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shootinstarz (profile) wrote,
on 5-26-2004 at 4:43pm
Current mood: bored
Music: room raiders
Subject: a really good book... written here::
After long and thoughtful consideration, I have come to a rather interesting conclusion. Even though the global population is soaring into the billions, with thousands of regions, languages, philosophies, and cultures represented, ultimately there are two kinds of people. There are those who are certain the world is going to be hell in a hand basket, and those who believe the best is yet to come. (Actually there is a third kind of person who thinks traditional Irish dance is the highest form of creative expression, but I really donít want to talk about them.) Now it hardly takes a genius to point out that we already live in dangerous, and uncertain times. Why, all you have to do is turn on the TV, grab a copy of the newspaper, or just take a look out your window. It ainít a pretty sight. Best friends and former allies are suddenly tearing at each otherís throats, while unshakable economic powerhouses are crashing to their knees on a daily basis. You and I both know that good people get attacked in broad daylight all the time, but somehow the bad guys never get caught. It seems that everywhere you turn there are psychotic egomaniacs secretly trying to spoil your fun, drive you crazy, and generally make your life miserable. Just for starters, there are shop clerks with way too much attitude, doughnuts with too much icing sugar, unbearably long tap-dance routines in the middle of your favorite old musicals, and the dramatic aftereffects of a dangerously authentic chili con carne that are made ten times worst because public rest room doors never lock properly anymore! Of course, heartburn is nothing compared to heartache. Even though we are frequently told there are plenty of fish in the sea, the truth is that most of us spend a great deal of our lives physically and emotionally isolated, feeling utterly alone. And if you do finally snuggle up to someone who seems perfect for you, you find out they snore so loudly that your dreams need subtitles. You just canít win! If you listen to the professional doomsayers, they will tell you thatís barely the half of it. They say these are our darkest days, and the future looks bleaker than ever. They tell us again and again that evil looks everywhere- in the streets, in the trees, in the media, in the air, in the water, in the corridors of power, even in your sock drawer- waiting impatiently to rise up when we least expect it and sink its venomous teeth into our most tender regions. And finally, they point out that at every office Christmas party there is always someone who feels compelled to shove their tongue up their nose! ďItís the end of the world,Ē they shout. ďItís all over!Ē Now what I find so confusing is that if these stone-faced folk truly believe all the scary stuff they preach, why do they choose to keep on living? Okay, I feely admit that choking yourself to death is not nearly as easy as it sounds, and I was surprised to learn that you canít actually kill yourself simply by overdosing on bran fiber, although you certainly will become embarrassingly regular. Luckily, thanks to modern technology, putting yourself out of your misery has never been more convenient or affordable. (Cigarettes.) Of course, if life really appears that unpleasant and meaningless to you, go see an eye specialist and then take a closer look. You will find that there is always beauty and hope in even the most awful circumstances. There is always someone who is prepared to help those who ask. There is always someone you can count on, and there are a million special moments that can chase the shadows from your face in an instant and will cost you nothing but a few spare minutes. Furthermore, romance is not dead. In fact, there are actually more qualified tango instructors working today than at any other time in history. The odds of an unexpectedly intimate Jacuzzi encounter have also never been better. Although it may not be on your mind right now, the wisdom you glean from your joys and hardships can always be shared with someone else and, by doing so you will leave the world a little better than when you found it. Even though life is infinitely more preferable to the alternative, Iím not pretending itís always easy or enjoyable. The truth is sometimes life is so damned hard it gives you a cramp in your brain just thinking about what you have to do to make it through the next twenty-four hours. So itís no surprise that when they think about the future a lot of people feel anxious, somewhat depressed, and generally confused and alarmed. Even in the best of times there will never be a shortage of moaners and grumblers, but itís always fascinating to see how different people react during times of genuine uncertainty. There are those who completely flip out at the very first rumor of trouble and start screaming, ďThe sky is falling, the sky is falling!Ē But when you press them for hard evidence to explain their panic, they admit hey have nothing better to back up their position than what ďa little bird told them.