Happy Thanksgiving! And in honor of the holiday, I want to focus on being thankful for where you are in your life right now. No matter how much farther you want to be, you've still worked so hard to get here. I'm sure you're like me who have had setbacks along the way. Those setbacks can be so frustrating and exhausting, and I’m sure there are times when you want to just stop. You might be about to break through to the next level, when something happens and you feel all that ground you’ve covered, is lost. I felt this same way when I had to bring my dog, Duke, to the vet late one night. We had another scare with his back, and if you don't know the story, here is Duke's history.
In August of last year, my husband, Duke, and I were at my parent’s house when Duke got a herniated disc in his back. He is a Dotson, and the breed has a bad history with Degenerative Disc Disease. He instantly became paralyzed in the back half of his small body. It was such a scary moment when he started dragging himself away because he was in so much pain and had no idea what to do. Luckily there were four of us there to rush him to the animal hospital close by. They did rush surgery on his back, and removed so much fluid around his disc, that they said they've never seen anything like it before. After a few days he gained some feeling back in his legs, and after a week he started to gain some movement as well. These were all good signs the surgery went well.
My husband and I were so committed to getting Duke back to the all-star self that he is, we researched nonstop how to help him. We started him at physical therapy twice a week and then once a week on an underwater treadmill. He also goes to a chiropractor once a month to make sure everything is properly aligned. He does exercises twice a day for his meals, and we got him walking about half a mile a day. Duke was doing great, although he sometimes walks like a drunk pirate or a penguin. He also isn't allowed to do stairs, climb up or down anything, or jump up or down anything. Even after doing all of these preventative measures, his back still acted up. One night my husband went to feed him, and when he touched his back, Duke yelped and lost his bladder. We rushed him to the vet, and they think he aggravated his back and it was badly inflamed. So Duke went on crate rest for three weeks, with pain killers, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxers. No walks, exercises, or play time, which is very hard for a 3 year old Dotson as you can imagine.
As upsetting as we were with poor duke's injury, I started thinking how much worse it would have been if we didn't do all that we did. What if we didn't get his muscles strong again, and got him walking properly? So I'm challenging you to look at whatever set back you've had recently and think how much further back you'd be if you didn't put in all that hard work and all those long hours. Maybe your 401(k) isn't as big as you'd hope, but at least you have a 401(k). More importantly, you're aware of your 401(k), which is the first step to getting it back on track. Or maybe you’re back on the dating scene after your divorce, and haven’t had much luck. But at least you are out there trying, which is such a huge step and not a relaxing one in the least. Wherever you are in your life, be proud of it. It took a lot to get here.
It’s not all mimosas and butterflies when you are going through a new life transition, and sometimes you might feel completely blind and alone. You’ll have setbacks and side steps, and everything in between. But it is during those tough times, when you find you’re strength to break through and keep going. Besides, if it was effortless, then everyone would be doing it. So be thankful for how far you've come, and appreciate where you are right now. Even if you have miles more to go, think of how many miles you've already conquered. As the Joyce Meyer says, “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.” Amen to that sister!
It’s hard to be in the present and to be thankful for right now. I'm guilty of always looking for the next thing, the next event instead of enjoying right now. And if you're guilty of this too, do not fret. Janet Matts, an executive and personal coach, and I are hosting an event on February 9th called Learning to Love the 3 Ms: Mindful Money Management. Janet is going to focus on being present and fully engaged in the now, while I will go through being aware of your current financial situation. We will do some meditation exercises that involve chocolate, you can't beat that! The night is all about knowing where you are today because you can't plan for the future until you know where you stand currently. So take today to enjoy the present, be thankful for where you are now, and get excited for where you are going. And always remember it is about the journey, so make sure to celebrate the small victories along the way.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family! And enjoy every moment of this Holiday weekend, you deserve it!
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
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