This isn’t the post I planned on writing, but I had some thoughts that I needed to get out before I could get other things written/accomplished today.
1. You can’t control other people. Period. I can’t. You can’t. Your neighbor next door can’t. Your boss can’t. Your spouse can’t. Your parents can’t. Fill in the name of whoever…you can’t control them and they can’t control you. You can influence people with your wisdom or lack thereof, but bottom line…we are ALL separate individuals.
2. People WILL disappoint you. This isn’t because they want to make you unhappy. OK, maybe some of them do, but the majority don’t. Seriously! Mostly, they’re going to disappoint you because you can’t control other people. I think people generally do have good intentions. I really do believe this. I know I have good intentions, but time slips away. Though I’ve told people that I’m going to do this or that, I don’t always follow through. That’s a fact! It happens to ALL of us. I’ve had people promise me things, and didn’t follow through. That’s life. I’m not saying that anyone should be a doormat, but sometimes it’s not worth ruining a friendship or relationship over. Heck! I can’t think of even ONE person that hasn’t disappointed, me at least once, in my circle of various friendships and relationships. Not one. And the closer people are with one another, the greater the chance of disappointment. This is NOT something to feel all sad and blue about. It just IS. This is life. This is what it is to be human. Sometimes people need to be reminded of commitments they’ve made. Sometimes, all you have to do is ASK. Sometimes, it’s easier to not worry about things. Most of the time, there’s more going on than anyone can see with just his or her own limited perspective. Bottom line? If you want your friendships and relationships to have the opportunity to grow beyond a superficial level, be ready to be disappointed and accept that it’s a part of life.
3. It takes a lifetime to make habits. This is something I’ve been struggling with…for awhile. Good habits. Bad habits. Life isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. I would love to be able to change ALL of my bad habits, immediately or completely. I would love to be a better person, instantly. Life doesn’t work that way. You don’t acquire change in an instant. You don’t instantly get fat, or thin, or wise, or better at something…just because you want it, or don’t. Life doesn’t work that way. Oh, and labels? They can be dangerous. “I am a writer.” “I am a slob.” No. These are all things that I do, not who or what I am. When you allow labels to define you, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and unhappiness. You’re putting limitations on yourself.
4. Learn to live in now. Wow! This is a hard one! Believe it or not, this is a “new” concept for me. This is harder than anything I’ve ever tried to learn. It seems like such a simple thing…but it isn’t. This is something that will take my entire lifetime to learn. It’s so easy to get caught up in the past. It’s so easy to put things off until tomorrow. But to live in today, that isn’t easy. And yet…there’s a LOT of joy in living in the moment. I don’t know how to explain it. There’s a sense of accomplishment, too.
I have a little story, something that happened to me the other day. I came to work, and less than 10 minutes after I arrived, I discover that we were expecting a “surprise” visit from guests who are high up on the corporate food chain. Now, believe it or not, I actually enjoy these visits. There’s a LOT that can be learned from them. Anyways, just like at home, when you know company is coming, you start looking at things with “fresh” eyes. You fix all the little things that you’ve been putting off. In this case, our “company” showed up 3 hours later than we thought they would. Surprise! However, that was a good thing. For three hours, we were all working in the now, as a team. “OK! I got this done. What next?” Our visit went really well, and when it was over, we all felt REALLY good about it and ourselves. We accomplished a lot of small tasks that normally seem meaningless, but added to together…were HUGE. I’m not saying I want to live my life as if I were having company over everyday, but that sense of focus, of seeing the things that need to be taken care of today, I know I need more of that in my life. In fact, I continued to work that way for the rest of the day, and brought some of that ethic home with me that night. There are SO many things that are out of my control, but I can control what I’m doing right now!
5. We all live with pain. This is another concept that I never thought of before, until recently. It’s something I’m learning to accept. It could be physical or mental, or both. It could have occurred in the past. It could be going on right now, but we all have some of it, in our lives. This has been a powerful lesson for me. It’s sounds like a “no brainer,” but I think it’s easy to forget, and when you forget, you lose your compassion and perspective. You start to feel disconnected. You feel like you’re the only one who’s ever felt the way you do. You feel helpless and depressed. But like it or not, EVERYONE lives with pain. EVERYONE. This is NOT a negative thing. This is very positive. If you can accept that this is true, it can be life changing. We’re all in this life together. We are all suffering together. We are NOT alone. And while no one wants to be in pain, or disappointed, or hurt, it’s comforting to know that this is a universal truth. It’s life.
6. We are all going to die. This is something else I don’t usually think about, but I have been recently. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, learning “new to me” philosophies. No matter who you are, what religion, background, whatever…we are all going to die. And while I’ve been taught, and heard about, and read about many things and theories about what happens to us once we die, the fact remains, we are going to die. This is not meant to be depressing. It just is. Every time we breathe in, we are literally breathing in life. We are taking in oxygen so we can live. On the flip side, every breath brings us one breath closer to dying. NO one knows when his or her final breath will be. We don’t know how many tomorrows we have left. We can’t control the variables. We CAN live in the moment. We can love the people in our lives, right now, flaws and all. We can make plans for the future, but keep our focus on today. We can do the things that will bring us true joy and happiness. We can be responsible for ourselves. While I don’t fear death, I have to say, I haven’t been respectful enough of it. I have been living my life as if I can assume that I will always have LOTS of days ahead of me, and putting off living right now. I have piles of unfinished projects and plans that have never happened, to show for it. This is NOT the life I want to live. I have been blessed with so much in my life. I have an amazing husband, a beautiful child, a loving family, and wonderful friends. But the truth is, I don’t know how much time I’ll have with any of them. The only thing I know that is true, is that eventually, we will all die, and if I really want to be happy, I have to make the most of the life I’ve been given.
I love this line from Tai Sheridan’s Buddha in Blue Jeans:
“You won the lottery, you were born. You won the lottery, you are you.”
The fact that I have been given the life I that I have, really is an amazing thing. I’m not rich, or famous, or powerful. Nope. I’m me. I’m not ever going to be perfect. The concept of perfection is pure fiction anyways! That road will only lead to disappointment. No. My life may be ordinary in many ways, but it’s mine. It’s a good life, and it’s time that I did more to enjoy it.
Have a great day!