Truth be told … notably in the last part of this epigram! I recently came across another phrase suggesting that in the midst of a crisis perhaps we should ask ourselves if it will matter in five years. In my half century of life experiences, the “five year matter-factor” is highly unlikely. I’m confident most of us have weathered a few crises which absolutely mattered five years later. If you haven’t, rest assured you will. I’ve certainly endured a few catastrophes I’ll be taking to my grave, but until I kick that damn bucket I’ll live and live well. Carol Burnett once remarked, “Nobody goes through life without a scar.” (She also proffered this metaphorical bit of wisdom, “Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head”.) The woman clearly knows not to take life too seriously.
Gauge this daily disturbance on the “Serious Meter”: why is it that when a driver cuts us off we typically become livid? Who knows what that person is experiencing? Maybe he or she is simply a selfishly reckless driver; God knows there are plenty on the road at any given time. But suppose they’re enroute to the hospital where a loved one has just been admitted as a patient. Perhaps they’re late to work because they overslept after nursing a sick child through the night. (If the careless driver is my age, you can assume they’re probably late to work because they had insomnia until 5:00am, when they promptly fell into a deep sleep and missed the alarm screaming in their ear.) Now don’t even try to convince me that you’ve NEVER cut off another driver. I recall recently doing just that to a driver who was obviously taking his car out for a walk. I then witnessed said driver perform some serious multi-tasking … he FINALLY stepped on the gas pedal while rabidly waving his middle finger and screaming inaudible colloquialisms into his windshield. I actually found the entire episode hysterically funny!
Seriously though, life is pretty damn great. Every single day in this great country we are endowed with abundant blessings. We have shelter, food and the love of family and friends, thank you God! A car to drive, a job, freedom to do and say most anything we choose. The down side: taxes, more taxes and periodic bumps in our otherwise fairly smooth road of life. When I find myself gearing up for a pity party or a bout of shoving my thick head into a vat of stress, I redirect my online search to CNN and scour breaking news … about Sri Lanka and the eColi outbreak where thousands of people – entire families have been wiped out by the virus. After attaining a sufficient dose of “get over yourself Jan”, I click the “next story” tab to discover that brilliant actor, comedian and philanthropist Robin Williams has just ended his life. Hmmmm perhaps my “serious dilemma” is just a minor bump in the road and should be treated as such, sans pity party and unnecessary stress.
A few years back, Richard Carlson PhD authored the bestselling book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and it’s all small stuff, a guide for preventing the little things from consuming our lives. As I continue on my life’s journey, I subscribe more and more to this philosophy. I have attained inner peace with the indubitable fact that I will not be the one person in mortal history who gets out alive. Neither will you. My friends, life is short and is NOT meant to be a dress rehearsal. We don’t get yesterday back as a “do-over”, so LIVE NOW AND LIVE WELL.