The last few weeks have been a blur. When I backed up to the loading dock to pick up my books it was rather overwhelming to say the least. As one case after another was loaded into my truck I realized that although the huge accomplishment of writing the book was over, the daunting task of selling it was just beginning.

Life is a series of changes. We start off as children. We’re not fully developed enough to make rational decisions on our own, so we have to rely on the people that raise us. I was very fortunate in that area. From a young age I was shown the difference between right and wrong as well as showing proper respect to people.

Before long the changes take place faster than we can comprehend. Heck, it seems like a few years ago I was in high school and the four years I spent getting my undergraduate degree in Oneonta are all but forgotten. Although I spent four years in college it seems like it was only a year when I look back at that period of my life.

However, as with anything our feet guide us and mine have kept marching forward. I’ve seen so many people get stuck in quicksand on their journeys. They let situations control them rather than stand up and find a way to pave a new path. I’ve encountered a few unfortunate incidents along the way such as being diagnosed with diabetes to starting all over again in my mid to late 30s. Sometimes we don’t have any control over what is thrown in our lap. If we don’t address these things and find peace with them they can haunt us for all of our living days on earth. I’ve noticed that some people seem to enjoy the misery. They don’t want to move forward. They want an excuse to stay in the spot they’re in. It’s a safety blanket that they can pull over their heads and hide from the world underneath it.

Many people are afraid of making mistakes. We all make mistakes, but I think the biggest mistake is crying a river over something that happened in the past. The people that let their past control their present are never truly at peace with the things that have happened in their lives. Opportunities come and go and the people look at it like nothing was lost. However, in all reality, everything could have been lost and absolutely nothing was gained. When a person is stationary there’s no movement in either direction. Sometimes you have to go to the depths of despair to find your way back to the top of the mountain. The higher you go, the closer you are to the sun, which has the ability to brighten even the darkest of days.

It seems as if fear paralyzes most people who refuse to move forward. They might be afraid of something that happened in the past or they might be afraid of failing in the future. No matter how you look at it, it’s not a very cheerful or optimistic way to open your eyes every morning.

When I started the project of writing my book I had no idea if I would ever finish. Since I was entering one of those changes that people encounter throughout their lives I decided I didn’t have anything to lose. If I succeeded I would have something to hand down to my family and the generations that follow. If I failed I wouldn’t be a different person or anything of the sort.

Shortly after my life was upturned I set new goals. I’m a firm believer that people who don’t have goals have a much harder time staying positive from day to day. I might show some negativity from time to time, but I will never express it when I’m working toward personal goals that I have set for myself. I don’t share my goals with many people so it’s easy for me to remain focused. I’ve seen more than a fair share of people get sucked in by the negativity that bounces from wall to wall every day. Many people make bad decisions because they can’t reach deep enough inside themselves during weak moments. At that time misery loves company. People who are destroying their own lives prey on others by telling them their lives could be better or they could do other things that would make them happier, and more times than not, the weak person will follow. This happens over and over and it’s a vicious cycle. That’s why relationships are so disposable now. People think the grass is always greener. I’ve been there too. I stood on the fence and took a look at the neighbor’s lawn. The harder I gazed at the turf the more clear it became, that my yard was just fine as it was.  I was satisfied. The lawn required care, but in the end it was just as good as the lawn across the fence. Many of the people standing on the fence don’t stand long enough to take in all of their surroundings. It almost reminds me of suicide. Most of the time suicides could be prevented with a single thought that lasted a few more seconds. It’s so incredibly sad that it’s hard to think about.

As I enter yet another change in my life I have new insight. I now have to learn how to be a salesman for my own product. This should be an easy task and the weeks ahead should give me a better answer as to whether or not I will be successful.

I read a quote a few years ago when I was in the bottom of the barrel as helpless as a fish out of water and it has stuck with me ever since that day. It reads, “When one door closes another one opens. However, don’t stare so long at the closed door that you fail to realize that another one has been opened for you.”

I’m not sure who wrote it and it’s not important. It’s very easy to understand and I hope that a few of my friends who have struggled mightily with a few changes in their lives are able to shed the monkey off their backs and walk freely as they once did. We mustn’t ever forget that we are the only ones responsible for where we are in our lives. If we choose to hide in the sand because of  fear it is our own fault. If we choose to rush into things and make hasty decisions that too is our own fault. If we take a step back, address situations with deep thought and gently nibble from the oustide in we’ll find our way. It’s all about trusting ourselves and the ones around us.

As a surfer rides a wave, we must do the same. Don’t fight the power of the ocean. Instead, let the wave carry us to the safety of the shore. Once there we can pick up our boards and feel the sand beneath our feet as we walk off into the sunset……………………………with the fear behind us and a new change beckoning us to acknowledge it.

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