My last walk wasn’t as joyous as usual, some sobering health news from my Dad contributing to that. A phone conversation with my distraught, recently graduated niece ended well, but led me to some pondering. Why am I always so lighthearted?
It’s not like I’m unaware of people blowing each other up in the middle east or children and spouses being abused or corruption and crime through all walks of life and places of living.
Sure, I benefit from no longer working and facing the stress of making a living and dealing with the travails of the (occasional) bad co-worker or boss (though I spend a little portion of each day in complex calculations to reaffirm that I still don’t need to make a living).
I think I understand the terrible tragedies and suffering that occur throughout the world. I give to charities to the extent of my personality (I haven’t joined the Peace Corps or do much volunteer work anymore). I try to live my life with respect for others and courtesy and consideration and I feel that’s enough.
I acknowledge the suffering that exists in life, but I don’t allow that to define me. I don’t feel that compassion has to also demand pain, so I don’t feel guilty for having health and security. I have earned those through my hard work and careful planning and great parenting. I am properly thankful for the good fortune of living in a country that allows and promotes a better life.
If I am “guilty” of anything, it might be compartmentalizing. I am clearly better at that than some and yet have not left my humanity behind. It’s not necessary for me to feel “obligated” to subordinate my own happiness to the unhappiness of others, especially when that happiness is not at their expense.
So, I put the troubles of the world to the side and go out and live my life. And it’s amazing how happy you can be when you don’t worry about everything and simply live. Things that you have forgotten, that should be remembered, return. The light seems brighter, the world seems nicer and the realization is that there is so much to be happy about. Maybe, even, that glass is more full than you think.
So, call me ignorant or deluded, if you must. I’m sure I’ll forget about it soon enough.