An easy ride

Life is hard. Anyone over 30 knows this. But what may take more than thirty years to realize, is that it’s not supposed to be easy. The whole point is to face each disaster with a graceful attitude because character is formed by learning how to handle all the obstacles and overcome the pain, anger and resentment they cause.

In better words:

Life is one long training session in preparation for what will come. Life and death lose their meaning; there are only challenges to be met with joy and overcome with tranquility. – Paulo Coelho

One of my favorite authors, Paulo is in his late sixties, so he’s seen considerably more game time than I have, but I don’t know if I’d ever be able to say it as eloquently. Paulo has a voice that can reach inside your head and chocolate-vanilla swirl with your own. He can nail an individual want, making you feel it in your solar plexus, and at the same time link you to the big picture of humanity. I like writers (and singers and actors) who can bring out our best while keeping us entertained.

In today’s world it would seem entertainment has taken a tawdry, mean turn. We watch regular people perform on screen, everything from dating to cooking, and we root for them to prevail or fail. We are pitted against each other by broadcasters nitpicking the issues, when most of us share the ideal of what democracy represents. Even the commercials have an edge to their humor that mocks us as we purchase all these un-necessities. This media sensory overload seems to bring out the lowest common denominator in all of us.

So what are we supposed to do- stay home and read books all day? No, because playing in the current is the whole point, and when we help each other back up into the boat, it creates good will. There is a lot of power in camaraderie and that’s what Big Business has forgotten or never knew.

Big Oil & Gas, Big Pharma, Big Insurance; the end of crony capitalism was never going to be peaceful or pretty. But it is destined. This planet will not sustain nine billion people who don’t recycle. Even as The Donald tries to take this country to war with our pants around our ankles, I still see progress and hope everywhere I look. It feels as though there has been a shift in tolerance and acceptance worldwide, but the people on television aren’t aware of it yet, which makes them seem crass and more than a little irrelevant.

Erin Moran died recently; talk about the girl-next-door, she grew up next to millions of us on the show Happy Days. In the days following her death the news blurbs went from: Tragic Fall from TV to Trailer Park to Erin Died of Stage IV Cancer. Deescalating the drama step-by-step until the truth finally showed up, late to the party as usual. Instead of our last impression being the sunny smiling face of the actress who portrayed Joanie Cunningham, her memory is dragged through the muddy yard of a trailer home in Indiana. But in my opinion that gives her grit. Just knowing Erin through the sensationalized media, I’m willing to bet she fought some pretty big demons and saw the spectrum of human dignity in her 56 years.

Now I see that the object is not to lead an easy life of contentment, but rather to teach myself how to manage whatever life throws at me. As my cousin Sam says, lately I feel like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, but in order to mature and be ready for all possible outcomes, I have to survive the growing pains. And while it may not be easy or enjoyable, I believe the end result will be well worth the effort. And if you’re an atheist, then you might as well fight the good fight while you’re here because people who have not faced real adversity are boring as shit at cocktail parties.

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