I love my life out here on the ranch, but it is not without its hardships and disappointments. Everyone has his or her burdens to bear, but the key to putting them behind you is what Rule #3 is all about: choice and attitude.
During college a friend of mine once commented on my “always up” attitude. He alluded to the fact that because my happiness always seemed so extreme that my sad times that he never saw probably had to be really, well, sad. I think he must have just come from one of those freshman psychology courses and wanted to be the first to diagnose me. It gave me reason for pause, and I waited for those “really sad times” to present themselves. They never did.
Last summer I attended a luncheon with a group of ladies. The hostess began our luncheon by reading “Complaining,” an excerpt from Wouldn’t Take Nothing’ For My Journey Now by Maya Angelou. Every person listened intently as the final part of the passage was read:
“Sister, there are people who went to sleep all over the world last night, poor and rich and white and black, but they will never wake again. Sister, those who expected to rise did not, their beds became their cooling boards and their blankets became their winding sheets. And those dead folks would give anything, anything at all for just five minutes of this weather or ten minutes of that plowing that person was grumbling about. So you watch yourself about complaining, Sister. What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”
Complaining. That’s what this rule is about. When I got home I quickly created a little tile with our picture and this excerpt written on it. I put it in my underwear drawer, so when I am getting dressed in the morning, I feel that tile. It reminds me to be grateful for waking up to another day.
I’ve experienced 17,000 days. I can’t say that they’ve all been great days, but at the end of each one of them I somehow continue to find the rainbow after the rainstorm. It is a conscious choice that I make. I would like to be able to say that I’ve never complained about anything. That isn’t true. I complained yesterday morning, but then I remembered that I choose my attitude. The afternoon was much better.
The evening was spectacular.