Sunday, August 19, 2012

How to build a beautiful life

(Originally published in Guyana’s Stabroek News on 14 July 2012)

Recently, a friend posted on Facebook that she loved her life. I commented on her post, “You’ve made a good life for yourself. The life you love is a direct consequence of the fact that you made good decisions for yourself.”
Creating a good life is no easy thing. Life seems to throw all kinds of obstacles in the way until sometimes it is easier to just give up or to self-medicate to forget about how hard life can be.
We all want a beautiful life, but we do not think about what it takes to create such a great life. A beautiful life does not just happen and is not reserved only for lucky people. A beautiful and fulfilling life is crafted and carefully implemented through years of planning and good decision-making.
For example, my friend has created a beautiful life for herself, but it was not always this way. She has gone through some tough times and had to make some very difficult decisions. However, she faced her problems head on and found the strength to pave a path that would lead to a better life.
We have all made bad choices at some point in our lives. Who hasn’t been there? It could be as simple as doing something without thinking that casts a reputation that does not truly reflect the person inside. Or it could be an unwise choice, like deciding to date a “bad boy” instead of a guy with a good heart that comes from a stable home.
In the end, that bad boy could cause physical, emotional and mental harm that will stick around for years – maybe even the rest of you life. Such decisions not only effect you, Sister, but if you get caught in a long-term abusive relationship, it can effect your children, your extended family and your friends.
All because you thought it would be cool to date a “bad boy.” Bad choice. Bad choices never create beautiful lives. If you choose badly, bad things will be the result. No one is immune to this pattern. Our choices determine the course of our lives.

There are some key points to remember in building a beautiful life. The first has already been mentioned: make good choices. You cannot expect to make bad decisions and expect a good life. If you quit school, you cannot get a good paying job and you will live in poverty. If you choose to marry a man who does not respect others, he will not respect you either.
Sometimes, it is more complicated than just making good choices. For example, there are times in life when we are at our wit’s end and do stupid things. When we feel cornered, we hurt others, we let our sharp words fly and we make bad decisions.
Sisters, when life has pushed you up against a wall and you are at your wit’s end, don’t make rash decisions. Let yourself cool down. Take a walk or go on a short trip. It is important to find some time to sort through your feelings before making important life decisions.
The next key point in building a good life is to refuse to use drugs or alcohol to escape your problems. These are your problems, whether by your own making or not, and you must have a good, clear mind if you are going to find workable solutions that will create a better life for yourself.
It is so easy to escape the bad things in life by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol rather than facing those problems. There are some problems that feel so big that we cannot find a way out, but you do have the capacity to fix the situation and create a good life for yourself. Just remember, you cannot make wise decisions when you are high or drunk.
Big problems require a steady focus. Be smart, Sisters, and keep your eyes on the problem. When a wrench is thrown into your plans to solve the problem, don’t give up. Use your brain and find a way to counteract the damage caused by the wrench and keep going.
Which brings me to the next key point in building a beautiful life, which is don’t give up. You have to be strong, Sister. You have to find the inner power to keep fighting no matter what life throws at you. There will be times when you might want to give up. Please don’t. The longer you are entrenched in that problem, the more difficult it will be to get out, but it is never too late to create a plan to resolve that problem once and for all, so you can live a beautiful, healthy and enjoyable life.
Know what it is you want in life and keep your eyes on that prize. Do not let outside influences knock you down and make you forfeit the beautiful life you want. Get up, brush yourself off and fight like hell to regain your focus.
The most important point to remember is that it is never too late to turn things around and start making good decisions. You are not a lost cause and you deserve a beautiful life. I don’t care if you are 16, 36, 56 or 96; it is never too late to create the beautiful life you want.
What does your beautiful life look like? Do you want to be a professional? Make a plan and build that life. Don’t let distractions stop you. Do you want to be an artist? A good mother? Do you want to help others? Make the decisions that will create the life you want. You can do this, Sister.
It’s good to have a Sister to help you maintain your focus and to be there when something goes awry in your plan, which will happen. A Sister can help you regain focus and support you while you build your beautiful life. Now go build a great life!

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