Someone once told me that I am “transparent”, and that she admires that quality in me. I had to ask her what she meant, and she said she meant that I am very open and honest with my feelings and with who I am. Although I think that is often true of me, I do know that not everyone appreciates that quality, so I thought it was cool that she said it.
Another thing I have heard people say about me for most of my life is that I think too much. I’ve never really understood what people mean by that. What is the alternative? Not thinking at all? Not thinking enough? Or is there some magical “just right” amount that each person should think…no more, and no less?
And I’ve certainly heard that I have a tendency to live in my own little fantasy world. That, and the “think too much” statement aren’t usually meant as compliments. But again, I’ll have to agree with that one.
I feel that we all, really, create our own lives. We don’t do that by controlling the events that happen to us. (God knows, I wish I could do that!) But we do it by the stories we choose to create and remember about the events in our lives….the emotions we feel, the actions we take and the lessons we learn.
Take running out of gas, for example. We can choose to turn that experience into some sort of mini-tragedy that ruins our whole day or week. Or we can take the one glimpse of a sunrise that we caught that morning and turn it into an inspirational story to share with others. If that is living in a fantasy and not looking at life realistically, then so be it. This is my life, and so I create my own life stories. To create a really good story, sometimes I embellish. I think that’s what writers do.
I also know that in almost everything we do in life, we are creating stories for other people, too. Our actions not only shape what other people think about us, but can affect what they think about mankind and the world in general. By being good and kind and positive, we help to fill other people’s lives with good stories to share. If we act like a jerk, we just add to someone else’s stories about all the jerks in the world.
And no matter how we live our own life, people who encounter us form their own stories about us, shaped by the negative or positive writer that lives in their own head. There are always going to be people in the world who create negative stories about us. And there will always be people who think they need to edit our life story by telling us the way that they think we should live our life, rather than the way we are already living it.
For me, I think that the ultimate secret to life is this: with every moment we are given, we are creating our own life story. And in the end, when we pass from this earthly domain to whatever lies ahead, the only thing we really leave behind are our stories. It’s up to us to try to leave behind some good ones.