The Glass is Always More Than Half Full

The Glass is Always More Than Half Full

But only if you’re aware of it, instead of mulling, pondering and agonizing about whatever you didn’t get or aren’t getting. Wake up, friends. It’s there if you will see it. Life is a game and if it’s tied at the end, you won, since 80% of our fellows never break even and never understand why they were alive.

I had a recent breakthrough into the vault of my life. It took a good long nap on a Saturday afternoon (recommended) and a drive to the bay, where the immensity within which we live our lives is on tap for all to see who has eyes and functional brains. I also found myself thinking about a story I read about some Holocaust survivors finding a skull in their late uncle’s safe in a blue velvet bag. It was a skull he had run across while escaping through a Polish village where the Nazis had recently taken all the Jewish men into the forest and machine-gunned them.

I will not live for that moment, although I respect it with all my heart. I try to find what’s positive since that is what keeps us going. Nobody lived forever on a diet of what they didn’t get that day and expected more than. Let the SUN shine in (pun intended) instead.

So, I took my temperature, mentally and otherwise, and found the resources were there right in front of me. We are alive, and the other side of the grass will always take care of itself without our help.

First, I was able to see that I derive less than 5% of my joy from my beautiful Prius car I’m about to buy at less than the market value. Toyota miscalculated my contract by not expecting inflation. AlikeThink is the word of then. If only our former “local” banks, now owned by JP Morgan Chase, had been focused less on enriching themselves and more aware of the risks that normally accompany rewards, we’d be better off. Additionally, JP Morgan (who will make an extra $500 million next year through its rescue as an agent or proxy for the Fed) would not now control an even greater portion of our financial futures than before.

But I looked into myself and said, "so what?" I just had a good nap, I swam every day this week to protect my 80-year-old body, and I’m fit as a fiddle and ready for love. My beloved is off wrapping presents for her favorite charity, and I congratulate her for that or will if I remember it when she comes home.

Meanwhile, I am making all my doctors’ appointments (special benefit of retirement) and I like all of them, Dr. Ludmer, Dr. Khaira, Dr. Moorad, Dr. Yan and Dr. Taylor, my Yale-educated lady eye doc. Plus another several I’d have to look up or my computer calendar will remind me. I’m lucky enough to have a computer, my alternate brain which, although artificial, is connected to the madness outside and right here at home, as all of life by now is--which helps me see reality at least a little bit more clearly.

I’m insulated. My first layer of insulation is that the past does not trouble me. Why? Because I cannot change it. How much time do you spend thinking about and wishing you’d done differently? All of that is wasted time. You are trying to do the impossible. Impossible in every way, and in particular because you rob yourself both of the moment you live in and the energy to enjoy the future.

Why are so many people messed up? Because they can’t let go of their mistakes. We all make them, but for many of us our parents spent so much time-- teaching us how not to repeat those mistakes — that we never got our chance to learn for ourselves that it’s an equal part of life to the sunshine we fail to notice as we walk out the door every day.

So, instead of seeing the phenomenal beauty that surrounds us, we worry about what awaits us at the office, or the golf course, or the future when we’re back at home again. You only live once, so do it now. Please.

Mike Parish lives in Alameda.