You are the only one who can control how you look at life. Yes, you. Not your mom, sister, cousin, uncle, best friend, neighbor or neighbor’s cute little yapping Chihuahua. You. It is like the old glass half full/half empty debate. – you either see life as a miserable, death-welcoming experience or you see life as the most beautiful opportunity to do something brilliant and good. It’s different for everyone; a matter of opinion, so-to-speak. I know people who have had an easy road in life – loving, two parent homes, middle to upper class neighborhood, good education and they are put under surveillance for trying to end their lives. And then I have known people who have had the rough end of the deal – missing father, drug addicted mother, placed in foster care, bounced from home to home, living on generic bologna and white bread sandwiches – and they still smile and laugh as if everything was all hunky dory. Why is that? And how do they do it?
I assure you, it is all about perspective. See, we cannot change the life we are dealt. God decides where we are to go and it is up to us to do something with it. I remember as a kid getting upset when I wanted a toy and my mother didn’t want to get it for me. She would mock me in a moaning voice and say, “let’s all cry with Shelly, she didn’t get what she wanted.” This would only make me more upset. The sad thing is that these pity parties, as we called them, followed me into adulthood — If things didn’t work out the way that I wanted them to, I would get sad and, well, have a pity party. I would look at the situation with gloom and frustration, as if my life was just so awful.
Really? I know, I know.
But then I met someone who changed my outlook. Mickey was a homeless man who was always smiling. He didn’t have anything but what could fit in the small, dirty backpack that was always by his side. He didn’t take for granted all the things most of us do – hot showers (or any shower, for that matter), food, an ice-cold beverage, a dry, soft place to sleep at night. When he received any of those things, his heart was soaring. His smile could light up a room. When was the last time you jumped for joy when you turned the water on for a shower?
That’s my point, folks.
We so often take for granted the things that we are so fortunate to have. To give perspective: I slept in my king size bed last night with two pillows. I was nice a cool with my AC running and my fan going. I turned my electric alarm clock off this morning, opened my eyes to look around for a minute as I used my mind to gather my thoughts for the day ahead. I then found some freshly laundered clothes, took a hot shower, brushed my teeth. Once ready, I headed to work in my car, stopping for coffee and a bagel on the way. Mickey woke up cold and wet from the rain storm we had last night, his makeshift cardboard awning soaked and broken. He knew he must wake up before the sun because the police will be called on him for sleeping in a public area – business owners don’t like homeless people invading their space.
I am grumpy because I had to get up and go to work. Mickey is smiling because he has the chance to see another sunrise – and the sun will dry his belongings.
Life isn’t about comforts, material things, or keeping up with the Jones’s. Life is about loving unconditionally, having a heart brimming with happiness, being selfless, and taking chances. You have been given your life for a reason. Do something with it. Make a point to remember this every day.