Change and challenge,  Choices and decisions

Adjusting our perspective

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya Angelou

Writing my own life stories — and helping others write theirs — has been a lifelong fascination of mine. In the process, I’ve learned (and witnessed) how we often allow our experiences to define us. We might label ourselves as “survivors” who had the courage to overcome a personal challenge or tragedy. Or we might see our bad fortune as an excuse to throw a perpetual pity party.

Writing about our lives (in a private journal or a workshop) motivates us to take a closer look at how far we’ve come. We can view negative experiences from a fresh perspective. And we might realize that we’ve changed for the better or learned something important from a loss or a challenge.

I discovered this myself during the five months I recovered from bilateral hip replacement surgery and learned how to walk again without assistive devices. An essay I wrote about overcoming pain and disability during that time was published in Catholic Digest and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

As Maya Angelou reminds us, we can decide “not to be reduced” by the hard times we’ve endured. We might even emerge victorious. ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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