Life is not fair. Have a cigar.

I have been slightly obsessed to the point of being obnoxious with what I perceive to be justice in a world that is not fair.  What has made the obsession obnoxious is the fact that I have been making my imperfect and not entirely wise self the judge.  It is correct of me to admit that I do not deserve the position of Sole Justice Distributor.  When I can, I do enjoy creating small “justices”.  This has, though, added to my illusion of control over life’s nature.

The truth is, I am not in control of justice distribution.  I can decide how to spend my time and energy.  And it kind of stops there.

A couple of months ago, while heading past a business complex, I was driving next to a man in his fifties in his shiny forest-green BMW, smoking a cigar.  He looked completely relaxed and content, leisurely.  I felt like I was seeing an illustration of inner peace.  Looking at him made me extremely happy because he was taking a moment to savor what he has in life.  He created a moment for himself and he appeared to be entirely involved in enjoying that moment.

He was having that moment even though life is not fair.  Bad things have happened to him.  He has felt afraid.  He has heard about the heinous crimes committed against innocent people and he knows about crimes against humanity.  He also knows people who act like complete jerks but get their way anyway.  He has been wronged many times, however aware or unaware he may be.  There are a plethora of forms that what we call life’s unfairness takes, as we all know.

Something dawned on me as this blog was brewing in my brain.  Sometimes when life is not fair, it means that I am receiving something I may not deserve.  I may have gotten away with something.  I am being treated better than another person, who is just as valuable as I am.  When I have thought about life not being fair, I have usually considered myself as the unlucky one who is being hurt and disappointed.  I have often neglected to bring to mind those less fortunate than I.  This is the case even though I am a person who is dedicated to practicing gratitude; I have repeatedly lost perspective when thinking about justice by getting mired in self-centeredness.  So, yes, we can all be thankful that I am NOT the world’s Sole Justice Distributor.

Good things happen.  Bad things happen.  What we consider good or bad depends on who we are, but we have to deal with both, whoever we are.  The words from above return to me.  I can decide how to spend my time and energy.  I can obsess about life “not being fair” and absurdly trying to mentally fight that fact, which sometimes works in my favor.  Sounds like crazymaking to me.  I’d rather say to myself, “Good things happen and bad things happen.  It’s part of the life experience.” and follow that up with getting on with my life.

For me, the cigar is not a cigar.  I’d rather create other pleasures for myself.  But Cigar man has been an excellent reminder for me to actually DO that, in spite of life not being “fair”.

One of my cigars, savored yesterday.

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Wrestle when you must

I’ve been thinking about this blog and how it’s about living well, but I have been compelled to write about some of the wrestling matches I have had to have with the less-than-lovely part of myself.  This is the quest to live richly?  How much better is it than watching beefy men in lycra theatrically piledrive one another?

Having a good life means not having to be paranoid about death.  This makes me think of a school project.  The only times I have been paranoid about the due date is when I really haven’t used my time well and done my best job.  Which has been basically every time, but that’s beside the point.  The point is that, to me, living a good life does not equal putting up with, tolerating, barely surviving.  We’re going to be dead!  And there is plenty we can’t control, so we may as well control our choices!  If we are not in the midst of a crisis, our time and energy is better spent discriminating and choosing, taking risks that will bring us satisfaction, LOVING.

There is that beast inside of me- you’ve read about her.  You may have her twin inside of you.  The self-directed inner jerk who does her best to interfere with my efforts.  She has a lot of patience for others’ humanity but almost none for mine.  She has been a much better friend to my friends than she has to me.  Over the last thirteen years, she has lost strength and significance, but she still doesn’t apply the same kindness to me that she does to others.  Entirely unfair.

What can I do but wrestle the beeyotch when I detect her presence?  She’s asking for a fight because she gets in my way when I’m trying to discriminate and choose, take risks, and LOVE.  Next time she shows up, I’m going to piledrive her by doing something very kind for myself.  Then I’ll body slam her by sticking up for myself and turning up the music so I can’t hear her horrible voice.  Then I’ll grab her by the neck and shake her by doing something creative.  Everybody likes lady wrestling better anyway, right?  Yes, I’m shuddering.

Addendum:  A couple hours after writing this, I followed through.  Some daffodils in the front yard are starting to bloom.  Glancing at the neglected planter, the beast said, “It’s no thanks to you those daffodils are blooming.”  I replied, “Those bulbs would not have made it in to the ground without me.”