Tag Archives: appreciation

Blind to Blessings

Some days I can so clearly remember being little, being at my Grandma’s house, the sound of the piano in the rumpus room, the rhythm of her low-heeled pumps walking across the kitchen floor, the feel of the cool green leather recliner I liked to sit in.

A feeling of dark anger wells up in me, that I had no idea how precious it was. That I was a spoiled brat wondering what toy she would buy me later, how soon we would leave for the movies, if she’d remembered to buy my favorite ice cream for dessert later.

And now I am painfully aware of how good my kids have it. Shelves full of books, rooms full of every kind of toy, the Netflix queue full of instantly available commercial-free entertainment. Not to mention video games, neighborhood friends, a field across the street and blackberry-filled woods next door, art supplies and a whole desk in the living room dedicated to creative pursuits. And two parents who engage, converse, interact, explain, listen, cook and clean, hug and kiss.

Etc. Etc.

And a dark anger wells up in me to think of how much they whine and complain and wish and pine and argue.

I try desperately not to hate. But I hate the fact that humans are so blind to blessings. And now, when my eyes are finally opened to how wonderful my life is, it is all tarnished, continually, day after day, despite all my best efforts, by the attitude of the young family members who WILL NOT STOP begging and bitching.

All I can think is that surely I ruined it for my Grandma. I know how hard she tried to make my time at her house a living paradise. And I know damn well how much I begged and bitched.

And the wheel turns.

“This isn’t how I go!”

Have you seen the movie Big Fish?  Brilliant flick.  A must-see, if ever there was one.

Anywho, inspired by this movie, I love the idea of “knowing” when you are going to die, although I DO NOT actually want to KNOW that information.

Allow me to elaborate.

I am one of those people who is mindful of the impending event of death to an excruciating degree.  Whenever I hear that wise advice, “Don’t forget, we are all mortal, enjoy every day as if it were your last… blah blah blah” I think to myself, “Welcome to my life.”

So on the positive side, death is not going to catch me without having appreciated every second of every day.

On the negative side, I think there is a damn good reason that most people live blissfully unappreciative lives, and that is because it makes you INSANE to think about death all the time.

Let’s put it this way: the joy I felt surrounding the birth of each of my children was painfully tempered by the realization that…

I was going to be afraid every day not only of my own death but of my children’s death, and…

In giving them birth I was simultaneously giving them their eventual death, as well as all the suffering they might experience in between those two events.

So I was able to appreciate the father character in Big Fish, after he’d seen his own death in the witch’s eye, as he went through his adventures, starting to feel afraid and then remembering, “Wait!  This isn’t how I go!”

I have thusly decided that I “know” I am going to die in my sleep when I’m 88.  (Anyone who’s suffered through enough of my blog knows that I am partial to the number 8.)

Now, whether this is what really happens or not, who cares.  The point is, I won’t face every single day-to-day perilous situation, like, say, driving down the road in the car, with so much fear.  I can look the oncoming semis confidently in the headlights and say to myself, “Don’t panic!  This isn’t how I go!”  I am absolutely exhausted of being afraid all the time.

(There’s no chance that I will actually put myself in a dangerous situation with a false sense of immortality… you can’t erase 41 years of paranoia THAT easily.)

But if I could only convince myself to play along, to believe against all reason that everything is okay… I might at least add a couple of years on to my life with lower stress levels.  It’s worth a shot, anyway.