Somewhere in a notebook, tucked away amidst many other notebooks, is a particular song I wrote.
I think when the day comes that somebody inherits my so-called estate, their biggest haul will be pens and notebooks.
And in a lot of those notebooks, some of them dating back to high school and college, have tidbits of stories and songs written in them - as well as drawings of hockey players.
One of those songs I wrote years ago has a line in it that says "Now life is measured by what I haven't got", A pretty happy sentiment.
When I think about the songs I used to write, I think of something Mike Ness of Social Distortion said during a Live at the Roxy show. He said "You all want to hear a happy song? Sorry, homey, we don't do no happy songs."
Of course, many of my favorite artists don't write happy songs. They write the dark, painful, introspective types. And that's what I used to do - even when I tried not to.
Anyway, I've been thinking about that line about life being measured but what I haven't got. I kind of recall thinking that was a pretty brilliant line back in the day. And maybe that was a good reflection of my mindset then.
But it isn't now. In fact, I try to think and see the opposite. I try not to dwell on what I don't have. I'd much rather embrace and enjoy what I do have.
I think it is easy for people to immediately worry about what is missing instead of recognizing what they possess. We're a society that bitches and moans first instead of being thankful and appreciative. We blame before we look for solutions. We look down at people instead of lifting up. We are fearful before we are brave. We worry before we are confident. We're angry instead of being joyful. We're programed to see the downside of things instead of looking at the great things in life.
I know people who see life in such a negative way that they're just consumed by that outlook. All they do is worry, be angry, complain and blame others for their misery.
I saw a study once on a news magazine show about how people could look through the headlines of the newspapers. Some would see the good things but most would consume the negative and build their outlook and world view from that.
That's not to say I don't have my disappointments and frustrations. I have them all the time. People that I expect better from let me down. People I don't expect to hurt me, do just that. People I hoped would support me as an author, by buying books or writing reviews that I needed, didn't do that for me. There are things in my life that I don't have and wish that I did.
It can be easy to look at other people's lives and wish I had this or that. But I try not to do that any longer. I don't measure life by what is missing. I measure it by what I've been blessed with.
In all facets of life, I don't want a life like everybody else. I never do what everybody else does. I tend to bounce to the beat of my own drum and do so gleefully. I want my own extraordinary life. I've realized that I have just that and it can be what I make it.
I was sitting on the deck at my cottage in Owls Head this summer. It was one of those glorious summer days that make me cherish the place more than I ever do. I thought of how fortunate I am to own and have such a place. I even contemplated the idea of if I could trade it for something else that I feel is lacking in my life, would I do it? Not a chance. I wouldn't trade the cottage for anything. It is truly a wonderful blessing in my life and I can't imagine what my life would be without it.
Another example has to do with my job. I'll sometimes hear about someone that I know getting a new job or succeeding in this or that career. I'll feel a twinge of jealousy and wish maybe I'd made that much money or had that kind of life and career. Then I stop myself. I've had the career I always wanted. How many people can say that? It has been a wonderful gift and opportunity to share my skills as a writer and journalist. I've had some great experiences and memories in my career. I've met some wonderful people. I've done outstanding work and established myself as one of the best in the business and I've done it on my terms - with honesty and integrity and earning the respect and appreciation of the people that have read my work or dealt with me. How lucky am I to have all that?
I heard about a guy yesterday that called in to WEEI to talk about the Red Sox. He was complaining about Manager John Farrell - the day after the Red Sox won the World Series for the third time in 10 years and after being in last place a year ago.
Sure there are things we can gripe about. I see people complain all the time on Facebook. Their life is one prolonged misery it seems. But it is only that way if you look at it that way. That's what I've learned. Your perspective is what you see in it. If you don't like your perspective, change it.
I'm enjoying finding the little blessings of life. So many things I take for granted. I was driving back from a game recently and came across a beautiful sunset as I headed home along Route 4. It is part of nature that happens every day but it is always different and often awesome. So much of life is that way.
Life lets me down sometimes. People let me down often. It still bothers me sometimes. There are things in life I'd still like to have. There are voids I'd like to fill.
But I know God has given me what I need and has blessed me with so much else. When I measure life by the blessings and gifts I have, I'm not only lucky but also joyful and happy. I've realized that life measures up pretty good.