Days of Gratitude, Day 7: Real People

I had a great New Year’s Eve and Day.  I didn’t get drunk but I had a couple of drinks.  I spent the time with my husband Chris and my Brother Andy.  We watched the ball drop and changed the channel after Jennie McCarthy’s duck face made us all cry.  Chris and I spent the night at his place and then, in the morning, went to Double Decker Records in Allentown, PA, which, I have to say, if you’re a vinyl enthusiast or collector and you’ve never been, go.  Get on a plane if you have to.  Chris picked up some dance remixes and a couple of albums and I splurged on the Devin Townsend Project 4-LP/2CD set of Z2.  And I had already bought the CD the day it came out, but I don’t care, it’s worth every penny, and I earned it.  Best album of 2014, hands down- and it will be the first review I post on NFN once I get some time to reformat it for this page.

dtp

Most of the rest of the day was spent lounging about, consuming terrible food, and watching a Portlandia marathon as they gear up for their fifth season.  One of the skits I hadn’t seen before had a really cool quote that went something like, “People on the internet aren’t always as happy as they seem.  I guess they crop out the sadness”.  While I laughed at how dark and honest that jest was, it really struck a chord with me.

How often do we rate our own lives by the success and failures of other people?  I know I’ve been guilty of it many times.  I’ll see someone having an incredible run and think, damn, that will never be me, that person is so lucky.  Or maybe I’ll see the one person who is nothing but constant sadness and depression and think, wow, good thing I’m not that bad, and pat myself on the back for being better than that poor soul.  Social media has made it easier to keep tabs on the Joneses.  We see into the lives of others, sometimes way too much, on a daily basis.  Depending on what we also share, our curtains may be wide open to them as well.  We’re trained from birth to be competitive, dog-eat-dog, and to look at life as a zero-sum game.  Even when we consciously reject that it can be hard to remove the conditioning that’s been ingrained in us since childhood.  The truth is that we are all real, and we are all of those things.  We are happy and we are sad.  We succeed and we fail.  That’s what real people are, and we don’t need to compete with each other.  Life takes care of that for us.  It’s not a race, especially when the only “destination” in life is, well, you know, not being alive anymore.

I’m thankful for all the real people around me.  Yes, that mostly applies to people I know, love, and admire (because I love and admire lots of people), but also for those whom I may not know so well, and even some I may disagree with or even dislike for the challenges they present me with.  As Rush put it, “We are strangers to each other, each one’s life a novel no one else has read.  Even joined in bonds of love, (we’re) linked to one another by such slender threads.”  How very true.

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