It's time to get real with myself. I have been in a funk lately, and I can't seem to snap out of it. If I'm really honest, I've been throwing myself a Pity Party and in order to ensure that I remain the guest of honor, I have refused to send all of those annoying party guests (i.e. really bad thoughts) back home.
Up until today, I thought I had some real problems. You know, "problems" like a double-chin and a fatty belly. "Problems" like a close friend consciously choosing to cut me out of her life."Problems" like the inability to convince a coworker that I am not less valuable than him just because I've put in less years of teaching. "Problems" like seeing a picture of a former student on the front page of the local newspaper for dealing drugs and feeling like I could have done so much more for him. "Problems" like desperately trying to get pregnant, only to be disappointed time and time again, and worst of all, not being able to convince myself that it's not my fault.
And then today I finished reading Randy Pausch's novel "The Last Lecture," and I realized I don't have real problems. In fact, my only real problem is my attitude, and my attitude needs a swift kick in the ass.
Randy Pausch passed away last year from pancreatic cancer, leaving behind his wife and three small children. Randy - a computer science professor - had several months to prepare for his inevitable death and was most distraught over the fact that his oldest child would remember very little about him while his two youngest children would remember nothing. And so Randy was faced with a dilemna - HOW do I leave behind for my children WHAT I want them most to remember about me after I am gone. Enter in, literally, his last lecture (which was videotaped for his children) at Carnegie Mellon University, and which has been turned into a national best-selling novel.
I now find myself pondering, what would my last lecture be if I knew I had only months to live. In short, here are the top five lessons I have learned in my life that I would want those I love to remember me by:
#1 - Dogs may be a man's best friend, but cats are a woman's. They just get IT, man! Don't tell me what to do, just feed me, pet me, let me sleeep, and tell me I'm pretty. Done.
#2 - Love doesn't come waltzing in on a white horse. It doesn't ask you to leave your life behind, or to sacrifice bits of your soul, and it sure as hell doesn't make you feel like you've just been saved. Real love saunters in slowly, subtly, and humbly. Real love demands only one thing - be you, ALL of you.
#3 - Sometimes you think you really know someone, and then one day you discover you really don't. These people are part of the universe's grand plan to teach you something you need to know about yourself in order to survive the rest of your life. Love these people while you have them, and when they're gone, say "Thank you." Thank you for making me better, and thank you for going away.
#4 - On the flipside, sometimes you think you really know someone, and then you find out that you really do. These people are also part of the universe's grand plan to give you EXACTLY what you need - validation. (i.e. Thank you Trevor, mom, Lisa, Mark, Ana, David, Dianna, Melanie, Tony, Alissa, Bonnie, Katy, Megan, Chris, Erica, Angela, Des, Bethany, Luke, Clutch, and I know I am forgetting people but my mind has drawn a blank...)
#5 - Ice cream makes everything better. Got dumped? Eat ice cream. Got screwed? Eat ice cream. Got stabbed in the back? Eat ice cream. Got laid off from work? Eat ice cream. Feeling fat? Well then, eat ice cream. I highly recommend a cookie dough/peanut butter cup Blizzard or a hot fudge sundae made with chocolate chip mint and peanut butter chocolate ice cream - extra whip cream, lots of nuts, but hold the cherry.
Thank you, Randy Pausch, for the swift kick in the ass.
The Pity Party is over, and I have you to thank for it.