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The Magic City Classic is a big deal for my alma mater. This is the time we come together once a year to play against our biggest rival. We look forward to the tailgating, the playful trashtalking, the bands battling for a year of bragging rights, and somewhere in there I might even see a little football. Even more than that, though, this is the time of year I get a little nostalgic, pondering on not just the memories I made in undergrad, but the lessons I learned.

The one that has came into play most predominately last week, and even the first part of today, is courtesy of a woman whose name I do not even recall. She came to speak to our accounting class about what it's like to work for the US Treasury and gave some key points about internships and career choices. But the one take away I got from her lecture did not even have anything to do with accounting--- it had to do with life.

In her closing, she stated, "There is no such thing as a bad day, only a character building day."

Now, as a wide-eyed, bushy tailed youth, I let her statement go in one ear and out the other. That is---until I got older. Now that I have lived just a little bit longer, I recognize the value in the wisdom she was imparting into our class. CHALLENGING DAYS ARE INEVITABLE. 

It doesn't matter how old you are, how experienced you are, how holy you are, there are going to be some days that require a little more effort, a little more patience and certainly, a little more strength.As long as you are living, they are going to happen, those moments where you are a bit frustrated, wonder what you have gotten yourself into or wonder how in the world you are going to survive everything you have going on.

It could be crushing deadlines at work, arguments in the household with your loved ones, financial woes that seem to come all at once. What do you do when those moments arise? How do you subdue that "giant" of a situation looming before you? How do you shake off the residue of the day so that you can greet tomorrow with a renewed perspective?

What you do in your "bad days," or as a result of your "bad days," are all the defining moments that are shaping your character, cultivating you.

So it boils down to choice. Are you going to choose to grow from the bumps of the day and adjust to determine how you can make tomorrow greater? Are you going to forgive that coworker who talked badly about you or are you going to let that toxic lack of forgiveness burn inside you? Are you going to leave the house 10 minutes earlier so that you don't have to run your blood pressure up cursing everyone out in 8 oclock traffic? Are you going to re-adjust and re-align you?

My grandmother used to always tell me, "Rest but don't quit."

Same thing goes with this single journey we are on. Are you going to look at that string of bad dates as a sign that all men are the same? That you are unlucky in love and should give up? That the dating pool has dried up for good? Or are you going to look at it from a different view? That maybe this is your season to focus on you? That maybe you had to date what you DON'T like to find out what you DO like?

Life is cumulative. If what you went through didn't break you, it was a lesson to build you. Let's run down the list of questions we can ask ourselves to see if we are letting what we wen through break us or build us, make us better or make us bitter:

  • What steps will you take to not make that mistake again? 

  • How did it grow you? 

  • What did you learn? 

  • How are you letting those experiences develop your character?

  • When you speak about it to others, are you speaking about it from a place of hurt or from a place of recovery?

Do you know that in  one year I went on a date with a guy that drools (he didn't make it past the 1st date), a date with a guy that literally smeared ranch on his face at the dinner table (like a ridiculous amount all over his nose and cheeks and chin to imply that he...wanted to be intimate with me), and a guy who not only wouldn't open the door for me, but told me at the table that he would NEVER be that guy because "your arms ain't broke" (basically, get the door yourself)! And yes, dear reader, these are all true stories! Let's go deeper and look at my "failed" marriages. Yes, they ended, but they were only failing if I didn't learn something from them, if I didn't take a look at ME to see how I can be better because of them and still be open to love, despite them.

The same way I had to learn to view my "bad days" as "character building days" instead is the same way we need to start viewing our failed relationships. It's all a part of the process. Look at you; I bet since then you've learned to recognize toxins sooner, walk away from abuse sooner, love yourself better, see your value better, set higher standards, communicate effectively, respond appropriately, value your purity, date with more wisdom, hold yourself more accountable, and even recognize warning signs more quickly.

You know what that means? It means you have shifted your perspective. And that means that the person you will be tomorrow, will be better because of the person you CHOSE to be today. That's something worth celebrating! In case you forgot to pat yourself on the back, here's a round of applause just for you:

And if you don't fall in that category and haven't yet shifted your thoughts yet, it's not too late! What better day to start than today? Today is your new day, your chance to forgive others and yourself, your chance to take what you've been through and learn from it, your chance to decide to keep going, but to do it better, with eyes wide open, with more wisdom, with more strength, which will ultimately produce better choices which makes....insert drumroll....our character!

We can't change control what we went through, but we CAN control the power we give it to impact us! Here's to taking back our power and going forward better than ever before!!

Just a few pictures of Magic City Classics gone by; so grateful for what I learned in ungrad and the memories made since then.

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