My friend and I were talking the other morning. We were musing about life and the shit storm we occasionally find ourselves in, when everything hits at once and pummels you and you feel like you can't breathe and you don't know if you can take anymore. (Breath, sigh.) It's been a particularly rough patch for me for a while, and she said to me with the kind of love and well-wishing a good friend gives and means, "You deserve to be happy." It was a sweet offer, and I thought about it for a moment before replying, "Eh, I don't think it works that way."
I used to work for Starbucks. I opened almost every shift (not complaining, because I wrote the schedule) which meant I had to get up at 3a to be in my car at 330 to get to work by 4a. I am a morning person for sure, but 3a is certainly not morning. I know this because it's the time I used to come home from being out all night. Night. So I'd be in my car at 330 and driving the same dark route to work. There were two redeeming aspects to this drive: the time alone, and the music. One morning I had the radio on; I was sick of the cds I had in my car and wanted a bit of variety. Every channel had commercials except one so I kept it there, despite the fact they were playing lamer songs than I wanted to hear. But I kept the channel put- I'm an optimist. After a succession of bad songs, you're due for something good. You deserve it, right? So I hung on, and the next song came up. "Don't Fear The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult.
There are people who may like Blue Oyster Cult. I am not one of them. That songs ranks right up there in my list of "Shoot me now" songs with "Werewolf Of London" and "The Sign" by Ace of Base. I wanted to puke. But I held on there, because surely now after this horrorshow of a song something good would come on. I was nearly at work, needing just one little bit of musical goodness to help me face the morning rush and mid-morning lull. I continued listening and the song ended. "Finally," I thought, and drove with expectation for something better, and was rewarded with... wait for it... a commercial.
It was in that moment of musical disappointment that I realized we don't get what we deserve.
I will not find an agent/sell a book/win the lottery/get that promotion/lose weight/find the love of my life/beat this horrible disease just because I somehow deserve it. I've been good, I've worked hard, I've waited a long time, whatever the reason, things don't happen that way. Bad things happen, good things happen and they're arbitrary. I don't think that's so horrible. When you spend your life thinking you deserve good things, and then they don't happen like you wanted, you waste time in frustration. Likewise, when you're consumed with wondering why bad things happen to you, like there's some grand scheme of ill-will against you, it's like a self-inflicted lengthening of the suffering. I think it's more important to just take what comes, and continue to plow forward. Live life without a sense of pity or entitlement. And enjoy that we have this opportunity at all.
Listening to: Mates Of State "Re-Arrange Us"