This Thanksgiving: See the Glass Half Full!

By Gwenn Voelckers

Every one of us has been given a great gift: the cup of life. It is half full and half empty. We choose which half to focus on, at every moment.”
Marc Allen, triathlon coach

Seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty is all about focusing on what’s positive in our lives, regardless of what comes our way. It’s about being thankful, appreciative and grateful. It’s about concentrating on our strengths rather than our weaknesses.

I’m convinced that our thoughts and attitudes determine the life we have. And experience has taught me that seeing the glass half full can make a big difference for those who live alone.

We have a choice. We can choose to see the positive or we can choose to wallow in the negative; we can open our eyes to possibilities or begrudge what life has offered up.

So, how do you view the cup of life? Take a look at the list below, which contains actual quotes from divorced or widowed women and men I’ve encountered along my journey.

Do you find yourself identifying with one perspective over another?

NOT BEING MARRIED
• Half Empty
“Something must be wrong with me. All my friends are married, and here I am alone and miserable.”
• Half Full
“Not in a million years did I expect to be divorced at my age, but I am resourceful and persistent. I’ve always wanted to travel and try new things, and now I have that opportunity — to create a life that’s rewarding and full of new people and experiences that bring me joy. And, who knows? I may meet a special someone along the way.”

DECISION MAKING
• Half Empty
“Are you kidding? I don’t know enough to buy a house or a car. Those are the big decisions my spouse used to make. I wouldn’t know where to begin.”
• Half Full
“Finally, I get to make all my own decisions! No one’s around to second-guess my choices. I just purchased my first car all on my own: a new Subaru Impreza. I did the research and was completely prepared when I went to the dealership. My color choice? Crimson Red Pearl!”

IN A CRISIS
• Half Empty
“I’m no good in a crisis. I go to pieces. When I hear bad news, I’m embarrassed to admit that sometimes I long to be taken care of and protected. Living alone makes all this worse. There’s no one to turn to.”
• Half Full
“Being alone in a crisis isn’t the end of the earth. In fact, some of my most significant growth has been during tough times. When I got the call that my father had had a heart attack, I took charge, made calls, and brought the family together. I learned I could take care of myself and others, too.”

DATING
• Half Empty
“I can’t imagine re-entering the dating scene. What could anyone possibly see in me at this age, with my graying hair and grandchildren?”
• Half Full
“I believe that warm friendships, even romance, can happen at any age. I’m now remarried. We met in a grief support group and the rest is history. Next year, we are celebrating our fifth anniversary.”

FINANCES
• Half Empty
“My spouse took care of all the finances, the bills, the taxes, everything! I feel helpless and, honestly, I fear dying alone and penniless.”
• Half Full
“I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I knew I could do it. Getting help with my finances was one of the first things I did after my divorce. I picked up the phone and asked for help, did my homework, and now enjoy peace of mind. I think it’s the thing I’m most proud of.

COOKING FOR ONE
• Half Empty
“Why would I go to any lengths to create a special meal for just myself? It hardly seems worth it. I can fill up on chips and salsa and call it a night.”
• Half Full
“Creating a pleasant ‘table for one’ makes me feel good about myself. It means I’m nourishing my body as well as my spirit. When I prepare a nice table setting and sit down to a simple home-cooked meal, a sense of serenity comes over me. I feel at home with my own good company.”

DISCOVERING YOUR TRUE SELF
• Half Empty
“I’m a creature of habit, too old to re-invent myself. And, what’s the point anyway? There’s no one to share my life with.
• Half Full
“It’s never too late. Today, I have an opportunity to fashion a life that reflects my dreams, my style, my true self. Just recently, I signed up for dancing lessons, a lifelong dream of mine. My niece is also coming into her own, and I love being a role model for her.

TIME ALONE
• Half Empty
“Living alone is for the birds! I just want to stay in bed and pull the covers up over my head.
• Half Full
“Living alone need not be a time of diminished opportunities. It can be a time of expanding possibilities. Used wisely, the time can be an adventure in self-discovery and reveal opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment.”

If you don’t like the results you are getting in your life, consider changing the attitudes that are producing those results. Who knows what great adventures and joy await those who focus on gratitude and embrace the wisdom of seeing the glass half full. Now, that’s something to be thankful for!

Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of “Live Alone and Thrive,” empowerment workshops for women held throughout the year in Mendon. For information or to contact Voelckers, call 585-624-7887 or email: gvoelckers@rochester.rr.com.

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