to be sad and depressed like you are. She said as you know Bubba was one of the most fun loving people who ever lived. She said instead of dwelling on the last year or so of her life dwell on the entire 40 years you knew her. She said remember the good times, the happy times, the times you laughed your butt off together. I said you are so right she would not want me to be sad, she would want me to go on with my life. So when I think about her I only remember the good times.
If you notice I use a lot of quotes in my BLOG and in my E-Mails. I do this so that I can hope that some one else may be moved by one as I was by one.
Joan had one of those perpetual calendars by the sink in the kitchen. When you tore the page off from the previous day it gave you a new quote for the new day. One morning early I was up first and I went out to get the coffee started. The new quote said " For Every Bad Thing That Happens To Us On The Average Of Between Eighteen To Twenty Five Good Things Happen To Us, Why Do We Dwell On The One Bad Thing Instead Of The Good Things. " I remember it like it was yesterday, I actually stepped back and said out loud, Wow that is just what I do. I told myself not only do I let these little things ruin my day sometimes I let it ruin more than one day. I said to myself I am going to try to follow that advice.
I took a big sheet of paper and drew a line right down the middle and at the top I wrote the good things that happened to me today and on the other side I wrote the bad things that happened to me today.
Then I would list the things good and the things bad. After a couple of weeks I noticed that for me the good side always dwarfed the bad side.
Although I knew The Serenity Prayer by heart I had a plastic card with the saying on it and carried it in my wallet. When things would start to bug me I would take it out and read it to myself a couple of times.
Another big thing that changed my outlook on life was Janet's tragic accident. It's hard to believe but this past Christmas Eve was ten years since that happened. Her, Chris and Christopher stopped by the house that day. They were going up to the other Grandparents house in Apopka for Christmas Eve and coming back the next morning to spend Christmas Day with us. She was so excited. Joan said Christmas was always her favorite time of the year. She said Bye Mom, Bye Joe, gave us both a big hug and a kiss and said Merry Christmas, I Love You and we will see you tomorrow. One hour later she was dead on the Florida Turnpike.
A couple of weeks later Joan, Me, and Joan's lawyer went to the trooper barracks to talk to the trooper that investigated the accident. He was trying to spare us as much as he could about the details. Joan was relentless with her questions. When he tried to avoid answering her she just kept probing for more information. She more or less forced him to tell her more than he wanted to.
We went to the yard where the car was towed to. At the scene of the accident Christmas presents and other things were strewn all over the highway from the car rolling over and over. They had just picked every thing up and threw them in the car.
The lawyer Eric and I got out of the car to go over to Janet's car. She started to get out and one of the rare times I was ever stern with her I told her to stay in the car and not come over there. I said matter of fact don't even look over there. I looked over at her a couple of times and she was trying to look over any way. Thank God she did no come over. It was not a pretty sight.
For many nights after that she would wake up thrashing around in bed and crying. I would say what's the matter Babe and she was reliving the things she forced the trooper to tell her.
As time went by Thank God those nightmares finally went away. One morning after some time had passed we were setting at the breakfast table one morning. We talked about Venson her first husband, he passed away when her daughters were 17 and 13 years old.We talked about Janet and we talked about Bubba. We said from that point on we were going to get up every morning and try to make the best of each day. We said if we make it to tomorrow we will make the most out that day and so on and so on and that's what we do.
Another big turning point for me was Janet's Memorial Service. I did a eulogy for her. I did not know the church was making a audio tape of the service. When I heard it played back I said another big Wow, I realized I had said a lot of nice things about her I had never said to her. Sure I had told her I loved her, what a Great Mom she was, what a great Daughter she was, etc. but a lot of the other things I had never said to her. I have been on a mission ever since then to try not to leave many things unsaid. I make an extra effort to stay in touch with people, try to console them when they are down and just try every day to be positive, very hard to do when I am around so many negative people. I actually try to avoid negative people as much as I can but it can't be totally avoided. Just between you and me I try to stay away from two of the most negative people I know but it just can't be avoided. My experience dealing with negative people is that I cannot bring them up to my level, they try to bring me down to their level and I just won't allow myself let that happen.
Sorry if I jump around but things just keep coming to mind. I say this joking all the time but it actually is true, I have been very lucky that almost all my family and friends have been crazy that I have been around my entire life. Both of my wife's have been crazy. I have a hard time with sane people. LOL
One of Joan's favorite sayings which she says all the time is that life is all about choices. As you know her Father deserted her Mom, her and Chary when Joan was 12 years old. Of course you know what happened with Venson. Then her marriage to her second husband didn't work out. Then of course Janet. And in the last two or three years she has had some serious scary health problems. She says I have the choice to let it make me bitter or to be happy and she says I choose to be happy. I did a eulogy for Joan's Mother-in-Law,
Every thing I said in Dot's tribute I had said to her over the years, Thank You Lord For That.
I could keep going here but I hope you get the drift of why I am a very happy person, and of course there is Carter and Griffin, OMG I love them so much and they bring me more happiness than I could ever explain. I never want them to see me down trodden or saying negative things about them.
And my daughter Martha who goes through Hell every day of her life still smiles and most of the time happy. How can I let any of my little problems get me down when I see what she goes through.
What Bubba's friend told me to do by only thinking of the positive times of Bubba I have trained my mind to immediately replace any negative thoughts with positive ones. Not saying it's easy, but the more I do it the easier it gets.
I have talked about this a lot also, a great way to get out of a funk is to dig out old pictures of happy, fun, times. Again not saying it will work for every one but it works for me.
The only movies I go to have to be either funny or heart warming. I don't go to the ones with things being blown up, people being murdered, etc.
I also am lucky enough to have a lot of nutty friends. LOL I can call one of them and be laughing in just a couple of minutes.
And we try to stay busy. They say an idle mind is the Devil's work shop.
Or you can write a really long E-Mail, I know I feel better right now. LMAO