Archives for June, 2010
How often do we, as the commercial says, “wind ourselves up” in the morning? Do we simply show up for our day, going through the motions in a very unmemorable and joyless way? Maybe we have accepted jobs or homes or even relationships because they just happened to be there and now, it’s just easier to stay put. And haven’t we with depression, given up enough already? At times, I have certainly settled in many areas of my life. Because of fear, I have taken what’s in front of me rather than trying something new – going for a dream – taking a risk. We have given up our right to dream - given up my energy, curiosity, creativity. Depression, we have given you enough.
Everyone has gotten them. Those e-mails of gratitude for friendship – complete with the dancing angels on your screen and the directive to forward to 10 people if you want a miracle in 5 minutes. I have e-mail list envy. I can’t help but to look the sender’s long list of recipients. I have to really reach to find enough friends in order to get my miracle and I want my damn miracle! I hope my dermatologist’s office and the restaurant manager I recently complained to count as friends. After a childhood move cross country, one of my first memories is of knocking on doors in my neighborhood in search of new friends. My mother instructed me on what to say…. “Hi. My name is Leslie and we just moved here. Do you have a little girl I can play with?”
Come in your comfy clothes! Everybody hugs one another (as if we have not seen each other in ages) and sits down at the tables with brightly colored plastic chairs. A spread of fresh orange juice, milk and goldfish is laid out before us! Next, my personal favorite, it’s time to do arts and crafts. Which one among us wouldn’t like to do just a tiny project made from a toilette paper roll and some cotton? C’mon, you know you want to! Just think of your beloved’s face when you present your work of art to them at home! All the love you put into it will make their heart melt ( and help compensate for the gift itself). There’s no possible way to NOT be joyous while you’re playing.
I have a theory. You see, I believe that if we adults went through the same exercise that preschool children do – day in and day out -- we would be much happier, much more productive people. Case in point: In between jobs, I worked at a day care center. I did this mostly to keep myself out of my apartment alone. A day care center….That couldn’t be too bad could it? After all, I always wanted to work with children. It was my first day. I showed up with all the other 20-year-old day care employees (I was 34) to receive my assignment.
Isn’t summer just the best? Memories of red, white and blue “bomb pop” popsicles come immediately to mind. Like clockwork, each evening, the ice cream truck’s love song lured children from their cartoon comas and houses all over our neighborhood. I consider those warm summer nights spent impatiently waiting at the ice cream man’s truck window a right of passage. What about the feel of cool grass beneath your bare feet or the sound of crickets coaxing you to sleep at night? Have you camped? Gone swimming in a crystal clear lake or jumped waves in the ocean?
You know, I screw up a lot. Probably not more than the average person but I sure feel like I am a strong contender if they ever start giving out awards for it. I know it’s hard for my employees to believe (eyes roll) but my inner actress does a fine job of feigning confidence. I know they’d be shocked to find out I am not perfect. When I mess up I try my hardest to remember that a good old fashioned laugh at myself can put just about anything into proper perspective. A moment of laughter makes even the biggest faux pas seem not as important after all. It’s about the level of power we give our mistakes so taking that power down a notch is key.
Laughter pushes shadows from a room. It fills those spaces with light. Laughter can make a bowl of brussel sprouts seem easier to stomach. Laughter can make that cute, too tight tankini glaring back at you from the dressing room mirror have “defective sizing”. Laughter can make the traffic less jammed. Laughter can give the heart a much needed break from pain.
I believe we take ourselves way too seriously. Everything is seen in an extreme. It is either all or nothing. We leave no room in the middle to color outside the lines. It feels like every decision we make will impact our lives so totally that surely it will forever be changed. If somebody is upset with us, or disappointed in us, we imagine the relationship is so doomed that we are abandoned. Our problems are disasters, not issues that are bound to have solutions if we relax and open our eyes, ears and hearts. Maybe a solution lies in our perspective. Problems will occur today. Some bigger than others but they will present themselves squarely in our face. What if I look at my problems like a good board game? I have my paper money (which we all believe is the perfect solution to everything), in my hot little hand and I’m ready to rock.