To My Sons,
There is a book called “The Book of Awesome.” It began as a website in June 2008 by a man named Neil Pasricha. Neil was going through some tough personal times and wanted to focus on the positive things in life, thus 1000 Awesome Things was born. Every weekday, Neil would list something that was awesome. They weren’t things like winning a lottery or getting a dream job, but simple things that bring joy, like Sleeping In New Bed Sheets (#973) or Stretching Your Legs After A Really Long Car Ride (#32).
The thing is, throughout your life you’re going to go through some tough times too–big tough times and small tough times. Missed opportunities, broken relationships, disappointment, and even simply being bombarded by world news on a daily basis–wars, murders, robberies, homelessness, disease.
At the time it will be all too easy to get caught up in it, mired in your own mud of despair. But you need to know one thing. The cliche is oh-so-true, time really does heal most wounds. What left you feeling anguished today will be a distant memory a year or two from now. But that doesn’t help you in the moment, does it? Like when your first girlfriend has broken up with you and you’re in your room listening to R.E.M.’s Everybody Hurts with a knot in your stomach and your heart shattering into pieces. That whole ‘time heals all’ cliche will feel like a load of crap.
And for the record, while you’re in your room alone, you are not alone. I will be somewhere in the house with tears in my eyes and a knot in my stomach wanting to help you put together the pieces of your broken heart. I will see your tears and hear you cry and it will shatter my heart, this is something you will learn if you ever have children of your own. I will also most likely want to throttle the girl who hurt you but will keep it to myself, just in case you get back together.
So, no, time and healing is a bunch of crap at that point.
What isn’t crap is there really is awesome in everything and we only need to open our eyes to see it.
Think about it. We live on a planet in a galaxy that is so large we will never find an end to it. This little planet happened to be the just-right distance away from the warmth of a star to create the perfect conditions to grow life. And as far as we know we are the only planet with life on it.
The only one! And you’re a part of it!
If that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is.
But know what else is awesome?
Closing your eyes while swinging on a swing.
The smell of freshly brewed coffee.
Finding a quarter on the ground.
Being in the first car on a roller coaster.
Being in the last car on a roller coaster.
Hell! Just being on a roller coaster.
Getting a surprise card in the mail.
An automatic toilet not flushing mid-pee.
Hot chocolate with marshmallows waiting for you after an afternoon of playing in the snow.
I can name 50 more things just off the top of my head and I bet you can too.
And you know what’s awesome about that? You’ll come up with completely different awesome things than I do but the moment you say them out loud I’ll nod my head in agreement because you’re right, that is awesome.
Picture me at my desk while I type this, my favourite pen sitting within arm’s reach. You know the one–it’s black and covered in smiley faces. God only knows I yelled at you more than once to please return it.
I’m sorry for being such a crazed mom at times.
It’s a fine tip with a medium blue ink that never blotches or smears. I found that pen at the Dollar Store of all places–two for a dollar–and once I realized how awesome it was, I went back and bought five more packages.
And you know what? Every single one of those pens is awesome.
Yes, life is going to get shitty sometimes. You can’t avoid it, it’s just the way thing are.
But being able to find the awesome that surrounds you–and it does you just need to look–will help you through those tough times.