A few days ago, Charlie, Connor, and myself decided that we needed to take a trip. In the middle of suffering through the trenches of this time of the semester, sometimes you just need to get out of the dorm and go blow off some steam. So we did what any three single, crazy guys would do: we went to Wal-mart and Taco Bell. After Charlie had checked out and were waiting for Connor because he had to write a check like an old lady, I talked with Charlie about how I tend to take the same three or four topics and write about them in pretty much all my blog posts. I just recycle the same ideas and put different words to them. It's really sad, actually. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I've written before about how I use the same few topics all the time. So there's that.
From time to time, I'm accused of being a pessimist. It's a pretty fair characterization. Whereas other people see the glass as either half full or half empty, I usually see it as all empty. I really am trying to work at it. I decided constant negativity is probably a pretty unattractive quality. I don't think I'm quite as pessimistic as some people think, however. Most of it is a joke. A pinch of fatalism and self-degradation can be funny, but there is a fine line between funny and obnoxious, and I probably fall into the latter category too often.
All of that ties in only very loosely with what I'm writing about tonight. This past week, I was reminded several times about just how dumb life can be sometimes. I'm often reminded of this fact, and I often write about it. But this week, I've decided to put a more positive twist on it. Because life is dumb, but it's also funny sometimes precisely because it is dumb. It's full of unfortunate circumstances and tragic ironies that force you to sit back and think, "Wow, I can't believe this is how things work out. It's better than a movie script."
Bad things happen, and as I've written before, they're worth getting upset about. A lot of the time we try to stuff our emotions so that we don't let others find out that not everything is peachy. I think being genuine and open is normally a positive thing, and that's coming from someone who rarely shows any emotion at all. But at the same time, we often take ourselves way too seriously. We think every little bump in the road of life is a cosmic tragedy of cataclysmic proportions, and we drag our feet and hang our head and complain that "no one has ever gone through what I'm going through." And then we sulk in our locked rooms and listen to music that reminds us of how terrible life is while we devour a box of Cheez-Its out of our angst.
It's time for a shift in perspective. When something unfavorable happens, look at the humor in the situation and smile. As cliche as it may sound, a year down the road, whatever problem you had will probably seem like nothing. Yet we become so focused on what we don't like that we're unable to take a step back and enjoy it, not by overlooking or ignoring it but precisely because it kind of sucks. Life is a joke sometimes and people are ridiculous and thing turn out like they were never supposed to, and it's all so awesome. I think one of the best qualities a person can have is the ability to laugh at himself--to see a bigger picture of a situation and to say "Man, my life a joke, and I look like an idiot. That's pretty funny."
At church last week, we were challenged to think about which of the fruit of the Spirit we want to make more evident in our relationships. I decided mine should be joy. If you know me, there's a good chance that at some point in our relationship, I've either ignored you, made fun of you, or just been a jerk to you. And I really do apologize for that. I like people, I swear. I like life, and I like to laugh, and I like to laugh at life. So enjoy it all. So when the glass looks empty, don't just throw yourself into a state of lament. Fill it back up with Coke and drink it down again.
Tonight I enjoyed some delicious Chick-fil-A with my good friend Caitlyn. She's really smart but said she doesn't have much of a desire to write anything. I, on the other hand, am not very smart but like to write. So I thought, "Hey, we should collaborate!" And then I said my thought out loud. So be on the lookout for a Heffren/Lippitt post sometime in the near to distant future. (This is my hook that makes you come back and read again. Hope it works!)