From Dr. Jane's Notebook

The party's over --- What’s next?

The calendar has begun a new cycle, and as we move into 2011, we are reminded that nothing is more certain than change. The first decade of the 21st century certainly challenged much of what we formerly took for granted. In this state of perpetual change, it is easy to become angry, depressed, confused, or obsessed when things do not go as planned. Or we can develop new ways to cope. Take a deep breath and start working on your back-up plan. Here are a few more thoughts on the matter.

·        It’s wise for all people to have a back up career. There is great pleasure in having a job that you enjoy but sometimes great jobs come to an end. Fortunately, when we decide on a career, we are deciding that we are drawn to a certain type of work, not just a single place of employment. Career training prepares us to work in different settings, for different companies, either as employees or to become self-employed. Even when things are going well on the job, it pays to think ahead and imagine your self pursuing a backup career, just in case.

·        Even when money is not a concern, it’s wise to live on a budget. Living on a budget doesn’t mean denying yourself of everything; it simply means planning and prioritizing your expenses. As we have learned in recent years, money can come and go with little warning. We owe it to our children and to ourselves to improve our financial habits as we move into an unknown future. Family relationships can be damaged when we try to control the flow of money through bossiness instead of discussion. Everyone, including children, needs to feel that they have some amount of understanding of how financial decisions are made and some amount of spending power. Typically, when children are given an age-appropriate allowance and the opportunity to make their own financial decisions, they learn more about thriftiness and less about whining.

·        Resilience is useful at all ages. Throughout history, our greatest heroes have demonstrated the ability to face their challenges and overcome adversity. As far back as the First Century A.D., the philosopher Epictetus has been quoted as saying, ‘what disturbs people’s minds the most is not events but their judgments on events’. In other words, our negative thoughts can far exceed what has actually happened, making us feel even more horrible. Often, the key to overcoming our problems is to focus less on the problem and more on the solution.

·        Avoid confrontations with strangers. When we have been insulted, mistreated, or misunderstood, it is easy to get drawn into a fight. While I am absolutely against bullying, it is vitally important to think before you react in order to fully consider the intentions of your opponent. All too often, strangers don’t fight fair.

           Not too long ago while on a driving trip, we stopped for gas at an out-of-the-way gas station. When I went to pay for some snacks, I handed the cashier a $20 bill and was given back insufficient change. The cashier argued that I had given him only $10. As our discussion continued, I began to feel as though my departure was being stalled and that possibly our car, our wallets or our lives might be in danger. My husband and I agreed that $10 was a small price to pay for escaping that situation. In all cases, we must remember that we are vulnerable and it is easier than we think to get hurt… physically, emotionally, or legally.

      We live in times that are unpredictable. For this reason, we must remember to live carefully, safely, and teach our children how to make the wisest decisions possible. Life is short, every day is a gift, and there are no absolute recipes for success. I wish us all a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

 ---Dr. Jane

©Copyright, 2011, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.            

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