At what point did I, as a youth, pull my head out of my ass and actually take a look at the world? I have to wonder now, as I approach 50, and marvel at how some folks seem to see things these days.
The world does not owe us anything. Neither do the people in it. We get what we get and try to make the best of it. If we don’t like it, we do our best to change what we can and move on. That’s it. End of story.
Maybe I’m jaded, but I don’t expect others to do shit for me these days. In fact, I hardly ask anybody for anything any more. Why be disappointed when it doesn’t happen? Or if it does happen, why be disappointed by the way in which it’s executed if it’s not up to our high standards?
I used to expect things of people. In fact, I thought the Golden Rule was meant to convey that if I treated people the way I wanted to be treated, I’d be treated better. Turns out that’s a fallacy. It’s bullshit. You treat people the best you can because that’s what decent people do — and you don’t expect anything in return. You just hope they’re decent people too.
Now I won’t say this attitude isn’t a new thing for me, since I often sound like a broken record when dealing with my daughters; telling them “You can only control one thing in the world — you.” I think it’s just taken this long to finally sink into my own thick head.
I recently read somewhere that instead of railing against the world and how it is constantly acting against you that you should simply say “yes” and roll with events as best you can. That one little piece of advice has changed my point of view greatly.
Ask my family — I have always been hung up on my preconceived notions of how events should play out. So far as I can tell, nothing ever goes according to plan and never works out the way it does in my head. The disconnect between those two things has always been a problem for me. I have alternated between angry, depressed, or sad when that happens — not that it changed anything.
Now I still get a little hung up these days, but not nearly as badly. As my sister might say, I “pulled the stick out of my ass.” And it’s about time.
So when I see some of the folks I know and love get pissed off at the world or the people in it because they didn’t get something they wanted or someone else didn’t get what they wanted or even that someone they don’t feel is deserving of something gets something good… it gets under my skin a little. I know how it feels to not have things go according to plan. But I think to myself that they better get used to it. The world isn’t going to bow down and give them everything they think they deserve unless they’re very very lucky.
I don’t know anybody that lucky. Everything has a cost.
What really ticks me off is that I hear some of these folks badmouth people whose decisions they don’t agree with. I’m not saying you can’t disagree with others, but unless they’re really pushovers, your opinion isn’t going to mean much. And why should it? They have exerted the power in their lives to make decisions. After all, that’s all they can really do as individuals, isn’t it?
As a result, we are left with ripples on the pond we all float on. We can choose to fight the ripples and ultimately rock the boat, but all we’re really doing is getting ourselves wet in the process and maybe splashing them with some inconvenience. Or we can ride the wave and see where it takes us. If it’s not in the right direction and we have the power to change paths, we can do so. If not, all we can do is roll with it until it ends.
And who are we to second guess some of the folks who make the decisions we are not in control of? They have their own lives and bodies of experience to pull from and I bet they’re making the best decision they can with the information they have at their disposal, both from past life experience and whatever just happened today. Who says your decision would be better than theirs, knowing what they know?
So to those people rankled by the decisions of others, I wish you luck fighting the waves. If you can’t go with the flow, do your best to change boats or ride it out until the next opportunity for change presents itself. To change, you have to put an oar in the water and that causes its own ripples. Just keep in mind that your ripples may affect others just like the ones that affect you.
For now I’m going to choose to go with the flow on this one. It’s the only logical choice I can make. After all, I don’t have any control over anyone else’s behavior but mine anyway.