Monday, December 27, 2010

Days #114-123: It's your life, live it as you please

I have been, or should I say, strived to be the perfect child and eventually the perfect adult. My life generally revolved around pleasing others, putting every one's happiness and comfort before my own. Perhaps, I became comfortable with "martyr syndrome." I become comfortable disregarding my own feelings, wants, needs, and desires. I lived my life as if I were a master tight-rope walker without the comfort of a safety-net. One small slip and everything would come tragically crashing down.

George Orwell wrote, "the essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection." Then why do so many of us find ourselves in the grips of the search for the holy grail of perfection? Is perfection sticking to conventional norms or satisfying the expectations of your parents? If this is the case, is this really living one's own life? As far as I am concerned, satisfying the needs of convention or our progenitors allows THEM to be happy, but leaves the star of the show feeling disillusioned, disappointed, and aimlessly wondering through a life that really does not belong to them.

There is also a very glaring detail in the quest for simply cannot happen and it drains every molecule of energy left to seek the unreachable. Perfection cannot equal happiness. In fact, it is the imperfection in life that allows us to appreciate all of the beauty that surrounds us. If everything was perfect this whole planet and universe would be one big ball of boring. Bleh to that. Harriet Braiker once said, "Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing."

So, I may not be perfect. I may not live my life to the satisfaction of those around me. I'm sure I've disappointed many and left others scratching their heads in disbelief. But here is the real truth-frankly, it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is the happiness and satisfaction that lives within me knowing that I am living my life exactly how I feel it should be lived. Sometimes things in life happen unexpectedly and surprisingly. Yet, it is often these surprises that allows you to stop and realize that despite all the upheaval about what has happened, that surprise is the most perfect and right thing in the world. What others may deem as an imperfection or a "mistake" turns out to be the most perfect and brilliant thing that could ever happen to you. And to those that shout loudly that it is wrong or a mistake will get over it. If they don't, oh well. I'm not going to let their shit ruin my stunning masterpiece.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Days #108-#113: The Bitter sweetness of Life

It's a rather bitter sweet day for me. Today would have been my father's 72nd birthday. I'm sure he would have celebrated in some merry and festive way, surrounded by family and friends enjoying mixed drinks and bad jokes. That was my dad. He was one of the kindest, dearest and most loving people I have ever known. There was always a light around him. He could awaken the darkest of rooms and put a smile on the saddest of faces. There was no one quite like my father.

Life seems to continue on despite my father's absence. Weddings have occurred, grandchildren are waiting to be born and lives continue to grow and evolve. I sometimes wonder how my father would feel about the path of my life and my siblings' lives. Without any doubt in my mind, I am sure he is incredibly proud. I know he would have laughed it up and my brother and sister's weddings and hooted and hollered at my grad school commencement ceremony. My parents would have still been happily married and holidays and Sunday dinners would commence at the lead of my father.

Unfortunately, he is no longer physically present for the many of life's wonderful and sorrowful occurrences. However, his spirit undoubtedly has graced our presence for all of these occasions. In his own way, he has been there, and is still here. He's never really left. He just morphed into a more perfect and profound image. He lives within every person that loved him and had the honor of privilege of calling him a husband, a father, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, and a friend.

Today, I reflect on the bitter sweet ironies of life and honor the life of my father. Will Roger's said, "His heritage to his children wasn't words or possessions, but an unspoken treasure, the treasure of his example as a man and a father." Everyone, give your dad a big hug or give him a call just because. Never ever underestimate the power and special bond between a child and his or her father. Death may separate us physically, the bond of a father's love allows him to live forever in our hearts.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day #104, #105, #106, & #107: Sometimes life just happens

John Lennon once said, "life is what happens when you're busy making plans." Many of us have become the consummate planners-college done by 21, grad school done by 25, married by 26, first baby by 28, etc, etc... How lovely it would be to think that all of these wishes and desires, and that's what I intend to call them, played out just as we had envisioned in perfect chronological order. The problem with all of this orderliness and persistent planning is that it's just not realistic. We can plan and scheme and plot all we want, but ultimately life remains in control and has other plans in store for us.

Has anything ever happened to you that left you in complete and utter disbelief? Have you ever woken up one morning or found yourself in a situation where you thought, "This isn't what I had planned!" Funny isn't it. One little instance can change the entire course of life and squash all of that "meticulous planning." But is it really so bad? Perhaps that "little surprise" came when least expected, but when all is said and done, that surprise may turn about to be exactly what was meant to be at exactly that moment.

