I’m getting closer to my 50’s. Yes, I refer to actual my age. Many women prefer to lie about their age. I am happy to be alive and well (health-wise) and LOVE telling people how old I am. Why? I don’t see why I should be shy or ashamed. My real life eye wrinkles prove that I am a happy person because they are proof that I smile a lot. The blue veins in my legs are a showcase of days when I gained waaaaay too much weight. My whole body presents a story of my life. To be honest, my absolute favourite parts of my body are: 1) my super-huge toothy smile and 2) my kaka-brown cow-eyes. Why do I bring these items up?
Growing up in an environment of European descent was not easy. There were many ways that you could be deemed unacceptable in regular society. For example, I was diagnosed as near-sighted when I was 8 years old. I remember going for the eye test and hoping that I wouldn’t “fail” the test because my parents would be disappointed. In the end, it was determined that I needed glasses. I was actually ecstatic and elated and super pumped! I even recall my eyeglass case…it was orange and there was the fuzzy head of a teddy bear on it. I felt special. That lasted for two days until I returned to school. I was the only “four-eyes” in my class. Yes…I could finally read everything on the chalkboard at the front of the room, but I was also a “loser”. This eyeglass thing didn’t get any easier in other public domains.
My visual impairment made friendships awkward too. My mother told me that I should not wear my glasses in public. Why? Wearing glasses at my young age meant I was somehow disabled. Silly? Absolutely, but at the time I believed my mother because she was my parent and she knew best. At least that is what I was led to believe.
We would go to church every Sunday. I would take my glasses off before entering. Going up for communion was about following others so being visually impaired was no big deal. The problem I encountered was when people thought I was ignoring them. They would wave to me and I could really only see blobs of colours. I appeared to be looking right at them, and yet, I myself could not actually see them.
For those who were forward, they would ask me why I ignored them and I’d make up some excuse (not mentioning the glasses). For those who did not inquire, I became known as a very high and mighty, self-absorbed snob. I found this out from friends after the fact. Why do I bring this up?
It seems that our daily lives are always being judged. Nowadays, they might even be recorded. You never know when someone will be holding a “smart phone” ready to video or photograph whatever you are doing. It seems that people are more concerned about recording the next “viral” video instead of thinking about how this could affect a person’s life. In the end, I wonder…who cares?
No one really cares. No one really cares about your life or what you are living. No one really cares if you are happy, sad, disgruntled, ecstatic, etc. That was generalizing, but in truth, if you are super happy, most people don’t want to share your happy news. Why? Most people are focusing on hardships and don’t want to hear about how good your life is. “Misery loves company” and most would rather share woes. Our society deals with sarcasm and belittling others to make themselves feel better. Does this sound like a harsh judgement? Perhaps, but oftentimes it seems that people would rather rally around those with problems than with those who are having a fantastically great life.
Perhaps I am just noticing this more often than I used to. It could also be that I have decided to find what is good in my life instead of focusing on what I am missing. This shift in vision took me a good two years to finally accomplish. Why? It’s not as easy as you think. Here are some examples:
You wake up in the morning and the first thing you think is: “Crap I have to get up and go to work.” I would wake up, take a deep breath (which I can happily do) and literally tell myself to think of something positive. So, I would say, “Wow! I am so happy to wake up and breathe and enjoy another day of life!” Corny? When you start it, it does feel weird, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. How do you re-program your thinking to be positive instead of negative? It’s a conscious effort of changing what you are thinking.
- Awwwww, it’s raining again! – NEGATIVE
- Yay! The flowers will grow and bloom; my garden will grow! – POSITIVE
Challenge! Write down your negative thoughts and then try to find the positive.
- My car is a piece of junk…becomes…I am grateful to have a vehicle to drive.
- I hate my job…becomes…I have a way to pay my bills and this is only a stepping stone to my new and better job.
You can do it! You can find something good! (If you get stuck…look at pictures of puppies and kittens, or any other baby animal. You can’t be grumpy after that!) While you are on this journey of discovery and appreciation don’t think about what others are saying about you or thinking about you because you know what? Nobody cares!