Turning over a new leaf: To start over, to act differently or change your attitude about something.
I often share that I love to write in the wee hours of the morning. I also like to write on airplanes. The constant sound of the engines, the constancy of my ultimate concierge next to me and the newness of our four-month-old puppy, America, fast asleep in his arms, sets a peaceful setting for writing, so I open up my computer to a blank page in Word, to start my story for today.
In the 1500s people called the pages in their books, leaves. When they turned over a ‘new leaf,’ they were really turning over a blank page in their book to start writing something new. The ‘new leaf’ term endured and now means, to change your attitude. I love the term because I visualize, not a page, but a gorgeous tropical large shiny leaf to place my life adventures on.
You see, darlings, we can change course whenever we want. We can exchange our unnecessary worries and bad habits for a new adventure, new knowledge and an abundance of curiosity. We are our own agents to do and undo whatever our little hearts desire.
That is why I like to combine the meaning of a new leaf with happiness. A new leaf means to refresh. Refreshing our lifestyles, after 50, brings new mental and emotional growth.
Ask yourself, “What would you like to do differently?” Go to the gym more often? Lead a more balanced lifestyle? Let your hair turn grey? Die it pink? Release your curiosity? Make new friends? Redo a room in your home? Go back to college? Go on your dream vacation. Become a writer? Involve yourself in a charity? Stop smoking?
Turning over a new leaf in just one area of your life will create a feeling of pleasure, meaning, and happiness. When a woman’s life is purposeful, she is happy. I am telling you this because I have learned that I can endure some emotional pain and still be happy overall. So, can you.
A Small Step Towards Happiness
Yesterday, I was walking through Trader Joe’s. I was exhausted. We arrived in California the day before, and I had so much on my plate. As I walked the aisles in a funk, my eye spied a green tomato. I instantly became curious because I had never tasted a green tomato! Putting it in my shopping cart, I felt happy and couldn’t wait to show it to my ultimate concierge and slice it up for dinner. I left the store entirely out of my funk. My curiosity over the green tomatoes had a profound change in my attitude. In the simplest of ways, I turned over a new leaf, and I was happy.
The story does not end with my purchase of the green tomatoes. I arrived home and carried my groceries into the kitchen. My housekeeper, Rosa, was in the kitchen. She has become a dear friend. We have been together for the past twenty-six years. She was also tired from helping me, but when she saw the green tomato her eyes opened wide, and she said, “I am going to plant the seeds and see if I can grow green tomatoes!” She was so happy. And, then I said, “I want to plant some seeds and grow green tomatoes, too.” Darlings, look how happy the two of us became over the green tomatoes.
However, happiness and peace are not always found at your local grocery store! If only we could always put our worries to rest in the produce department. 😉 The green tomato is really just a metaphor for choosing to see the silver lining when thinsg get tough.
I’ve been so blessed and yet, a personal situation has been weighing on me heavily of late. And I have been wondering if I took the right path on this particular leg of my journey.
I often write that we should take the high road. I believe this because it is behavior that is morally right. Most times it is not that hard to do because, as wise women after 50, we recognize that there is little to gain by being drawn into a conflict.
I believe two words define the happy state of a woman: Be kind and be grateful. When a woman is kind and grateful, it is a win-win… for all. An attitude of gratitude is game-changing.
So, what does a kind woman do when conflict roars in? Try at the beginning of an ugly situation or altercation to take the high road. Try more than once because more often than not the high road is the right road.
Was I Wrong in Taking the High Road?
But there are those times, darlings when niceness becomes your folly. There are times when you should strike back. If you are faced with a despicable encounter, you should pass on taking the high road. You should stop the person in their tracks.
If another person’s goal is to do you harm, hold them accountable. Let them know in no uncertain terms there are consequences for their actions.
If you don’t stop some people, they will continue to hurt you. They will never stop.
I took the high road three years ago. I did this by keeping my silence. My silence turned out to be very damaging to many.
What has been the outcome? I am going to be very open with you. Looking back over the past three years, I made an error by taking the high, paired with penning conciliatory notes in an effort to build a bridge, as they say. In my case, this was absolutely the wrong path. I am grateful that in time, I learned this lesson. I am thankful that the universe reminded me that sometimes a visible, vibrant woman has to speak up against others unkindness. The high road is not always a quiet one.
In retrospect, when this situation arose several years ago, I should have roared. I suppose I still can. I am in thinking mode.
How we handle our massive hiccups ultimately reflects back on our well-being. I am trying, with difficulty, to come to terms, in this instance, with my passive actions. I made the wrong decision, and it has cost me dearly.
The lesson? When you have tried more than a few times to offer an olive branch, and the problem persists, take action and defend yourself to the hilt. Fight back.
And so, while this situation pains me, I find happiness in turning a new leaf. I will re-write this story on my terms. My new leaf will be a gorgeous and vibrant shiny green because I turned it over and the real me emerged.
Have you turned a new leaf? Have you been forced to find a new way to deal with conflict? What have you learned? How did you emerge?
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