Over the past year I have met 3 people that became paralyzed and then had to relearn how to walk and write and do all the things they used to do on a daily basis. I’m not sure if they all have the same disease that caused this temporary paralysis, but they had a similar experience in the suddenness of what happened and what followed. What was interesting to me though is how they responded to what happened.
One person responded by laughing about it. She laughed as she told me how interesting it was that she forgot how to hold a pencil and how strange it was to learn how to walk again. Another expressed anger and frustration over having to learn how to walk and do things again. And the last became emotional recalling her experiences and the difficulties she had faced.
I couldn’t help but think about my own trials and difficulties and how I have responded to them. I have responded in each of these ways at different times to my trials, but I think most often I probably get emotional about my experiences. I don’t think it’s bad to get emotional or even angry about what happens to us, but I would like to learn to laugh more often. I would like to respond to my trials with an attitude of learning and the ability to laugh at myself.
I firmly believe that people take life too seriously. People tend to see only the now of a situation. We get upset that things don’t seem to work out or aren’t going the way we planned. The truth is though that it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really matter that much if you’re late for something. It doesn’t really matter that much if an event is disturbed by some sort of accident or disruption. It doesn’t really matter if you make a mistake and someone yells at you for it. It doesn’t matter because it’s not the end.
Why do we focus so much on the now when the present will be the past in just a few minutes? The now doesn’t matter so much if we realize that it will pass. I don’t mean by this that the present isn’t important, because it is only in the present that we can create the future and the past. By our choices in the now, our past is recorded and our future will be written. However, a mistake or problem in the now does not have to be a regret in the future. By learning to overlook problems and forgive ourselves and others now, the mistakes of the present will become merely funny or interesting memories of the past.
The thing I keep telling myself lately is it’s only life. It’s not about the next step or the better job or the perfect evening; it’s about living. And if we can just remember that it’s about the living, it’s a lot easier to respond positively when something negative happens.