Life is one big mixing bowl. Add one wife or boyfriend, rent, multiple bills, pets, jobs, a social life, dreams, hope and desires together and that is your life salad. It gets tossed about over and over and we keep adding ingredients until we find the perfect mixture. However, some ingredients are harder to find, cost more or just don’t leave a good taste in your mouth at all. Sometimes we have to dump the first batch and start all over with a pinch of this and a dash of that. Life’s recipe will get messy, that’s a fact! How do you intend to navigate the card when, not if, it does?
We are not all built or born to be in the kitchen. I can boil a mean water or make a grilled cheese with the best of them but when the heat is on, I defer to my wife, the ultimate pro and life balancer, and get out of the kitchen. I am easy-going. I don’t like chaos, drama or anything else that I can avoid that will prevent me from remaining upright. Those are things that can lead to big messes and will really F-up my salad. Give me lettuce, tomatoes, chicken, maybe some blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette and I’m a happy camper. You start adding broccoli, mushrooms, processed Bac-O’s, snow peas or shredded carrots and you have just made a big mess of my salad. I either have to waste time picking things out, eat around it or ask for a new one. None of which are desirable, especially if you are married to the chef.
Typically, life puts things on your plate that you can handle. It knows me well enough to understand that I prefer to handle a small plate and eat slow. Take one item at a time and maybe if I get really crazy, I will multi-task a little. Others, by default, get a big plate, do their best to devour everything and as tiring as it is to finish, they find the room. We don’t always like to eat things that we don’t care for but sometimes you just have no choice. It’s the right thing to do. It builds character. It puts hair on your chest or in some cases, removes it (LOL)! But in this instance, some things ingested repeatedly just might kill you. Ever hear of too much of a good thing? Or even worse, too much of a bad thing? Alcohol abuse, stress, anger, resentment, sex with the wrong person, lies, lack of job security are bad. Going to the gym, being good to your significant other, respecting others, sex with the right person, knowing you always give your best and being honest with yourself and others are all very good.
It sounds easy, right? Take the menu, pick from the assorted items and you can build the perfect salad. Or better yet, go to your favorite salad bar and load up, plate after plate until you are as happy as a clam at a salad bar. Not on life’s menu, you can’t. You can look at all the things you want but what will it take to get there, what are you willing to concede or give up? Morals? Pride? A new zip code? An upgrade sitting next to you? Messy, messy, messy…
Control what you can control. Input what you can input. The next step is to sit back and wait for the outcomes of your choices. We cannot control how others will react or what others will perceive or believe which is why choosing the right ingredients are so important. You can prep or plan ahead of time but you can never guarantee 100% of the time that the order of operation will always lead to the same desired results. Mix it up, sure. Add in variety, the spice of life…definitely! It may take longer than you expect, you may not get it right the first few times and it may not meet with everyone’s approval but when life gives you a mess, clean it up and make a salad!
“God has a plan” is what my parents always tell me when things go haywire in my life. I’d love to know what that plan is cause sometimes I believe he has my social security number mixed up with someone else. Life is messy, life is hard. It’s probably something we should teach our children right off the bat so they are not surprised when they get hit time after time with life’s funny little “plans”. Life is hard. Period the end. It’s how we manage it that makes all the difference. I listen to my kids and hear what their gripes are in life and I think to myself “Life hasn’t even begun to kick you in the ass yet.” Just wait!
Of course we don’t want them or anyone we love to have to go through illness, death, job loss, money issues, etc.., but they will. It’s our job to teach them life skills, coping skills, managerial skills to maneuver through life’s hardships and get them through to the other side. However how do we do that when we can barely do it? I have suffered illness, loss, death, money issues, the whole gamut and I pride myself on still being able to see the good in life. I am who you want in your corner when life gets messy to the point you feel you may break. I am tremendous under pressure in the most stressful of situations. I get shit done. That I know for sure. It’s after things have subsided that I find I break down and need to regroup both physically and emotionally.
Relationships take on a whole other level of “messy” I will be 43 in 17 days and there isn’t a person I’ve met though my life at this stage that doesn’t have a “story” There is baggage and mayhem abounding, but it’s how we handle these myriad of struggles that makes us who we are. It’s called character. Are we forgiving and understanding? Do we shy away from anything that may be “hard” for us to handle? As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that we are all flawed, picking from a menu of options that we hope will be fulfilling and not cause us stress and anguish. Unfortunately even the best laid plans can lead to strife. I choose to take all the mess and call it life. I do not fear it. I do not shy away from it, I also try very hard not to allow it to change who I am. I merely take one day at a time. That’s all I can do. I see all that heartache as what everyone goes through, it’s not based on my bad luck or a black cloud following me. It’s called Life. Now stop allowing it to affect everything good that’s happening to you and get out there and live!
So whether you choose to make a salad or see your life as a smorgushborg, it’s YOUR life and living through the mess is part of it. And as we all know, things always get messier right before we clean things up. So hold tight, this too shall pass.