Your golden opportunity is coming shortly.
The fortune came moments after I’d messaged a few friends; my mother begging them to write for me, trying to foist upon them whatever topics came to mind. Trying to convince them to do the writing work that I didn’t have the stamina to perform.
“Your topic is life, love, letting go,” I said.
My mother didn’t yet know about the fortune — it hadn’t been intended for either of us. From thousands of miles away, I’d forced a friend to pick one of the three still-wrapped fortune cookies sitting on my desk, and as fate would have it, when I cracked the shell, his choice revealed the slip of paper about “opportunity.” It was apt for the moment, and appropriate for the place in which we were all sitting. But that was the way of the cookies, I suppsed.
Without further ado: My mother, Linnie, and her guest post on Letting Go.
I come from a long line of “optimistic pessimists”. It is perhaps a form of social schizophrenia; a malady that goes undiagnosed and mostly ignored. While I like to think of myself as viewing the glass as half full, I think it often comes across as my glass being almost empty.
But, let me explain. I’ve been extremely fortunate my whole life. Good family, comfortable surroundings, moderate success. And yet, I have always felt that there’s something remarkable awaiting me right around the next corner; but when I get to the turn, it has elusively vanished. Up ahead, around the next bend, I tell myself. That’s the optimist in me. There’s always hope that this wonderful opportunity will materialize if I just let it happen.
And that’s where I shoot myself in the foot. I’m waiting for it to happen, but I’m not doing anything to help it along. It’s just supposed to rain down on me with very little effort on my part. Because I deserve it. Then, when it doesn’t happen, I feel sad. There’s the pessimistic part. How can it be my fault? I did nothing to discourage it. I waited patiently for it to happen. But, nothing…
I beat up on myself for not having had the courage-guts-strength-energy to put into motion the things that need to be done for the good opportunity to happen. I realize it’s because I don’t want to make the effort. I’m a chicken. I’m either lazy or I don’t want to accept the responsibility if I fail. It’s probably a combination of the two.
Then there’s the litany of things that didn’t happen and I feel cranky. There’s that pessimist again. I sometimes blame myself and then often rationalize the hows and whys of those situations to make myself feel better. “Oh well, can’t do anything about it. It’s over. Gotta move on.” And, maybe I even wallow in a little self-pity if what I’d waited for was something very important to me.
I can sometimes elevate self-pity to a fine art.
And don’t get me started on all the things over which I have no control. We’ll save that for another time. Where’s that Serenity Prayer when I need it?
Right about this time the mood changes. Optimism kicks back in. I begin to think I have done myself a disservice. It’s time that I look on the bright side because I know that something wonderful is going to happen now because another disappointment would be unfair. Right? And isn’t life all about being fair? What was that line my mother always used? The one about “life” and “fair”?
I just realized that I was originally asked to write about “letting go”, and I was hard pressed to come up with something. However, it seems that I’ve picked the perfect situation for “letting go”. I think it might be time for me to break this pattern I’ve established for myself. I’m certainly not getting any younger. Those bends in the road may start getting fewer and farther between. Maybe it’s time I left the road and starting making my own path? Do I have the courage-guts-strength-energy to do it? I’m finding that the older I get, the less worried I am about how I am perceived by others. I will pilfer my new mantra from Nike (please forgive me), but, “Just do it!”
Excellent philosophy. Things are always so perfect in theory. I just hope I can handle the execution to make it a reality.
Wish me luck.