Libby Grandy

Living Your Own Life
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Inspirational Stories

Living Your Own Life

(Published:  Fresh Ink 2011)


The last twenty or thirty years of our lives are lived in a completely different arena.  Retired from busy careers, we are able to focus on what we enjoy most.  We have time to become involved in charitable causes and volunteer in activities that make us aware of those less fortunate than ourselves.


We are free to spend more time with family members.  Even if we are not involved in their daily lives, we are their emotional touchstone.  They may or may not seek our advice about life decisions, but they do trust that they will always receive our unconditional love. 


In the process of all this, it is natural to be concerned about others and think about them often.  At some point, however, we have to remind ourselves to get back to our own lives. We can’t live other people’s lives and ours at the same time.  In emergencies, we should focus on the problems of others, but on a daily basis, it is not helpful. 


Most of the women I know have a problem compartmentalizing.  (I have trouble even spelling the word.)  As daughters, mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters and friends, we are good, however, at empathizing. 


Our ability to do so often presents an emotional dilemma, because we tend to carry with us the problems and emotions of someone long after the person feels better and has moved on.  Empathy can morph into worry, worry into stress and stress into unhappiness and even ill health. 


Time seems to be passing by unusually fast these days.  Each day is beginning to look more like a gift.  Dwelling on the problems of friends and family is usually not conducive to enjoying the day.  If I have talked to them, prayed for them and perhaps even written in my journal about them, it’s time to return to my own life.


It is possible to give love and support and still enjoy your own life.  How?  It takes a leap of faith.  Because that is the answer to our dilemma—faith—and living in the moment.  We need to trust that God will help people get through their ordeals as they learn and grow.   


In some part of my brain, I used to believe that thinking about others in some way protected them.  The truth is I don’t have that kind of power.  My prayers have power but my worrying helps no one.


In my article, “Worried, Not Me,” I use two of my friends as examples of women who choose not to worry, even though they have large families and all the accompanying challenges.  Trust and prayer are their primary choices, but they also have the ability to focus on and enjoy the moment.  After they answer the call to be loving and supportive, they pray for loved ones, then surrender them into God’s hands.


When I do the same, I am able to return to enjoying the blessings in my own life.


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