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Sunny Days and Challenges

April 14, 2011

It’s a beautiful spring day in Scottsdale, Arizona. Warm and sunny, but not too hot, the temperature is a lovely dry 76 degrees. There is a slight breeze, and birds are singing here in my backyard. It is times like this that I am very grateful to be living in this part of the country.

On this day, fifteen years ago, I was getting ready to leave for my trek across country from New England, and the forecast was for snow! Sure enough, the next day I left New England in a blizzard! Imagine my surprise when I finally arrived in Scottsdale, AZ from Waltham, MA about ten days later (after a few stops and detours) and I needed air conditioning in my car! But the snow wasn’t really all that bad in Boston, and neither was the cold. I never really minded it when I lived there. I loved the changing of the seasons there as much as I do now. In Phoenix, the changes are more subtle, less dramatic than New England, but they are there nonetheless. The important thing to remember is that, in my heart, Phoenix isn’t necessarily better or worse than Boston. It’s just different. And I can appreciate the gifts of both places.

I’ve been thinking a lot about appreciation. It’s so easy to appreciate fine, beautiful things like this picture-perfect day. It’s not as easy to appreciate times of challenge, times of struggle. And yet, they too have their beauty.

When I was first considering my move to Arizona, I kept seeing all of the prickly plants and the dry desert, and thinking how ugly it was compared to the lush green of New England. Now, as much as I still love the color of New England leaves in autumn, I also love seeing the poppies blossoming in Phoenix in a profusion of orange and yellow along roadsides and covering front yards in February. I really have learned to appreciate new kinds of beauty.

In our lives, we hold our favorite memories close to our hearts, reliving them again and again, or perhaps keeping them in a special place that we can access when we need them. Do we also embrace our challenges? Do we see the value that they too have in shaping us, in bringing us along the journey of our lives to where we are right now, and where we will be in the future?

I am learning, day by day, that challenges are to be cherished for the lessons and growth that they bring. I am learning that there will always BE challenges, no matter what, and that the real gift is in how you face them and handle them.

I was listening to a tele-seminar the other day and the speaker talked about how, in the past few years, people with credit limits exceeding $1,000,000 had their credit lines slashed to whatever their balance was, just as those with credit limits in the $100 or $1,000 range did. People with higher credit lines were counting on that money to take them through difficult patches, and yet, when the difficult time arose, they were faced with the exact issues that people with lower credit lines face. Those that came out of such an experience ready to rebuild, regardless of the amount, are those that are moving towards success these days. They are able to appreciate the lessons and cherish the sunny days.

I was also affected by the economic downturn and I am still picking up pieces, but I am also valuing all that I am learning as I do so. I can see where I made some uninformed decisions. I can see where I listened to people who may have given me poor advice. I can see how with each new discovery, I can change my mindset, my way of doing business, so that I am living from a more informed, wiser place. How else do we grow?

And what am I growing for? So I can live a bigger life. So I can reach further than I did before. So I can achieve more than I did before, in a wiser, more deliberate way, and share what I have learned with others. I can appreciate the storms as well as the sunshine, knowing that both make me who I am.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie Beckers permalink
    April 14, 2011 5:00 pm

    I rather enjoy a desert landscape myself. Everything seems larger than life, or at least life in Ohio, from the sky on down. And you’ve got all those canyons and pretty rock formations in Arizona…what’s not to love about the desert as far as the view? The heat, on the other hand – I have a pretty high tolerance to heat, but I start to break once it hits triple digits!

    • lindacostello permalink*
      April 14, 2011 6:07 pm

      Triple digits can be hot, but without humidity, it really isn’t intolerable. I remember feeling more uncomfortable at 85 with high humidity than at 100 with low humidity. Amazing what a difference water in the air makes.

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