Giving more

3 Mar

Giving more when you feel as though everything you have ever cared about is vanishing in the wind seems like a stupid idea, but is it really?

When life gives you the pits, sometimes you just plant them into an orchard.

Erma Bombeck said something like that, only she wrote a book, I think.  “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade” may have been the title.  I’m sure she said it.  If not, it sounds like something she would have said.

For those who don’t remember Erma’s wisdom and grace, she was a fellow Arizonian during that phase of my life, although she was more my mother’s age than mine.  She even assumed a somewhat motherly nature in my perception of her.  I never met her, although she lived in the Valley somewhere and I adored her from a distance.  She made me smile when times were tough, she’d been there too, I was sure of it.

Maybe its time for me to assume the role of being somewhat wise and filled with grace.  I don’t FEEL wise yet, though I’ll reach that magical number 50 this year.  I feel as lost and angry and uncertain as I did at 18 often.  I don’t realize that I’ve seen another 32 years pass by, 32 is a huge number, a number beyond my inner child’s ability to recognize.  32 years is like…eternity.

I’m still 18 most of the time, I’m sure of it.  Mirrors are no longer my friends either, they all keep putting my mother in there to stare at me disapprovingly.  I should stand up straight, comb my hair, get it fixed nice, put on some makeup and smile more.

Guess what?

I still have wild hair, I still don’t like to wear  makeup, and glowering isn’t something I think about any more than I think about smiling.  Those kinds of facial expressions just happen.  I remember a teacher years ago who said I had a rubber face (it was supposed to be a compliment) and could be extremely expressive.  The rubber is cracking these days, or so that mirror claims.

The only time I realize that I’ve been around so long that someone might name a street for me is when I go to move. Muscles and joints refuse, things creak, we get bomb threats.  My inner person wonders what on earth is wrong with the machinery around us, but nothing seems to fix it.  No potions, oils, concoctions, decoctions, or pills cure it.  Sometimes, it just refuses the go order and stays there, glaring at me the way only your own body parts can glare at the inner you.

It sucks.  Just as we start to figure things out intellectually, we start falling apart physically.  Then they tell me that I’m starting my mental decline and that inner person gets really ticked off.  We refuse, thank you very much.  We’ve worked very hard to get to this point, and WE ARE NOT GIVING IT UP!!!!

But, back to the idea of giving more.  What did I really mean by that before going off on my tangent.  (I do like those tangents, they have such a delightful flavor, and can accompany red meat or fish with equal flair.)

Giving more means being more involved with my own safari.

Safari?  Did I lose you there?

Yeah, it’s a safari I’m on, a grand safari through this thing we call life, I’m not taking the boring interstate route, I’m riding elephants and shaggy ponies, bicycles and motorcycles, Jeeps and strange looking redneck buses that are towed by an ATV.  I want the full experience, not the quick tour.  I want to get down and dirty, and guess what?

I am.

I am giving it my all as I explore this life, I want to try it all, taste the good and the bad, the sour and the sweet.  I’ve had great joy in my life, and I’ve experienced the kind of profound sorrow that I could not wish on my worst enemy.  (I don’t think I have many, but there was this guy a long time ago who wanted to see me destroyed professionally, and devoted himself to the cause.  He didn’t achieve his goal entirely, despite being my supervisor, but he did make it so incredibly stressful that I literally walked away from my intended career, never to return.  The funny thing is…I can’t even remember his name, but I would send him a thank you card if I did.  He did me a huge favor by urging my departure!)

I have incredible wealth, but no money.  I have met some wonderful people through my journey so far, people whose lives intersected with mine briefly or for a time, depending on the situation.  Maybe I gave something to them, or maybe they only gave to me.  They enriched my life with joy and excitement, curiosity and aggravation, and presented many opportunities to learn something new.  Some of them, I wish I could say hi to again, like Marjo, Marcia, Janet, Cheryl, Joan, Leanne and Sandy from Sibley, Iowa or Amy and Torrea from Windom, Minnesota.  Some like Becky, Autumn, and Cindy…I’ve managed to stay in touch with over the years as I’ve moved on.  Others’ faces linger in my memory, even when their names are lost in the mists of those mysterious 32 years of wandering.

With each phase of my life, I’ve encountered interesting people who have contributed bits of wisdom to that bank in my head.  I’ve never stopped learning, and I hope I never do!  Four years ago (wow, it just does not seem that long ago!) I started hosting a radio show, and a whole new flood of people and information began flowing through my head, encouraging yet another chapter in my life.

No matter how much I give, I always get more than I give away!

That may sound pretty crazy, but its true.  It isn’t about money, which is a good thing, since I don’t have much of that anyhow.  It’s about the experiences I have, the things I learn, the fantastic people I meet, the wonderful journey that I am experiencing.

I only receive anything when I give myself to the experience, whether its an interview, a movie, a book, or an event.  If I am not totally involved in it, I don’t get anything!  I have to give that to get that, if that makes more sense.

If you are drifting through life, feeling isolated, unloved, and afraid of everything…why?

Because you aren’t willing to give anything of yourself to the experience.

It’s true of every facet of our existence…if you don’t invest in it, it doesn’t pay you.  That’s true of everything.  Vaishali, a favorite guest, radio host, and author of mine, wrote a book, “You Are What You Love.”  It’s true…we are what we love, and we often are our own worst enemies.  Too many times we are spending way too much time criticizing ourselves for our failures and failing to recognize our wins.  We then cease to give ourselves to the experience of our lives, holding back, refusing to invest ourselves.

What kind of nonsense is that anyhow?  If anything is worth investing ourselves in, it has got to be our own lives!

So get up, get out there, grab it with both hands, and enjoy the ride.  It only happens once.  Give it everything you have got, I’ll guarantee its worth it!



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