Friday, April 3, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile: It's a sentimental kind of day.

Does anyone recall the Baz Luhrman "Sunscreen" song from 1998?
He set a 1997 essay by Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune columnist, to music.

I was reminded of these lyrics today while talking to my dear friend ENP about how scary/frustrating/unsettling/unfair life can be. This prompted me to re-listen to the song, which quickly set things in perspective. It makes me grateful for certain things I have, and reminds me of what I would do well to remember. These are the lessons that make me smile.

You can see the original music video here, courtesy of YouTube and VH1--yes, VH1--here.

1. Remembering not to worry.
"Don't worry about the future/
Or Worry/
But KNOW that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum/
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind/
The kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday"

If you think about it, worrying is often a thinly-veiled (and socially acceptable) form of narcissism. I know this from my own experience. Sometimes by investing energy in being stressed about a situation, I fool myself into thinking it merits a "return." Namely, I expect this return to arrive in the precise form of my desired outcome. While there is much to be said for the "power of positive thinking," worrying doesn't apply. The curveballs in life are things you simply can't prepare for and worrying does nothing more than lead those around you to grow weary of your hyperbole.
2. Packages from my Parents.

"Get to know your parents/
You never know when they'll be gone for good"

I've been a very independent person my entire life. This results from having a 9-years-older sister, older parents than most of my peers, Protestant solemnity, a fierce Chinese work ethic, and my own inherent quirks. It has paid off in numerous ways, mostly academically and careerwise, but has always caused distance between myself and my parents. When I was a teenager it wasn't a big deal since that's part of the "angst" phase, but now that I'm older I find myself missing and loving them more and more every day. I love my life in New York, but I also feel incredibly self-indulgent. I wish I knew my parents better and was closer to them geographically to facilitate the strengthening of our relationship.

This week I received two care packages:
*From my mother, I got some lovely DKNY and BCBG pieces that she selected with me in mind, and sent to me for no greater reason than to share her love.
*From my father, I was over-nighted(!) a new Blackberry so I can be more efficient at my job.

Despite different perspectives and past disagreements, my parents are wonderful people. I'm so lucky that they're my family.
3. My best friends from Kansas.
"Understand that friends come and go/
But with a precious few, you should hold on/
Work hard to bridge the gaps of geography and lifestyle/
Because the older you get the more you need the people you knew when you were young"

I would never have survived some events of the last few years without them.
They understand me in ways that people I currently interact with every day don't.
For being there for me, supporting me, loving me, making me laugh, accepting me as I am, sharing your unique and wonderful perspectives, and shocking me into reality when I need it, thank you. I love you.
4. The Bunny.
"Maybe you'll marry/
Maybe you won't
Maybe you'll have children/
Maybe you won't/
Maybe you'll divorce at 40/
Maybe you'll dance the funky chicken at your 75th wedding anniversary"

I'm lucky to have found THIS MAN. I am even more lucky that he understands me and accepts me for/despite my EGREGIOUS errors in judgment, all my flaws, my moments of doubt. We've been together nearly 20 months, and I am as grateful for all of the difficult moments as I am for the beautiful, wonderful, comforting and perfect moments.
5. My Body.
"Enjoy your body/
Use it every way you can/
Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it/
It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own"

When I was dancing ballet 30+ hours a week, I had great pride in my body even if it wasn't the best in the studio or going to get me performing centerstage at Lincoln Center. My legs were the envy of many a 40-year-old woman I knew. But things changed for me in college, and to say I loathed myself physically doesn't begin to cover it.
In the last 5 weeks, however, with daily workouts and a commitment to WW, I've lost 7.2 pounds and feel more toned, energetic and strong than I have in about 10 years.
6. Living in this glorious City.
"Live in New York City once/
But leave before it makes you hard."

As I referenced the other day, I have almost daily reasons to wax poetic on just HOW MUCH I LOVE New York. I know it like the back of my hand. I know what every corner looks like. I can identify intersections from photographs I see in magazines and shots I view in movies. I breathe it and feel one with it. I sometimes feel so familiar with it that I forget I didn't grow up here; when I see the same model of cars my parents drive I often subconsciously assume they might be at the wheel. I take the City's gritty side and appreciate how that contrasts with the beauty of Central Park, ornate old buildings, and the smell of flowers sold on the sidewalk at bodegas. I can't go into these emotions in this already TOO LONG post, but I continue to blossom every day here in this perfect place. And I'm clearly MUCH too emotional to have yet been made "hard."



Betts said...

So I'm currently in the most stressful period of my life/career, and somehow this post made me just sit back and have an... oh... moment. A moment when I realized that the next two weeks are not the rest of my life, and that when they are over, I will be so very happy. And that until they are over, I am fortunate in so many ways, including having you in my world!

Sunshine In The City said...

I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy this wonderful city of ours! Let's hang out soon!