Lately, it seems I've met up with a number of people who can't, or won't, pick themselves up and improve their situations. I'm not talking about people with physical issues or actual depression (I've battled both of those over the last decade), I'm talking about lazy-assed sad sacks, like our friend here, Eeyore...
Case-in-point: I recently got back in touch with an old friend. I asked how she was, naturally, and told them what was going on with me. I didn't want to get into my financial situation because, well, we hadn't corresponded in a long time and I didn't want to be a downer from the get-go. The email I received from her began, "I'm stressed", and went downhill from there. Not even "Hi. Glad to hear from you." Life hadn't turned out the way she'd planned, she didn't get to live where she wanted to live, etc., etc. Buy a freaking helmet! Face it, no one's life has turned out the way we planned. That's called Life, m'dear.
I was so put out that I didn't even write back. Sod that. I fight on a daily basis to remain positive and I don't need deadwood like that pulling me back down into the muck. I seriously care about her, but at least start out your email with, "Well, things could be better, but..." or something. Sometimes, writing a letter is a good opportunity to make oneself feel a little better because politeness kind of demands that we put on the best face we can muster for a few minutes. Later, we can get into the crap, but let's at least drop the rain cloud when saying hello again.
Facebook can really be a tricky place because so many people feel that it's a good place to vent their frustration or angst. I'm okay with that. Once in a while I'll write a status message that voices a not-so-positive attitude, but some people think it's their personal dumping ground, or they use it as a veritable Calvary, staking their cross and mounting themselves on it in hope that their 156 friends will look up and feel sorry for them.
The thing is, sometimes life is about acting. It's about acting out something and then harvesting that something. If we act out defeat we harvest more defeat. If we act out sadness,we harvest sadness. If we act out happiness we harvest happiness.
I'm not placing myself above anyone here because sometimes I'm just as guilty as the people I'm writing about. It's hard work staying positive and when I'm able to, it's not because I've gained any spiritual insight or inner strength, it's only because I get damned tired of feeling down, so I stop feeling sorry for myself. I'm an artist after all, and a moody, self-indulgent one at that, but I've learned not to be helpless. And when I'm tempted to plop my ass back on the pity pot, I think of people whose lives are a lot harder than mine.
If I've learned anything about this, I've learned to look around. Those who are simply feeling sorry for themselves usually don't have it all that bad, but those who really do have a hard row to hoe are usually those who are upbeat and cheerful, plowing on ahead and helping others with a smile.