As I write this I’m in a bit of a funny place in my head. It’s a place I find myself in more and more as the years go by. I guess you could call it thankful. That’s a really “in” word isn’t it? Maybe it’s just me, but it’s almost a chore now. All the PC things we’re expected to be. Should be.
Get enlightened! Feel gratitude! Forgive! Be yourself! Do this, do that. “Ten things you need to let go of for a happy life!” “The six most important steps to being the real you!”
What a crock. Like really. Total crock. That’s not a rule by the way. It’s not gospel. It’s not “The Truth”. It’s not something anybody, anywhere, should follow. It’s just me being a wee bitty exasperated. If there were really six, or ten, or twenty “easy” steps to a perfect life… Well, we’d all be there wouldn’t we? Wouldn’t we?
Would we? Oh boy what have I started here.
Well first of all I’ll go out on a limb and say no. No, none of us would be there by following the “My Golden Rules to a Perfect Life” we see everywhere. Not by following them for just a few days, or a month or two anyway. These fantastically “helpful” self help articles are generally based on philosophies that are a bit more demanding than the “Follow my Steps and Make me Rich” gurus would have you believe.
Can you be happy? Yes. Absolutely. Can you, or I, or anyone come to a place in life where we experience perpetual, constant happiness? I don’t know. I’ve never met anyone, or heard of anyone, who has. And really.. Really, when you think about it, would you want to?
Don’t get me wrong, happiness is a great place to be. Love it. Bring it on. But I’m also okay with sadness these days. Boredom, frustration and irritation are okay too. They’re all telling me things. If only I would listen.
Right now I’m feeling thankful. I stood outside a bar tonight with a guy I’ve been getting to know over a few months. He’s one of those people. The ones that make you feel like you’re right to not give up on humanity. You know? We spoke about how beautiful the moon was tonight. In a conversation about loss and being alone we watched it hanging there in the sky and felt good to be alive. Thankful.
Thankful. For me that’s a peaceful feeling. I guess it’s an acceptance of life. Life being just that. What it is. Not some idea of what it “should” be. It’s not just a human thing. It’s not something we made up, like money and governments and laws. It’s bigger than that.
And while we’re chatting about what it is and isn’t – how it should be and shouldn’t – our own lives don’t stop to wait for us. They just keep ticking by moment by moment.
I think that’s why, the older I get, the more thankful I get for my life. All of it. Not just the gloriously happy bits, but the messy, difficult, sad bits too.
Imagine someone you’ve loved and lost and the most annoying, irritating thing they ever did. Something that really got under your skin and made you mad. Now imagine you could have them back for 5 minutes, but they’d spend that whole 5 minutes doing that incredibly irritating thing they do. Would you want to have those 5 minutes? I know I would. Not only that, but I would love those 5 minutes. Cherish them. They would make me really happy.
I’ve been in that place of wishing I could have those 5 annoying minutes. So now I try a little harder to remember to just be thankful for what I’ve got. To recognise that some of that stuff I think is annoying me really isn’t that big a deal. I can just let the rain clouds wash over me. I don’t need to try and hold on to them. To keep them perpetually over my head. And anyway, we all really need a bit of rain now and then.
I try to remember all that stuff. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I forget. As I get older I’m getting better at remembering for longer. The philosophies all those gurus base their stuff on aren’t wrong. It’s just not easy. And it’s not going to happen in a day, or a week, or a month. It’s not a goal to rush towards. It’s a journey. The goal is the journey. To be in it, with it, just how it is.
Those precious moments when that all happens I find myself feeling thankful. It’s a peaceful feeling.
Good journey everyone.