“I need to go to bed early tonight…”

Published 6:30 am Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I never cease to be amazed at the words that come out of the mouths of children. I look back and wonder if I ever said anything as clever, witty, or even as thoughtful as the young children of today seem to come up with.

During the middle of last week’s family vacation over Memorial Day, my granddaughter, Laura, walked into the kitchen and said to her Granny and me, “I need to go to bed early tonight because I am getting whiny.” I tried very hard not to laugh, but in fact, she was right.

Playing all day in the water wore me out too, and if the truth be known I was probably getting pretty cantankerous too. The difference is that she is only three-and-a-half years old.

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The attitude we have about today has a lot to do with how we feel about tomorrow. There are specific, concrete things we can do to improve the way we feel about our lives to help prevent us from “being whiny”.

Wake up early. This has been a life changing event for me. Long a person who was both an insomniac and a late riser, I have spent the past few years waking up early. I have seen more sunrises in the past three years than in the previous fifty. I can’t explain it, but I hit the ground running, anxious to meet the challenges of the day.

Plan your day and set your goals. This doesn’t have to be exact and you can change your plan from day to day and week to week. But a plan is like a road map. It helps you know where you want to go, even if you take a different route along the way.

Learn to understand and accept that things won’t always go as planned. In fact, my best laid plans really have never exactly worked out, no matter how much effort I put into the preparation. The difference is I now know that is just part of the way life is. I don’t know why it took me so long to learn and accept that I wasn’t in control, but my stress level is much improved as I learned to roll with the everyday punches

Spend some time being thankful. No matter what our life is like on any given day, we all have things that we can be thankful for. It wasn’t until I started trying to mentally identify a couple of those blessings each day that I came to realize just how fortunate I really was.

Finally, and this one is important. Surround yourself with positive people. We influence the way we feel by the people we associate with. If your friends are negative, you will find it rubbing off on you. Seek out those that look for the joy in life, and I believe you will find yourself finding that joy yourself.

Laura, at the ripe old age of three, decided to do something last week to feel better the next day. She took responsibility by going to bed early. As adults, we have that same responsibility. Work to make your life more positive and in doing so, all those around you will appreciate that you are no longer “whiny.”

Dan Ponder can be reached at dan@ponderenterprises.net