It has been brought to my attention by someone close to me that my posts of late have been a little strident and angry. It's true. Maybe it's all that effort during Ramadhan to remain patient and understanding. Come Eid, it was time to let it rip and vent my rage at the injustices of the world - at least just a little bit. That done, maybe it's time to resume normal service and mix up the political rants with something more...positive. Maybe I'll even think of something funny again a bit later - let me think about it.
I do go through phases where all I can think about is what's wrong with things: my car, my bank account, my house, the world, the Muslims, the others, the East or the West, the bad people and the good people doing bad for good reasons or bad reasons or just the sheer stupidity and short-sighted madness and inhumanity of....well, you get the picture. But we all do that, right?
Today's sermon then, ladies and gentlemen, is more of a thought for the day: take a little moment to remember what's good. What makes you happy. What isn't wrong at all, and how much better that makes our mortal existence. We all waste time on Fridays every now and then. Some of us..er..a7em...quite a lot, and not just Fridays. So, just take five will you? Humour me? Write a list of ten things that are cool in your life. You can keep them to yourself. Post them on your Facebook page. Post them here as a comment if you really would like to share. Or just read them over a couple of times to yourself, and feel a bit better about stuff. Here are mine, off the top of my head:
1. There are people out there who love me and miss me when I'm not around. Friends, family, and of course beautiful women who find me irresistible. No really. Even when I'm alone, if I think about it, at least a few people would be really happy to see me right now, and I them.
2. I just had lunch. Soup, salad, coffee, juice...all nice stuff, pretty much all exactly the way I like it, and made by someone else even. I also have something for dinner that I cooked, and a treat for later. Maybe that's a trivial thing. Maybe I don't know where the groceries or the social meals out are coming from next week or month or year. But I'm fat and full. There are millions of people starving to death, really not far away, which is not a thought to make one happy. But it makes being grateful to be fed a moral duty. I am grateful. I enjoyed every bite.
3. The Crapmobile is working. Not exactly a divine miracle, and I'm not entirely confident of how long. But, it's clean, functional, and took me out for lunch. If I wanted, I could get in The Crapmobile and go somewhere, do something, see someone...quickly and in comfort at a mere whim. Not being able to do that would really, really suck. I have a car. That's me in the top 10% in the world. The Crapmobile puts me in a global elite. Well, fancy that?
4. I am free. Nobody is going to arrest me today, I'm certain of it. Or tomorrow, or next month or next year. I express my opinions vociferously and freely, and although many might disagree, there is no punishment for it. I censor myself, yes, to avoid insulting individuals great or obscure, but I can say what I think. I can do what I want to do. Make a living (kind of, but nobody else is stopping me!). Associate with whoever I like, and shout from the rooftops both real and virtual. There is no threat to me.
5. I am healthy. So obvious, so taken for granted, that it didn't occur to me until number five (I tend to write as a stream of consciousness in case you didn't notice and just publish immediately, so this list is in order of appearance in my brain rather than perceived value). OK, I'm not going to run any marathons or model swimwear any time soon, and I have many imperfections, even illness. But I'm fine. Breathing and eating and sleeping and walking and running up the stairs. That's fabulous. My body works, my brain functions, and the "me" that's carried around inside is sustained. I've feared for my health, or even my life, just a couple of times, and thankfully without good cause. There is nothing really wrong with me.
6. I have purpose. I am a father. I have things and people I care about. I have ideas to express, initiatives to pursue, and a living to make. I have responsibilities and moral convictions that drive me to meet them. My worries and fears are incentives because I have a reason to succeed.
7. I am noticed. It's not just those who know and love me. People know me just as some words on a page or a screen. An article I've written, a comment on a forum, even a painting. People have agreed or disagreed with me though they don't even know who I am. Been validated or infuriated by my words, or perhaps just, to some degree, stimulated to thought, or merely entertained for a moment. All of this means I exist. Earlier I made a "Google" search (they should pay me for saying that...). and found an article online that I wrote in a printed publication about ten years ago. I didn't know they still existed, and you'd be hard pushed to find them. But they do. It's a tiny, obscure legacy, but part of me. Whatever happened tomorrow, I have scratched the surface of common existence. Thank you for reading...
8. I know things. Every person I meet knows something I don't, and almost always they tell me something new. I have read hundreds, maybe even thousands of books. Millions upon millions of words. I've seen and known thousands of people; interacted with so many I can't possibly remember, yet they have all made their impression. Every piece of existence had left it's scratch on my surface, or gone deeper still. Films, conversations, overheard facts, the constant live multi-media of consciousness stores facts, feelings, impressions in me every day of my life. Sometimes it takes a question from a stranger to make us realise how we all have a unique experience, and that it has value to someone. I am a walking, unique, personalised encyclopaedia of life experience and observations. We all are.
9. I see beauty. Even in an ugly urban environment. A bird. A child. A fragrant young woman breezing past in a cloud of perfume and self-conscious hubris. A wave or a smile from a stranger. The sky. The sea - oh, the sea! A thousand small human acknowledgements; the waiter who knows your name, the stranger who thanks you for holding the door, the surprised checkout person in the supermarket who looks embarrassed when you say hello - in a happy way - thinking "why don't people always just say hello?" The other senses too - music to your ears, evocative smells to make you smile at a memory you can't even place. The touch of something pleasant - a hand, or the warm glass of coffee. Everything is beautiful if you see it that way.
10. I believe. Not everyone has the same religion; some discount belief as a matter of principle, which is perhaps a belief in itself. But everyone has something they believe in. Right and wrong. Good and bad. Charity and meanness. Call it what you like, but it's the very definition of God in my eyes. We know it, we all know it, that there is right and wrong. Doing some small kindness feels right, feels good. It's programmed from the beginning. Whatever name you choose for that, to me it's the meaning of life. Maybe that's why, with all these little worldly cares, there's still a way to be happy?
That went on a bit more than I expected it to, but it's amazing how much is there when you start to think about it. So be cool....life is what it is, and what's not to like? :)