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.