I was working today when someone came up to me and said how happy I always seemed. She said I must have just started working there if I was really still so positive, and she was absolutely flummoxed when I told her I had worked on and off there for 12 years. How do you maintain your good attitude every day? she asked me, so I stopped and considered it before answering. Then I told her it was all about taking one day at a time, putting all the other stuff, those other issues, out of my mind and starting fresh.
I never realized that was a gift, not carrying over baggage from day to day, but apparently it is. It reminds me of that old piece of advice to couples, about never going to bed angry. Leave your baggage at the door so it doesn’t go inside with you. It’s good advice, but of course hard to follow because human nature is to hang on tightly to anything that bothers you, to let it fester until it turns you into a cynical, untrusting soul. Maybe on some levels I have that inside of me too, but I don’t let it sit there and fester.
No, what I let sit and fester are my worries instead, my worries about money, about job security, about my friends, about pretty much everything under the sun. That’s why I wake up still tired, from my mind going about a million miles a minute even when I’m sleep, trying to reconcile all of my worries, to make them go away like magic. But there is no magic, only small victories every day, like finding a set of dishes for a quarter of their regular price, and knowing that we badly need dishes, and knowing that these are the exact ones my wife has had her heart set on.
Maybe that is a kind of magic, one less worry on my list, even if it is a relatively small one. Every little bit counts, even if another worry slides right in to replace the one that is gone. And I think that if I had an easy life I wouldn’t be so grateful for these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate. So I still smile, and I still greet people like I’m genuinely glad to make their acquaintance. Because I am, and because worries don’t have to drag down my spirit.
Even if I am still tired every single morning. Somebody has to be.