Counting my blessings

Smiley-FaceOne of the good things about having a deeply unhappy mother is that it made me think about the things she does that lead to that chronic unhappiness.  Objectively, her life is very, very bad (old, widowed, heart problems, chronic pain, limited mobility) and her life is very, very good (she’s reached a grand old age, she’s got loving children and grandchildren, she lives in one of the most beautiful places in the world, she’s getting state-of-the-art care for her heart and pain, she lives in an excellent skilled nursing facility).

Rather than seeing both sides of her life, or focusing on the good stuff, my Mom insists on seeing only the very, very bad stuff.  There is no good.  She’s terrified of dying, but it’s awful to be old.  She never sees her children or grandchildren enough.  Marin is nice, but it’s not Europe.  Sure, they manage the worst of her pain, but she still has pain and it’s so terrible.  The nurses at her skilled nursing facility are awful.  And so it goes, on and on, focusing relentlessly on the bad things, and reducing the good things to bad.

I long ago made the conscious decision to go the other way.  Or as I told her, if you can’t change your situation, change your attitude.

There are things in my life I wish I could change; indeed, I wish most desperately that I could change them.  But mostly, I know that I’m singularly fortunate.  I live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world; in one of the nicest neighborhoods ever imagined; in a spacious, comfortable home; with children and dogs who adore me (sometimes to the point of exhaustion).  I have a sister who is my best friend; Don Quixote (another best friend) is just a phone call away; and I have innumerable acquaintances who make my life better.  I write, work out, read, and generally get to do things I enjoy.

I think Dennis Prager would be proud of me:

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  • roylofquist

    From my father, many decades ago:

    There are two ways to be rich, Have more or want less.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    Leonard Cohen put it this way:

    I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
    he said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
    And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
    she cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The Left desires to change the world, because they are too weak to change themselves. It is easier to make and find slaves in the world, and bend it to their will, than to bend their own guilty conscience to their will.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    “She’s terrified of dying, but it’s awful to be old.”

    Humans are afraid of dying alone. To fight this fear, they externalize problems to the world and try to fix and blame the world. Then when they are pushed back at the firepower of the world, they go into despair, then blame the world again, and the cycle goes on.

    It is not impossible to change the world. Emperors and Alexander the Great did it, after all. But they had to use strength, not weakness.

    Compare her views to the Japanese philosophy of life and death. A view point, at least.

    “Cause pain before you injure. Injure before you maim. Maim before you kill. And if you must kill, make it a clean kill. Squeeze every drop of life from the opponent. Because life is so precious, it cannot be wasted, even in death.”

    “Let him cut your skin, and you cut his flesh. Let him cut your flesh, and you cut his bones. Let him cut your bones, and you cut off his life.”

    “Achieve your mission with all your might.
    Despair not until your last breath.
    Make your death count!” – Motto of Isumi’s Valkyries

    “To be honest I do not think whether they live or die is the matter at hand. Life is not always better than death. It is not that simple. Living and being made to live are very different things. What matters is what the person chooses of their own free will: whether or not it can be achieved nor how difficult it is.

    I want you to consider this: imagine if what matters most to you was taken away against your will. If that is indeed worth less than your life”-Mitsurugi, Meiya

    And this, a Western old pov.

    “‘He either fears his fate too much,
    Or his desert is small,
    Who fears to put it to the touch,
    And win or lose it all.’