My car has been in the shop for five days, I have bees living in my house, and small puddles keep appearing from nowhere on my kitchen floor. Each weekend, I spend hours doing yard work but seem to get nowhere. I’ve been incredibly productive at work but feel further behind than ever.
I also have a gorgeous bouquet of pale purple lilacs and dark pink tulips in a pitcher on the island in my kitchen, picked from my yard and smelling like something next to heaven. A close friend just had her first child, a beautiful, healthy baby girl. I had a blind date that was enjoyable, and while I don’t expect him to turn into a prince, he’s a nice guy, and I’ve met someone new.
For the most part, life is a pretty even balance of good and bad. I’ve always thought of myself as an optimist, but not for nothing do I list the bad stuff first.
I get that from my mom – she always zeroed in on the negative, a trait that annoyed me no end, probably because it often reflected my own negative self-image. But she also was able to find joy in life when she was in tremendous pain.
We examine life through a glass, starkly: is it half full or half empty? My therapist likes to say that we’re looking at it the wrong way: we should be asking why the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
For many of the people in my life, the glass is always full: of kids, hockey practice, dentist appointments, meetings, family and friends, car repairs and early morning workouts. They juggle it all, sometimes with mild griping but always ably. It’s when the other stuff creeps in – your kid wrecks your car, a close friend is diagnosed with cancer, your marriage hits a rough patch – that equilibrium crumbles.
The liquid in my tumbler rises and falls, like the tide. Like yin and yang, full and empty complete the circle, each serving its complementary purpose. I stop to smell the lilacs, resplendent in their final blaze of glory, and am reminded that life and all that it comprises ebbs and flows. Nothing stays the same. Except, maybe, for the glass.