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Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life

It has taken me months to write this post. Not because I don’t have the time – being “too busy” is just an excuse. Not because I wasn’t feeling inspired – actually, I’m not sure I’ve ever been this creatively stimulated in my life. Mostly because I just couldn’t find the words. I didn’t want to risk coming across as cliché; some experiences in life are so emotionally overwhelming, they feel impossible to describe in a fresh and truly authentic way.

Every once in a while we all have that slap-in-the-face “feeling” reminding us just how precious life is. And it’s not only the significance of what we have to lose that becomes obvious, but the sudden, frightening awareness of just how quickly it can all disappear.

best friendsSometimes, the “feeling” punches impressively hard. For me, it hit on my honeymoon. It sucked all of the air out of my lungs. It beat down on my swelling heart. It swooped in and knocked me off of the cloud I was floating on.

It happened when I was having one of the best days of my life. Suddenly, without either of us knowing it, my best friend was having the absolute worst day of hers.

It happened with less than a month to go until her wedding day, just over a week before her 25th birthday. It happened after a perfect date night with her fiancé, on a sunny afternoon drive to work. It happened to her. It could happen to anyone…

I try to see life’s challenges as blessings rather than burdens. Of course, I don’t always succeed at this. I complain I “have to” commute to work, I “have to” cook dinner; I worry I “have to” workout more, I “have to” clean the house.

But what if I was actually powerless to accomplishing these things? What if I was mentally unable to write every day, or physically incapable of taking the hot yoga class I have grown to love? What if I couldn’t stand at the stove to watch the water boil, or carry the garbage out to the curb to get picked up?

These “normal” activities, these “little things”, both precious and mundane, are opportunities I tend to take for granted. Yet together, they have formed a quality of life I absolutely love – a life I can’t imagine missing out on.

Perspective is everything.

You get to choose the lifestyle you live. Sure, it may present some obstacles, and there are certain aspects that are out of your control. But the way you see these small encounters and crooked storylines is completely up to you. You can choose to change your attitude – to appreciate these simplicities for the feelings of happiness and fulfillment they bring to you.

How can I complain?

How can I complain about folding my husband’s laundry or scooping up dog poop from the backyard, when my best friend – the nurse, the bride-to-be, the woman who could truly do, and have, it all – is waiting, wishing and working her ass off just to have some “normal” return to her day; fighting with every ounce of strength in her body just to get the back the “little things” she grew so accustomed to?

I so badly want to give her those things, but I can’t. Her world has changed beyond the comprehension of those who haven’t lived through what she has now lived through. And I can’t do anything to change what happened.

All I can do is remind her there are a million reasons I didn’t lose my best friend that day. There are a million reasons her fiancé didn’t lose his future wife; her parents didn’t lose their only daughter; she didn’t lose her life.

It just changed. And that’s what life does; it changes. We’re forced to adapt, and find those “little things” that make each day something special. Sometimes we have to dig a little deeper to find them. But they are there. They’ve always been there in some form or another. We just have to unearth them – sometimes from the deep, dark terrain they’ve burrowed within – and appreciate them for all they are now, in this moment, before this moment goes away.


Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is the founder of Web of Words. She helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Her work has been published in Maclean's, Canadian Business, Zoomer, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and fur-babe. To learn more, check out her portfolio at charlotteottaway.com and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.

5 Comments Write a comment

  1. Tears falling. Absolutely wonderfully written. I think we all know all this, but it isn’t cliche because we all need to hear it. I lost a wonderful friend to a terrible car accident years ago and we are always left wondering, why? But there is most certainly reasons, every time I find myself driving too fast, he saves my life by reminding me to slow down. And there are so many wonderful reasons it didn’t end that way for R. I thank God it didn’t and pray that she finds peace with work she has ahead of her. Thinking of all of you always. Xoxo


    • Charlotte Ottaway

      Thanks for the comment, Athena. Very sorry to hear about the tragic loss of your friend. It is so scary to think how quickly things can change. Sometimes it is truly unfair the way the stars are aligned. And yet, what else can we do but persevere, and eventually find new ways of reaching for the moon?


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