Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Lesson In Appreciation

Back in Indiana I have a best friend named Vikie. Vikie and I have lived parallel lives for the past 20 years. We always seem to be going through similar experiences at the same time. For example, the day before I jumped on a plane to start a new life and be self-employed in Las Vegas, I helped her paint the walls of a new salon that she would soon be opening. During my most recent visit with beloved Vikie I learned that her life was going in a completely different direction than mine for the first time ever. I took a look around me and felt like I had fallen into stagnant waters. With the way I set my life up I have already reached the "glass ceiling" and can't get any further. I'm stuck with no way to achieve my future goals without sacrifices that wouldn't be worth it. I went into panic mode--a full blown mid-life crisis. I had myself so stressed out that the veins in my neck were twitching and throbbing visibly. I've never felt this helpless and hopeless. I felt like I once again wasted more years of my life on bad decisions.

Mark and I took a trip to Hollywood a couple weeks ago. When I got to the intersection of Ventura Blvd & Coldwater Canyon, I burst into happy tears, rambling on about how much I love this place, I wish I could live here, I'm so happy to be back, etc. Wow, that came outta nowhere. The next day, I met up with Stefanie, my closest friend in L.A. She said to me, "If you want something bad enough in life, you'll do whatever it takes to get it." I am always grateful for her perspective and advise but I came away empty from that conversation. It wasn't until the next day that I suddenly got angry. And that was the answer I was looking for...

Let me just say that I wrote the fucking book on "if you want something bad enough you'll do whatever it takes." Back in Indiana, I left behind a boss that took me for granted, a family that loved me but never understood me, friends I adored but had little in common with and a 9 year relationship with a controlling, abusive guy. I moved to Las Vegas alone, knowing nobody with the goals of being self-employed, owning a home, and finally finding friends that I have things in common with who will understand and accept me. Not only have I accomplished all that but I also netted several bonuses like the privilege of working part time at the Hard Rock Hotel, the excitement of being whisked across the country to spend the Millennium celebration with Collective Soul in Chicago and the unbelievable thrill of hanging out with Robert Plant for an evening.

Although Stefanie's well-meaning advise sent my temper into motion, that's exactly what I needed to remember who I was, where I came from, and what God has allowed me to accomplish thus far. My crisis has gone away, my stress has disappeared. I just needed to stop for a minute and allow myself to be thankful for everything. So what if for the first time in 20 years my peer Vikie and I are not living parallel lives? It doesn't change our friendship! This may not be all that I want for my life right now, but at one point it was, and if I don't appreciate it and be a good steward with the things God has given me, I don't deserve to do any better.

Someday I might just end up living in Studio City, CA with a loyal, honest, artistic Christian man as my husband. But until that or whatever else God has planned for me happens, I'm going to be kicking back in my cozy condo, appreciating the people and things in my life a lot more than I have in a long time. (And after the snotty little outburst I had at my own birthday party last week, this attitude comes not a minute too soon.)

1 comment:

Robin said...

Hi Cari,

Very nice story and so very true you must appreciate all the things that GOD gives and then other good things do come your way. Hope al is well.