“Life is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Everyone has acknowledged this quote a multitude of times. Those words remain one of the most famous soliloquies in William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth. (Act 5, scene 5, line 27) The English troops are advancing to Macbeth’s castle to besiege it. After hearing of his wife, Lady Macbeth’s death, he is anguished. He expresses that life means nothing.  It is about the fleetingness of life, and life is devoid of meaning, with its total days as short as a candle’s brief flame. He laments that our return to dust is the final act of a very bad play full of pretentiousness and drama but without importance. Okaaay…

Alluding that everything creeps in beginning tomorrow misses every today. Our journey begins at birth with much parental help until adulthood. Then it’s up to you. Perhaps I should say us. The future is still unclear, or a more accurately and unfounded fear or purely an unknown.  You can plan for tomorrow but your grownup journey begins with today… each new day, every day.  It’s what you do folks. You live today.

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Poof — your past is gone. Dead.  Kaput.  Tomorrow is still a fog. If you spend every day with one eye looking back and one eye looking to the future you will either have eyes wide apart or crossed. Neither is a benefit to living today. If you waste your time like that, your present just became your past. Poof again.

Don’t cheat yourself out of life. Do something. Prepare and revise your yearly personal budget. Volunteer at a charity. Help a neighbor. Think about what you really like to do and figure out how you can do that more. Perhaps much more.

You will run into obstacles. We all do. Go around them. I felt I had to remind you of that because as you have heard before some people keep doing the same bad thing over and over and expect a different result. Nobody ever gave a better example than Portia Nelson in her poem, “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk.” Portia’s life struggles include enduring breast cancer. She had a mastectomy.  Later in the 1990’s she suffered through throat and tongue cancer.  In 2001 the cancer took her from us. This is one of my favorites.

Chapter One

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost . . . I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault . . .

It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in this same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it there.

I still fall . . . it’s a habit . . . but,

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

Chapter Four

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

Chapter Five

I walk down another street.

There you have it. It’s simple. Make your choices. If the ones you make do not give you your expected results then make different and smarter choices.

Let your life be a song. Sing and dance all day. Certainly that is not a literal plan unless your heart tells you to join the stage or to perfect ballet. Although, I do recall in my past working around a few people who smiled and hummed all day long to music only they could hear. Irritating, yes, for everyone around them, but the low stress hummers in our lives will likely outlive the rest of us and they seem to never be annoyed by anything. Life’s uphill climb can be a struggle. But the view is glorious.

The point is to live your life years doing those things you like to do. You can control your thoughts, your actions, your replies and your results. Make a mistake? Change it. Change it now. Heal and grow. Have a bad attitude? Change it now. Heal and grow. Keep your tempo. Three beats to the bar – continue your waltz, or select a Cha Cha, or whatever. It’s your choice. Your outcome will be the result of your choice. Begin today and keep your tempo. Be an example to your family and peers. Make everyone else want to buy your song.

Even when you get it, most of everything that seems right still changes.  Change is necessary.

There are those among us who say life is a painting metaphor. Or perhaps it is the creativity of the arts that clears the consciousness.  “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” –Pablo Picasso uttered. But it still comes down to one’s choices. You can brush all of the black paint on a canvas you want to for extended periods of time and excite nobody…including and most importantly yourself. Draw a monarch butterfly but paint it black. Sketch people at a beach or a child’s Birthday party but paint it black. Yes lifeless visuals when life and its beauty is what we seek. Or a better portrayal would be living.  How long one stays alive is not important if they have not lived. Available selections for your individual painting are all of the tints of the rainbow. Look up and gaze in the prism and make your choice. You cannot run out of colors.

Take a moment and reread. It is that important.

 

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