Choose Your Battles, By Lorie Sheffer, Guest Blogger

Photo: Lorie Sheffer

As I look ahead at the New Year, I can’t help but glance over my shoulder in an effort to see if I have learned anything. I’m not one of those people who can set large resolutions. I know me, and it’s not going to happen. What works for me are those small changes that honestly do make a difference in the long run; the attainable goals. Not that they are easy, mind you.

My goal for last year was to try to laugh in the face of stress. I have so many serious things in my life that if I sweat the small stuff I can easily become overwhelmed. I think it’s called Choosing Your Battles. Not only have I done well, I have also discovered that those previously stressful situations can now provide some much needed comic relief.

I love to cook, but I hate shopping for food. I’m not entirely sure the employees of my regular grocery store are thrilled when they see my car pulling into the lot, either. In November I had the Unfortunate Clam Chowder Incident. Who knew that those new pop top soup cans fly open if the can is accidentally dropped onto the floor from the top shelf? Clean-up in aisle 5! Then there was the Christmas Eve Shrimp Tragedy. In an effort to try to learn new things, I went through the self-check aisle. All was well until I got to the large party platter of steamed shrimp at the bottom of my cart. The lid wasn’t on tight enough. Or something. When a party platter starts to flip, well, there’s no recovering.  There was a time when these incidents would have pushed me over the edge. But no more! Now I find them to be hilarious. I even had to laugh last summer when I fell out of my sandals into the parking lot during a downpour. Sure I was soaked and my knee swelled up like a cantaloupe, but really…. Getting angry wouldn’t have provided me with cat-like reflexes, nor would it have suddenly turned me into a less klutzy person. It turns out that laughter really IS the best medicine. Another surprising side benefit to laughing off your mishaps is that people around you will seem to become less stressed as well.

What it all boils down to is this: You can be stuck in an embarrassing or stressful situation and you can freak out about it, or you can try to laugh about it; your choice. But either way, the situation will remain the same. I choose to laugh. Life is too short to worry about a few spilled shrimp (or 5 pounds of them!) at the bottom of a shopping cart.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.