Deepak Chopra once wrote, "Even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might never have imagined." Perhaps it is those wonderful surprises in life that teach us that sometimes those plans are meant to be thrown out with the trash. Sometimes, maybe it is the unplanned, or at least the unplanned in our minds, that turns out to be better than anything we could have possibly dreamed up. Perhaps, God, or whatever higher power you believe in, had another plan, a plan that was infinitely better than what we had already set for ourselves.

So in my life, I have learned to embrace the unexpected and cherish all of those little surprises. I no longer prescribe to my eloquently devised life plan, because frankly, it really sucked. I much more enjoy the plans that God has devised for me. I also trust the power of the universe and the realization that nothing in life is coincidental. Eli Khamarov wrote, "The best things in life are unexpected-because there were no expectations."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day #100, #101, #102, & #103: Love changes everything

We all wait for it. Those three elusive words that defines the seriousness of a relationship. In some ways, it's a very fine dance until that moment. Do you, don't you? Is it too soon? Does he feel the same way? Should I wait for him and should I just say what I feel? Am I sure about what a feel? Is this real? Is this really for real? It's amazing how three little words can stir up emotions beyond belief and questions that even the greatest of minds still ponder over.

I will never forget being told, "I love you." I will never forget the feeling within my core and the wooziness in my head when I finally learned that the person of my affection and who has already won over my heart, also feels the same way. The whole dynamic of the relationship changes, and all that you had been holding in can finally be released like a bulging dam-all the emotions and love within the heart just floods out and both of you are transformed.

There is something truly miraculous about being in love and being loved. It defies limitations and overcomes all odds. Just as Dr. Seuss said, "You know you're in love when you don't want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." To me, being told "I love you" is the most precious gift anyone can give. Romantic love or the love of a parent, a sibling, a friend, or a child-it doesn't matter. Love is a gift and one I will never ever take for granted. Kurt Langner wrote "Love is a gift. You can't buy it, you can't find it, someone has to give it to you. Learn to be receptive of that gift."

She Walks In Beauty by Lord Byron
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day #98 & #99: I think I just saw a ghost-oh wait, that was my ex

It's inevitable-one of these days you will unexpectedly run into a former flame or old boyfriend. It may be a face to face run in or a simple glance while on the street. Regardless, for some reason it seems to stir up memories of old. And like seeing a ghost, it leaves you stunned and disillusioned for a period of time.

This happened to me the other day. Innocently leaving work I happened to glance a familiar silhouette out of the corner of my eye. He was as I remembered him. Tall and slender with a book bag casually slung over his shoulders. Nothing had changed. He was the same figure I had been so head over heals for just 8 months ago. I sat in my car, the breath sucked out of me for a few moments, until I regained my composure.

Then something miraculous happened. I digested that elusive figure in front of me-the figure that I had so longed for and so loved for a period of time. The image that I had idolized and put on the highest possible pedestal. Then it occurred to me after taking that entire image in that day-he really wasn't as spectacular as I had made him out to be. In fact, he looked rather small and diminutive.

It was then that I realized that this person, or rather this perfect image I had created in my mind, simply did not exist. Sure, he was nice enough, but fundamentally and after months of heartache and tears, he really wasn't good to me. At that moment the image faded and I was suddenly jolted back to reality. The image wasn't so beautiful....this was someone that had hurt deeply and had never reciprocated the care and love I once had for him. In effect, it was a completely one sided relationship, with me working my ass off to keep things afloat, while "prince charming" sat back and sulked and chose to live in a bleak and dark past.

So now I am ready to tell the world that I am finally seeing a man who cares for me and treats me as I deserve. At the moment I saw the ghost of my relationship past flash in front of me, I realized in that second how wonderful it was to finally have someone in my life who truly cared for me and, gasp, tells me on a daily basis he misses me when we cannot be together. I finally understand that a good relationship does not require me to work like hell and give 100% of myself all the time while the other person contributes absolutely nothing. A good relationship is about two people giving and taking equally. It is about mutual respect and admiration and missing and longing for that person when you cannot be with them.

It was once said that "there’s no need to miss someone from your past. There’s a reason they didn’t make it to your future." How true. Why miss someone who obviously didn't make the cut into your future. It really isn't worth being with someone who leaves us with a gaping hole in our chests anyway. So what is the point then? Should we ever regret a previous relationship? I think not. Being with the wrong person has taught me about how wonderful it will be, or may already be, when the right person finally comes along.

~ Take a second out to think about this: in your life you search and search for the right person for you. Every time you break up with someone you get one step closer to that person. You should look at moving on as getting closer to meeting the one. ~