Life is wonderful! What a bold statement. I hear a lot of drag from others about their outlook on life. A lot of poor mentalities are developed around us because we feel stuck or we’re just not fitting in like we thought we would. I know that I can relate well to this because it wasn’t too long ago that I was lost without direction.
College was a great stage of my life. For some it is high school, particular jobs, or children and growing a family that provide them sufficient happiness. For me, college brought best friends, an amazing girlfriend, and an environment to thrive in education. All of which I had prayed for through my whole K-12 experience. I wanted to be around people who loved where they were and I got that.
Quickly, buddies were dropping out of school and/or already graduating. The loss of these friendships led to a lack of interest for class and rapid interest in late night socializing at parties. In the search to fill the deprivation I was assuming, my relationship with the girlfriend I had at the time was growing to be stressful and I lost sight of my purpose within that partnership. We broke up, and from there on, in a four-year span, the best thing in my life was a failure. I left without a degree.
Transition into the “real” world was extremely tough. Nothing fulfilled my soul because it always seemed to be about what job was good for money, and not about doing what I felt I had purpose to do. Everything, it seems, is associated with money as the ultimate worth, and not the Self. That had never made sense to me, but for a long time I went along with it because I thought “Someday, this dream may come true.” But I only half-believed it, so I found easy, dead-end jobs that I could escape easily from.
Work now as a personal trainer within this community has brought me fulfillment. It goes along with the interests that I had growing as a child and adolescent, and also brings me a lot of freedom to just be myself. My dream is to live within a community that is all-around fit. In this, I am speaking not in terms of purely physical fitness, but along the lines where everybody seems to click with one another and the people are attuned well to each other. A community in which discrepancies are small and compassion for each other thrive. This is possible.
For me, it took a big change in perspective. I first had to acknowledge that from deep down within me I wasn’t happy and needed a change. I went a long time denying that with a mentality to tough it out and “quit being a sissy.” Although nothing could shake the deep dissatisfaction I had found myself in and I came to terms. Once I came to terms, it was only then that I could take steps necessary to change the rigid mentality this community had embedded into me.
The biggest step is in knowing how to open up to a different mentality. A lot of people may think that you simply need to adjust your attitude. Attitude is a relatively small aspect of mentality. What I like to focus on is temperament. Temperament is a broader scope of mentality that develops multiple attitudes. For example, if you have a temperament of joy it could develop attitudes of compassion, gratitude, or generosity.
Now with a focus on temperament I can better know how to handle tense, stressful situations. Exercise is one of those facets I use to keep me sharp because it brings so much light and vitality to me. But for you, and for anybody, it can be something as simple as reading a book, getting outside for yardwork or a walk, or simply going for a drive.
When you get the hang of it, and the more often you choose to work with yourself, the world around you changes and we find the simplicity of being alive. You too will think “Life is Wonderful.”
Trey Tompkins is a local resident who writes fitness columns for the Record-Herald.