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Take One Day at a Time

One of the things we do as single parent is worry, worry, worry. It’s easy for someone to tell you not to worry but sometimes it’s easier said then done. It is also something you won’t master over night. It’s like anything else in life, you have to make a decision to make the change. To take one day at a time.

But it’s a little more than that. You have to make that decision each and every day. Each day when you wake up, decide you will only concentrate on today. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, today is a gift – that’s why it’s called the present.

Our bodies are amazing machines composed of a lot of muscles. When you are learning to do something new, say like learning karate, your body (muscles) has something called muscle memory. Muscle memory just means that as you repeat an action or movement every day, your muscle remembers. The more you repeat that action or motion, the more ingrained it becomes to your muscle. Before you know it, the action or motion is second nature, you don’t even have to think about it. Why do I bring this up you might ask? Because your brain is a muscle and works in exactly the same way.

Repetition is the easiest way to learn something. Maybe not the fastest, but it definitely works. As we get older, it can become harder for us to learn new things. Which is also a good reason foreign language should be taught in elementary school, but that’s a rant for another day. Even at my age though, if I do something every day I will eventually learn it. When you wake up, you have to leave yesterday’s junk behind and not concern yourself with what will happen tomorrow. You have to teach yourself to take the word worry out of your vocabulary. It is a useless emotion just like regret. Neither does anything to help you in the here and now.

And that’s not to say you should forget your past. Your past has made you who you are today. Take from your past experiences any lessons you can, but don’t dwell on the past. I have a favorite analogy which I tend to repeat a lot and tell as many people as I can. Think of your life like a car. You have a small rear view mirror and a big windshield. That’s because if you focus on what’s behind you you’ll never get anywhere. That’s true for driving and life. You’re going to end up in a wreck.

The same is true for focusing too much on tomorrow. When you are driving, you are taught to focus mainly on what is in front of you. You want to make quick glances around you – your sides, your rear and looking ahead just a little to be aware of what’s coming. The same is true in life. Be aware of what is coming but don’t focus all of your attention on it. You may just miss something real important. A good example: Little Mary is four years old and trying to get her mother’s attention who is sitting at the table working on her monthly budget. Mary is pulling on the hem of her mother’s shirt and calling her name. “Mommy, mommy, mommy. ” We’ve all been there. It’s one of those moments where you think to yourself you wish you could change your name. We’ve all gotten tired of hearing the word mommy. Mary’s mom though is too focused on her budget and worrying how she’s going to pay all the bills for the month and feed her family.  I’m not saying those bills don’t need to get paid. Will sitting at a table, staring at them, get them paid? Of course not, so why do it? Mary’s mom should take a deep breath and spend some time with her.

Your children aren’t going to remember that you paid the bills, their going to remember the things you did together. Make as many memories as possible. It will be good for you as well.

The solution just may come to you after a good nights sleep.