Saturday, December 22, 2012

As a Clam

I was asked tonight by a friend (perhaps jestingly) why I always find things so amazing in life. We were watching Elf, just for a fun film to laugh at while talking, and I was particularly happy over my paper crown I'd gotten from my Christmas cracker.

"It's just tissue paper," he stated, having almost crushed the purple crown when I'd taken it off to lay down on the couch.

"Yes, but it's a crown," I replied, pick it up. "And see, when I put it on..." I slid it back over my head. "Now, I'm a Princess!"

He kind of shook his head/chuckled.

"They're amazing!" I said.

"Why is everything amazing to you?"

I gave him an easy reply: "Because it makes me happy and it is amazing."

But the answer wasn't easy to come to.

As I've previously stated, I've gone through a lot of questioning and different situations to get to my point. And while I changed to get here, I'm sure I'll change again. The important thing is, I'm where I'm at now, and it's where I feel I should be. I took the easy reply because we'd been drinking and there were quite a few different people around that I felt I'd never be able to really tell the story, but on the drive home, it got me thinking as to how I've gotten to see the world through eyes that see wonder in everything.

It really began a year after I graduated. I was living with my parents, stuck at a job that paid mediocre and wasn't very uplifting, and I had no friends around me for hours. I was thankful for my position, as not very many people had a job, and a safe place to be, but I was bored and lazy and in a monotony. I'd been exercising every day, but the endorphin wasn't quite doing it.

I wasn't living.

Now, I have a vice. It's not necessarily a normal one (and certainly not a fetish), but odd enough that I don't go around telling the world I do it.

I absolutely adore Korean dramas/romantic comedies. Particular favorites are My PrincessI Need Romance, and, to a certain extent, Flower Boy Ramen Shop. I cannot explain why I choose to watch these, especially in how much I despise the American soap operas. Maybe it has to do with that they eventually end after a season or two? Rather than dragging on into oblivion...

Whatever the case, my life changer was watching Scent of a Woman. I was going through a tough time. I had finally gotten a year into my job, and I was learning the ropes of a newer part of my job. We had to put down my dog of 12 years, a day before my birthday, and I had been taking care of her hand and foot as her back legs were giving out--it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, as her mind was completely in tact, yet her body just couldn't handle life anymore. And I was also getting to a point of grim acceptance that life wasn't meant for excitement anymore, and I was an adult, and this is what it meant to be an adult.

Scent of a Woman is about a woman who worked hard her entire life, placing everything she wants on the back burner to save for money and a future that doesn't seem to be coming. She once used to be someone who laughed and was strong, but now she was taking care of her mother, and everyone else that needed help. She didn't bother with looks or anything too much money, as it "would all come later." Close to her 30s, she goes to the doctor to find that she has cancer, and is given only months to live.

At first, she isn't sure what to do. But, after one more straw of being falsely accused of stealing at her job, she quits and immediately starts to finally live her life. She takes out her savings, gets the make over to what she wants, takes a vacation... And meets a guy. They end up dating, and she doesn't tell him of her situation, but she has a bucket list of things she wants to accomplish, from the simplest forms to the most unrealistic. One by one, she begins to check them off, with the help of her boyfriend who finds out her condition.

The show made me laugh, cry, and really look into my own situation. It made me think of priorities, and the choices I began to make those last few years. I had become a 'no' person, never doing anything for fear of what would happen. I couldn't believe my loss of adventure, and that I was beginning to blame friends and family for my inability to not achieve.

And here was this girl who was faced with cancer, and making it all happen, not telling anyone that cancer was the reasoning to get it. She just did what she wanted and made a life as if she were normal.

This is what I wanted to become. Someone who saw the world like that every day.

I first took the steps in running. My friend Mandikat had started, and wanted me to join in--I focused more on this, and used that focus to plan my new ways of life. My better outlook.

I re-evaluated my connections. With everything. I only live once, and I'm not willing to deal with people who aren't going to give me the time of day. Nor am I willing to put in energy, especially worrisome, when all I get from it is negative energy. It was bogging me down, and it wasn't getting me anywhere but a sad state.

And I was going to stop sugar coating the important. I used to be of a naive nature, and it would sometimes get me into trouble because I wouldn't know me saying something honest would hurt someone or something. So, I stopped being open and kept the honesty to a minimum. Now, I would be honest and open and assertive with just being more aware instead of hiding that part of my personality behind. If I like or dislike something, I'd say it and just move on.

I was going to allow myself to fall in love. Not keep that in and not do anything about it.

These are all things I still work on, but since making that decision to live my life more as if I weren't necessarily going to be able to enjoy it every day (not in some sadistic/depressing way, more in an optimistic you've just got to enjoy life because that's what life is about way), I have been back to my normal smiling self.

And things are amazing.

People are amazing.

I mean, I sit back and think on what the every day person does. What technology does for us. What anything is capable of. How the small things can really change days. How just laughing over the stupidest things can really make a day at work, make you forget the pressure and anxiety.

Today, I spent a half hour laughing over an inside joke about York peppermint patties. And, when I look back at the conversation, I still chuckle and smile.

Those moments that people pass by, that are tossed aside as a mini part of our lives and shouldn't be looked at for more than mere seconds--those are the moments that truly make up a life. Every day passes by so quickly in our short existence, so shouldn't we make those parts of our history just as enjoyable as the major events in our life?

Shouldn't we volunteer? Take a mini-vacation to Wisconsin Dells? Make asses of ourselves by taping on odd facial expressions? Write wishes on paper lanterns that soar up in the sky and set loose in hopes they'll come true? Watch enormous amounts of Korean television on your days you just want to stay in and eat popcorn? Paint a wall green as an accent because you felt it was right? Buy a random gift for a friend when it isn't a special day for anything? Sing as loud as you can as often as you can, even if you can't remember any words? Tweet a celebrity you enjoy that you like them because the worst that will happen is they won't tweet back? Spend an extra cent on yourself because, turns out, you are worth it?

Wear a purple, paper crown that comes out of a Christmas cracker because it's silly and allows you to share a moment with friends as you giggle over jokes that can contend with those on a Laffy Taffy?

I like to think I'm a fast learner, but it took me a good few years to realize that I wasn't getting anywhere but unhappy. And if my new self means I don't keep in contact with the few people who make me miserable, and always have fantastic times with the many who make me happy (and vice versa), then I guess that means I make a decision to continue to be happy, shrugging off what I can't control with laughter, and enveloping with my heart all the wonder this world has to offer.

Even if that means the crown is green.

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