November 3, 2014
We have all heard that life is what you make of it, how you want to see it and when you want it to be. It is said over and over, everywhere like a mantra, and yes, almost all of us just won’t listen or learn. We live our lives carrying burdens we are well sure we will never offload; we let fear grip us at every chance it gets…jeez! Aren’t we ever so ready to give up on life? I once read a book by Stephen King, and he began the chapter by serving me a cold glass of heart wrenching despair. Here was a man who barely survived a drowning episode, lying by the sea under the glare of the scorching sun. He lay unconscious and as he awoke from his persistent lethargy he realized he was still alive and immediately garnered some hope of enduring his ordeal. Being alive for him meant he had yet another chance fight to survive. He had a badly broken leg so the most he could do was crawl under the blistering sun. Just as dusk began to possess the sky, he noticed several large crabs moving towards him. Hunting him…also hoping to survive one more day by making a meal out of something, or someone…like him…well, maybe not all of him, but just a few toes, one of which a large crab successfully ripped off amidst minimal struggle. Where am I headed with this? In life we often believe our personal problems are the worst anyone has ever experienced. Wait till we see what others are going through We curse at our bad situations all the time, brooding over issues such as lack of attention, small salaries, falling businesses, broken marriages, children or lack of them. There one too many life frailties we go through but not all of us are ever strong enough to counter them. Many of us break down and cry when problems take a peek at us. Others pant and get panic attacks when these problems start walking our way and when they sit with us, our newscasters get overwhelmed with stories of suicide, crime, drugs and grass-eating fellas. Yes! While you run to church, the mosque or the temple to seek solace, someone somewhere sneaks into a sorcerer’s den for some quick fix too. We have no time to say formal greetings, not to our problems, no! In fact, we would do anything to make them go away faster than they came. We hardly take time to think through these challenges or what may have caused them to show up, hence we lose a lot of learning time agonizing over them. We forget that problems will always be there and when one goes away, another may soon run along…and while we are busy gawking at this thing called life we remain perched on a fence hawk-eying the other side of life; wishing we could be the ones running those huge companies, taking vacation tours all over the world, wearing all those expensive jewelry and having such happening marriages. Fine, I agree some of us try to seeking advice and help from those with rights to speak. Yes, we try to change the person in the mirror; we try even though most of the time the question that lingers is why me? Why do I have to be the one to suck it up? Why do I have to be the one that will bow down? Why do I have to let them win?’ We try so hard to fight for the best seat in this bus called life when we can enjoy a good view from the window near us.
Life can suck, sure but while it hurls those decays at you, get a grip of yourself or a baseball bat to counter the attacks. Here is how.
- Smile. Yes, small as this exercise is, you will discover the gold beneath it. I smiled at the officials at a county council office once and they helped me with my problem, I smiled at the rowdy uneducated tout and he treated me like a lady, I smile at everyone, even strangers when we interact and its awkward. I din’t die. Smile, smile, smile…it makes you feel even better than the person who receives it. It makes you lovable and approachable. It makes the whole world respond to you with glee.
- Breathe. Oh yes! Life never sends a memo or a schedule of What To Expect When alive. Whatever it hands you, take it all in and savor it. Enjoy the thought of how better and stronger you will be when it’s all over. Breathe to remain sane.
- Live once. Stop acting like you friends. Stop trying to fit into their shoes and buy your own. Stop pleasing people. Don’t step in front of the truck for anyone who is not worth it. Live your life, maximize your space and watch life happen before your eyes!
*I pick up my champagne flute and take a sip. “Cheers! To life!”