I wrote the other day about how our book club had begun. Our first book is The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington. The main character, George Amberson, is a spoiled rich kid who believes that he is entitled to respect, if not outright worship, in his town, merely because he was born an Amberson. This brings me back to my past comments about entitlement. I still believe this: we are entitled to nothing, and whatever monetary rewards or personal respect we receive should come from our own hard work and efforts and good behavior. Sure, there are people that don't believe that. They feel that simply because of who they are, they should get a break...or they feel that everyone else "owes" them something. If that's how they want to be, I can't stop them. However, I know that I can look at myself in the mirror every day and know that I have earned what I have gotten in my life. I have self-respect, my family is proud of what I've done, and I have people in my life who love me, care about me, and I'm pretty sure they also respect me. My personal goal is to continue to behave in such a way that I retain all of that, including my own self-respect, because Mom and Dad gave me a healthy sense of what is right and what is wrong. I could go against that, but deep down I would know it was wrong, and I would not respect myself. As Ken and I always say, the right thing to do is to take the high road. It hasn't failed us yet.
Besides making me think about that, the book also had a lovely little scene in one of the chapters I read today. George takes a young lady for a sleigh ride into the country. It was so well-written that I could imagine the entire scene: the fields covered with snow, the horse snorting and blowing plumes of breath into the cold air, the jingle of the sleigh bells. It was beautiful. The young lady, Lucy, talks about how her father remembers the town from years ago with such fondness, and she wonders how much of it is real and how much of it is just that he was young. This made me think, too. I remember my youth with great fondness, but was that real, or just the distance of time? Happily, it was real! There were bad and sad moments, but that is part of life. All in all, I'm a very lucky woman, because I was blessed with a great family, and grew up in a very down-to-earth place.
Lucy goes on to say that she feels like she's missing out on something good because she rarely thinks about the present moment, and is always looking forward to something that will happen next. Lucy is wise beyond her years. While it's important to plan for the future, and it can be downright fun to plan ahead for things like vacation, it's so easy to forget to enjoy what is happening right now. If you stop and think about it, you might find that you have plenty to be thankful for, and that life is actually pretty good. If it's not, then be thankful that you have the ability to make a change. It's all in your outlook, when you get right down to it. Shane told me this quote about how life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it. I like that. You can either sit back and let life happen to you, or you can go out and make things happen for yourself.
Seems pretty simple to me.