The other day I allowed some unsavory types to get in my head and send me to a dark place. Then a lovely friend of mine reminded me that it’s just not worth it to let people bother me like that. She told me “Smiling will never break your face, just crease it in all the right places.” And she was right. That’s how I’ve always tried to live my life and I really need to get back to that place. So I deleted my rant about a-holes, and instead I’m going to anti-rant about all the reasons I have to smile.
1) I have the most amazing partner in life a girl could ask for. (Sorry ladies, we’ve tried to perfect the cloning process, but we just can’t quite get it right, so he remains one of a kind for now.) In our years together we’ve never had a fight. Nope. Not one. Anything we might argue about just isn’t worth it in the long run, so we’ve learned to compromise on those little things we may not see totally eye to eye upon.
2) I have a great kid. Sure, The Peeshwank can test my nerves at times, but that’s in his job description as a kid, so it’s all good. He’s smart and healthy and hilarious and kind. Our house is always full of laughter and for that I’m grateful.
3) We love our home, our neighbors, our neighborhood. We’ve got quite a cast of characters around us, but we know they’d all be there for us at the drop of a hat. When we were hit by a tornado, we were flooded with neighbors coming to ask what they could do to help. It’s good to know you have that kind of support system around you at all times, and that you live amidst good, caring people.
4) I have some great friends. My immediate inner circle has evolved over the years, but I always know that I have at least 2 or 3 close friends that would be there for me in a heartbeat. I’m not the easiest person to get to know. When I was a kid I was described as “shy”. I know now that it’s different than being shy. It’s that I have awful anxiety issues that hinder me in public situations. It takes a long time for me to feel comfortable around someone. It may come off as me being snobby, but I assure you, that’s not the case. I’m just trying to hide the fact that I’m breaking out into a cold sweat, dizzy, and trying not to throw up on your shoes. Think Raj on Big Bang Theory. Yes, wine helps.
5) I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do. Write. Full-time. Once my first novel was done I was scared I wouldn’t have another one in me. I was wrong. I’ve got more outlines for novels than I could ever write in two lifetimes. I hope I get to share as many of those as possible with the world. My writing may not change the world, but I’ve gotten so much positive feedback, I feel like I must be doing something right. If I can give you an escape for a few hours and possibly even entertain you in the process, I’ve done my job. Some people go into the entertainment business solely for the purpose of getting rich and famous, and I’ll be honest, I pity those people. It’s obvious they don’t understand the love that should accompany this type of work. Creators do something because they’d be doing it even if they never made a dime at it. That’s the difference.
6) We live a debt-free existence. I know it sounds crazy, but never underestimate the importance of this one. I was a single mom for awhile, struggling to get by. I know how hard it is. I managed to pull myself up by the boot-strings and carefully dig myself out of the hole by budgeting every dime I spent along the way. (FYI: I’ve learned the best way to get those sales people to stop pestering you to sign up for their credit cards is to sweetly say, “No thank you, we don’t use credit.” They have no response for that and, in fact, will very often say, “Wow, good for you!”) I now know that I can answer my phone without having someone on the other end trying to get money I owe. Cutting back on frivolous expenses (like a new pair of Manolo Blahniks or Louboutins every quarter or so) has been a lot easier than I thought it would be. After all, it’s just stuff… pretty, shiny stuff that looks really nice on the shelves in the closet, but stuff nonetheless. (Disclaimer: this one
may very well will change in six years when The Peeshwank goes off to Princeton, or Tulane, or Notre Dame, or Michigan State, or wherever it is he’s wanting to go this week. But for now it’s true. Disclaimer 2: I almost didn’t include this one because I didn’t want it to sound pretentious. But it is one of the keys to our happiness. I just want anyone interested to know that it’s truly worth working towards, even when it’s practically impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The pay-off is far greater than one could imagine. Yes, even better than these.)
7) Finally, I take time to appreciate everything around me. The people, the sites, the sounds, the smells, the tastes. At least once a day I sit back and imagine what my life would look like to someone from a 3rd world country. All the things I have taken for granted start to look priceless. It’s a good exercise to keep one humble and put things in perspective. Do it the next time you’re stuck in traffic, in line at the market, or vacuuming the house.
You know, that only leaves me with book-adaptations-ruined-by-Hollywood’s-desire-to-dumb-everything-down, people who fail to understand basic grammatical rules, and YA-fiction-that-gives-12-year-old-girls-horrible-perceptions-about-how-men-should-treat-them to bitch about.
(You were worried I wouldn’t get any snarky comments in, weren’t you? Why would you doubt me?)