I recently saw a posting from Elizabeth Gilbert's Facebook page that said: "When something in your life goes wrong, stop and yell "PLOT TWIST"and move on!"
Elizabeth Gilbert, for those who don't recognize the name, is the best selling author of "Eat, Pray, Love" and if you know me well, I have shared with you how much that very novel eerily mirrored a very low point in my life. At the same time, Liz' story echoed and helped me channel feelings, thoughts and experiences I was living myself. When describing how much this book changed my outlook on life, a relative said to me that "it was the most selfish novel she had ever read", put it down and didn't even finish it. My question: Is it selfish to examine your life at a crossroads and make what at the time is the best decision to get out of an unhealthy environment? Then, for once in my life, call me selfish.
This is not an ode to Liz Gilbert's writing, life-changing a-ha moment in Shangri-La. This is about how we are constantly faced with situations, challenges, hurdles, in essence, life. Life happens. If it didn't, we'd be dead, right? Duh... ;) So, I take a moment, to again, reflect on the last few days.
As long as I can remember I have been complimented with having a positive outlook on life. I look up and again insist on God (yeah, YOU!) having a pretty twisted sense of humor. ;) OK, I'll bite. I am always seeing, and if it doesn't come easy, I dig, dig and keep digging, until I find the positive in a situation. I cry, I run and burn my loud PUERTO RICAN sprinkled anger, but I get over it so quick sometimes I surprise myself.
I work hard, really hard, too hard and that at times is not good. When you don't see certain elements of your job as simply a job and more as part of your life, you have to be careful. I am learning that. Balance is everything. Not easy, but necessary. What I have experienced on the professional front is more along the lines of "been there, done that, now what?" I also look at gaining skills and experience as more of an asset than a sense of complacency. So, been there, done that, bring me more. Plot twist! I am not the only one, certainly not the first educated educator to explore new ways to do good work, to find creative and innovative means to share message, nurture a relationship, get a kid excited about school. Been there, done that. Let's do it again!
When I was about nine or ten I used to take old, huge WorldBook encyclopedia books and read them. After a while, for some reason I would go find a piece of paper and a pencil and would transcribe everything I had read. I would copy what was already written. Don't ask me why, I just enjoyed doing it. I enjoyed the feeling of writing. Holding the pencil and tracing on the sheet. Fast forward and I heard over and over again I am not good enough; good enough about this and certainly not good enough about that. That pretty much crushed quite a few goals and dreams. Wait for it.... Plot twist!
When I got off the phone after sharing my sympathy and pain with a cousin whose mother had died, my head was going to explode. I sat down in front of the computer and began to write. I didn't stop for almost 6 hours. I submitted what I believed was a short story to a colleague, English professor, for him to just humor me. His feedback: this is not a short story, it's a novel. You can write, make it work. Plot twist indeed! It only took 15 years, but I finally heard what I needed to hear in order to hesitantly take this skill, gift, talent, whatever this is, and appreciate it, embrace it. More than anything, I learned not to be AFRAID to use it, share it, do it, express it. Feedback or no feedback. Been there, done that, give me more!
People can be rude, mean, hurtful. That's unfortunate, but it's real. I mean, we all need people like this in our lives at least for the occasional clinching sensation of nails on a chalkboard, right? If not, life can be boring and who wants that. At least we get some writing material or at least a bit of comic relief... ;) Smile, I am keeping it light, cool? I say this because the plot twist may be necessary at times when dealing with a difficult person. I listen, respect, don't talk back, respect, respect and did I say respect? If that does not work something has to give, something has to change and if I am still standing there, talking to a wall, guess what? Plot twist!
No lecture here... just a reflection on memories, dreams, hopes and wants at times when things may not have made much sense. Moral of the story, life Dr. Webber, on his death bed told us last week during the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy: You have one life to live, how are you going to live it. Decide to live, to love. Decide. Feel, cry, laugh, get angry and run like hell to burn off steam. Love with all your heart and if you must, CHANGE, because it only proves we are indeed ALIVE. I guess we should be thankful in my at-times annoyingly positive, supportive tone...and if somethings in life go wrong, stop and yell PLOT TWIST and move on!