Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Having Her Cake AND Eating It Too

My sister, Ann, at a local cupcake shop in town.  She was being silly!
Having your cake and eating it too.

What on Earth does that mean, really?  I mean, if you've got cake, AREN'T you going to eat it??

Actually, I know what the phrase means, but I am getting ready to take some liberties with it, if you don't mind.  And even if you do, I don't care. I am still taking liberties with it.

A friend called me the other day ... to vent.  That's part of the fun of friendships, right? Anyway, she just needed to unload on me about a friend that was driving her crazy.  "The girl has ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, and all she ever does is complain about the stupid little stuff that doesn't amount to anything.  She is such a glass half empty person. Why is that??"

Hmmm...that is the age old question, isn't it.  I was thinking about that question while I enjoyed a quiet walk that same day.

Why is it that we dwell on the negative so much?  Why can't we just be thankful?

For starters, I think our society doesn't like thankful people ... well, not unless you are thankful on designated holidays.  Then fly that thankful flag!  But otherwise, it's discouraged, almost like you're a scourge on society for deciding to see the joy in things around you.  I have actually heard people malign someone for being a positive influence.

I think the second reason we're such Debbie Downers is that life is hard and it's busy and we often have little time to really stop and "smell the roses."  When you never get to stop and appreciate what you've got, the mess of life can begin to wear you down.

I think the third reason we have so many negative people is that we tend to celebrate the wrong sorts of things in this life.  Especially here in the United States, we tend  to celebrate the picture of a perfect life ... we celebrate celebrity ... we celebrate fantasy ... and the problem is fantasy is just that ... FANTASY.  It isn't real.  I knew a girl once that was OBSESSED with soap operas.  She watched them from the time she was very young until ... well, we've lost touch, but I bet she still DVRs them today!

It was all innocent entertainment -- in her eyes -- until life didn't unfold for her like it did in the soap operas she watched. Her wedding ceremony wasn't like the ones on her favorite "stories;" her honeymoon wasn't like the ones she'd seen on TV, and when she brought home her first baby, it was downright disastrous.  She kept telling me, "it's just not at all how I pictured it!"

Newsflash!!!  Life doesn't unfold ANYTHING like we picture it. That's the beauty (and sometimes the frustration) of this life.  The deal is, we only get one.  We tend to forget that until we get to a point where the end seems ever closer, and then man!  If only we could undo the 80 bazillion things we did in the past.

Money ... the best cars ... the most fulfilling jobs ... whether or not people like us ... what people think of us ... whether or not we have the picture perfect spouse/child(ren)/house/body ... all of these things are surface. They do nothing to dig deeper below, where the soul resides ... where we really get to know someone.

I am not saying we all need to walk around with a fake, slapped-on smile uttering, "Well, isn't that GORGEOUS!" and "BLESS YOUR HEART!"

It's isn't about NEVER acknowledging that crap in your life and always putting on a sunny face despite the things falling apart.  No, definitely don't do that!  You need to be transparent and authentic.

However, if we all spent a bit more time not only enjoying the visual appearance of our individual cakes, but actually savoring each and every bite, life would be such a more positive experience ... or at least I believe that to be true.

As I took each step of that walk ... steps that were BEYOND painful due to this ongoing struggle with plantar fasciitis ... I mentally slowed down and drank in the moments ... the birds flitting around ... trees blooming ... puppies playing ... the SUN SHINING (that one was HUGE!).

Life isn't what we planned; it is so much more than we planned.  It's high time to stop focusing on the negative, digging deep, and despite the filth and grime of doing life, cling to those glimmers of positive.  They are all around us. Go ahead!  Eat the cake!

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