I’ve been thinking a lot about history. There have been empires that have risen and fallen in all our years on this planet. Wars raged, places discovered, and countless loves found and lost. We all have our own history as well. We have our own way of looking at things. What we see and what we think is 100% unique to ourselves. And in my opinion, I think that no one remembers that fact.
No one recalls that our moods, our experiences, and everything in our own personal lives, including our own lessons and attitudes, are pushing us through the world. I often forget this point myself and end up thinking that the customers I deal with sometimes, when they are being in no way polite, are just horrible people. The one thing I always forget is that they are probably going through a lot of stuff, and if the most simple things, like a card reader error, can ruin their day, that I shouldn’t be upset at them. I shouldn’t hate them for the one minute I am in contact with them. I should remember to be just a little bit more understanding.
I work at a gas station right now, and see people from so many different lives enter through those two sliding doors into my workplace. Sometimes they are so rude and coarse and rough. Sometimes they are as sweet as honey in your chamomile tea. I am standing behind a register, ringing up your gas purchase, your lottery, your candy, and I am doing my best to smile for you. To make sure that when you come into that particular gas station you have as easy a transaction as possible, while still doing my job. I am pleasant and welcoming for each new customer. I too have a lot going on constantly, and I want them to understand and be polite, like I try to be with them no matter what catastrophe I may be dealing with in my life. However, wanting them to act how I see fit doesn’t ever work, because it all comes down to history.
We interact with people on a daily basis who are trying to move the mountains in their lives, trying to forge a better future, out of their various histories. We are all living in one confined planet. We are all trying to get around! We are all trying to live for us, our families and our friends.
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
There is a woman who comes in to get gas. She has two grown children and always wears a smile, even though she has a lot on her plate, with her own business and bills, and yet she still is smiling.
There is a man who can barely walk on rainy days and yet he drives his friends around, because they were there for him and saved him in the war, so he does the driving now. He is in pain probably more than half the time I see him, but he still wears a smile for me.
There is a student who doesn’t know what she wants to do in her life, but she is working towards a degree in economics so she will get a good job and be able to take care of her mom one day, because her mom gave her everything she never got in life. She gets really frustrated because the card reader doesn’t like her card on the first few tries, especially at me when I first met her, but now she smiles because I took my time with her and her card.
There is an angry man who won’t talk or look you in the eye, and if you question him he will scream at you, no matter who is in the store, but get him on his good day and his smile is actually quite nice and his eyes can look quite kind.
There is a little girl whose mom gives her a weekly allowance for doing chores. She saved up the allowance so she could pay for her mom’s gas and two movie tickets, because she wanted to have a mommy-daughter date with her mommy who works too hard. She paid me all in change, but I still smiled and couldn’t stop for the rest of my shift even as I counted all those coins.
The people I see every day have vast, amazing histories and wonderfully complex lives and thoughts. They see me for maybe 10 minutes tops in their entire day or week, and all I can do is try and smile, and to make this one thing in their soon-to-be histories at least pleasant, if not happy.
I just want everyone to be happy and spread the happy. It’s not easy, ever, to let the little, stupid, nagging things go. It is harder than diamonds to actually carry out those three little words in our day-to-day lives: let it go.
Exasperated one morning, after a falling out with someone, I was visiting Joe’s aunts. I was obsessing as I sometimes, okay, usually do, and Aunt Brenda just looked at me and said, “Let it go! Get over it!”
I honestly just started laughing. Because it is so simple. Just let it go. Let go of the stupid little things, let go of the tough bad huge things. Yes, work through it, but when you are out in the world, let it go. Be happy! Smile, even when everyone is bugging the piss out of you!
So yes, even though our histories are long and stretched out, varied and eclectic, we are all together. We all have the hard days and stupid exhausting moments of frustration, especially when someone or something gets under your skin. And everyone has days when nothing, no matter what you try or do, makes things better, but I just want you to remember one thing if that stupid day for you is today: I want, no, need, for you to be happy. Because it is a great, big, beautiful world full of great, big, amazing moments, and this one will pass. You will feel and be completely different tomorrow. We are never the same people in each and every passing moment. Change is inevitable. I want to give you this moment for happiness, your happiness. I want you to let it go, and just delight in the fact that in this moment, you can smile and turn it all around.
Be happy! Keep smiling!