Shifting Gears

Better LivingI’m changing gears this week. This post is not about art business, it’s more about “life business.”  It’s a glance in the rear view mirror where I see a road behind that’s strewn with worry and angst. I realize, like a finely woven tale, it evolves into a road of purpose, goodness and gratitude.

Yesterday was rife with challenges. It began with too much coffee, which was quickly followed by a “pirouette” that resulted in coldcocking myself in the face with the edge of the bathroom door – hard enough to leave a mark. Don’t ask…the toilet paper roll was too big and that’s all I’m sayin.’ If you ever ask my husband he will tell you, “She’s not clumsy, she incredibly athletic.”  That’s his gracious way of saying I haven’t yet broken a hip.

All amped up on the crack-Kona coffee, I stole away a few moments in the studio and quickly realized small motor skills are degraded by a good cup of joe. My car was in the shop, but I had my husband’s car, so I went to meet a friend. Surprisingly,  the key I was using worked in the ignition, but wouldn’t allow me to lock the vehicle. I ran some errands and left the car unlocked; interestingly, things went smoothly.

Mid-afternoon a nice man from the garage drove my freshly and partially repaired car to my house. He took me to his shop to finalize the repair paperwork. There was one more major repair to be made at the dealership. To my surprise, but not really, I couldn’t persuade my car out of the parking lot. It gasped, and lurched and died. Admitting defeat I summoned the tow truck, which hauled it to the dealership for its “final final.”

I was able to get home from the dealership because, in my past, I had the good sense to have children and marry a man who also had children. I’ll bet you’re surprised that my husband had children…sounds sort of painful…and I’m sure it had its moments. Anyhou, he raised a lovely daughter. She and her little yorkie fetched me up to take me home. After a brief visit, a Mexican payoff and a 10-dollar bill, she left. She took her yorkie with her, but in his customary regalia, Better Livinghe left behind little yorkie turds in my studio. Every. Time. He. Visits. Little shitter.

Because of these mis-adventures, I missed an annual charity event I’d been looking forward to attending. Sitting home hungry and tired, it dawned on me.

I have shifted gears.

Years ago I would have focused on each thing that “went wrong.” I would have dwelled on the string of imperfections that formed my day. I would’ve complained about the inconvenience, the heat, the loss.  While it sounds like I’m doing that now, that’s not the case.

I find myself grateful at the close of this day. Grateful for the good will of strangers. Grateful they cheerfully went out of their way for me. Grateful the dealership went beyond their call to see if the high dollar repair would be covered under warranty – and it was! There was value in the interesting chat with the driver from the first garage.  I’m touched by the tow-truck driver’s positive attitude and careful attention. I’m blessed by a daughter who is responsive and generous – and her little dog, too, for he is WAY too generous. I’m delighted friends at the charity event said they missed me. An additional wave of gratitude is for my husband’s car, which served me well, escaped a raping, and didn’t end up street-side on blocks, despite being unlocked. I’m even happy with the unseasonably warm weather. I’ve been deeply touched by the kindness of those who don’t know me, but were willing to give to me nonetheless. Mostly, I’m thankful for the personal growth; the ability to shift perspective without clawing my way through old habits to do so (click to Tweet that). It came naturally – today.

You hear people say things like, “You can’t change the world, but you can change your attitude about it.” “Look on the bright side.” “Happiness is a choice.” Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know these things. Sometimes, some people would like to haul off and slap these sunny-side crusaders – I’m not absolutely sure, but it’s an educated guess (click to Tweet). But, the day you have a potentially tough day, put your feet up and count your blessings, that’s the day you really know it. The day you don’t consciously reframe your life, but it instead falls into a frame of its own, and you’re happy with it, is when you know you’ve really shifted gears.

Just Cruise Along!




Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, helping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy Writer, Artist, Coachmore success in their lives. 

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10 Replies to “Shifting Gears”

  1. Oh Michelle I’ve had days like that! I seem to have shifted gears too as those days don’t affect me as badly as they did in the past. Thankfully I’ve not had a day like that in quite some time…uh oh…knock on wood. But when a day starts going “south” now I mostly shrug it off…even smile a bit.

    In the past I would have just kept forcing my way forward usually making things worse. Surviving cancer really taught me to view my life differently…seriously differently! At the tough times I also focus on the people and things for which I am so grateful!


    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Deborah. It’s odd to think of an illness as a gift, but you hear people often claim it is. I’m glad you’re healthy and living your life. Shifting gears gets easier with practice. 🙂

  2. whoa. I had no idea when we spoke about meeting up that you were already on THIS journey! I think that 3 crazy women in a 2-seater could have just “topped you off”….I still owe you a glass of wine…cheers!

  3. I needed something to read to put me to sleep a couple weeks ago so I pulled out ‘Loving What Is’ by Byron Katie. I’ve tried reading it a few times and could never wrap my head around what she was saying. Well surprise–this time I actually understood what she was talking about. And then I put it into action when I was all sorts of pissed off at someone. For weeks I’d been having an argument with someone IN MY HEAD and then the lightbulb went off…did I WANT to feel that way? No. So I flipped the switch and decided I didn’t have to be angry. AND IT WORKED.

    Notice how I turned my comment about your post around so it became all about me. We’ll just say I was shifting gears.

    Oh, and your daughter’s Yorkie flunked out of the same potty training school as one of my little darlin’s.

    1. Oh, Katie…is it real? Is it really real? What if it weren’t real? I don’t get my head around a lot of her “stuff,” but one of the things I really like is knowing when it’s your business, my business or God’s business. Keeps it clear. Yes, there is so much wisdom we are not yet privy to, and it seems silly sometimes as we watch people struggle in their lives with things that seem to matter little. I’m going to try to enjoy the journey, not drive the bus. Thanks, Susan. Hugs ~m

  4. I have had this vague but persistent way of living which tends toward the morose! and have heard MANY times that you can choose your attitude but I didn’t believe it.
    A good friend sent me an email on posting 100 days of happiness, At first, I said no, too morose for that! but then decided, Okay – 100 days of happiness – and I am AMAZED, truly amazed at what a difference gratitude can have in your life. It is a new road, of course there are bumps and potholes but the ride is delightful and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
    your wonderful blog just underlined my new understanding.

    1. What a wonderful realization, Carol. Yep, gratitude is the best seasoning for life, EVER! On my personal Facebook page, I spend the month of November stating a daily gratitude and inviting my friends to do the same. November is a long time off, so I also suggest keeping a journal…you may be doing that now. If you write 3 things you’re grateful for each day, in a month you’ll have almost a hundred…and it keeps us focused on the good in life. BE HAPPY! (It’s free!) ~ m

  5. Thank you Michelle, very well written indeed. I too am grateful………for my “Sunny-Side” Crusader attitude (Mostly Sunny)(sometimes Crusader-Like)

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