Monday, June 14, 2010

July 2008: Perception v. Reality

My brain couldn't land on one solid topic tonight.  You're getting a peek at the archives...July 2008:


Okay, I don't know how this will spin out so I pre-emptively ask you to excuse some of the mental meandering.
A Classical Studies major friend in college said about Greek mythology once, "It doesn't matter if the myths were actually true, what was most important was that the Greeks believed them to be true."

That was pretty powerful for me to hear at the tender age of 19.

Perception and Reality are both rarely the same thing, and always the same thing. Perception is completely subjective and individual. Yet, to each individual, his or her particular perspective feels like rock-solid fact.

We've all seen those sitcom episodes where everyone tells "their version of the story." They do that wiggly screen thing as the characters retreat to their account of events leading up to whatever crisis is at hand. It's their personal version of the truth. It has only certain things in common with an utterly unforgiving, literal description of the timeline and dialogue that actually occurred.

So, what does this mean? It means that the line from "The Princess Bride": "You keep saying that word, but I do not think it means what you think it means," is completely accurate.

To quote a high school friend (who may have been quoting someone else), "You see blue and I see blue, but do we see the same color?"

So, for you: are you a: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," person? Or are you the, "If life is a bowl of cherries, why do I always get the pits," guy? Does it just depend on the day?

I believe you pretty much create your own reality. I mean look at all the people born into awful situations who manage to survive and even succeed despite all perceived obstacles. Those are lemonade people like crazy. They perceive the world to be a good place and themselves worthy of a position in such a place. They work hard as can be to get there. That is huge.

Taking responsibility for your feelings and your life is a big fucking deal. The minutiae of life is a remarkable obstacle that can drag you under if you let it. If you let go and swim with the current, it can be totally worth it, but if you keep making the same mistakes over again, it's like you're fighting an undertow. Anyone who lives near the ocean knows the undertow will usually win.

My personal perception is a bit all over the place at the moment. I have always thought of myself as a glass is half full, people are basically good, make lemonade person. Yet, thanks to my mother and all her words of wisdom I've had a well of "whatever" on which to draw, and anyone who has ever spent more than 15 minutes with me would wisely use the word "sarcastic" to describe my personality. Some people say "smart-ass." They're not wrong either.

Recent months have found me plumbing the depths of abject cynicism and my sarcastic, smart-ass side has bubbled to the surface quite often. This has been remarkably weird since I'm still the super-happy face for non-profit fundraising in town. Crossing the streams in the strangest way.

This is probably why I embrace the yin yang thing so wholeheartedly at the current time.

I thought this blog would be easier to write, but have spent days thinking and have come up with more open-ended questions than answers. Perhaps as it should be.

To sum up: These lives of ours are all muffins of our own design.

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