Saturday, September 25, 2010

So Not The Drama

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
William Shakespeare 

Save the drama fo' yo'  mama, Willie.  Or your boyfriend, co-workers, friends etc.  Even your postman.  I knew my drama was about to hit the fan when I saw our postman this morning.  I had woken up feeling melancholy and a little purposeless. Ever since I came home from Japan I've been busy...really busy. Unfortunately, it hasn't been for a job.  I'm still looking but in the meantime, I've been writing,  cooking, cleaning, babysitting, trying to sell my house, trying to find my next adventure  and feeling really distant from it all. And this morning, I met the postman, who was incredibly cheerful even at 9:30 in the morning and in his words, feeling "blessed". So why was my first thought, "Why is  he so happy? There must be something wrong with him"  Or with me.
While babysitting an extremely cheerful child this week, I was stressed out, tired.. and happy. Because I had a purpose. My job was to ensure that this beautiful child was happy, cared for, learning, and growing (and eating...a lot). All week long she giggled and smiled and I teased her, saying what are you so happy for?  But the thing is, babies don't need a reason to be happy. They just are- the reasons come later.  They also don't need a reason to be unhappy- they just are..but then they get over it. Really quickly-especially if there are cookies.  All week I've been thinking about drama. How people create drama to make life more interesting, themselves more interesting- like we all need to be the over -emoting stars of telenovelas or life won't mean anything.  In Japan, I didn't have to have drama- I was in Japan. Everything I did had that as its suffix. So I was terrified of humongous spiders in my tiny apartment. I was terrified... in Japan. So I was just going to the store for bread. I was buying Japan.  It was a running joke among our neo ex-pat community. Everything sounds better over there.  The grass is always greener and all that. So now that I'm home, in a great city, that people wait their whole lives to move to, why do I want to get out...again?  Because I need drama.  Or maybe just purpose. Kurt Vonnegut explains it this way.
People have been hearing fantastic stories since time began. 
The problem is, they think life is supposed to be like the stories.” 
Check out the full lecture here at  (With graphs and everything!)
People like drama because we've been conditioned to believe that's how life works. There are highs and lows and every story has a satisfying conclusion.  But real life has very few real highs, though I won't quibble about the lows. They're out there- believe me.  We believe that every person has the right to true love, to wealth, to adventure, and contentment. We turn relationships into talk shows, our money woes into excuses, our boredom into blame. We idolize celebrities, we stalk personalities and we polarize issues at the ballot box.  We not only feel like life owes us something, we want to be larger than life altogether. Inside every delivery man and waitress , the so-called "little man", is a diva waiting to emerge like some gross, obnoxious, overbearing butterfly.  Enough. I don't want to be melancholy. I don't want to invent reasons why my life is the way it is. I do want purpose, but that's on me to create, wherever I am.  I don't know if a new town, or new job will give me the life I want. I don't know that staying where I am would be so bad. While I'm worried about the future, I'm still glad I have the time to think about it and where it's going.  Life isn't a drama or a crap shoot. It doesn't have to be over the top to have meaning. I am where I am right now and right now things are okay. So I'm gonna take an example from my mailman and a little kid and take a deep breath- laugh at nothing and everything... and just chill. Be blessed in the here and now. And save the emoting, the whining, the pathos and tragedy for the professionals on stage. Real life is happening right now-  get out there and enjoy it. Drama queens need not apply.

~ To see your drama clearly is to be liberated from it. ~
    Ken Keyes

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