I already know what you’re thinking:
- This is another vanity post OR
- This is another touchy/feely I wish he would stop being so pathetic and get back to being awesome post
Suck it, he says playfully. I never stopped being awesome.
Maya Angelou wrote a small piece about life learnings (look at that, I’m crediting an author like I sometimes do. You know who this is directed at, Chrissi). Her insightful writing is as follows:
I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same as making a “life”. I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even if I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Of course I evaluated myself while reading this, as most of us tend to do when reading about the human condition. We want to see where we fit in as compared to others even though we all know we shouldn’t try to be better than anyone except the person we were yesterday.
I agree life does go on and it can be better tomorrow. We have that power. We can also make things worse. We cannot control the universe. We cannot control people or situations. All we are responsible for is how we control ourselves, our words, our perspectives, our emotions. We dictate our own happiness from the moment we open our eyes before even getting out of bed. That power can be used for great good or for great self-destruction. Choose wisely.
I welcome rainy days. Some of my best memories happened in rainy days: one of the most romantic kisses of my life happened in the rain, a stranger’s kindness that still touches my heart to this day happened on a rainy day, so many fond rainy day cottage memories with since passed grandparents. I’ve always liked the rain.
Lost luggage? Only happened once and thankfully I was taught years ago to store the essentials (read underwear and toothbrush) in my carry-on for just such an occasion. I didn’t really freak out about it. I’ve also learned, as an aside, that if you pack a starter’s pistol in your luggage, which is perfectly legal, it will never get lost as it is considered a firearm and is therefore tagged and tracked on all major airlines. Nice, right? You’re welcome.
Ah, Christmas tree lights. An area of growth. Ever seen the movie Christmas Vacation? Of course you have. Remember when good ol’ Clark Griswold finally lost it because the exterior lights wouldn’t work despite his best patient attempts? That was me most of my adult life. Until I caught the look in my dear wife’s eye early in our marriage and realized I did not like the way she saw me. Nowadays, I do much better. I don’t laugh at it yet, but I do breathe deeply and take it in stride.
I’m getting older. We all are. My parents are. I look back at how close I used to be with my mother and how we grew apart. Now we have a weekly date and I think it benefits me more than it does her. I will miss her when she’s gone. She was my first love after all. My father and I have never been close and yet he still continues to surprise me with random phone calls simply wondering how I am doing, not wanting anything from me. Do you have any idea how refreshing that feels? You know what I’m talking about, right? A family member not calling because they want to take? So yeah, I’ll miss him too when he’s gone.
My entire career when someone has asked me what I do for a living, I’ve always replied “rollerblading, exercise, gym, spend time with my wife, family and friends, travel, learn new things, read science fiction, play video games.” It always sounded sarcastic and probably a little assholish, but I’ve always meant it sincerely. Money is a tool, not something to pursue for the sake of having it. A man’s worth can be measured by the number of people that care about him. That should be a Roc’s Rule but I think it’s already been done by someone else. And yes, I rollerbladed. Across Canada if you must know.
Life does give second chances. I’m living proof of that. I should have been dead years ago yet here I am, too stubborn to give up. And since then I’ve been given many second chances – in health, in wealth, in love, in life. We never know when a particular second chance may be our last. Don’t take them for granted. Seize every opportunity for happiness that is in your path. I say this often and believe it with all my heart. If it makes you happy, pursue it. Effort only takes a moment but regret will last a lifetime.
Yeah, there are times we all take too much. Too much heartache, too much work, too much drama, too much bullshit. It literally can weigh us down: emotionally, mentally, spiritually and can manifest physically. Even my strong shoulders can only bear so much. It’s important to know when to cut loose of toxic and unhealthy elements in your life, no matter how much you think it may hurt. Your life will thank you for it in no time, I promise! Remember that first paragraph? You control your own happiness. Nobody else can unless you give them power to.
I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am the most passionate man you will ever meet. It never ends. I’m consistent, a hopeless romantic, and it’s freaked people out in my life, and probably will again at some point. Still, it’s who I am. I don’t know if I can agree that following my heart always leads to the right decision, but I know it always leads to honest decisions. For me, life isn’t about right and wrong; it’s about choice and consequences. And my life sure hasn’t been a boring one.
The Gentleman’s Guide #35 states “Don’t let your mood dictate your manners.” and I couldn’t agree more, though I will also confess it’s still something I’m working on. I am awesome regardless of how I’m doing emotionally. If I’m in pain, physically or otherwise, I’ll get through it. I’ll share it with those closest to me to ease the burden, or if it’s something I cannot share, then I will work through it. I’ve been hurt before. Probably even worse. I’ll be just fine thank you very much. It’s just that being such a “feeler” makes this one an ongoing challenge for me.
Still, it’s no excuse to ever be a jerk to others. Period.
One of the greatest parts of my life is the next point she speaks on, reaching out and touching someone every day. Ask my wife. Ask my friends. This is part of the core of me. You’re here reading now because of it. I have always wanted to do anything in my power to make the life of even one person better for having interacted with me. Call it my superhero complex if you will, but it’s something I am proud of about myself. I give with all that I am every chance I get. I do my very best to be appreciative of those I love on each occasion we speak or see each other, and to make sure they know it. I’ve been taken for granted and know how much that sucks so make daily strides not to do that to others. But it doesn’t end there. Strangers are always good fun and it’s even easier to brighten a stranger’s day than those close to you sometimes. Anyway, this one could be a whole other rant.
I definitely still have a lot to learn – about me, about you, about life, about love, about everything. I look forward to it immensely.
If the last statement is true, if people really will forget what I’ve said and done, I truly hope that when they think back to my contribution to their life and the feeling they are left with, they smile and think “My life wouldn’t have been nearly as good if he hadn’t been a part of it.”
That’s how I feel about you.