You know you made a right choice of letting something go when it feels like a massive weight has been lifted off your shoulders. And I feel that way now. Sometimes you get so caught up in your day-to-day drama that you forget to see the whole picture. You focus on the tree instead of the forest, and now that I can see the forest for what it is, boy do I think it’s lovely.
I may be wrong, but in my brief experience on this planet few are the people that will be around for the long haul. Perhaps my experience is tainted because I moved around so much. To give you an idea, I went to three different high schools, in different countries, each in a different continent. The only thing constant was my family. Wherever they were, that was home.
Friends are needed in life, but friends may be very important at one point and less at another. When the boys were babies, my new mom group was a lifeline yet I don’t even know where many of them are today. You follow different paths; it doesn’t mean that friendship wasn’t true or meaningful just because it didn’t last a lifetime. This other group of friends I will forever treasure even if I haven’t seen them in two years.
I have also seen people transform themselves. People who had lost hope and hit bottom and then crawled their way back up. For example, when I worked at a homeless shelter I met Andrew who was just entering the drug treatment program after a year on the streets. Today, ten years later, his job requires him to wear a suit and tie every day. My twitter feed is full of amazing stories of people who have lost weight by the hundreds … their “before” pictures are hard to believe. I have transformed myself too.
Things change. People change. The only constant is change.
So at times you might be in a situation that sucks all of your energy, and perhaps your ego insists that it is very important. But it’s not. Because all of it is temporary.
My life has been a series of ups and downs, a very common pattern that can be recognized by anyone who pays attention to their journey. The Chilean writer Isabel Allende said when she was on the top of the hill, when things were going well, she tried to stay humble by looking down at the bottom of the hill. She knew eventually she would be heading there. That’s life. But on the same token, when you are at the bottom you know you can look up and believe you can make it out of that hole. Life is a series of hills with ups and downs. The goal is to maintain humility when things are going great, and positivity when things just don’t seem to be going your way.
But to this inevitable flow of life there is one thing that must remain constant: your desire to be kind, generous, and honest. Whether life is throwing roses or tomatoes at you, the desire to do the right thing cannot waiver. That is what will get you through any moment because you are sincerely doing the best you can.
You can’t do more than the best you can. There is no such thing as “giving 110%”
It doesn’t mean you are always right. Far from it. But if you keep the right intention, then you can whether any storm, and stay as humble as possible in the basking glory of the sunshine. If you are doing the best you can then you can’t go wrong.
It brings me back to this poem adapted by Mother Teresa. Though I am not a religious person, anyone can relate.
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
It’s not about anyone else. People will come and go, but you will take yourself wherever you are. You cannot hide from the real you.
The world is big, and there are all sorts of people in it living with different beliefs and styles. I go back to Twitter. Right now, I am in a relationship with close to 16,000 people … mostly fitness enthusiasts. Do you know how many followers the biggest account has? Katy Perry at 66 million. As of February 2015, Twitter had 280 million active users. So … you see. Even if the 15,700 current people I have relationships with on Twitter were to disappear overnight, there are over 260 million more I can create a relationship with. Nothing is the end all of all here.
And isn’t that a much nicer way to view the world, when it’s weight is not on your shoulders. When there is space to fail and pick yourself back up over and over again. The world is a big place, and I have my place in it. And in order to be happy and a part of it, I just have to look at the next right thing to do, and do it.
Right now that means I better go feed the kids.