I have been happy with much less than I have at this moment and have been sad with much more. At times in my history I have had much more money & many more friends, but had much less free time and much less love.
I have made choices and decisions in my life that have brought me to where I am today. Everything I have chosen to do or elected not to do has planted me right here. Good or bad, the free will I’ve exhibited and the judgments I’ve made to act or not, got me to this point. There is nothing great about expectations. I am old enough to know, and have lived long enough to have learned, that if one sews seeds of expectation, one harvests disappointment.
My Nana always told me, “kindness is its own reward” and I have tried for all of my life to be a kind person, a loving person, a friendly person, an optimistic person, a hard-working person, a generous person…dare I write, a deserving person…and therein lies the enigma of my existence.
I think that somehow I convinced myself over time and trial and error that there was some sort of prize on the horizon if I just kept at it, that despite the teachings of my Nana there was something else coming my way, that I was entitled to always expect something more. I have watched over the days of my life as people got things that I wanted, or thought I wanted, but did not have, often people who on the surface seemed not particularly kind, and instead of having feelings of congratulations or happiness for them, rather I felt those totally un-fabulous sensations of envy and self-pity…the “why not me?” syndrome. Somehow I came to believe I deserved…I don’t want to be a bitter and angry Miss Havisham, living alone in her beautiful house, or feeling resentful that I didn’t get what I wanted. Miss Havisham will not live here. It is not who I feel I am, yet sometimes my behavior or my words suggest otherwise.
Show gratitude for all that I have and all that is good and expect nothing, is how I want to live this life on this earth at this time, but it is not always easy, distractions are frequent, but ultimately it is how I wish to be. A better version of myself. I know people who have lost all of their possessions to a storm surge, I know people who have lost their house to the bank, I know people who have lost their jobs, I know people who have lost a child, I know people who have lost their parents…I have everything I could possibly want and let the very few things I do not have weigh on my spirit oh so heavily…why? Pearl Jam has a line I love in one of their songs, “the haves have not a clue” and I realize that in comparison to most of the rest of the world, I am in fact a ‘have,’ and when I find myself growing morose and taciturn and moody with envy I know that I am behaving like nothing short of a spoiled brat. Nobody likes a spoiled brat, whether the brat is five or 45!! My Nana also used to always say “pretty is as pretty does” and there is nothing appealing about a discontent sour-puss.
I started back to kick-boxing class a few weeks ago. It is a great mood enhancer. Running, punching, kicking, jumping…well, one can’t really dwell on any of the voices in her heard when one is trying to remind her lungs to take in air!!! Getting back into my strong girl mode gets me toned and makes my outside better, but it is my inside that needs far more attention. I don’t need to enhance my mood I need to stabilize it. I have said for years I am a work in progress, but I don’t seem to ever fully change the way I think long enough to break the habit…I go through spurts of intense joy but then the old ways of thinking find their way back to my mind and I grow woeful again. It’s like I’m constantly riding Rolling Thunder when all I really want is It’s a Small World…I don’t want the rush of the highs and lows, I just want to float.
“There is no disaster greater than not being content; There is no misfortune greater than being covetous.” ― Lao Tzu
It’s hard sometimes for me to understand that the truth is I must simply be glad and grateful for whatever IS, whatever it may be. I need to kiss my boy and hug my girls and believe, and know, I need nothing more, and feel joy and thanks that the universe has granted me another day on this side of the dirt…another sunrise to watch come up over the cedar trees and another sunset to watch go down behind the evergreens…