A life to be thankful for

So many of us (and I know that I am also guilty of this) whine about our lives. We are not happy with the way in which we were raised or we wish we’d not had to grow up in poverty. We were too spoiled or had a horrific childhood.
Well you get the idea.
There is always something that we are unhappy with.
It’s a shame really because like it or love it, the life we have is the life we have been given to live so we need to do the best we can to live it.
You may be wondering what has prompted this statement.

Whilst we were away in July, the GG was reading a local newspaper from one of the towns we sojourned in overnight and remarked to me “There’s a second hand book fair on in the morning just up the road from here. Do you want to go”?
“Really? Do you even need to ask?” I exclaimed in delight.
So bright and early the next morning I found myself at the local school (just across the road from a gorgeous beach) at a book fair. I happily spent the next hour or so browsing books, CDs and even sheet music for the piano. Most of my purchases were craft books and magazines with some CDs and sheet music thrown in for good measure. However, just as I was about to leave the building (and join my fellow travellers who were walking on the beach across the road) I stopped by the fiction section and a  title jumped out at me. It was called “Running with Scissors” by Augusten Burroughs.
A little bell began ringing in the far recesses of my mind so on impulse, I grabbed the book as I was leaving and added it to my purchases.
At the time I was reading “The Book Thief” each night in our motel room but placed “Running with Scissors” in my suitcase to begin once  I had finished reading it.

Fast forward to now and I have finished reading both books.  I can’t help but be blown away by the similarities contained within these two vastly different genres.
In each book, the central character suffers an incredibly difficult life but each rises above their circumstances to make the life that they are living the best it can be.
With each challenge placed before them, they grew stronger for having conquered it.
I’m not going to gloss over it and pretend that the lives of the main characters were perfect or that they were somehow deserving of sainthood because that is certainly not the case. They were human beings with human frailties making the best of the situations in which they found themselves.
The similarities that I am drawing here between both a real person (autobiography) and a fictional heroine is this:

I know that there are many things in life that bring you down. I have experienced my own share of these things. I have survived an abusive marriage, single parenthood, lack of finances, multiple miscarriages, loss of loved ones, divorce, depression, anxiety and the usual challenges that get thrown at a person on this bumpy road we call life.
At some point, I had to make the decision whether I was going to stay where I was and allow myself to wallow and blame my circumstances or to use them as a stepping stone to something better.
Many of us find it all too easy to blame the addiction or the medical condition for how  life is now and if you want to do that, then go right ahead but take my word for it; at some point in your life you have to take the responsibility for how your life is unfolding back into your own hands.
Own your addictions.
Own your depression.
Own the failed marriage or the grief you are suffering.
And then once you have owned it – use it.

I don’t mean use it as a scapegoat. I mean use it as a way to grow stronger.
The things that occur in life (horrid childhood, bad marriage etc) may shape our outlook on life now but they certainly shouldn’t define us.
It is possible to re-invent yourself.
Changing our thought patterns from victim to victor is the first step. When you start believing in yourself and seek the help you need to get through things, then you begin working toward achieving a life of worth.
Look at Nick Vujicic.
This man was born without limbs.
But what a life he has now. How many people has he touched with his story and his love?
He has learned to surf, gone swimming, married, had a child, tours the world and has learned to laugh at himself. The greatest thing he learned was not only that he was loved but that he could love himself.

So be like the butterfly.
Hide away from the world if you must.
But when you emerge from that cocoon know that you will be stronger and more beautiful than you were before.

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20 thoughts on “A life to be thankful for

  1. Wonderful post and both amazing books. Running with Scissors is based on the life of Augusten Burroughs. We all may have struggles but when we look at the things people can overcome it puts it into perspective. Something to remember when we do start whining. Thanks Sue.

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    1. I must admit that I was incredibly surprised to realise that Running with Scissors was NOT a work of fiction.
      This post was prompted by a conversation I had with the First Born today where we were discussing overcoming obstacles and difficulties.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is hard to imagine that Running With Scissors is based on real life. I also believe some people are just wired to deal with adversity better than others. I am not so sure I would rise to it in truth.

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    1. I wish my outlook were always so positive John but alas I am human as well.
      However I do believe that our life is a product of our actions and the way we perceive things. 🙂
      I hope the crap sorts itself out soon for you.

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  2. Both excellent books, and your commentary is spot on. I’ve had plenty of reasons to whine and cry, but I’ve had more reasons to laugh and smile. Truly, some people need to be taught how to feel gratitude, how to see beauty, how to recognize hope — I’m glad you are self-aware, Sue 🙂

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    1. I’m self aware on my good days Joey 😉
      But it is true. It is so easy to say “Oh but I did this/said this because of…”. We need to own things and take responsibility.
      Although I did respond to a criticism yesterday with “I’m sorry I have a headache and I’m really hormonal right now :p “

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like yours my life has had it’s share of blows and bad luck. It’s not always been what I’d have chosen but I firmly believe it’s made me stronger. Every problem has a gift in its hands and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger in my opinion. Better to see the good and smile than whine.

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    1. I’m only wise on good days April. On the other days I’m just like everyone else who wants to run away and cry. 😉
      Thanks for the encouragement. I’m so pleased you are realising just how strong you really are. 🙂

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  4. Sounds like you have read two great factual inspirational books Sue.
    Your review of both books, and overall synopsis on life is very honest and true.
    It basically amounts to us all playing with the hand we are dealt, and coping with its consequences.
    Regards
    Emu aka Ian

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sue, I was scrolling down your home page, trying to get caught up after my absence, forced to pick just a few posts from each of the blogs I follow… When the title of this one jumped out at me. And after reading it I know it is exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thank You. ❤

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    1. Hi Mary,
      It’s so wonderful to see you again. 🙂 I’m so pleased that my words touched something within your soul and they were what you needed.
      Blessings to you. ❤

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