“The time has come, the Walrus said, To talk of many things: Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–Of cabbages–and kings”
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872 Lewis Carroll
When I was younger I used to find that the moment I was sure I knew where I was and what I was doing, everything changed. It became such a pattern in my life that I got so accustomed to the upheaval that I used to start looking for it the moment that I started to feel the least bit settled in a situation, or a job, or a relationship.
If you are assuming that I therefore brought all of this on myself, I would agree that in a couple of cases I definitely did so; and yet there were lots of times when circumstances beyond my control played a heavy hand in my fate.
For the most part I have no regrets regarding the course my life has taken. I have lived in two very different countries, had countless interesting jobs, painted, travelled, written books, and even owned a bed & breakfast.
I have been blessed to have met people from all over the world (including remote settlements in places such as Iceland, Tasmania and Tibet) and I have come to appreciate that the notion of a “happy” life really depends on your frame of reference.
This concept is best illustrated by the observations of a prison guard from a woman’s prison in Singapore that I once met. When I asked him what the prison was like, he explained to me that the inmates all felt quite fortunate to be there because there lives of misery on the streets were over and they were now in a safe place where they could learn to read and write for the first time.
What I learned from this story was that no matter how bleak your circumstances seem on the surface, there really are good aspects of just about any situation. Sometimes you do have to look beyond your superficial limitations to appreciate what you do have. In short, you have to learn how to enjoy the rollercoaster and everything that it brings with it – the anticipation, the fear, the thrill, the rush, and the nausea.
A day taken for granted is a day wasted. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be somewhere down the road from now wishing I had appreciated any past opportunity more. I want to embrace each day and stretch myself to find the good in every situation – especially when I am facing a challenge.
In short, I want to stretch myself to find a positive reason for my experiences.
How about you?