This I Believe

Kathleen - Scottsdale, Arizona
Entered on July 10, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: hope, setbacks
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The Lightness of Being:

I have always thought the glass is half full rather than half empty, and that is why I believe that heartbreak can affirm the glory of life.

I am an optimist, and when I consider the things happening around me, I think about them with curiosity and wonder. I am also a realist. My philosophy has been to affect those things that you can change, and don’t, if possible, fret and worry over those you cannot.

Recently I worked at a major university, working with faculty and scientists to obtain grant funding. These people are brilliant, but frequently difficult to get along with. One day I asked my supervisor to make note that a particular scientist had hit the far end of the scale of rudeness and offensive behavior. Within a week I was reassigned to a clerical position. I was allowed to stay for the duration of my contract. I was informed that, actually, several scientists had complained about my efforts, and that I was so lucky that the university president had no knowledge of these complaints.

I have been successful in my endeavors, and contribute as much as possible to a work team. I was not prepared for the devastation that I was about to experience. Over time, my husband and I concluded that I had Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome: frightened, insomnia, depressed, extremely angry.

Of course, time is the great healer. By no means do I wish to trivialize the importance of the passage of time.

I remember thinking I was pretty tired of feeling as I did. One Saturday I drove to Las Vegas for a girlfriend’s 40th birthday party. I drove alone, as we were all meeting there. I drove through some of the most beautiful country in the world: deep blue sky, orange and brown canyons: the desert.

I remember thinking how lucky I was to be there to see it. At that moment I could literally feel the weight of the past year lift off of me, and I felt the lightness of being.

With the world in such turmoil, I think it is important for people to realize that they are special: the world needs what individual gifts each of us has to offer. I was a good person before, but I think I am a better person today. I strive to be, anyway. Everyone has bad experiences; but through the ashes can arise the phoenix.

This I believe.