Thursday, May 5, 2016

Life Gets In The Way

How I feel every day

Well here we are in May and I have not been keeping up very well. Computer issues and a busy schedule for life makes for a lot of nuisances. But hey, it's not about what you haven't done, it's about what you do. So I am back and am going to try to be more regular about updating this.

Life gets in the way of a lot. I currently work four jobs--it's not as insane or impressive as it may sound--and if I want to do things like go to movies or hang out with people, sometimes I have to get creative about how I manage my time. (It usually involves cutting out sleep).

Sometimes we get so caught up in our schedules and how busy we are and what we have going on that we forget to take time for ourselves. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our individual lives that we forget we affect other people.

Here is my example of this from the other day. I was driving home from job #2, which I do in the evenings anywhere from 5-8pm. It was a gorgeous day (which was nice because we've had cold, rainy weather for two weeks) and I had my windows down and my music up. I came to an intersection, in the left hand turn lane. It's fairly major intersection and there are always people standing on the corners waving signs or homeless people on the medians with signs asking for anything that anyone is willing to give. I am by no means rich or well off (see above about working four jobs). But I have enough to make ends meet and still have something left over. I could be a hell of lot worse off, that's for sure.

But I digress.

So I pulled up to a stop in the turn lane and there was a man there with a sign saying he was homeless and anything at all would help. At first I sat there and thought, well maybe next time I'll give something. I thought, well I just gave money to another person not that long ago. I thought, not this time.  But as I sat there, with my windows down, trying not to look in this guy's direction, I thought, well, but I have some extra cash this week. I thought, all I'm going to do with it is spend on extra things that I don't necessarily need.

So I took out a twenty and gave it to the man. He lit up and kept saying thank you, told me now he could catch the bus. He packed up his things, ready to move on. And as I drove away, there was a smile that I couldn't keep off my face because I knew I had made someone's day better.

I'm not telling you this story with some kind of moral lesson attached. That's not the point. In all honesty, my act of kindness was rooted in selfishness. Because for me, giving to other people, sharing with them, gives me a happiness that I can't quite define. Doesn't matter if I am giving money to a homeless person or buying dinner for a friend or paying it forward somewhere. When I do something for someone else, not because I have to, but because I can, well, it brings me joy.

It's a powerful feeling, a high that you just want to keep high on. Seeing how happy other people are when you surprise them with an unexpected gift or when you do something for them that they weren't expecting you to do is something that I will never grow tired of. You gotta find the thing that makes you feel like you're a better you, that gives you some sort of meaning or purpose.

So yeah, life gets in my way. And I have to deal with all the mundane day to day detritus of adulthood that is paying bills and doing laundry and the dishes and being generally responsible for myself. But, as I was reminded earlier this week, it doesn't take much to give other people happiness and it takes even less to give them sadness. We all affect people, sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad ways, and sometimes in ways that we never imagined. There are times we don't get to choose how we are affecting people. But, there are times when we get to choose, when get to make a conscious choice about what we put out into the world. And those are the times that say a lot about who we are as people.

When I remember that, everything else seems pretty unimportant.


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