Some times, saying “I used to” is a good thing.

I heard a speaker recently comment that she “used to” have many high paying gigs. She “used to” share the stage with top names. She “used to” travel all the time. With the crash of the economy, things for her just aren’t what they “used to” be.

We can get hung up on our “I used to” statements. I use to weigh less and not have a belly roll. I used to not have gray hair. I used to be and do a lot of things.

I used to go to high school, be a pompon girl, and work at a fast food joint. Those shaped me, but not where I want to be again.

I used to be a mommy of toddlers. As much as that was a joy, the life with college age young men is an even deeper joy.

The progression of life is the beauty of it.

I used to be scared to speak in front of groups. Now, I come alive when presenting. I used to not eat seafood, Mexican, or Chinese food. I am grateful my palate has expanded. I used to be nervous to enter a room full of people where I don’t know anybody. Well, I still am a little nervous to do that, but I remind myself to relax and know that the room is full of wonderful people and it’s not my role to impress anyone.

I used to think that was what people were all about – trying to impress. I now know that we all are simply wanting to express instead, and sometimes we don’t know how. Or we’re too chicken. I used to be chicken to do lots of things. I now have gone zip lining, kayaking in the ocean, and hang gliding.

I used to be someone who had never been on a plane. Now I travel all over and love it. I used to be someone who worked at the IRS and thought life was just a big checklist of to-dos to tick off before we die.

I used to think a lot of things. The people of the earth used to think the world was flat. We used to think man would never go to the moon, and now there are plans to send folks to Mars. We used to think…

I used to collect Beanie Babies, bells, and tea sets. I used to think people with tattoos were only for bikers. I used to drink soda for breakfast. I used to refuse to sing karoake.

What are some of your “used to’s? Are you glad you have shed some of them?

I used to put other’s opinions of me over my own. I used to defer my decisions to others. I used to not speak up and say my point of view because I was always the good girl. I used to ……..

I used to drive a minivan. I used to drive a smart car. I used to wear a tiara while driving my smart car.

I used to have fun. And thank goodness, I still do. I used to never be the first one out on an empty dance floor.

We all are a compilation of our “used to’s.” Be grateful for all that has been. Be grateful for all that is now. That is the common thread that remains. If you find your life has gone downhill, ask yourself: “Did I use to be grateful?” Get that back and you will be A-okay, no matter your list of used to’s.

(See if you can add this: I USED TO be a worrier!)

(Kelly Epperson Simmons is an author/speaker/coach who used to color paint by numbers as a kid. To work with Kelly, write info@kellyepperson.com or call toll free 888-637-3563.)