A New Outlook

Danica - Walnut Creek, California
Entered on February 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family
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Everyone has difficult days and must endure events that change their lives in a way they’re not prepared for. It’s how you respond to forks in the road that will change your life. I believe that it’s not what happens to you, but how you respond to it, and I have learned that your outlook on life is everything.

Through my grandmother, I learned how to face life with an upbeat attitude. My grandma was strong and positive, and always found the silver lining. When my grandma was sixty, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. Somehow, she didn’t allow her illness to interfere with life; she didn’t dwell on the disease. Fifteen years passed and she fought the Leukemia, without allowing it to overpower her.

Two years ago when my grandma’s health deteriorated, we flew down to visit her. I can recall walking up the stone pathway to my grandma’s house. My heart pounded loudly with every step I took. I had known my grandmother my entire life, and still, I was filled with apprehension. I was unsure of how to act, what to say, and what to expect. When a woman from hospice answered the door, we hurried inside quietly. My grandmother was lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to oxygen, looking frail and exhausted. When she heard us come in, a smile spread across her face, lighting it up as it always did. I breathed a sigh of relief because I had thought my grandma would be an entirely different person now that she was so ill. On the contrary, her illness had not effected her upbeat spirit. I felt astonished at how my grandma was still able to find the brightness in every day. The Leukemia was causing her to grow weaker, but her joyous spirit never faltered.

During our following visits, my grandma told us she was scared, but she never allowed fear to cloud her vision. I vividly remember when we brought my grandma’s wheel chair out to her yard so she could enjoy the newly planted flowers. Immediately, I noticed the additional color in her face and she smiled at us contentedly. That day it dawned on me how are there so many wonderful things in life that we overlook; it’s a tendency to dwell on the hardships instead. There will always be unexpected changes in your life, changes you aren’t ready to accept. Often it feels easier to surrender, or wallow in self-pity. In reality, focusing on the terrific things in your life instead, will carry you further.

When remembering my grandmother, I don’t think of her as frail or ill. Instead I remember her amazing spirit. This strong spirit made me take a look at my own life. Now I focus on the great things that happen each day, letting the annoyances and problems slide by. Because I believe that it’s not what you are handed in life, but instead, your outlook on each day.