I’m at my dining room table staring into a half full glass of Coke Zero. While the glass of Coke has done nothing to help with my creative process, but it has started me thinking about my life. I somehow can manage to pull a lesson on life out of a glass of Coke Zero? I know what you’re saying and I don’t know either, just stay with me.
Over the past 8 weeks or so, life has been beating on me like Clubber Lang beat on Rocky in the 2nd round of their first fight. I’m jobless. I have been on interviews but remain jobless. I have yet to see a penny of unemployment due to extended processing times in the unemployment offices (which mean someone probably spilled their coffee over my paperwork). My Savings has shrunk faster than one of my kids’ Justice tee shirts in the dryer (Those shirts are made from the worst fabric and they are expensive, but I digress…) I consider my car to be fully gassed up at a quarter of a tank. There will be no family vacation this year, unless I can somehow get 3 tons of sand and a miniature turtle pool in my basement. I’m hoping to get unemployment before my kids’ birthdays so I can avoid giving them a half used stick of deodorant and an XL Phillies tee shirt from my bureau. I’m wondering at what point I am going to have to consider selling my body to pay the mortgage. And Clubber Lang keeps pounding away.
But I have my glass of Coke Zero.
A glass that is half full (exactly how I described it in the first sentence), which is equivalent to me telling life, “You ain’t so bad” in my best Rocky impersonation.
The kids are healthy and happy and I have been able to spend more time with them than I ever have before. We’ve splattered paint on the walls in the garage. We’ve taken walks around the lake near our house and gone swimming. I have tapped in to my loose change collection I started back in college to spring for ice cream (a far cry from its original intended purpose- to buy warm cases of beer). Every time they say “I love you” makes me forget about everything else for a minute or two. We have forgotten about things we thought we needed at the mall and instead found things so much more important to have.
I have my wife to lean on whenever I want to see that glass starting to get empty. She has me to lean on when her glass spills on the floor and the dog is lapping it up. We have each other to lean against if we both feel like falling over and curling up in to a fetal position at the same time.
I have the lights on in my house (for now),my air conditioner is running, a refrigerator and cabinets with food in them, and a laptop I can waste huge amounts of time on anywhere in my house thanks to my wireless Internet connection. We haven’t been victims of tornadoes, floods, or a stop from Sarah Palin’s bus tour. I haven’t had to go to fight in wars (but God bless all those who have or are now). I have not been directly affected by the atrocities going on right now in the world.
Maybe I’m purposefully ignoring what’s going on or maybe all the turmoil and stress in my life right now has opened my eyes to all the good I took for granted before. And maybe I’m an eternal optimist. Considering what is going on, it would be easy for me to look at that glass of Coke Zero as half empty but that would only diminish the impact those people and items have on my life.
Because I have a great life.
I’ll figure out those other worries. My wife and I will scrape money together to pay everything we have to pay. There may be no vacation this year or heart stopping birthday gifts, but to worry about things I don’t have or can’t afford just distracts from what is right in front of me. Everything I really need I have (though a job at some point would be nice). I have my wife, my girls, the rest of my family, friends, essential utilities, food, transportation, and of course, I can’t forget my half full glass of Coke Zero.