Published Friday, August 17, 2012
When I was a child, I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could eat and drink anything I wanted, stay up all night and drive a convertible, preferably all at the same time. As an adult, I often wish I were still a child, so I could eat and drink anything I wanted, go to bed early, and, well, I still want the convertible.
Alas, there’s a pesky thing called reality, which means I’m gluten intolerant and have to follow a strict diet, both margaritas and Coca-Cola give me an instant headache, I forget what time I go to bed, I just daydream of a restful night’s sleep, and I do not [yet] drive a convertible.
To sum it up, reality bites. However, I have lived long enough to realize that, as a wise person once said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored,” which brings me to my present state — focusing on the things that I can change.
First, I made a list of those things. I pulled out a big notebook and sharpened my pencil and got ready to right all the wrongs of the world. Number one, I wrote, myself. Number two, hmmm ... to my surprise, there was no number two.
As part of the exercise, I also wrote a list of things I can’t change. I continued that list until I got a hand cramp. Turns out I do not control the universe, thank God. I mean that literally, thank you, God.
So, reflecting on my most recent birthday milestone, I decided that I would work on changing myself for the better. And I’m making some headway. I have gotten up bright and early (well, the past two days anyway). I’m eating healthy, and I have an exercise plan in place just waiting to be implemented. I also started reading more, and I don’t mean books like “50 Shades of Gray.” I mean, motivational books, though from what I’ve heard, “50 Shades” might qualify.
The first book I read suggested that one write seven things he or she loves about him or herself.
That will be easy. I thought, and pulled out my pencil and notebook, and there this writer sat, with nothing much to say.
Hmm ... perhaps I could put modesty as one, I thought, but that in and of itself defeats the principle of modesty.
So, I contemplated a little harder, and I came up with the following:
I do not give up easily. When I was a child, I believe this was referred to as “stubborn.” As an adult, I’m going to call it “determined” or “tenacious.”
I have a good sense of humor. When I was a child, this was sometimes called being a “smart mouth,” and it wasn’t always funny to adults. Now that I’m adult, I prefer to call it, “witty,” and it still isn’t always funny to adults.
I’m friendly. This is great for my job because people tend to open up and tell me things but not as much fun when it’s the grocery store clerk, and I just want to buy my bread and go home.
I am not materialistic. Above reference to convertible notwithstanding.
I am a good mom. Aren’t I, kids? Tell them. Tell them now or go to your room. (Just kidding. See number two)
I can write, though I think everyone holds this gift. If you had a wonderful encouraging teacher like I did, you may discover it one day. Thanks, Mrs. Faires.
I’m a prolific list maker. Books I want to read, songs I want to download, words I want to know the meaning of, quotes I like, things I need to do, things I’ve done ... the very act of creating a list makes me happy, especially the one that said I only control one thing in this world. Now, that’s something to love.
Try your list and let me know what’s on it at firstname.lastname@example.org .