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This book changed my life
on March 27, 2003
By the time I had finished reading Chapter 1 of Susan's wonderful book, I had made a life-changing decision. The large house my husband and I loved had become a burden in this wretched economy, and we were agonizing over whether to downsize or struggle to hang on. "What if we'll never be able to own such a fabulous house again?" we thought. "Are we failures because we haven't been able to keep up with the Joneses?" "What will happen to us now?" The fear, longing, and possible disgrace were eating us alive. Then I found Susan's book. Stop hoping and start wondering, she counsels. Look at life not with fear, hope, and expectations, but with curiosity, she says. "I wonder how this will turn out" is the attitude to take. Turn your life into a story, one in which you can't wait to get to the next episode to see what will happen. Boom! Her advice knocked my socks off. I've never been able to resist seeing what's around the next corner. I decided to let the house go, and my husband agreed. Let the adventure begin!
I once knew a woman who claimed that she was so optimistic that she could even look on the bright side when someone was dying of cancer. I never understood what she meant, but I've kept her mysterious statement in the back of my mind all these years. Susan's book made my friend's statement clear at last. When you can infuse your life with meaning and purpose, find the positive in both good and bad experiences, and use everything you've been through as an opportunity for learning, you can be optimistic in the face of hardship. Susan tells of a holocaust survivor who found fulfillment in helping other concentration camp inmates; a stroke victim and a quadriplegic who lived full, meaningful lives by focusing on helping others. It can all be done by letting go of expectations and making the most of what we have here and now. After all, as John Lennon said, life is what happens while you're making other plans.
It takes courage and ingenuity to follow Susan's advice, but I promise that if you do, you will be transformed. I know this from my own experience, not just with the house, but from thinking back over my life. Think of it this way: You can continue to suffer, or you can embrace uncertainty and find golden nuggets all around you.