Life is Underrated: Battling the Mindset of Debbie Downer

There is an alternative outlook on life which opposes the “just you wait…” mentality of so much of the general population.

“Your life will never be the same.  Get as much sleep as you can now, because that’s all about to change!” If only words could express how tired I am of hearing it and how unoriginal and not funny that line is.  But as long as people say that to me after learning my wife is pregnant, I will continue giving them courtesy laughs.  Yes, I get it.  I realize that my life is taking a different turn with my first kid on the way.  It’s not new information that having this baby will change my life.

I am 29 years old.  By this time next year, I’ll be 30.  I’m not 22.  Nor am I unaware that a baby needs constant care and attention.  Nor do I need to move to Norway to experience life abroad or smoke pot for a year while playing Super Mario Bros. 2 in somebody’s basement while eating Cheetos to reach perfect nirvana before throwing in the towel to become a responsible adult.

Evidently it’s quite difficult for a lot of people to grasp this concept, but I’m actually truly happy about my life changing.  It’s as if certain people are surprised by my positive outlook on not only my own life but also that I am a man who is excited about parenthood.  These people live by what I call a “just you wait…” mentality.  “Just you wait ‘til that baby’s waking you up in the middle of the night crying…”  “Just you wait ‘til he’s going through his Terrible Two’s…”  “Just you wait ‘til he starts school…”  “Just you wait ‘til he starts driving…”

Argh!  It turns me into a pirate at the thought of these annoying Debbie Downer lines forecasting a life of waiting until some other stage becomes worse than the last.  No.  No, I will not wait.  I will savor each stage of life for all its worth.  And I will enjoy it, just to spite those naysayers who want to make a tired joke out of the whole thing.

The baby will cry and poop and make messes and get into trouble.  And that’s okay.  I feel like I’m being left with no choice but to become an ambassador for parents who are proud and happy and optimistic about being a parent.  Of course that only provokes the opposite group of people to say, “just you wait…”  I know, I know.

And that’s how it works.  The just-you-waiters, in their minds, are helpful by always having advice for other people since life is full of progressing stages- advice that spoken with a tone of “you’re so naïve, if you only knew what’s ahead…”  I heard the same kind of “just you wait…” crap when I was engaged to be married to my wife,  from the same people trying to be funny about my approaching fatherhood.

Yesterday made exactly two years that my wife and I have been married.  No regrets whatsoever, despite a handful of just-you-waiters.  Couldn’t be better.  Couldn’t be happier.  Thank God for her.  I love being married to my wife.

All I can say is that I’m sorry that’s how they view life.  Life isn’t all sunshine and puppy dogs.  But it is enjoyable if you let it be.  If you’re enlightened enough to see that people are the meaning of life.  Marriage is good.  Having kids is good.  Friends are good.  Family is good.  If you can’t enjoy those things, what can you enjoy?

My worldview: Live life then give life.  And don’t whine about it.  Listen to a Jack Johnson CD if you need to.

 

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Just Be

 To be?  That is the question.

Like a baby discovering his hand in front of his face for the first time, sometimes I get these profound revelations that were there all along, but I never really grasped them before.  Yesterday, it hit me: “Be”.  The verb “be”.  While it can be used in so many different ways and instances, it’s a pretty deep word to think of it in its most simple human terms when relating to one’s self.

To be is to exist. 

Take away any adjective or noun that could follow “be”.  To not “be” anything.  Just to be.  What does it mean to just simple be?  To simply exist. 

Is it all the day to day tasks we do each day?  Driving, working, eating, resting?

Is it simply being alive?  Having a heartbeat?  Breathing?

It’s too deep for me.  I don’t know how to “be”.  How exactly do you “be”?

At least, I don’t know how to “be” myself- though I know how to be myself, by not being someone else.  But I can’t “be” alone.  I can sleep in a house by myself but that’s being alone, not “being” alone.  Where this is going is this: “Being” makes a lot more sense when someone else is “being” too. 

It helps to observe the lyrics of a legendary rock song like “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2:  “I have climbed the highest mountains, I have run through the fields…  I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls, these city walls… only to be with you”. 

This is sort of song that stops people in their tracks when they hear it.  So full of passion.  A song everyone can relate to, even if they can’t relate to the major spiritual undertones.  If a person simply just hears this song they will most likely walk away subconsciously agreeing that they still haven’t found what they’re looking for.  And, that they would go through extreme measures, only to “be” with another person.

Whatever “being” is, it’s something that is accomplished with other human being who is also “being.  And that’s what “being together” is.  “Being”.  Together.

I am constantly trying to corner down in my mind what it is to “be”, so that I can “be” with everyone important to me in my life.  There’s that annoying balance of figuring out what are truly life’s distractions (worrying about money, getting stressed over uncontrollable things like future plans, etc.) and still doing the things it takes to be a responsible person (working, providing, supporting, listening, teaching, etc.). 

Sometimes deliberately focusing on something so simple can be the hardest thing to do.

“Now an ambulance screams, while the silliest things are flopping around in my brain.  And I try not to dream up impossible schemes that swim around, wanna drown me insane.  And don’t know how to slow it down.  Oh, my mind’s racing from chasing pirates.”

-“Chasing Pirates” by Norah Jones