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MANDY FLYNN: The trick to moving ahead

FEATURES COLUMN: Birthdays are a time when we assess our lives

Mandy Flynn

Mandy Flynn

About this time each year I start to reassess my life and think back on what I’ve done over the past 12 months. Have I done something extraordinary … something simple … something thoughtful? Have I helped someone out … made a new friend … learned a cool trick?

There’s a lot to think about when you’re about to turn a year older, which is what I will do in a few days. No need to worry about just how old that is. Let’s just say it’s old enough to know better and still young enough to realize it’s not too late — not too late to let go of some things. Here’s what I learned last weekend from Angel Chernoff, who in her blog Practical Tips for Productive Living talks about things you should let go of before your next birthday.

I think I’ll try a few.

Let go of what isn’t helping your soul smile and grow. — Life is to be enjoyed, not endured. Let go of the baggage you know you need to leave behind — sometimes walking away is a step forward.

Let go of feeling like you aren’t making progress fast enough — No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying. Let go of worrying about everyone else’s opinions of your life.

Let go of all your empty complaints. If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Let go of the excuses. If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. Let go of lazy attitudes and routines — In life, you don’t get what you wish for; you get what you work for. Let go of making the same mistakes over and over — You can’t make the same mistake twice. The second time you make it, it’s no longer a mistake, it’s a choice.

Let go of thinking you should always get what you want – Not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. Let go of the notion that life is fair — That’s like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him. Let go of thinking others have it better than you — if everybody threw their problems in a pile for you to see, you would likely grab yours back in a heartbeat.

Let go of thinking there is a perfect time — You can’t keep waiting for the perfect moment — it doesn’t exist. Let go of the need to always feel comfortable — All growth begins at the end of your comfort zone. Let go of your mistakes — Don’t carry your mistakes around with you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones.

Let go of letting your daily struggles get the best of you — Hard times often lead to greatness. Let go of excessive worrying — Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace and potential. Let go of wanting stuff you don’t need — it’s always easier to find wealth by needing less, instead of making more.

Let go of your ungrateful thoughts — Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have. Let go of any hypocrisy — Don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines. Let go of assuming other people are more “normal” than you — The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well.

Let go of trying to change others — Either you accept who they are or you choose to live without them. Let go of negative influences — Be with those who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you. Let go of the things people say about you — What they think and say is a reflection of them, not you.

Let go of needing everyone to like you — Everyone doesn’t need to like you. There are plenty of people who do. Let go of life’s little annoyances and don’t let the dumb little things break your happiness — True wealth is the ability to experience and appreciate each moment for what it’s worth.

There’s a lot to think about before turning another year older. Did I do all the things I wanted to do last year? Ummmm. Maybe not. But that’s okay.

I can always learn a cool trick this year.

Email columnist Mandy Flynn at flyn1862@bellsouth.net.