You need a map… you need a plan… you have to think about how you will get from here … to there
Life after bankruptcy is a time for fresh ideas, new beginnings, and re-commitments. It’s time for some New Year’s type resolutions, but as if your life depended on it, because maybe it does. Hello? Did you hear that? What is the thing you take with you no matter where you go? It’s Y-O-U. If you are recovering from bankruptcy, then it’s time for some “me time.” Look this list over. Take one topic each day and think about it off and on for that whole day. Make some notes.
One place to start is with the little word “duty.” In the simplest sense, duty is recognizing an obligation, seeing when and where something is due, and taking the actions necessary to obey, that is, to ensure what is due is paid, given or delivered.
Spiritual Life – This encompasses many, many ideas. If you are person of faith, then the first area to attend is your devotional life. Do you have religious obligations? If so, are you meeting them. Spiritual Life also refers to the life of the mind and the heart . You have an obligation to care for your intellectual life and the longings of your soul. Are you nourishing your intellectual life? Are you engaged in activities that inspire your imagination. Finally, are you doing these things in a way that grounds you in your community. What is the fruit of your spiritual life? The fruit of your spiritual life is the first indicator that you are living well and doing good.
Health – In addition to fulfilling the obligations that give us a healthy spiritual life, we have obligations to our bodies. Are you getting plenty of exercise? For most of us, the question is answered by how often we get twenty minutes or more of continuous exertion. If your heart rate up and your breath slightly labored then you are on the right track. Twenty minutes or more of walking is sufficient for those who do not work out a lot. Twenty minutes a couple of times a day is great. What are you doing after dinner? before lunch? You also need to feed your body with healthy nutritious food. Fresh food is best. Learning to plan and cook simple meals with fresh ingredients can be another way of nurturing your imagination as well.
Employment – No one seems able to say exactly why, but people live better and happier when they are employed. This is true regardless of the kind of work, the amount of pay, or whether they like their boss. Still, most everyone likes it better when they are doing a job they enjoy and getting paid fairly for it. It can be hard in this economy, but your happiness and your future improve when you are employed. Find any kind of job. Then, start looking for ways to improve your employment. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Start looking for opportunities and knocking at their door.
Education – It’s never too late to get more education. It enhances everything in your life: heart and mind, personal relationships, and employment opportunities. It doesn’t have to be a degree program. Find something that interests you and enroll in a class. If you are not sure about it, find a one day seminar and investigate. Be persistent, keep looking until you find something.
Home – The place you call home is important. Everyone need a place to retreat and get away from the world. It does not have to be huge or particularly luxurious. It needs to have a touch of you. Many people forget this, and their apartment looks like a haphazard assortment of things that just settled in and never left. If you are one of these folks, do yourself a huge favor and invest a few hours thinking about what you want in your home, getting them together, giving your home a personal touch.
Family & Friends – Look around at your family and friends. For many of us they are taken for granted. We forget how special they are, how much they mean to our lives, and we don’t bring imagination to longstanding relationships. It is not necessary to do something contrived and awkward to tell the special people in your life that they are the special people in your life. Simple, heartfelt words and small gestures are usually enough to maintain the glow that’s found in the connection between genuine friends and loving family. If you have forgotten what this means, then you need to give it some thought, prayer and meditation. The old saying is still true, you tend to get back what you give.
Community – This is huge, and in the fast pace of today’s life it seems to be the first thing lost for many, many people. Finding ways to serve your community and your neighbors will open new doors, bring new light, and invigorate your desire to get up and greet each new day. Think about the activities you like. What interests you? Then consider your talent and skill set. What can you do to help organizations and people in your community? Find the right activities, organizations, and leaders, make contact, volunteer, and start giving back. You will be amazed at how much you get in return.
Problem Pumpkins – Okay, everyone has problems. Everyone. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone needs feed back or a helping hand. Think about the events that have led you where you are today. Perhaps it is illness or injury. Maybe there was nothing you could do about it, maybe there was. Either way, if you have long term consequences, then you probably need some good counsel to learn how to deal with them. Perhaps you got here as a result of personal issues, such as alcoholism, drug addiction or gambling. If so, you will do best to find effective guidance, counsel or programs that will help you overcome these problems. In any event, when making a fresh start it is best to sit and make a short list of faults, problems, character defects, and similar things that may sabotage your best efforts. Take the list to heart and take small steps every day to put them in the past and move into your future without a lot of negativity from your past. Think of these problems as pumpkins that you need to carry out of the pumpkin patch.