The Positive Paradox

Recently things have been going, well, really good. After what felt like one drama after another, life has evened out and feels in balance. We moved to Miami like we had always wanted. Car drama is done. Our relationship is solid, and more importantly we are genuinely happy together. The kids are both entering a magnet school for performing arts in the fall.I recently accepted a permanent job which gives me almost the same flexibility as working on my own but with a paycheck enough to get us out of debt and into a house of our own in a year.

This calm, this period of positive goodness, of everything going right, left me in a bit of a stupor.

I realized that I didn’t have much to say because mostly of what I had been talking about (and also writing in here) was around the struggle, the need to overcome and now, well, we had. The words stopped coming to me and I wondered if this blog had a future.

So now what? That is the paradox isn’t it? When life goes smoothly, we can’t seem to just be in it. We get a good paying job and then spend like crazy thereby eating up the extra money. We find a good romantic partner and then focus on what isn’t right about them until one of us moves on.

We focus on the small stuff in life that doesn’t go well — the traffic jam, the mixed up order, the poor night’s sleep, the difficult child, the long workday… there is always something.

It normally takes me about 25-30 minutes to get to get to work these days. Not bad at all for Miami. I commute from North Miami to South Beach, about 13 miles. It is a much better commute then my previous freelance job in North Fort Lauderdale which was 35 miles away. Commute time then was 40-60 minutes and the driving was harder, faster, longer. So now I appreciate on a daily basis that I’m only going 13 miles, that it takes me less time and, oh the big plus, it is such a pretty drive as I go over the causeway to the beach with the big cruise ships lined up on the right like ladies in waiting, and the luxury homes on the islands on the left with their docs laden with an array of fancy speedboats. The rows of palm trees guiding me on each side and the sun glistening on the water. So given my daily pleasure in my commute, I didn’t let one day of bad traffic, when two accidents clogged up the expressway, turning my commute into a 90 minute ordeal, I didn’t let it ruin my overall buzz. I just did some research on ways to avoid traffic problems in the future, with an app for my iPhone and researching alternate routes. I chocked it all up to a minor bump on a generally smooth as silk road.

That’s when I found my voice again and realized what I wanted to write about.

Strong women like myself (or strong people in general) spend so much time surviving, coping, plowing through life that when things are smooth and good we often don’t believe it or even worse, feel the need to sabotage it.

I’ve written before about achieving your heart’s desire but that is a little different. As momentous as that is, a milestone, in one’s life, it is far more tangible than just being in the positive zone. It is the very lack of problems that is so disarming, a much milder form of what soldiers face when returning from a tour in battle. When we get used to fighting, to struggle, we don’t know what to do when there is none. We feel the lack and it creates a sense of uselessness, even depression.

So how do we deal with the positive paradox, how do we learn to enjoy the good and not ruin it? My advice is the following:

  1. First, pat yourself on the back for getting to the positive place.
  2. Acknowledge that you really and truly deserve all the good that is coming your way.
  3. Life comes in cycles so as good as it may be now, it could be worse in the future so:
    1. Never take it for granted.
    2. Never judge another for their fortune.
  4. Pay it forward — spread the positive by helping others, even encouraging words can make a big difference.

The most important is never focus on the little stuff that tries to knock you out of the positive zone. It is so not worth it. Life is filled with bumps, adjustments, delays, difficulties and surprises. Always think about what you can be grateful for because is probably more than you realize.

One Comment on “The Positive Paradox

  1.  by  Karen I.

    Eliza, What a great blog entry! It hit home with me so much and I thank you for taking the time to put into words something so simple yet so elusive.

    Your “advise list” at the end is so powerful that I’m printing it out and hanging it in my bedroom, kitchen, and home office. Oh, and: a copy to leave in my car…for the days I forget and allow the small stuff blur my positive visions.

    Thank you, Eliza!
    -Karen

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