Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fa La La La LaAAHH!

It's that time of year again. Time to evaluate your life and be thankful for what you have. My life has been fairly easy - not born into wealth easy, mind you, but it could certainly have been worse.

My family had little money, but I did still have a family. It wasn't perfect and it wasn't always peaceful, but we had a house to live in and food to eat. We learned to ask for little and be happy with what we had. That was harder to do in my teen years, but then again what isn't harder during adolescence? Adolescence needs punched in the face, but I digress.

I made some very poor choices early on in my romantic life. I allowed myself to be treated badly and I internalized that treatment. BUT, and here's the fabulous part, I actually learned from my mistakes. I'm not bragging. It literally took years of repeat lessons before I caught on. However, I found a great guy who is kind, moral-minded, and honest. I married him and we've been living happily ever after.

I used some of my basic character flaws (specifically stubbornness and a jaw-dropping ability to get over things) to my advantage. I refused to give in and I kept going against a number of personal indignities and I got my PhD. My adviser, Dr. D., is a real piece of shit work. He does have his good points, they are just hard to find under all the conceit, narcissism, unanticipated temper tantrums, and creepy sexual soliloquies. But I soldiered on, reminding myself that I would gain the most satisfaction in succeeding despite him. It took years for me to let go of (most) resent and hostility that I feel toward that man. Yet I think I'm finally in a place where I could smile in his face rather than using my fist. Sometimes that feels better. Like that time I met my husband's ex, the one who had cheated on him and basically stomped on his heart, and rather than acting catty, I was SO nice. She was completely confused. My husband still laughs about it.*

*That's a tip kids. Confuse your enemies with kindness.

I would never consider myself to be wise, neither would anyone who knows me, but I have learned a lot. These are the important things:
  • Some things cannot be changed. 
  • Work hard to remember why the people you love in your life are special and treat them accordingly.
  • Just because something is true does not mean it has to be said. If it is going to hurt someone, even if it feels justified, decide if you want to be responsible for that wound.
  • Being the bigger person rarely feels good but it often means you can put the problem behind you.
  • Find reasons to laugh. Often.
  • Own up to your mistakes.
  • Go outside.
  • Share your good fortune with those who need it: your money, your time, your talents, etc.
There. I think I've drained all the holiday-Sunday-afternoon-TV-special right out of me. 

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