Ē Somehow, it never occurs to them to wonder how credible the little birdís source was in the first place. Then there are the people who put on a big show about how they are not concerned in the least and know exactly what to do about everything, but when they are alone at night and the lights go out, they may as well be the most frightened of all. There are also plenty of folk who are absolutely certain that the future is an extremely hostile place, no matter what you show or tell them. They stand ready to defend themselves from a million dangers every day, until eventually they became as hard, ugly, and cruel as the world they have imagined. And finally, there are people who just want to dig an emotional bunker and jump inside. They think if they put up enough walls, theyíll always be safe. The irony is that instead of locking others out, they are actually locking themselves in. They may avoid a few things that make life difficult, but in the end, they also miss out on all the wonderful things that make life worth living, and that makes about as much sense as practicing high fives on your own. A far more reasonable approach is simply to put on the bravest smile youíve got and admit that youíre not the center of the known universe. Therefore, there will always be things you donít know and canít control. So when itís simply not your day and things get a little out of hand, as they invariably do from time to time, itís much more productive and far healthier to just sit back and enjoy the absurdity of the moment. This is not rocket science. Itís just common sense that you should enjoy the bizarre fact that you live on a planet with at least six hundred unique flavors of ice cream, instead of getting all worked up about the truly disgusting taste of ďatomic lemon sherbet with licorice ripple.Ē Likewise, itís definitely not worth obsessing about the intentions of all the sinister individuals who stalk the earth. When it comes to neíer-do-wells who betray and hurt others for their own personal gain, their wicked ways eventually catch up with them. They pretty much always get what they deserve in the end. So in other words, a good support network is always valuable, but hiring personal bodyguards is probably going too far! Another reason why you shouldnít fear tomorrow is that you probably arenít what you eat, you certainly are what you love. This means that who you really are is always accurately reflected in everything around you that is dear to your heart - your close friends being one obvious example. In this sense, it is fair to say that the world around you is a mirror. Therefore, you have a lot more control over the future than you might think, because you can shape your world just by being true to what you really care about. Perhaps this will make sense to you, and then again, perhaps it wonít. You might say, ďAha! But how do you explain all the terrible things in my world that I donít want?Ē That is certainly a valid question, and my answer is, irritatingly enough, yet another question: ďWhat is it that you truly want?Ē You see, itís what we truly want and love that influences the world around us, whether we admit it or not. For example, we often say that we just want to be happy, when what we mean is that we want money- lots of it. We say we want spiritual enlightenment and a higher sense of understanding, but what we really want are easy answer. We say that we want love, affection, and companionship, when what we really want is wild, passionate sex. We say we just want to be accepted for who we really are, when we really wish we were a little more glamorous, and had slimmer, firmer thighs. As a rather wise person once said, ďYou canít fool Mother Nature.Ē There are certain immutable truths in this world that you just canít talk your way out of. Gravity will always get you down, Belgian chocolates will go straight to your hips, and sticking your finger in the toaster while your Pop-Tarts are ablaze is always something youíll regret. Likewise, you must be very careful what you wish for, because you simply cannot lie to yourself and get away with it. When you are not honest about what you want in life, you hurt those closest to you and yourself most of all. Think very clearly about what you care about most. What is that gets you excited about being alive? What do you really want to do with the limited time you have? What will your personal legacy be? But donít spend all your time dreaming about the future, because the key to tomorrow is today. No matter what brilliant answers you have for lifeís important questions, ultimately what counts if that you break through the fears and doubts that hold you back and take action. Be your own cheerleader. Do something you never though youíd ever do- live in the moment. Keep in mind, though, that someone elseís greatest adventure could turn out to be your greatest nightmare. So follow only your own road, wherever it leads you, one step at a time. Your life journey is not a race or a competition, nor is it a boring highway without exits that you must trudge along for eternity. Embrace the unpredictable and go exploring for things that inspire you. Take time out to enjoy the view. The fact is that one day, instead of waking up for breakfast, you will find yourself drawn down a long, dark tunnel toward a bright and beautiful light, and your journey will have come to an end. In that moment, when your entire life passes by before your eyes, I really donít think you will care to much about the amount of money you made, the frequent-flyer miles you accrued, the awards you won, the car you owned, the value of your stock, or the number of times you got your picture in the newspaper. Instead, I believe the most important things in your life will probably be the smooches you shared, the nights you spent gazing in wonder at the stars, all the funny snow angels you made, the first drops of summer rain you caught on your tongue, and the time that someone special whispered, ďI love you.Ē Donít waste the present worrying about the future. It will come soon enough - I promise. In the meantime, I suggest you keep your chin up, put your walking shoes on, and follow your heart to the end of the earth. As you make this journey, always remember that each day is a precious gift. If you can enjoy it for what is and make the most of it, then believe it or not, there is another extraordinary gift waiting for you. Tomorrow.
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