My life is awesome, there’s no doubt about it. People often ask me how it came to be that I’m such a positive guy – if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, perhaps the question has even crossed your mind…
My regular response to the question, “How are you doing?” is this: “Spectacular, if I were doing any better, they’d pass a law against it because they’re jealous.”
There are a few really good reasons for my contentment with life, and only one of them has to do with riding a bicycle. The biggest is pretty simple though: I have low expectations. When I sobered up, I didn’t expect that everything would get better all of a sudden, I expected that I’d have to work for things to get better and then I hoped that things would right themselves. If they didn’t, I did what I could to make them right and if that didn’t work, I did what I had to do to accept the situation (or person) for what it was. That work, by the way, was learning how to do the next right thing in any given situation.
This encompasses a lot though, it’s not a one-liner that can go on a bumper sticker. Accepting and forgiving someone who has entirely taken advantage of you, or worse, assaulted you in some way, ain’t a walk in the park (I know, it happened to me). I went through a lot of sleepless nights, still have them from time to time, to be as happy as I am. One thing is for certain though, I wound up with a good life because I didn’t quit.
One of the cool bumper sticker slogans that I currently enjoy is, “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outside”… My wife and I are friends with a couple who, on the outside, have it all. She’s a high-paid attorney, he’s a high-paid construction engineer. They have a three story house on the lake, nice cars, fancy clothes… In fact, I know quite a few people who have put them on a pedestal as “having it together”.
Their daughter sees more of daycare workers than her parents.
Where the mistake is made when we see them, on the rare occasion they actually have time, they give the appearance of having it all together at dinner on a Friday night but we never see the sacrifices they make to have that façade in the first place. For instance, the husband normally works from 7am to 8 pm and even has to throw a Saturday in there now and again… Folks, there ain’t no way (I know that’s a double-negative, it’s for effect) I’d work hours like that. I wouldn’t trade anything I’ve got for those hours, no amount of money is worth trading in my enjoyment of life today, with the hope that I might live long enough to enjoy it later. See, that’s really the trick. What’s missing is the desire to give up what someone else is willing to give up to get what they have. In my friend’s case, he’s willing to trade in evenings with his family for a little bit (not much, mind you) more on a paycheck. Once I look at the full picture, there’s no way I’d want what he has if I had to give up what he does… Make sense?
Why, you may wonder, is that a key to happiness? Looking at the whole building, rather than just the façade, completely demolishes envy. Plain and simple.
For my happiness, I’ll never quit… Or should I say, because technically I did quit drinking, I’ll never quit quitting.
Have an awesome day – and if that’s not possible, lay the foundation today that will lead to happiness tomorrow. That’s the work.
Or not, I’ll be okay either way.