This I Believe

Marlene - New Cumberland, Pennsylvania
Entered on July 19, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: change, humility

I believe I don’t really matter. This belief came to me slowly. No one explosive event in my life gave me this clarity. It just slowly formed over years of hurts, illnesses, premature deaths, lost loves, disappointments, disasters, failed relationships. I imagine right about now your “poor self esteem” alarm has been activated and you are thinking, “Oh, this poor person, she should really believe that she is, ‘the most important person in the whole wide world’ –and “everyone is special”. Please, turn off your alarm and relax. What I am making here is a relative statement, people. What I mean is that I believe regardless of whom I am; what I say or do to other people, what other people say or do to me, what events have shaped my life, none of this will really matter in a hundred years or so. Only a few people every generation hold that much cosmic responsibility. I’m thinking, Einstein, Attila the Hun, Jesus Christ, Madonna. In other words I don’t take myself too seriously and I pick my battles. I also, don’t hold on to this belief to give myself permission to be a complete hedonist or anarchist or idiot either. I don’t go around saying, “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die”.

Let me give you an example. You come home from (you can fill in the blank) work, school, shopping, having a baby, getting your appendix out and you find (again, fill in the blank), dirty dishes, empty gas tank, unpaid bills, insulting message on your answering machine, failed marriage due to your (again the blanks) husband, wife, boyfriend, daughter, mother. When events like this happen to me, and they have, I believe I have one of two choices. Make it an issue by; taking offense or getting angry or saying something hurtful or ruining a relationship or shriveling up and dying or I can put it into perspective by asking myself, “In a hundred years is it really going to matter?” In a hundred years will anyone really care that my son forgot to call me on my birthday? In a hundred years will it matter that my ex-husband slept with my ex-best friend? In a hundred years will it really matter that I ate too much for dinner or have wrinkles or gray hair. Will it matter that I have been disappointed in love, by children, friends, myself? If the answer is, “no” and believe me, the answer is usually, “no” about 99% of the time then instead of wasting my energy with negative feelings, words or actions, I use the energy to decide how I should cope with the issue. Confront it constructively or ignore it. And believe me when I say the answer is usually, “ignore it”. In my present life I am a very joyful, content person because I believe that in a hundred years, it won’t really matter.