Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Not dead yet.

tears

An awful (and I do mean awful) lot of my head space is filled with the voice of the great patriarch in my life saying things like, “It is such a shame you didn’t do anything with your life, when you were younger.” And, “What a loss, that you didn’t do more with your life.” Those phrases started when I was 24 years old. I have to tell you, it has been pretty demoralizing to have to live with the fact that I was a has-been before I’d even reached the quarter century mark. But, I did tell him over and over again: “I’m not dead yet.”

Sitting now, in the cat bird seat of the half century mark, I still hear his stinging words in my head, but now I usually follow it up with “You’re full of crap!” out loud to nobody in particular. I look back at my life and I’m okay with that fact that I’ve done quite a bit, thank you very much. Sure, none of it has brought me fame and fortune, but that was never really on my docket, even before the great patriarch flexed his influence.

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase: I never met a man on his deathbed who said he wished he’d spent more time at the office.’”  Nope. The typical average bear spends his last days on earth yearning for more (both volume and content) meaningful connections.  My entire life has been spent seeking out quality time with people, even if they made me jump through hoops and shed a few tears in the process. The majority of people in the first half of my life made it difficult, as I was placed dead center in the lives of people who weren’t terribly interested in reciprocal relationships.  See, the big sorting center in the sky decided I was to have parents, family members and loved ones who were too wrapped up with addictions, money, power and emotional issues (feel free to take a moment to do an internet search of Borderline Personality Disorders and Narcissism, if you like) which make it nearly impossible to have meaningful interaction. That kind of constant disconnection can leave a person with some serious puppy-in-the-window issues. “Hey! Over here! Look at me! Like me better than the other dogs (drugs, dollars, depression, desperation, whatever else is in your line of vision)!”  You also end up with a boatload of game cards that constantly turn up with messages of You’re Not Good Enough; Do Not Pass Go; Do Not Even Think of Entering Here; Why Even Try?; blah blah blah. It’s not a fun game, but it’s the deck you were dealt.

The thing is? At some point, you need to realize — you don’t have to play by those rules. What you need to do is find different players.

One of the most enlightening moments of my young life was doing volunteer work. Not donating money, because I had none. Not being on the board of directors, because I had no power. What I did possess was what I could give: sweat and tears. Being worth your weight in salt, to me is what you’re willing to bust your hump and shed copious tears over (sometimes sorrow, sometimes frustration, but more often than not… joy). Looking around and seeing other people willing to do the same, you will find folks who appreciate your value. And that’s the well you need to draw your water from, not the ones that are dry.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing a woman who bounced into the broadcast booth to help promote a book titled, “It’s Not Over Yet!” and her love of life and infectious enthusiasm at the age of social security had me asking her what the secret to this great attitude was. Her response? “Celebrate.” She went on to say that she learned a long time ago that every single day of life was meant to be celebrated. Before you think it was a flip comment by someone who led a charmed life, let me tell you she spent a very large portion of her 60 some years struggling. Financially. Emotionally. Physically. Hers was not a simple life, but her message was: Celebrate.  Not just the big things, but the little things. The small gestures. The momentary kindnesses. The gifts that cannot be wrapped.

To give the salt of sweat and tears is a gift that cannot be wrapped, but it is worth more than millions and my advice is to give while you can.

You’re not dead yet.

xo – t.

Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.” – Buddha

Let there be such oneness between us, that when one cries, the other tastes salt.” – Anonymous

Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat.” – Ann Landers

Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.” – Marian Wright Edelman