This week's #FridayReflection is to Reflect upon the meaning of life.
I read this Anthony Bourdain quote that was referring to travel and what hit me fair and square between my midlife eyeballs is that it also describes life in all it's messy glory (so I made a "small" change to the first word). We all want life to be perfect and shiny and we get upset or disappointed when it doesn't go our way, but life has so many other aspects to it that are enriching and grow us as people (even if we aren't too thrilled about it at the time!)
#1 Life hurts us - we get hurt by other people - they disappoint us, betray our trust, let us down, love us less than we love them, and they display all manner of other human frailties. It would be so nice to always be surrounded by perfect people who buffer our way in the world, but life isn't like that. Our family and friends are just normal people who are doing their best and often that best is less than we may have hoped for.
It's up to us to look beyond those short comings and see the intent, the soul, of the person and to recognize that they are just as flawed as we are. I think part of getting older is that we can take on some of the responsibility of being the good person, the kind person, the forgiving person, the person who loves despite being hurt - that's how we learn to lead the way.
#2 Life changes us - and that can be a good or bad thing. There are people who are hurt or who have had really tough lives and they allow that baggage to colour their worldview forever. There are people who are angry or disillusioned or damaged and they always have something or someone to blame for how they've turned out. It becomes who they are and that bitterness eats away at their hearts.
The alternative is to release that baggage and walk away from it. We can choose our attitude and move on from past hurts or upsets. Bad stuff will always happen (to some more than others) and that's life - how we choose to deal with it and how we turn it around into something worthwhile is up to us.
#3 Life is fluid - we bring things to it and we take things from it. As I grow older I can see that what we leave behind is what is really important. Wallowing in self pity or closing our hearts to others leaves us dried up and bitter. Deciding life hasn't been fair to us doesn't change anything - accepting the hand we've been dealt and making the most of it is what counts in the end.
We set a strong example when we overcome challenges and accept what life gives us with grace and a smile. Laughter and joy and a good heart are what I want to leave as my legacy. I want people who know me to say "she grabbed life with both hands and made the most of every minute!"